Strong Leg, Heavy Heart

It is unspeakable. It is the unimaginable. It is every parent’s worse nightmare.

Losing a child is, in my opinion, the worst thing that can happen to a person. We are not meant to outlive our children, and for the all-too-many individuals who are forced to do so every year, I am not sure they are able to ‘live’ quite the same again. Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Matt Bryant, along with his wife Melissa, has very tragically been added to that list.

You may have heard the story while watching football this past Sunday. Matt and Mellissa’s three-month-old son, Tryson, died last week. Upon returning from his son’s funeral services in Texas, Matt suited up for the Bucs and kicked three field goals on Sunday to help preserve a win against Green Bay. With each kick, Matt Bryant blew a kiss to the skies in honor of his son. The tears in my eyes prevented me from seeing much else.

It is with awe that I sit here and write about the ordeal Matt and his wife must endure. I cannot possible fathom the strength Matt had to possess in order to get on the charter plane back from Texas, let alone put on his gear and play football on game day. I cannot imagine the thoughts in his head as he awaited the snap before each kick. How do you do anything – work, eat ……. breathe – when you are incapable of feeling any joy? What Matt Bryant did on Sunday was simply amazing.

It’s incredibly unfortunate for me to say I am close to two separate individuals who’ve both lost their children at an early age. Both losses were equally tragic and horrific, and both individuals are now living the rest of their lives in a perpetual state of coping. In both cases, I believe what has kept each person from hitting rock bottom is the net of support that was woven by the hearts of those around them. Although there are no words that can be said to help ease someone’s pain at a time of great loss, the actions we take speak loudly at a time that demands silence and condolence.

The Tampa Bay Bucs are not my team. My heart still belongs to the Dolphins, the team of my childhood. Still, my heart – as I am sure do the hearts of all football fans – goes out to Matt and Melissa Byant. I will pray they continue to find the strength to endure and keep going even though they may have no desire to do so. I like to think Matt Bryant was able to do what he did by relying on the love and support of his family, teammates and the 65000+ fans at Raymond James Stadium; and the knowledge that his biggest fan that Sunday was a little angel up in Heaven.

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