Matthew and I met through Tinder, each seeking solace for difficult circumstances. Mine were not permanent, but over the last year of occasional beautiful and fortifying get-togethers, it became clear that his were not circumstances, but deep and lasting sorrows. We were each others’ oasis of joy in this wicked world. We lived in different states and wanted different things, but the narrow framework of our connection did not mean it was not deep and loving. We saw each other when we could, but the pandemic made it impossible to meet halfway in our usual hotel since Christmas. Both of our lives were very busy. We would sometimes text pictures of beautiful landscapes or flowers, just to say we were on each others’ mind. But we weren’t in regular conversation unless we were planning a meeting. On Saturday, thinking of him, I looked on his Instagram page to see if he had been up to anything new. Used to post something daily related to a niche hobby of his, but he had stopped that in the beginning of the new year. He had switched to just posting an occasional art photo. The last one he posted over Memorial Day weekend I had already seen, but I saw that there were way more comments than usual. On May 30 his mom had posted that Matthew had died. I was gutted. I don’t know his people and he doesn’t know mine. There was nobody to call me with the news. I knew of the friends he was closest to, and could figure out their Instagram handles, to send a message, but what if they had no idea who I was or wouldn’t want to talk to me?!? My friend was dead for a month and I didn’t know it! I know what we meant to each other, but what would any of it mean to the people in his life? So I called my people and they listened. But nobody in Matthew’s life knew that despite his sorrows, there was a deep love that he had. The next day, I thought of his mother, and the loss, pain, and confusion she must feel. To think that her son felt so sad that he ended it, not knowing If he ever felt happiness. I sent her a message telling her how much he meant to me, being carefully discreet about how we knew each other. I shared with her some of the landscapes he had sent me, and a cute picture we had taken together. She seemed touched. I felt like it was good for me - a first step in healing. But it is the only thing I can do to connect with his world and now that it’s done there is no more I can connect to. So now I am alone in my grief. Two states away, not really able to fully grieve without sharing the unusual details of our connection with most of the people in my life. I’m looking at pictures. Re-reading the texts that chronicle our sweet times together, and listening to the music we shared. I am so sad that he’s gone and so sad that he was so sad. Thanks for letting me share this story.