Letting Go

Written by Bill, Matthew’s dad.

It is my birthday today. I am 64 years of age and to be honest I didn’t think I would make it this far.

Not by a long way.

My Dad died in his early 50’s and looking back on that now it seems crazy. He was an amazing Dad and for him to die of cancer at such a young age was obviously devastating for my Mum and all of his friends and family.

I didn’t really think about why Dad had died so young until my son Matthew became ill. We discovered that Matt had papillary renal cell carcinoma which is a rare and virulent form of kidney cancer. They said it is usually hereditary, often running in the male side of the family.

So, did my dad pass on a faulty gene to me, and did I pass it on to Matthew?

If so, why have they died and I am still alive?

It doesn’t seem fair does it?

When Matthew died we were reluctant to dispose of anything he loved. Slowly, over the years, we have let things go. His clothes went to his younger cousin or various charity shops, his cricket equipment to Warwick cricket club, his golf clubs to one of his best mates, his bike to another cousin.

But a few things we have hung on to.

One of these small precious items has been Matthew’s wallet.

I know it seems a bit silly but I couldn’t throw it away.

Over the years, the wallet had deteriorated to such an extent it started to look battered with holes in it. I had to resort to holding it together with an elastic band. It wasn’t in great condition when I inherited it from Matthew.

Note: Writing the phrase “when I inherited it from Matthew” made a shiver go down my spine. You are not supposed to inherit things from your kids!

When I got the wallet out of my back pocket to pay for something, I got funny looks from the shop keepers. I always expected them to comment on it.

“It’s about time you got yourself a new wallet!”

Then I could tell them about Matthew, and how he had died, and why I’d hung onto the wallet, and the queue behind me would get longer and longer but I wouldn’t care about that because I would be talking about my boy and how life could be such a bastard sometimes ….

But that never happened I’m pleased to say.

Today, I got a new wallet for my birthday, and it is very nice and it looks remarkably similar to my old one. It has lots of little zips and pockets to keep things in and I am grateful to receive it.

So now is the time to let the old one go.

Time to throw the old wallet away.

Another piece of Matthew gone.

Letting go of anything isn’t easy is it?

So, I’ve just decided to throw it away next year.

There’s no rush. I’m not going anywhere yet.

By Bill Bates 17.08.2022

Connect with Louise (Matthew’s mum) here: https://linktr.ee/louisebates