In Loving Memory of Angel Matthew Bankert Feb. 22, 2000 - Feb. 21, 2001
I decided to create a Grover background for this page because of what Angel Matthew's mom wrote to me in an email ~
"I don't know if this would be too hard to find, but Matthew loved Grover on Sesame street. He was the blue skinny monster with a round head and a smile from ear to ear. That was all he really watched was him on Sesame street. Other than that he didn't pay attention to the t.v or his toys. Only food!!"
Thank you to my bestest buddy bear, Rosemary, for fixing this Grover background for me too!!!
My Precious Gift From God
Matthew at 9 mos. old.
My son Matthew was named for Gift of God. He was born on February 22nd, 2000 and has joined the angels on February 21st, 2001.
Matthew John at one day old with both his mom and dad...
...and then Matthew John with just his dad.
Matthew at 1-1/2 mos. old.
Matthew at 2-1/2 mos. old, with his sister Mariah.
My son was diagnosed with Tricuspid Atresia at 26 weeks inutero. I kept telling myself things would be o.k. When Matthew was born there were possibilities of surgery within a short time. Of course he beat that out. We knew that we would have to face surgery sooner or later. The day after Easter, when he was 2 mos. old, we were at a check-up when we were told that Matthew needed a shunt operation. At this time, I didn't know which direction was up. Horrible thoughts went through my mind. I was scared and blamed everything and anything for my son's disease. He recovered from the operation quickly and was back to his old self in no time. From age 2 mos. to 5-1/2 mos. old we had many hospital visits and stays for infections, a heart catherization operation, and everything else. I always said "WHY," with no answer of course.
Matthew at 5-1/2 mos. old.
On August 22nd, when he turned 6 mos. old we had his 2nd open heart, the Hemi-Fontan. I thought that since we had already been through this that it wouldn't be as hard. Well I was wrong. There is nothing to prepare for an event like this. I kept telling myself that he was strong and bounced back the first time, and that's how it would be this time. Well I was right, he was strong and bounced back quickly. We talked about planning his cardio-cath and completion Fontan for the spring, or early summer. Needless to say we never made it.
Matthew crossing the finish line at the American Heart Walk in October 2000, as part of Team Matthew.
Matthew at Halloween.
Matthew with his sister Mariah at Thanksgiving and Matthew's first tooth at 10 mos. old.
It hurts, and that's the truth. There is not a minute goes by that my son's beautiful face is not on my mind. The hardest thing is not having that beautiful smile physically in front of me, when I can then pick him up and hold him tight. Whether Matthew was sick or not, there wasn't a day gone by that there wasn't an illuminating smile on his face. That was what kept peace in my mind. I took it as him letting me know things were o.k.
Mom, Matthew and Dad on Christmas Night.
Matthew at 11 mos. old.
On Monday, February 20th, 2001, Matthew walked across my living room with a huge smile and giggles to follow. When he passed only 2 days later, I felt like there was more he needed to show me. I was also terribly upset that he was only about 8 hours shy of his 1st birthday, and we were unable to celebrate it with him. After I sat down and stopped being selfish, I realized that maybe Matthew's walking across the room was his way of telling me he was ready for his long journey. As far as his birthday goes, I don't think I could have given him anything better than what the Lord has; no more pain or fear and eternal rest.
Mom and Matthew at CHD Awareness Day on Feb 10th. Matthew was 11-1/2 mos. old at the time.
Everytime Matthew was sick and hurting, I'd hold him and try and comfort him. This time I was unable to, but the Lord was, when He wrapped His arms around Matthew and made him feel better. My selfishness is still here and I try to hold it down with positive things; but every so often it surfaces. I have realized that I am allowed to be selfish and want him back, it's only human. But if given the chance, I wouldn't want him back if he were going to be in pain again. I thought that living everyday when he was alive was an emotional rollercoaster, it is worse now. But taking it one day at a time helps. I like telling people who are upset with their child's heart disease, I try to comfort them by telling them, "It is not a disease. God loved him/her soo much, that He couldn't bear to let them go. That is why He kept a piece of their heart." Children are the most precious gifts we can ever receive. Put a smile on a child's face, and it can be cherished forever.