I’ve been sitting on a number of blogs to write. They’ve been in my head for a while, piling up while I try to find time to write them on my computer, and then upload to this website. Most of which are movie reviews that my good friend Matt were looking forward to reading.
Matthew Eubanks and I met while we attended A. R. Johnson Health Sciences and Engineering Magnet High School in Augusta, Georgia. We were only a couple months apart, but with his birthday in July and mine in September, he was a grade ahead of me (thank you, school system regulations). Nevertheless, we bonded to form a strong friendship that lasted through our High School years.
After Matt and I graduated, we lost touch as many classmates do. But, with the wonderful invention of Facebook and social networking, I was able to reconnect with Matt a few years ago. He was now living in Brunswick, Georgia and I was in Smyrna, Georgia. As we updated each other on our experiences in life, we found out that, even though hundreds of miles apart, we were living similar lives! We both had worked for grocery store chains… and hated it. Then, we were both working in television as Master Control Operators… and hating that, too!
Last year, Matt began to have severe health problems. He was constantly in and out of the hospital. Yet, despite the issues he was going through, he always kept a positive attitude. He strived to get healthy. He had two children from a previous marriage whom he adored, and he wanted to get better to be there for them. However, every turn it seemed he was facing new obstacles. If it wasn’t issues with his ex, he was having issues with his car, or with Social Security, or just strife living in an area he completely loathed. Yet, through all of these issues, he continued to make people laugh and keep a positive attitude.
Over the summer, things were looking good. He had mentioned to me that he was going to have surgery that was going to be lifestyle changing, but life saving as well. I had just launched a podcast over the Memorial Day Holiday with a coworker, and Matt was consulting me on it. He was always encouraging, and had ideas for show topics. My sister received her Masters from Savannah State University and, while I was down there for her graduation, I was going to schedule to meet up with him. Sadly, he had a bad weekend health-wise, and with all that was going on, we couldn’t work it in. In late July, we found out we would be in Augusta around the same time. But, I was driving down Sunday to pick up my son from my Mom’s, and he was driving back Sunday home to Brunswick. So, we would just miss each other. We thought we would have plenty time to get together.
August was a busy time in the Hillman household. Our son, DaKaari, was starting the 1st Grade. The weekend of DaKaari’s first week of school, we attended the District Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Plus, it was the start of football season. Excitement was in the air!
Sunday, September 9, 2012 was, for the most part, a very good day. We had a great meeting, a very encouraging talk followed by an even more encouraging Watchtower study. Then, we went to lunch at Cracker Barrel with some friends from our congregation. After that, we went to visit my wife’s father at the rehab facility (in July 2010, he had an accident at work that caused a traumatic brain injury). There was a small scare with him that morning. He had experienced a seizure which caused him to fall and be injured. Happily, though, unlike his usual round of seizures, this was a single episode, so the hospital was able to discharge him by the afternoon, and he was back at the facility by the time we went to visit him.
When we got home, we changed out of our formal wear, got comfortable, and sat down for Sunday Night Football on NBC. At a point in the game, I thought it would be good to check Facebook. That is when I saw the barrage of RIPs. I was devastated! My friend was gone!
Upon further inquiry, I found out in late August he was, again, fighting with the system as he was denied health care due to, basically, the system’s own incompetence. On Tuesday, September 4th, he was admitted into the hospital and put on a ventilator. He fought until Sunday, September 9th. Then, this strong, enduring, big-hearted man couldn’t fight anymore.
As I age further into my 30s, death is surrounding me too much. In October 2006, I lost my nephew to a tragic work accident. In May 2010, a dear friend of our family who was DaKaari’s baby sitter, but more like a mother to Anitra and I, lost her fight with cancer. In June 2010, my father succumbed to failing health and advancing age. Two weeks after my father’s death, my wife’s Stepfather succumbed to a stroke he could never fully recover from. One month later, in July 2010, my wife’s father experienced his accident at work, causing the traumatic brain injury that leaves him under constant supervised care. In April 2011, Facebook was the source that provided news of the sudden death of our A.R. Johnson alum Candi Young-Grier. Then, in April of this year, the A.R. Johnson family was devastated yet again with the sudden death of Ennis Koonce. Now, in September, we lose Matthew.
If there’s anything we can learn from this, death can come at any time. Our life is not guaranteed, for Ecclesiastes 9:11 tells us that time and unforeseen occurrences befall us all. However, that doesn’t mean that our future is empty. 2 Peter 3:11 speaks of a “new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.” Regardless of our faith, background and beliefs, I’m sure we all appreciate how precious life is and, when we are confronted with death, can appreciate how fast time can move, and see how fast our lives can pass before our eyes. Take the time, dear reader, to let your loved ones know how much you love and care for them. Let them know how much you cherish them and the time you’re with them. Tell them how much you think about them. We never know when the moment we take with someone will be the last moment we have with them. I thank you very much for taking the time to share this moment with me. And know that I love you, dear reader.