in General

2013, a kiss from Ezra

Tampa Convention Center

Tampa Convention Center, New Years Eve, entering 2013.

For New Years Eve, Robyn and I went out with some close friends of ours to the Tampa Convention Center, where there would be a “ball drop”, fireworks, and some music. 2012 had been a hard year – walking the line between grief that burns so icily deep it pauses your very will to move forward, and the thaw of knowing our life does in fact continue, fighting to give meaning to our loss of Ezra and Price (and perhaps a level of innocence in ourselves), and rebuilding the picture we’d had of our future family.

New Years is a unique holiday – these celebration or remembrance days tend to trigger our retrospective selves, but none comes close to the heightened scrutiny we feel on December 31st each year. It is a day when the past is tangible. I usually think not only of the past 12 months, but of the years I’ve had before – every end of year slideshow plays in my mind, every stop-and-consider-myself moment. It is one of those evenings when the future and the past are equally present.

The night was spent in good company with good talk; fast forward to the countdown.

Fireworks would be shot off above the bay, so shortly before midnight thousands of us pushed to the terrace. There was a ball drop with cash inside the door, which kept many people inside, hoping for a fluttering $5 bill to land in their stretched fingers. We stood just outside the door.

Just after the cash “ball” dropped, hundreds of people bottle necked out the door to watch the fireworks (they went on for 5 or 6 minutes after midnight). People were pushing and shoving – negating all their resolutions to be more aware of the human race around them – and generally having a good time. A girl in her young 20s somehow got pushed into our small circle of 4, and we brought her into our group to shield her from the throng around us.

It was loud, it was sweaty, and it was pushy. This girl had been nearly falling, and we brought her in and held her up. She smiled and yelled a “Happy New Year!” to us. People were celebrating all around, and the fiery sky was making our faces glow red and green as explosions went off 500 feet overhead. The girl grabbed Robyn’s face and kissed her on the cheek, turned to me, and did the same. In our ears she said “you guys are great. You’re going to be great.

It was an odd moment, practically, although in us there was no strange feeling. Conversationally (at high volume), Robyn asked the girl her name. She leaned in to us and said,



Robyn quickly slipped a bracelet on her wrist, and the girl looked down and said “wait – is this a joke?” None of us really could talk for a minute – so our friend (who’d been watching this all) leaned in and gave a quick recap of our story.

“They had a son named Ezra, who died of cancer in 2010. He was 2.”

She looked at us again, and said “I’ll find you.” Then she disappeared into the crowd, and we haven’t heard from her since.

Thank you for the kiss to start 2013, Ezra. We love you, we miss you.



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  1. kyle: that is beautiful! thank you for sharing that moment….what a sweet KISS from Ezra. caught my breath there……….love U guys

  2. I am speechless. Heart skipped a beat. Tears in my eyes. The greatest gift from your Angel, from God. To welcome the New Year with a kiss from your son. Ezra knew you needed him in that moment, just as much as he needed you. Happy New Year Matthews Family. May God continue to hold you, keep you and show you his love. His love for Ezra, Price and Charley.

  3. What a sweet gift from our God whose mercies never cease to amaze me. A special blessing at the start of a New Year. May God continue His abundance of blessings on your family.

  4. Hi guys, My heart is so full of joy that Ezra was able to talk to you on New Years Eve. Those moments are way to few for me but are the only moments my heart feels true joy anymore… Smiling at Ezra creative way to get to you both. Just like a boy to find a pretty chic to work through…lol

  5. I love when God gives us a small moment with our children who have passed. Certainly this young lady was just that. A message from your Ezra to let you know that you ARE going to be great. Thank you, Lord, for those precious moments.

  6. There are no words…..I am in total awe of our loving Father who gave you and Robyn this gift. I continue to speak and pray blessings over your family.

  7. This story made me cry, just as reading your “story” has. I cannot even begin to comprehend what you have been through. 🙁 However, this time there were tears of joy in a sense as I believe that there are truly angels among us…and that was your sweet Ezra sending his love. What a gift…wow….

  8. Kyle once again tears are streaming down my face after reading your post. I am at a complete loss for words. I pray that there are more kisses and love from Ezra. You both are amazing!

  9. Iknow ever day GOD is here, I am one with HIM, we all are.
    I am always grateful when HE uses someone, or some place to touch us, to let us know we are loved, watched over and proveded for.
    This is so beautiful tht Ezra was able to welcome in the New Year with you.
    xo Cammy

  10. Robyn & Kyle…amazing blessing ..I read a book that speaks of “God winks”..this is such a testimony that says God watches over our loved ones…and this testifies to that in an incredible way. God Bless you both & Charlie too! Your neighbor on Glen Haven, Gail Deriso

  11. Man. No words for that one. What a sweet surprise. Happy new year. You guys are going to be great. In fact, you already are.

  12. Wow!!! It is those moments that don’t make us question for a second where our loved ones are and how much a part of our lives they remain! God and Ezra are surely watching over you!

  13. What a beautiful way to start a new year. God truly blessed you through this young lady. May He continue to bless you each day through the good and the bad. Heather from Canada

  14. What a beautiful message of hope from God to start the new year…you will be okay and you will be reunited with Ezra one day.

  15. When I finished reading this a strange sound came deep from within my throat. So strange and loud it startled me. Kind of primal. God is so sweet and tender. I am an evangelical Christian. I am not charismatic. But this story has gripped me so. I don’t know when I can get my composure to retell it. But….thank you. What are the chances? Thank you, Lord.

  16. WOW! What an amazing story, proof that God is real, and with us, and speaks to us especially when we need it the most.Beautiful story, thanks for sharing!!