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MATTHEW S. VITIELLO (3/11/1990 - 12/30/2023)

     

My sweet baby, my handsome son, our pride and joy.


Matt at the Brooklyn Bridge - He was born in Brooklyn




4/2/2024 - Do You Believe in "Signs?" - 3rd Addition to my Tribute to

Matthew.


    

Signs, are messages being sent to you from someone you love.  Signs bring the mystical into your everyday and help with the grieving process.  You need to be open to signs; the more open you are, the more you will see the signs being sent to you.  I received two copies of the book, Signs:  The Secret Language of the Universe by Laura Lynn Jackson.  It’s a book with many stories of death, sadness and grieving and the signs that people receive.  I keep a copy of this book at my bedside and I try to read a story each morning.  It has inspired me and has been comforting and motivational at the same time causing me to look beyond myself to a larger universe.  I have become more open to looking for signs or recognizing them when they are in front of me.  Why not?  If the signs make you feel better, go for it!

 



 

Shortly after Matthew passed away, I kept seeing ladybugs in our bedroom/sitting room.  I didn’t think much of it.  Lately, there have been many more of them, finding them on my nightstand, my lamp shade by my bed and by the doors leading outside.  One night, I was getting the bed ready for sleep, and I found a ladybug on my pillow.  This inspired me to look further as to where these ladybugs are getting in. We have an infestation of ladybugs by the doors which go out to a deck outside of our bedroom.  I decided to “google” a bit about ladybugs, only to discover that ladybugs are often considered a sign from someone who wants to protect you and offer healing.  They are also a sign of good luck and rebirth.  My thought here was, “Janet, you need to interpret the message as it applies to you.”

 

Protection and healing are certainly what I need at this point in my life.  Over the past 3 months, along with this ladybug story, there have been several curious happenings that I have experienced and shared.  “Janet, that is a sign from Matthew,” many have explained to me.  So here goes a few stories:


 

Vince and I had dinner one evening in Oyster Bay, a restaurant, Autentico, that we had not been to before.  A handsome, dark haired young man, our waiter approached our table and started to do his welcome talk to us.  Vince asked him, “what is your name?”  He replied, “Matteo,” which of course in Italian translates to Matthew.  In chatting with him, he was happy to let us know that he was accepted to all of his college choices, and 1st on his list is the University of Miami.  Did you guess that UM was the college that our Matthew graduated from?

Yes, that’s right.  I of course said, “Matteo, would you like to come home with us?”  I know he did not realize exactly why I said that.

 

A few days after Matthew passed, I was looking out our front window, and saw a red cardinal perched on the boxwood hedges in front of our porch.  Red cardinals are a symbol that someone is trying to get your attention. They have been a part of Native American lore and many believe a sign from God.  My sister-in-law has had a male red cardinal visiting her every morning while she has her coffee as she looks out her back window at her cypress trees.  She and her granddaughter have named the bird Matty, and what’s so nice is that they think of our Matthew and talk about him every morning when they see their friendly cardinal.  Have you ever had this experience?


One good way to tell if an incident is a sign is to consider how unlikely it is. We need to pause and search for the hidden connections between what we just saw, and the circumstances of our lives in that moment. Sometimes what's exceptional about a sign is not the sign itself, but its timing.

 

These next stories you are not going to believe.  Matt’s girlfriend shared them with me.



Jocelyn was driving in the car and decided to turn the radio on, which she never does.  She always listens to her own music on Car Play from her phone.  For some strange reason, she decided to turn the radio on.  A country song was playing, and she never listens to country music.  Matt had started to “study” country music and always said that “you can’t listen to a new genre of music unless you study who the best artists/songs are.” Jocelyn kept this country song on and the first lyrics right away were something along the lines of “put on a Sigma Chi shirt.”  Yes, the fraternity that Matthew was inducted in at the University of Miami was Sigma Chi, and many of his forever friends were from those glorious college days.  Matt loved Sigma Chi and it was a huge part of his life. Was Matthew sending Jocelyn a sign?

    


        Thomas & Matt - Sigma Chi brothers Good friend Dil, Matt & Scott


                                                             Matt & Scott - Sigma Chi frat brothers


Every morning Matt would drink a very specific Energy drink, in lieu of coffee.  When he visited Jocelyn’s family home, he’d wake up and go to the Walgreens in her town to get it.  One day Jocelyn got out of her car at the same Walgreens and an empty can of the same very specific drink was rolling around on the ground in the empty spot next to Jocelyn.  Unbelievable!  

