Remembering Mathew

(The following was written by Carla & Shaun Tomson)

Last year, we tragically lost our 15-year-old son in a heartbreaking accident. We have been going through the very slow process of grieving and sorrow: coming from the depths of darkness from the pain of the past, to acceptance and the path of healing.

We would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to this remarkable community, to all those that have written cards, letters, and e-mails, and to others who have extended their compassionate gestures. Some who are close friends and some we have never met. It has been this outpouring of love and friendship that has helped us discover the capacity to be resilient when faced with life’s greatest adversity and challenge. The nurturing of friends has given us the strength to find the daily courage to face a new life that does not include our son but that still has much to offer. We live in a community like no other, and that has been a blessing to us. These acts of kindness from unexpected people have given Shaun and I so much encouragement and made us realize how we are loved. So many of you have suffered your own losses and have unselfishly shared your experiences and offered us wisdom, which has meant so much. This has been a powerful part of our healing and we feel privileged to be a part of such a loving community.

Since Mathew’s death we have learned so much. We humbly offer just a few of those lessons we have learned.

We know now that the greatest gift of all we can give our children is our time.

We have always believed that life is about balance but never lived it until now.

Plans may never be realized, as we don’t know what the future brings or what dreams may be broken.

Life is short and fragile. Focus on today and live in the moment.

Tell your children how much you love them. Kiss them. Hug them.

Sometimes they may think they’re invincible but we know they are not. Create boundaries. Talk to them.

When they talk to us, we don’t always listen because they don’t always talk to us as we want. Perhaps listening differently would provide us with more understanding. Our children often teach us more than we teach them.

Stop and make more time for yourself and hopefully this peace and serenity will improve your life and make for a better, happier parent.

Find the time to commune with nature, and never underestimate the power of prayer.

We thank all of you who have prayed for us.

Our precious son, Mathew’s birthday was on Tuesday 25th of September. He lived life to the fullest. He was adventurous and fun, while still being a spiritual and soulful boy. He touched the hearts of people he met and brought joy to their lives with his happy and big contagious smile on his sweet face. As his mother, he was the best part of me. We invite his friends and our neighbors to remember his birthday in his loving memory and take this opportunity to say thank you to an extraordinary community from the bottom of our hearts.

Montecito Loses a Champion

Barry Siegel, longtime SBCAG watchdog, advocate for sensible transportation planning, and Montecito Association devotee, “died suddenly Thursday evening,” (September 20), according to his wife, Martha Siegel. Barry was Jewish, but his memorial service was held Monday, September 24, at Trinity Episcopal Church on State Street. Martha is an Episcopal priest. The Montecito Association has been in contact with First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal in conjunction with naming a local bicycle trail in honor of Barry, who, in addition to his fierce advocacy for intelligent planning, was a strong proponent of alternative methods of transportation. We believe this would be a fitting memorial to a dedicated man.

Barry Siegel was 74 years old.