We lost a dear friend this month but I’ve struggled to put my thoughts down in writing. As is often the case I’ve avoided the real crux of the matter and chosen to ruminate on a question that is altogether less personal: should tragedy enliven us?

It is a crying shame that is takes the death of one so close to me to make me take heed of how great life is and how lucky I am to be here at all. It has always been a favourite quote of mine, but Homer’s words ring true in situations such as these:

Your absence makes me want to become a better person and to progress, whereas I have been stagnating for months now. Your relish for life will always be an example to me.

I miss you Matt and I am sorry that I didn’t always find the time to reply to you with the depth of detail that you so truly deserved. You felt everything so keenly and where I have baulked and turned away from the edge of emotion, you continued to embrace it despite the pain that so often accompanies such openness. You have inspired me in more ways than you could know, not least because I failed to express it to you, and I feel foolish for never trying to convey quite how much you meant to me and what high esteem I held you and your conduct in.

I know you were tremendously sad at times but your coping strategy was ever to get up and find something else that needed fixing; perhaps we overlooked the warning signs a little too wilfully and admired your strength when it was often little more than bravado and a brave face. A thinking face and a thoughtful soul, you did too much to help the world around you and I wish I had followed your example and reached out to you more often of late.

I will miss you dearly because of the depth of your kindness, the warmth of your good will, your unrivalled stores of energy and your groan-inducing sense of  humour. With any luck I mean to carry forth these qualities and emulate you from this point hence because we could all learn a lot from you. You had no small share of troubles and demons but you went about your life in admirable defiance of them. The impression that you have left upon this Earth during your short life is unerringly positive, which is much more than I can say for myself. I hope you sleep sounder now, Matthew. You will never be forgotten. My love, always.