                                          



 

Another day Jocelyn was chatting with one of Matthew’s childhood friends who was sitting at a restaurant in Palm Beach.  She told Jocelyn that one of the first dishes on the menu was “Vitiello” pasta.  I never heard of that pasta before, have you?

 

Matthew’s good friend, who he often travelled with was in Europe when Matthew passed away.  He had dinner in Rome at a restaurant named “Vitti.”  Vitti is the name that all the guys from Matt’s frat would call him, which stuck with Matt till now.   He has several Instagram accounts with “vitti” in the name.  That’s strange or maybe a message to his friend saying," I’m with you?!?"

 

                



 

Here’s another story.  A good friend who knows Matthew as a very young child, relayed this story to me.  She was in her pool at her home in Florida.  A dragonfly was whizzing around her head, and she  was aware that dragonfly’s symbolize new beginnings and the ability to bounce back from challenges.  My friend thought about Matthew and how he was trying to tell her that he was OK. Coincidentally, I had purchased that day a teapot/cup and saucer set that had a dragonfly on it.  I never really liked dragonflies; as a matter of fact, I’ve avoided anything with dragonflies on it and I certainly was not aware of the symbolism of a dragonfly.  

For some reason I wanted that tea set.  Is that a coincidence or was it  a message from my son?  When you believe, your mind and heart opens further to the signs being sent to you by a loved one.


 



I had dinner with a few friends and these two stories came up. Nina's daughter was yearning to get some sign from her Dad. She asked to see 6 deer. Several days later while driving, 6 deer appeared in front of her eyes in Huntington Bay; the deer only recently have discovered our neighborhood. Needless to say, she was shaken up and shed tears with some sort of relief. The next morning, I looked out my bedroom window, and there were deer prancing on the beach, and they made their way up to my property. There were 5 of them. I was desperately looking for the sixth deer, which did not happen. Suddenly, a ladybug flew onto my hand. I was shaken up and reacted, "Good morning Matthew."



Amy told her story of signs. Her great niece, who is 8 years old was speaking with her Dad about her grandpa Pop. She had never met Pop but had been told many fun family stories about him. She had an affection for Pop and felt troubled that she couldn't see him. As she discussed with her Dad her sadness about Pop and not ever knowing him, a fox crossed through their back property. Pop's last name was Fox. That was enough to keep this little girl connected to her Pop and feeling her love for him.


"The universe is always speaking to us...sending us little messages, causing coincidences and serendipities, reminding us to stop, to look around, to believe in something else, something more."

    -Nancy Thayer


Vince and I went golf cart shopping in Naples, Fl. The recommendation was to go to Gator Carts on Pine Ridge Blvd., very close to our new home. We pulled in, not knowing the place had a new name. Is that a

coincidence or should we believe?






 Matthew had a true affection for Jesus Christ. He would often ask the question, "Who do you think is the most important person in the world?" Some would respond, the President of the US, the Pope, Elon Musk, and even Frank Sinatra (lol). Of course, for Matthew, Jesus Christ was his answer, and as he explained, "even if you don't believe in Jesus Christ, he is on everyone's mind for thousands of years." That's simply profound!

Did you also know that as the story goes, Jesus was crucified and died at age 33. Yes, you guessed, Matthew was 33 when he left us on this Earth. That gave me the shivers, and made me even more interested in looking for signs.


                                                                     La Pieta, by Michelangelo


La Pieta (our lady of piety) is a marble sculpture of Jesus and Mary now displayed in Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Rome. The sculpture captures the moment when Jesus, taken down from the cross, is given to his mother Mary. One of the greatest sculptures ever and a favorite for Matt, who loved Italy, particularly Rome.



I have been willing to open my heart and mind and have discovered a beautiful new way of seeing the world around me. As the author of the book, Signs says, "Signs are a method of communication from the Other Side. The Other Side, simply put, is where our loved ones go when they pass." She further discusses a meaningful coincidence called synchronicity. Synchronicity shows our innate and active connection to one another and to the world around us. Some common default signs are butterflies, dragonflies, feathers, red cardinals, ladybugs and hummingbirds. I'm becoming more mindful, with the hope that I will see things I haven't been able to see before. And once I see them, I will never be able to unsee them - nor would I ever want to.


Please rate and comment on this post to my blog, maybe even tell a story of an experience you had with "signs." Scroll down to the end. Make sure you sign your comment, so I know who you are. TY for following this tribute to Matthew.  It helps me remain connected to him in some special way.

