My Pearl Jam buddy, my son, passed away
You never know what morning you may wake up and your entire life will change in an instant. That’s what happened to us on the morning of April 27, 2007. That’s right; it’s taken me eleven years to be able to put this down on paper.
I was walking into work, that morning when I got a call from my wife. She couldn’t wake up our eighteen year old son Matthew. He was in a coma; the paramedics were on their way. He was being rushed to Boston Children’s hospital. Driving there, my stomach was in such a knot, that I couldn’t sit back in my chair for the entire trip. Upon arriving at BC hospital, we were informed that Matt had contracted a rare virus called ADEM (Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis) and Matt had the worst case they’d ever seen. It’s a virus that destroys the protective membrane around the brain causing it to swell. They would try to counter it with high doses of Steroids, but were really already too late. Three days later, we were informed that there was no longer any hope and we removed him from life support.
Here was our son that played hockey and skied black diamond runs with me, couldn’t even have screamed for help that night. Every time I hear the line from Floyd’s song “Brain Damage“ (“You shout and no one seems to hear”) it gives me chills.
He was supposed to be attending his high school senior prom that day.
We were crushed, but didn’t want his life to go in vain. We started a fund at Boston Children’s Hospital “The Matthew Ian Wayne Neurological Research Endowment Fund” which has risen over $74,000. This money helped Boston Children’s Hospital in building an entire wing dedicated to Neurological research and I’m sure Matt would be proud to be part of that.
Matt was my Pearl Jam buddy, who attended all the Boston shows with me. His last show was at the BankNorth Garden on May 25, 2006. That night you performed Bob Dylan’s classic “Forever Young”. It seems surreal that this was the first and only night you’ve ever performed it. Eleven months from that show Matt passed but he will always be our eighteen year old son. He’ll always be “Forever Young” in our hearts. I have it tattooed on my arm above his angel.
My wife and I will be at the Boston, Fenway shows this September. If you would please pull this Dylan classic out for one more time, and dedicate “Forever Young” to Matt, I’d be forever in your debt.
Matt became our Roskilde Festival and it makes you truly think just how fragile life is. I know exactly what Eddie is talking about when he says he can “feel” his Dad sometimes. I can certainly feel my son with me and know he’ll be at the Fenway shows with us.
8/29/00 - Tweeter Center............5/24/06 - Banknorth Garden............5/17/10 - Banknorth Garden.............08/05/16 - Fenway Park
7/11/03 - Tweeter Center............5/25/06 - Banknorth Garden............6/16/11 - Wang Theatre (EV)............08/07/16 - Fenway Park
9/28/04 - Fleet Center................6/30/08 - Tweeter Center