Matty - 9th March, 2010.
by Allan Dodd
(Reading, Berkshire, UK.)
Rio's @ Leeds, Matt's last gig with TERAKAI - 25th February, 2010.
Matt was right on the edge of achieving the recognition for which he has worked so hard. His band TERAKAI were about to embark on a tour supporting 2 other Reading headline bands called SYLOSIS and THE ARUSHA ACCORD. This is all metal/metalcore music. Their next gig was in Southampton on 19th March. The band had just received sponsorship from Kramer Guitars and they were making guitars and a bass for Matt, Tom and Chris, my younger son, to their own specifications. They were due to be delivered in April.
Since Matty died so suddenly, Kramer Guitars completed the guitar he specified with his name and dates on a plate fixed to it.
Their first EP, "The Last Stand", had extensive coverage on their website with all the songs showing thousands of people listening to the music. They were expecting one of the metal labels to sign them up imminently. He arranged a practice Monday evening,8th March, at Reading's 'The Face' bar. When his Mum, Mandy, brought him home, he was on cloud 9 because it had gone so well and the boys had played brilliantly. Coming from Matt that is praise indeed as he is the ultimate 110% perfectionist! He said to Mandy on the ride home "Mum, it doesn't come any better than this!"
I saw him up to bed at 1am, clutching his hot water bottle (in its Rudolph cover!) as happy as a sand boy. I got up at 7:15 and neither of the boys were up. So I shook Chris awake first, went in to Matty's room and couldn't wake him. When I looked properly I could see he was dead. I don't remember ever feeling such pain! It looked as if he had passed away almost as soon as he touched his pillow. He was on his side, clutching his Rudolph hot water bottle, no sign of any trauma, quite peaceful.
I don't remember ever feeling such pain! The nearest was when I lost my Mum in a car crash and had to identify her body and make all the arrangements, including the inquest. I was 20 at the time. That was bad, really bad, but this is immeasurably worse. It's not right; it's not fair and no parent should have to bury their child.
The four of us left behind, Mandy (his Mum), Stef (older sister) and Kip (younger brother - proper name Chris) live our lives in separate bubbles, each trying to deal with the shock and grief in their own way and not able to communicate with each other. We try to be "strong" for each other, but it just is not working. There will never be any healing for the black hole that has opened up in each of our separate personas, and we subsist from day to day with this huge gap in our collective lives.
We found out that Matty was killed by a virus! It took the coroner's pathologist and lab 2 weeks to identify it. Haemorrhagic pneumonitis we were told - nobody had ever heard of it, not even our doctor's practice had ever had a case of this.
Matty was 22 days short of his 19th birthday, and if he wasn't a modern guitar virtuoso, then the phrase does not exist! He is so sorely missed by us, Mandy is still expecting him to walk back in the door and Kip is trying to live Matt's life in his stead. Personally, I have got past the denial/shock stage of grief and I am just plain downright angry all the time; a real mess of emotions at the waste and denial of his chance to shine.