                           

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 3/11/2024 - Happy Birthday Matt! - 2nd addition to my tribute to Matthew


I remember the day you were born, at 1:44PM on 3/11/1990, it was a Sunday.  My water broke at 8:30AM, we arrived at Lutheran Hospital in Brooklyn at about 11AM, a few hours later you entered this world at 6lbs 10oz.  A fully natural birth, a relatively easy labor, particularly for my first, your eyes were wide open and were so big, so inquisitive and so bright instantly.  It was love at first sight.




Matt's 1st home in Bay Ridge, Bklyn Baptism Day





The biggest, brightest eyes ever!








Today you would have been 34 years old.   In your 33+ years on this Earth, you did more than most do in a very full and long lifetime.  The amount of travel to faraway places, to romantic cities, to fun adventures, many groups of friends, to fine dinners and specialty restaurants, you did it all.  What about the time you went to Los Angeles with a friend and rented a different exotic car every day, went cruising along Hollywood Blvd and in Beverly Hills, just for fun?  The countless nights you spent at D'Jais in Belmar, NJ, dancing the night away. You loved those times.  You may not believe this but Snooki, from The Jersey Shore opened a store in Huntington village. 


Your family and friends were watching you from afar, and marveling at your determination to live a fun-filled life with experiences and knowledge at the forefront.  You read constantly, were always trying to better yourself and improve upon your knowledge.  Your movie collection amazes me, amongst your favorites were Goodwill Hunting, The Godfather and Silence of the Lambs.  As a young boy, The Sound of Music, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins and the full-line of Disney movies, (Aladdin, Toy Story, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast) you enjoyed and had every line and song to memory.


One of my favorite pics of our boy


You loved museums, you were fascinated with dinosaurs, aliens, animals, cars, Playmobile and many more kid games and toys.  I remember when you had an obsession about churches and simultaneously with mannequins. The stained glass windows, the statues of Jesus and the religious paintings of Saints, were intriguing to you.  We had to visit every church we passed so you could study all that you could see. I never really understood the mannequin attachment you had at age 2+, but shopping at Bloomingdale’s with you was easy, as you stared and remained fascinated with the mannequins on the floor.

 

You had a soft heart for children and people who were different.  You would befriend the autistic boy in your class, lovingly imitate the unusual habits of some classmates/friends and enjoy those who were unique and interesting.  At age 4, you started to read one day.  It seemed odd to me, but you quickly were consumed with books, particularly The Goosebumps series.  Harry Potter and that series of novels later were on your bookshelf at home, and you read each one several times.  You graduated to Atlas Shrugged, War and Peace, business books, self-help books and the Bible. I now have your Bible that was on your nightstand and I try to read every night your highlighted sections to further connect with you. Your ability to read nonstop and remain focused for hours on reading always amazed me.  Your professor-like vocabulary at a very young age continued to interest your cousins and friends.   People loved to be around you for your mind, your conversation, your sense of excitement and for your kind heart.

 

You also loved sports; basketball, soccer, baseball, tennis – you played them all.  Basketball became your primary sport and I recognized your incredible determination when you did the plyometric program the Summer before Sophomore year.  You wanted to increase your agility and your jump.  You also took 100 foul shots every night at midnight in the pitch darkness.  You did make the Chaminade team; it was a great day for you.  You went on to play Chaminade doubles tennis and won every one of your matches.  Somehow, it was just not enough for you.  You wanted to be a basketball star.  You were a shining star to us and the guys you played with, but Matthew, you always wanted more. 


 



Chaminade graduate - 2008 University of Miami Graduate - 2012



You began to work out with weights as a teenager and continued that for all your years.  You built up your body, lean and muscular.  You had the handsome looks, beautiful smile and an incredible body to go with it.    Your brother JonPeter looked up to you and emulated you. Most people would say you had it all. But, you, my son, always wanted better and could not rest thinking you could do better.  If I could have changed one thing about you it would have been for you to feel and believe in yourself, your talents, and your special heart.  “Perfection is the enemy of the good.”



Matthew and JonPeter - our two darlings

 


We celebrated your birthday, Dad and I, Jocelyn, Phil (Jocelyn's Uncle) and your cousin Alex Girasole at the UBS arena on March 8th. The original Ringling Bros & Barnum & Bailey Circus returned for a tour of performances and we spent the night honoring you and talking about your special qualities. What could be better than The Greatest Show on Earth for you?






