In  Loving Memory of Ryan Chad Matson


Photos of Ryan with his family & friends
....................Ryan and Kathy(mother)  ..............Jennifer - Kathy - Jessica & Ryan  Jordan - Jennifer - Kathy - Rylie - Jessica & Ryan

 (1) Jennifer(sister) and Staci(sister)
(2) Jordan(brother) - Jennifer and Ryan

(3) Jordan - Jennifer - Rylie(niece) - Jessica(sister) & Ryan
(4) Staci - Jennifer - Jordan

(1) Jessica - Ryan - Jennifer in each photo

(1) Granny and Ryan - (2) Rylie and Ryan

Ryan loved singing Karaoke and just hanging out with his friends!

Video Tribute
In honor of the selfless and loving life that my son lived, I wanted to honor him with this Video Tribute
and this song I wrote before he passed. Ryan showed everyone in our family how to love,
how to forgive and how to treat others.

I hope other parents that have lost their children can watch this Video and find comfort in the lyrics.
I hope we can make our heavenly children proud of the life we lead in their memory!

My heart goes out to each and every one of you!

T. Paul Matson


Memorial Service for Ryan Chad Matson

Each background photo below was taken by Ryan 


Letter sent out to friends on Facebook 


Letter Written January 19, 2014
First of all, I want to thank each and everyone of you who took time out of your day to send me a private message, text, voicemail or post a comment on my facebook page as well as those that sent flowers or cards. I am simply overwhelmed by the kindest shown to me and my family during this horrific event in our lives. In my previous post, I stated that the only emotion I had was deep and unyielding sadness. That sadness still remains but that emotion has been joined by a sense of comfort and unconditional love due to the overwhelming support we have received from friends and family.


Yesterday we said goodbye to Ryan at his memorial service at a beautiful church in Yucca Valley. In great moments of pain like this, your mind considers a wide range of emotions. There is regret from the past because there are moments where you know you could have done better as a parent......but you now painfully realize you will never get a chance to make up for those shortcomings. There is regret for the future because you know there were so many more great memories to be made that will now never happen. In the end, you simply want more time to say goodbye.



Things left unsaid

My mother was diagnosed with Brain Cancer in January of 2000 and lived another 10 months before her passing. In the months after her passing, I had time to tell her how I felt. I had time to make up for past shortcomings I had as a son. I had time to video tape her so that my young sisters children and future children would have a way to see and know their grandmother.


We had time to right some wrongs......apologize and forgive.......hug and cry......before we had to say goodbye. This extra time was of great benefit to my siblings and my father but it came with a price. That price was that my mother had to suffer through a biopsy that left her paralyzed on her right side. 33 rounds of Radiation caused her brain to swell which ultimately led to grand mal seizures. Many rounds of Chemo made her sick as I have ever seen her and none of it worked. None of it helped..... it simply made the last 10 months of her life a living hell.


In my sons case, the exact opposite occurred. Ryan passed away in his sleep and never woke up again.......he never suffered like my mother and I am eternally grateful for that. But because he was taken so quickly and so suddenly, his family and friends are now suffering because we had so much left to say to him and never got that opportunity.



Saying Goodbye without knowing it

However, this last Christmas Ryan drove down with his sisters, Jennifer and Jessica, to San Diego so that the entire Matson Family could be together and magic happened. I have relived that day and have found great comfort and peace in those last moments we spent together. In reflection of our comments to Ryan and his comments to us, it was as if we were all saying goodbye but we did not know it.



Our Last Time Together: Christmas

At Christmas, I spent a good deal of time talking to Ryan about his job and his increased responsibilities at the Stater Brothers store he worked at. He shared his successes and the praise he had received from management. Ryan was never late to work and always willing to take someone's shift in a moments notice which is a “dream employee” to a store manager.


I told him how proud I was of him several times throughout the day for various reasons. At one point we were reminiscing about all of the attention the twins got when they were younger. I told him, “Son you are the best big brother ever to have put up with all of the attention usually going to your little sisters.” He simply smiled. He never once complained about it. I think it is because he loved them so much that he saw what other saw too and it was ok that people marveled at the twins because he did too.


Another beautiful moment occurred about 1 hour later when it came time for Ryan’s young cousins to open presents. We all gathered around in the family room of my little sister’s house for the big moment. I was sitting on a couch that was near the Christmas Tree where Ryan was also sitting to my right. Across from us were his twin sisters sitting at the end of a couch near the dining area on the opposite side of the room. I noticed Ryan looking at Jessica and Jennifer and watched Jessica look up to catch her brothers gaze in her direction. Jessica said, “What are you looking at bub?” Ryan quickly replied, “At how beautiful my sisters are.” It was so sweet and so genuine. It was so Ryan.



My final hug and chance to say I love you

At the end of our day together, we all gathered out by our cars to say goodbye. Ryan had planned to drive down by himself and stay the night and hang out with his grandpa and I but he and his sisters decided to ride together and go back to Yucca Valley at the end of the night instead of Ryan staying with me. Before he left, I hugged him and told him, “I am proud of you son and I love you.” Little did I know that was the last time I would have a chance to put my arms around him and tell him those words.......but I am so glad I did.


In retrospect, I am saddened that Ryan did not stay overnight with me so that we could have had that extra time together now knowing he would be gone a few weeks later. However, what happened on my children’s drive home from San Diego makes me believe it was God’s hand giving my daughters a chance to say goodbye to their big brother.


