In Memory of Matthew Iaria
1991–2016, my love, my baby boy, “the kid,” “hot dime ass piece”
Editor’s Note: This is the speech I gave at my boyfriend’s wake. He passed away on December 9th, 2016 from complications of Stage Four esophageal cancer, just eight months after he was diagnosed, at New York Presbyterian Hospital.
If you don’t know me, I’m Stephanie, Matthew’s girlfriend. My full name is Stephanie Patricia Ann Osmanski. Growing up, I was the only kid I knew with two middle names and then I fell in love with Matthew Vincent Pearson Iaria, who like me, had two sandwiched between his first and last. We were soul mates in every way two people can be soul mates, except with music because I don’t really understand his music and he hates Bon Iver and John Mayer and those are like the only things I care about.
Except The Beatles. We agreed on The Beatles and The 1975.
Baby, you changed everything. You taught me how to fish, how to eat a pomegranate, and that sometimes you have to go above the speed limit. (And by sometimes, I mean always. Sorry, Mom.)
I’ll never brush my teeth without dipping the brush in baking soda first, even though the first time I watched you do it I was mildly repulsed. I’ve also never seen somebody drink so much milk in my life. Seriously, I’m convinced the Iarias inject 1% into their bloodstreams through an IV.
I’ll never forgive you for coercing me into being a Knicks fan because being a part of this fandom is the most frustrating experience. Except for Porzingis. Thank God for Porzingis. (Oh, and the Knicks are playing the Warriors tonight and you know I’m only rooting for the Knicks if they’re not playing Curry. So I hope Golden State destroys them. Sorry.)
The last thing you said to me before you went into that surgery was, “I love you, baby, with everything I got.”
I’m so grateful that I got to say everything I ever wanted to say to you before you passed away. In fact, that’s probably why writing this was so hard: because you already know everything. We left nothing unsaid, kid.
You know that I love you so freaking much; that I will love you forever.
You know that I promise to take care of Mom, Dad, Nicky, and Cameron.
And you know that I asked you to wait for me. And you will. You told me you will.
When we were in the hospital, Matthew slept a lot and each time the doctors or nurses came in, they’d ask, “Are you up?” Matthew and I would pop our eyes open — because I slept as much as he did — and we’d say “All the way up!”
Well, I guess you’re all the way up now, kid. Wait for me until I get all the way up there, too.
I love you, baby boy. I’ve been all in since day one.