If any of you follow me, you probably know that my life is still in a very turbulent state. I think this is normal for a loss where you also lose your sense of self and home. After spending time near my hometown of Massachusetts among amazing life long and supportive friends I realized that it still wasn’t right. The best place for me is near Matt’s family, his best friend’s family, those that understand and need each other to lean on through this still very challenging time.
And so… I mad dashed my way to Arkansas on a whim with my backpack, the three outfits I’d acquired since trail, a 1999 Jeep my dear friend sold me on a very flexible payment schedule, and our puppy dog Theo. On my way, I was able to connect with Andrew Iden. Andrew is a CNN producer who has created his passion project, the 2180 podcast which covers stories from the Appalachian Trail. He’d been reaching out to me while I was hiking, and less able to coordinate but finally the universe aligned and he was going to be in Nashville just as I was driving through. The universe works like that sometimes, especially in grief.
I arrived pretty disheveled, at the wrong building, literally spitting my toothpaste out a crack in the door onto the driveway since I’d been driving all night and slept at a truck stop along the way. The trail Kamikaze in me is still very alive and well these days. But Andrew didn’t seem to mind. I’ve never done a podcast before but it pretty much felt like most regular conversations I have when trying to talk about Matt, what happened and everything that has transpired since.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect from it, and almost didn’t listen this morning when it came out since I rarely watch or listen to any coverage I’ve had about this. Usually I just talk to people who want to hear the story and then keep moving on because when I share this I don’t care about the reactions, just that his story is out there and people know who he was as a person. But I decided to give this one a listen, I felt like Andrew was going to compile our story in a true light and I wanted to hear what he pulled together. All I can say after listening is that, his questions and how he tied everything together nailed it. It’s exactly what I try to convey when I talk about Matt and this story. You know you have a unique Appalachian Trail experience when they put a listener discretion advised warning in the description. It’s definitely raw and very real, but it’s loss, it’s addiction, it’s pain, and it’s love, it’s me and Matt.
Please give this a listen, and please share this podcast episode. I’ve always believed Matt’s story can help many other people who struggle feel whole, valuable and loved despite whatever shame or challenges life threw their way. And I believe this captures that legacy.