As they drove home, my girls started crying and told Ryan he was the best big brother ever. They told him that he had the sweetest and kindest heart and to never let anyone change him and who he was. The girls told me that Ryan became concerned for his sisters because of how emotional they were and simply rubbed their shoulders and told them he loved them and promised he would do as they asked.


So, in the end my Twins needed that moment with their brother more than I needed another few days with him. That time in the car has been Gods saving grace as my daughters were forced to accept Ryan’s passing. If you look for Gods can find it all around you, even in the face of such tragedy and heartache. If you look for the comes through in brilliant colors, shapes and sizes that you had never noticed before. My daughters and Kathy have been amazing all week. They have been able to see the beauty in my sons passing and have refused to focus on anything other than their love for Ryan. Watching their strength and love for each other and for me is another gift my son gave all of us.



Unconditional Love

In these moments of pain, I found myself considering some profound questions. Such as, what will people say at my sons memorial service and then I wondered, what will people say when it is my time to go?


I found out very quickly what other people thought of my son as they started entering the church. One by one, I was hugged with such affection and given love by people most of whom I had never met who said they felt like they knew me because my son talked so often about me and his other family members.


They would just walk right up to me and start crying and pouring their hearts out to me.  Many shared stories of how Ryan came to their emotional rescue or stories of how he whipped everyone in horseshoe tournaments or how he loved his co workers and some of the things he did at work that they fondly remembered. These stories, one by one, lifted my spirits and breathed life back into me.



A life well lived

During the ceremony people got up and wanted to tell stories of Ryan and how he had impacted their lives for the better. One young woman shared how she was in a very dark place emotionally 7 years ago and described in great detail how Ryan came to her emotional rescue and was there for her whenever she needed help. In tears she told of one time when her and her best friend had been dumped right before Valentines day. She shared how devastated she was and that when Ryan found out he showed up on each of their doorsteps with a Dozen Roses for each of them and then took them both out to dinner.


I had never heard this story because Ryan did these kinds of things without telling other people. They say that to truly give a gift to others, you can not expect anything in return. Yesterday, I heard many stories of my child giving without expecting or asking for anything in return. The joy and comfort these stories gave my family and I will never be forgotten.


In the end, it was a remarkable day perfectly blended with beauty and love, sorrow and laughter, reflection of a life well lived and the promised hope of seeing my son again when this life is over.



Horseshoe Tournament in honor of Ryan

After the Memorial Service, we went back to Ryan’s mothers house where many of Ryan’s Yucca Valley friends and family gathered to celebrate his life. We held a horshoe tournament in his honor. Kathy pulled out an old Tournament Board that showed Ryan and his partner had won it. He bragged about that day for about 1 year straight. He loved his Yucca Valley family of friends. They are simply great, real, down to earth people.......which are my kind of people.


We ate great food.....enjoyed some well needed liquid refreshments, gathered around and did toasts to Ryan and we were finally able to breathe. As my son looked down on the days proceedings, I knew he had to have been so overwhelmed with the outpouring of love that occurred throughout the day. It was a tremendous celebration of his life and I am grateful to everyone in my family and kathy’s family that helped us pull this off. It was a beautiful day!



What will they say?

As I drove home last night, reflecting on the day, I thought about my sons legacy and ways I could keep his memory alive......which I intend to do with great passion. Then, I thought about my legacy and what people would say when I go. I reflected on my concern of how many people from Yucca Valley would show up for the memorial service and how many people would have loved Ryan enough to come. Since I am who I am, I did not invite any of my friends. So, I did not know what to expect.


Funerals are hard......they are not fun.......and I personally would rather be anywhere but at a funeral. So, I was amazed as slowly buy steadily every pew in the church had people in it. We had hoped we would have enough people to fill half of the seats but were really touched to see the church was full. As I drove home, I had a strange question pop in my head. I found myself considering my own mortality and if the life I have led would lead to a full church of loved ones like my son or would there be many empty pews.


In that question, lies one of the gifts my son left me. The gift is knowing I can do better. That I can love more.....and be slower to anger. I can forgive so much quicker instead of holding on to past insults and injuries from others. I can think of others first.......and know that my God will be there for me as he is now in my time of need. The gift my son gave me has been in front of me for 29 years. While I saw glimpses of it, I could not see it as clearly as I do now. Due to his death, his gift to me has became so evident and clear. That gift is that my son gave me a template of how to live, how to love and how to be more like him and a lot less like me. To find peace in chaos......and find hope that others can not see and calmly lead them to it!


In the end, life is a test. A test we are taking without knowing it. The question is are we minimizing our weaknesses and progressing with our strengths? Or are we stagnant and learning nothing? Are we a better person today than we were 1 year ago, 5 years ago or 10 years ago........or are we making the same mistakes?


I will do my best to honor his gift to me and I hope that gift will become evident to others in my family as well as my friends. I want to thank you all again for simply caring enough to let me know you do.



Angels around me

In closing, I want to ask a couple more favors of each of you. When you see me in person, simply give me a hug if you want to. I am still in no position to discuss what has transpired and to tell you the truth I hope my posts on Facebook will provide enough insights into what happened that I have answered any and all questions about his passing.


In the end, I don’t want to discuss it simply  is too painful and too personal. So, there is no need to feel sorry for me or my family even though I know it is completely normal and loving to do so. Just keep sending me your love and me I feel them. That is all I need. By taking a moment to send me a note, text or phone call, I know I am loved and by whom I am loved. I simply couldn’t ask for more!


I love each of you who I consider “MY ANGELS” and look forward to those hugs!


Timothy Paul Matson


Thank you for visiting Ryans' Memorial Page!
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