The Greatest Show on Earth for our Matthew





Today, Dad is serving a meal to over 250 guests at the INN soup kitchen. His board donated the meal in your memory. We also have received to date over $12,000 in donations from family and friends in your honor. We purchased beautiful purple and white pansies and Dad and I and JP will plant them at our front door and also at the mudroom door. When the weather gets better, we plan on planting a beautiful crepe myrtle tree in the front corner by the porch. We will also go down to the Bay Crest beach and release some balloons high in the sky for you. We'll have dinner tonight in town and have a dark beer for you.


Lots of tears today. Our hearts are broken. Matt, we hope you are peacefully watching the love that surrounds your soul always.  Rest my sweet baby, my handsome son, our pride and joy. Keep sending us "signs."


Fly high our Matthew



What's on your mind Matti boy?


Matt travelled to see where Europe meets Asia - always thinking!



At the end of this tribute is a place to rate and comment. Please do so!!

My next addition to this tribute to Matthew will be about "signs."




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Written 2/14/2024 - my tribute to Matthew


Matthew passed away unexpectedly while vacationing with his sweet girlfriend, Jocelyn.  They were in a dream hotel in Tulum, Mexico, that they loved so much.  It was an open-air natural environment hotel with their room right on the beach facing the Gulf of Mexico, with a hot tub, and complete privacy and serenity.  Jocelyn and Matt spent a good part of 2023 together, caring for each other, enjoying family and friends, enjoying some travel, celebrating occasions and holidays together and developing a love for each other which they thought would be for a lifetime. 



Tulum - 12/28/2023

 

I’m writing this tribute for a few reasons:

1.   With the hope that I will get some healing and to help family and friends to do the same.

2.   To write my thoughts, read them over and over and sometimes

out loud, so that our angel Matthew hears me and knows that he

is part of our soul and life every minute of every day.

3.   To offer a tribute to Matthew, who I believe is my most extraordinary human in this universe, with his special traits being determination, brilliance and sensitivity. 



Matty boy loved Snuggles, our family dog for 16 years


Matt turned 30 years old, beginning of covid - Dinner at Ciprianis

 


So handsome and young


As we prepared for a memorial service (Jan 6th, 2024) to honor Matthew, all I could think of was doing it in his style, with grace, genuine thought and heartfelt expression to all present.  Estimating that there were close to 500 people at the service, it felt right; I felt that Matt was happy with the way it went.  Deacon Kevin McCormick spoke first and was a wonderful combination of religion, humor, and introspection all with Matthew as the focus.  Deacon Kevin nailed it. 


Matt’s cousin Michael Girasole then spoke.  Mike has been mistaken over the years for Matthew, clearly a look-alike.   Mike genuinely touched people’s hearts as he spoke about Matthew as a complicated person, a young man of many talents and dreams and a guy who spent 33 years doing more things, dining at the best restaurants often, and travelling to more places than anyone can imagine.  From moving to Columbia, South America during covid, to travelling to exotic places like Egypt, India, Ecuador, Istanbul, Budapest, Serbia, Prague, and more, and also to beautiful places for some fun, love, family and friendship, such as Mykonos, Italy, South of France, Mexico City, Panama, and then some more common places like Shelter Island, Montauk, the Hamptons, Arcadia National Park in Maine, Sedona, Exuma, Miami, Key West, St. Thomas, Cancun and on and on and on.  As Michael best said it, Matt was like an Instagram model and many marvelled at his tenacity to sometimes travel to faraway places alone, always meeting people along the way, and also travelling with buddies who he thoroughly enjoyed.  Matt was often described as a loner, but deep in his heart and soul he wanted to be connected to people who understood him, he could inspire and who he could have laughs and good times with.  He always had friends wherever he went; sometimes it was difficult to hold onto his friendships because he had a different way of thinking and could easily get upset with hurt feelings.  I always knew that; he was so sensitive as a young boy, wanted so much to fit-in with the group, and his different friends over the years enjoyed his presence, conversation and excitement immensely. Michael captured the essence of his cousin Matt and truly touched everyone's heart.


Michael's talk about Matt:


Good morning,


Thank you all for being here. The amount of love in this room today is a testament to Matthew and the Vitiello family.  I’m honored to speak with you all today.


For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Mike Girasole.  I’m heartbroken to be standing here, but I’d like to take a few minutes to talk about my cousin, Matt Vitiello.


