It's Too Early For This -- Losing Matt Ryd

It's Too Early For This -- Losing Matt Ryd
from Matt Ryd's Instagram

Unfortunately, I expected to write about death and dying and suicide here.  I just didn't think it would be the second post.  I didn't get a chance to fill out my "Where To Get Help" page yet.  I thought I had some time. But, isn't that always how it goes? There'll always be more time, until there isn't.

I received a message yesterday, via Facebook wall, that Matt Ryd's parents were letting everyone know that Matt had lost his battle with anxiety, depression and an eating disorder and took his own life yesterday. Their message is thoughtful and beautiful and wise. I've excerpted it here:

It is with very heavy hearts that we must tell you that Matt lost his battle with the anxiety, depression and eating disorder that had consumed him for so long and ended his physical life here on earth on Sunday, August 4th. While Matt fought vigorously for many years, his illnesses had grown more and more debilitating over the past 18 months or so, and though he tried hard not to show it, his daily suffering increased significantly and was ultimately more than he could bear. Our hearts are broken, but we take comfort in the knowledge that he has finally been “Healed” and will suffer no more. ... Matt lived to write and play music and was always overwhelmed and humbled by the tremendous support that he received from so many of you. Thank you to all of you for being a part of his life and providing him with such unbridled joy in the midst of all of his struggles. He will be missed greatly by us all, but we think his passion for music will continue on – in the words and lyrics of the other wonderfully talented singer/songwriters that play nightly across the Chicago landscape and beyond – and we know that is what he would want.

Matt's memory and his family are receiving an outpouring of love and mourning and gratitude from those who knew him, loved him, and were briefly acquainted with him. I knew Matt from around, and I wish I had interacted with him more on a personal level. I selfishly wish I could have known him better -- everything I ever read or heard or experienced was just gentle love.  His music, shared on YouTube, among many outlets, was right up my alley. He is and will be sorely missed by family, friends and fans alike.

I wasn't sure if I was going to write about this -- he and I weren't particularly close -- but the fact that I thought I was up-to-date with him in that I saw his posts on Facebook and thought that he sounded "fine," the fact that this came as an incredible shock to me -- it is a stark reminder not to judge my insides by other's outsides. It has reminded me of all the times that people have remarked that they have been "keeping up with me" because they read my steady stream of missives on Facebook, only to have me think -- "you don't know shit about me, you don't know shit about my life." Hearing that Matt decided to end his suffering was a blow to the part of me that always thinks that things will be okay, that certain people have a certain way and they'll be okay.

And I realize that it might sound selfish to talk about what this has brought to my way of thinking -- but I believe with all my heart that Matt is truly at peace. This world and these bodies and these minds are just the beginning. He is fine. It's the people left behind who are left to wonder what I could have done or why I didn't know or sometimes, just the worst part -- just left to miss someone with all of your mind and heart and soul.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and close friends. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who are suffering in whatever ways you are. Keep your people close and give them some love.

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  • THANK YOU Jocelyn!

    I'm having trouble with losing Matt because he was really was a genuine, "what you see is what you get", wonderful guy. I can think of times I interacted with him where I had to actually consider if I was a gentle enough person to be his friend. The sort of person you want to have around because he makes you want check your own attitude about life. He was just one of the coolest people I've ever met.

  • Thank you for writing about Matt. Like you, I wasn't especially friendly but we exchanged emails, talked at his shows and I was always in awe of his joy and enthusiasm for music and his supporters. Chicago has lost a great talent, and a generous spirit. I hope he is now, finally, at peace.

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