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Matthew Barnett’s Memorial Fund

A personal campaign sponsored by Lori Trevathan Lyell

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My son, Matt, took his own life this week. He was 23 years old. Matt was a great person with the biggest caring heart of anyone you could ever meet. In fact, he felt things too deeply. He had intense empathy for others and could not understand or accept it if he could not take away their pain. He had fought depression off and on throughout his life, but I take comfort in the fact that he had been happy, content, and an absolute joy to everyone around him for the past few years. He had friends, a family that loved him more than anything, a great job at a hospital with coworkers he loved, aspirations to go to nursing school, an apartment, investments, savings, plans for home ownership, a paid-in-full truck, and no debts. He shared a great love of the TN Titans with me, and even drove a 6-hour round trip and straight back just to watch their last game with me. This time last year, he surprised me for my birthday with front row tickets for the two of us to a home game. He was very excited with their 4-0 start this season, fully expecting to see them in the Super Bowl. He always tried (and succeeded) to make me happy. He was a talented artist who taught himself to play the guitar and keyboard beautifully, with plans for the drums next. He wrote his own songs, as well as played the instruments and sang them. He was extremely intelligent, thoughtful, responsible, funny, loving, and unique. He had specific plans and dreams for the future. He always pushed himself to be better, but could never perceive achieving the perfection he demanded of himself. He could not accept this and made a decision that ended his pain of his perceived failings. Ours is just beginning. He only told us less than a week ago that he had been feeling sad again for the past several months but didn’t want to tell anyone because he didn’t want anyone to be disappointed. I was trying to help him with that, but he told a friend he loved me more than anything but could not wait any longer. Please, if anyone feels like they are a failure at life, at anything, please get help, and quickly. Think of this write-up on Matt’s life, and wonder how anyone like this could feel himself a failure. We all have struggles in life and we all make mistakes, but no one is a failure at life. No one. And the tragic irony is that it is too late to realize just how much your life meant once it is over. I am heartbroken, devastated, as are all of his friends and family. Half of my heart is gone and can never be repaired. I would do anything for another Matt hug. Anything. Not a day will go by that we will not miss Matt and wish that we could make him see just how extraordinary and loved he was and always will be. Hug your kids and keep them close. Reach out to all of those around you. A word, a touch, a shoulder to cry on. Answer their call. Realize that you may be the person who could make all the difference to someone else. And if it is you who is struggling, realize that you ARE the person who makes all the difference to everyone who loves you. RIP, my baby boy ❤️