My mom, Lisa, and Matt’s mom, Janet are sisters, as well as close friends.  Janet, Vince, Matt & JP have been a big part of my family for all my life.  I love them very much.


When we were kids, people would mistake Matt and I for brothers.  Looking back at pictures, I can see why, but the reality is that Matt was much better looking than I am.


I have countless memories growing up with Matt and the Vitiello family.  We spent most holidays together and I cherish those times. As a child and later a teenager, you don’t always look forward to traveling to family gatherings.  But I did.  Because I had a friend in my cousin Matt, as well as my cousin JP.  I have too many great memories to count.  Summer days on the boat or at the beach.   Holiday dinners at their home in Huntington.  I can remember Matt always excited to see everyone.  And excited to share the elaborate place cards he would set up at the dining room table.  Some years each place card had a joke. Other years, there would be complex trivia questions.  However, the most complex question was always in front of Matt.  I can still see the enjoyment in his face.  He loved being around his family.


As we grew older, Matt and I did not see each other often.  That’s what happens when we grow up. But, I enjoyed staying in touch through text messages and social media.  I was proud of Matt.  He was a hard-worker, he was determined, and he was brilliant.  He was successful in his professional career.  Matt was a great salesman.  The old saying, he could sell water to a well, Matt could sell a cage to a lion, the analogies could go on and on.   But even with that success, Matt never lost sight of enjoying everything the world has to offer.  I was envious of his travels, his adventures, and I enjoyed watching from afar.  Matt was like a male Instagram model.  Incredible Vacations, elegant meals and fancy cars.  There is an amazing world out there. Matt wanted to see it, and he did.  Life is short.  That’s a quote I’ve seen Matt use many times.  And unfortunately it’s true.  But Matt made the most of his time here.  From France and Italy, to Ecuador and India, all the way to Egypt, and countless other places.  His time here was not wasted.  There’s an old saying, “It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives.”  Well, there’s no denying that Matt lived life to the fullest.  


Matt also lived his life the way he wanted to. He was fiercely independent.  During the Covid pandemic, rather than being locked down in NYC, Matt went to Columbia.  He wasn’t going to miss out on a year of his life due to restrictions.  There was no restricting Matt.  Because as I keep saying, Matt lived his life.  He lived his life the way he wanted to.  Not the way he was told to.  Or to conform with what others believed was right or wrong. Matt was Matt.  He was relentless in his beliefs and he stuck to them. I believe all of us should admire that about him.  I enjoyed our conversations about politics and hearing his viewpoints on the world.  He was informed on various topics, had strong opinions, and never strayed from his core beliefs. Again, I admired him for that.


There were parts of Matt that were complicated. As there are with all of us.  Things are not always perfect, but we find happiness in the things that matter most to us.  The happiest I saw Matt was most recently with his girlfriend Jocelyn.  He was happiest with her, and he finally had someone to enjoy those lavish vacations and meals with. I enjoyed seeing him smile on various trips, dinners and adventures with the woman he loved. It brought me happiness to see him happy.  To see them happy. Life just isn’t fair.


Some are bound to die young, By dying young a person stays young in people’s memory.  My memory of Matt will be that happy boy with the big smile who I spent so much time of my childhood with.  And the handsome, young, successful, brilliant world traveler standing on top of a camel in Egypt or on the beaches of Mykonos.  That’s how I’ll remember Matt. And I’ll smile every time I think about him.


So although I stand here in a somber moment, I will not focus on Matt’s death.  I choose not to.  Instead, I choose to remember Matt for how he lived.  How much he enjoyed life.  He lived it to the fullest.  Hopefully all of us can be more like Matt. I’ll miss you my cousin and friend and I love you.



Matt arrived in Cairo and an hour later was on his way to the pyramids


Matthew in St. Tropez, and the South of France

 


Matthew at the Taj Mahal in India



Taormina, Sicily Rome, Italy


Sedona, Arizona Torre del Greco, Naples, Italy with Chiara




Mykonos, Greece - 2022


Bros in Ft. Lauderdale - 2022


Matt's buddy Tom



Dil, Scott & Matt in East Hampton


Da Boys


Matt and his Jersey Shore friends


Allison Gargano, another one of Matthews cousins spoke next.  Alli, spent a lot of time with Matt in the more recent years, and also when they were kids together growing up in the same town and club.  Matt knew Alli’s friends, enjoyed spending time with them and Alli, Mike and Nora.  She spoke beautifully about their relationship, her appreciation for his conflicting viewpoints and Alli, as an attorney, was able to argue her point and earn Matt’s love and respect always.  Matt wanted desperately to be connected to his family and Alli spent many long nights professing to Matthew about the value of all of his family and the love that they all truly had for him.  Matthew was often misunderstood which frustrated him, but he had his own beliefs and stuck to them no matter what.  He had perseverance, tremendous strength yet was charming.  Alli’s words brought a tear to most, her obvious sadness that he left us too soon and the void that remains.


Alli's talk to and about Matt:


My cousin Matt. If I had told you that I was going to speak at this for you today you would have instantly responded in your usual challenging voice with a quick “but what would you even say”.  

Well, Matt, I’d start way back to the early days, and tell people about how you were our handsome, dare I say “nerdy” and book loving little cousin. You were the sweetest little boy with a smile that lit up the room, but you had a mischievous side too. Always trying to outsmart the next person. Often too smart for even me.  


As I grew up, I sometimes got to be your babysitter.  “Babysitting” was at least what I called it to the outside world… It sometimes felt like pretty much the opposite –

I distinctly remember the day you cunningly convinced me to go to your third floor attic …walk into one of the rooms and as I turned my back, you locked me inside that room until right before your parents got home.  Your giggle outside the door is one I remember always.


We both grew older, but always kept in touch. When I eventually moved to NY City, I hosted a lot of get togethers with my friends. I often invited you to these parties; never thinking you’d actually show up. I used to wonder why you made an effort to come to your boring older cousin’s apartment. In the early days, I’d have all my girlfriends over. You’d walk in, often the most handsome (AND ONLY) guy in the room and while at first you didn’t know many and were often a man of few words, you would stay for hours, sometimes sleeping on my couch, just hanging around us.  “It must be the attractive older women, I used to think.”


As I got older and moved in with my now husband, my parties became a little more about good food and family.  I often threw out the invite to you, assuming without the girls this was not something you would be in to, but there you were again.


After I got married, I hosted less get togethers and my outings were normally just me and Mike. But again, Matt showed up. One thing was for certain in all our encounters – We were both up for any argument. The lawyer in me always at the ready  – and the passion you always had for things you believed in, while always frustrating, was right there challenging me for more.  In our many arguments, and there were many, where we both were trying to convince the other we were right, I saw your complicated, and sensitive side often.  You felt so strongly about the things you believed in and you better believe that you had studied or learned as much as you could about a particular topic. Despite often sticking to your guns – you let me argue my points and hear me out as well.


As I think back at why you came to your boring older cousin’s parties, I now know, it may not have been the girls, the good food or the couch to sleep on.  I started to feel comforted by the fact that you actually just wanted to be around people who loved you.  And you felt comforted knowing I had your back and wanted you around always too.


And while I watched you go through many stages of life over the years, despite where I stand today, 2023 will be one that I cherish. In that year, your texts to me came more often. I had finally made it to “dope enough” - a status that you were asking ME to hang out.  While I of course attributed that to my many years of bribes – meeting my “hot” friends, eating my dinners, hanging out with my husband and his family, there was something else this year.  Jocelyn brought you a sense of happiness, a sense of peace.  A sense that you wanted to show her your world, and I was lucky to be a big part of it.  The way you spoke about her and your future, made me get excited for you and what was to come. She saw you for more than that handsome, smart and argumentative man in a way that only people you let in knew. 


Matt, I prayed this day would never come. I prayed often for your happiness. For your ability to see the love that people had for you.  And now I think, the very thing I prayed not to happen is the very thing that will allow you to finally see what you mean to the world.


And for that, I can find a glimmer of light.  I will never understand why this was your time – the time when I saw the best things yet to come. But one thing I am certain is that you are today looking down on this group of people and can finally feel at peace with the fact that you are loved and adored by so many.


So Matt, right now would be the time after we would have argued about all the points I made in this talk when I can finally sayI won this one, Matt. You are loved. And you are greatly missed. I will think about you every time I have a get together at my apartment and every time I have an argument where I can’t find a worthy opponent. I love you my cousin and I know you loved me. And for that, I am grateful!


I

Beautiful Alli with her two handsome cousins


The Vitiello Clan with Grandma Diana


The Vullo Family and Grandma Lee



Matt's 1st Christmas JP adored his big brother - at Bay Crest beach




My three boys

 

Jocelyn spoke next about the love she felt for Matthew and her thought of wanting to spend the rest of her life with him.  She believed he was her everything, he made her the happiest girl alive and she felt safe and cared for whenever he was with her.  Matt was sensitive to Jocelyn’s needs, would spend time reading the Bible to her and explaining the meaning behind some paraphrases.  Matt was fully engaged with Jocelyn’s family, very much loved and enjoyed by her parents, brother and extended family.  I believe he felt comfortable with them, they were happy with him as Jocelyn’s boyfriend and they enjoyed his humor and sometimes quirkiness.  I’m so grateful that our Matt had this year with Jocelyn.


Jocelyn's words about Matt:


Matthew, where do I even begin? It still doesn’t feel real. This is the longest I’ve gone without seeing you since a year ago when I met you. Since we started dating, we’ve been inseparable and this past year has truly been the best of my life. To know you, is to love you. You kept a small circle of people who you were close with and loyal to and any one who was lucky enough to have been a part of that, knows exactly who they are. You gave the best and most honest advice to all, which could not be obtained from anyone else but you. I have had the privilege of being your girlfriend for the past year and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have been loved by you. You were unconditionally supportive to me whatever the circumstance, accompanying me at all of my family events, rushed to help me in giving my childhood dog the best last doggie’s day before he passed, holding my hand at blood work appointments where you know I get anxious, planning the most beautiful and fun trips, date nights, picnics and so much more. I will be forever grateful for everything you’ve done for me, you’ve truly changed my life. You always made me feel safe, valued, and heard. On top of that, you were the most brilliant and unique, one of a kind individuals I have ever met. Always encouraging me to think outside the box with the most thought provoking conversations, telling me stories about your travels around the world, and educating me about your Italian heritage which you loved being a part of so much. I am so lucky that we’ve been able to share so many experiences together and all of our favorite places and while I am deeply saddened that you will not physically be with me to share more, I find comfort in knowing that spiritually you will be.


I will never forget you or the love we shared, you will always be a part of me. I love you forever, my guardian angel.





2023


"I never wanna grow-up"







Montauk




Shelter Island


Jocelyn & Matthew - so much love - 2023

 

Vince Spoke:


Vince spoke briefly, only to tell a story when Matthew was 2 years old.  Vince was doing some garden work at our 1st home on Bay Road, and Matt was outside working with him.  In a short moment, Vince realized that Matt was no longer outside.  Vince became frantic, he couldn’t find Matthew.  Vince circled the grounds, ran out to the street and to the neighbor’s homes.  Looking in sewers, a pool and down the busy road, Vince became more frantic.  I was playing tennis at the Bay Club, and received a message from the tennis shack that I should go home.  Not knowing of course that Vince was frantic, I continued to finish the set, of course, with victory.  When I arrived back at the house, the gates to our driveway were closed and Vince was running around frantically.  He explained that he couldn’t find Matthew.  I calmed Vince down, and I immediately went into the house, down the basement to the closet where the playdough was, Matt’s newest obsession of enjoyment.  Sure enough, Matt was quietly sitting, thinking about something and creating something out of playdough.  Vince’s short story ended by him saying, that, now, again, he can’t find Matthew and he is frantic.  I’m sure our  audience of family and friends understood then, the pain that Vince and I and JP are feeling.



Dinner in NYC



Young Matt, in 7th grade

 


The eulogies were finished with my talk.  I wanted to be short but meaningful, I wanted to get a few points across that were a reflection of Matthew and I wanted to make sure I would be able to get through it without breaking down.  I wanted to honor my sweet baby, as best as I could in the way I thought would make him happy.  I’m proud of myself; as most know, I am not one to speak to a group, never-the-less a very large group at my son’s memorial.  It was something I just had to do for Matthew.  My words were simple, I told two stories of the impact that Matt had on people and I tried to get my message to everyone in the room, those that didn’t know him and those that knew him a very long time.  Matthew was a special person, his genius was felt by many, he was quietly sensitive, wanted to do and see so many things and he touched lives in his own way, with no fanfare, but with a soft heart. 


My Eulogy to Matthew:


There are a million words in the English language, there is not one single word for this.

 

I’ll try my best to get thru this:

 

I want to first thank sweet Jocelyn for loving Matthew this past year.  You two had a beautiful year together filled with caring, understanding and lots of love.  I’m so sorry your dream Tulum vacation had to end so abruptly and I can only say that I’m so impressed with you, your maturity, your sweetness and your ultimate love for Matthew.  It’s evident why Matt was so in love with you. 

 

We had not met Jocelyn’s parents when I received a text from them a few days ago, which I’d like to share:

 

"Dear Janet:  Although it seems like longer, Matt has held a special place in our family’s hearts for about a year now.  He was a gentleman, a welcome addition to family events and vacations and he treated my daughter with love and respect.  Our hearts are broken and we would like to express our deepest condolences.  Michele and I are so sorry and we will miss him dearly.  You raised a wonderful loving man who made my daughter feel special, safe and loved.  I never had the chance to thank him so I will thank you.  May he rest in peace.

  Love Michele and Scott Kaminsky"

 

Thank you Scott, Michele and family for being an important part of Matthew’s life this past year and sharing your Jocelyn with our Matthew.  He was so happy, they were so happy together.

 

Our family would like to thank everyone for the support and love these past few days.  The visits, those who have travelled here to be with us, the phone calls, the texts, the social media comments, the food deliveries, flowers, are overwhelming and all greatly appreciated.

 

Matthew is the most brilliant, kind, sensitive, determined person I know.  From when he was a little boy he was always very special, complicated and interesting.  His friends over the years would always say to me how immensely they enjoyed being with him; they loved his intellect and his sense of adventure and his soft heart.  The profound impact he has had on so many people, quietly without fanfare is a testament to who he is.  I’d like to read a note I received from an old friend who I haven’t seen in many years:

 

"Hi Janet:  I am so very sorry about Matthew.  I wanted to reach out to you to let you know that it was Matthew who crystallized in my mind a desire to have a son (not a child but a son).  It arose when you so very kindly invited me to a family event in your home.  Matthew was repeatedly hugging you and wanting to touch you in the kitchen.  The love he had for you was palpable and I wanted that so much.  Just a little story to let you know how your son changed my life.  I was ecstatic on finding out I was having a son and thought of Matthew in that moment.  Much, much love to you, Vince and JP.  You all are in my prayers.

Hugs and kisses…."

 

Vince and I and JP are completely heart broken and not sure how we will be able to move on.  In Matthew’s honor, his soul and his lively spirit will always be with us and knowing Matt so well, I’m sure there will be signs often that he sends to us.

 

I’m a collector of quotes.  The more profound, the more I would think of Matt.  Here’s one that stands out.

 

“If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance, and care.”

 

Lastly, I would like to thank Matthew.  Matthew, thank you for teaching me about differences, unconditional love and empathy.  You have made me a better person.  You have made Dad a better person and you have made JP a better person.  That gift we will cherish forever as we cherish the memories of our time together and the strong love which will give us strength and keep us going.  Rest in peace my sweet baby, my handsome son, our pride and joy.  Make some noise in heaven, spread your genius, touch many more lives.  Until we meet again Matty boy ….hugs and kisses forever.



A big hug outside the Sigma Chi Frat house at UM

 

Deacon Kevin closed the service with profound thoughts and special words about Matthew and our family.  The love was felt in the room, the genuine sadness of why we were all there and the positive vibes that were gained from honoring our Matthew. 

 

Always remember Matthew for who he was and the impact he had on many! Matt, Matty boy, Mattvitti, our beloved Matthew, you are always with us, every moment of every day!  Love you more than you ever knew!



Family Wedding


Bay Club's flag half mast for Matt



Matt moved to Phoenix, here he is with the Phoenix Suns Cheerleaders



Miami Ultra Concert with JP Cousin Steven


Visiting JP at UM


So handsome - a smile that lit up his face




 



 

 

 

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Guest
4 days ago

Jesus said "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." There are signs everywhere, everyday. So many signs that when I hear people say "Where's the proof of life after death?" I think it's all around us! When something happens and you have chills down your spine, why not embrace it? I have had signs my whole life and the faith that goes with them. Signs are comforting, even when the pain of loss seems unbearable. For those who do not believe, no signs are enough. But, what a gift to receive these moments!

Because you wrote about the deer, I want to share one story, related to my father, an avid hunter his whole life who…

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4 days ago
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  • Carolyn

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Guest
Apr 03
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Janet,

 

Your tributes to Matt are so beautiful, powerful and heartwarming.  I have always been a believer in signs, they happen so often and are way too unlikely to be coincidental.  I also believe that those close to us stay with us after they are gone, and Matt will always be with you, watching over his family.  Sending much love to you, Vince and JP.

 

Jack

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janet vitiello
janet vitiello
Apr 04