Goodbye. And thanks.


My mother died last night.   And the news has shaken us all very hard.  She was a fighter, and fought very hard until the end of her life – a life filled by always putting other people first.  I loved my mother, for many reasons, but most of all because she was always there for me, and would always make sure that her children had what they needed to be a success in life.   And we are.  My brother and I both have great careers, and have a wonderful future, live in wonderful homes, love wonderful women, have all the things we could ever want.

I think I’m still very much coming to grips with what this all means, because I’ve never had to deal with something quiet like this before, and I’m sure I’m still in shock.   It was amazingly poetic last night as we drove to the hospital for the last time, that the first snow of the season had started to fall.   She always loved snow – a transplanted SoCal girl, she always loved the fact the New York had four seasons, and she loved the leaves in the fall, and snow in the winter.  I like to think she choreographed it – this would be the night to go out on – the flakes were big and beautiful, and the night was quiet.

Goodbye, mom.   I miss you already.   Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, and all of us.


Sidebar: The only thing my mother loved more than snow was pets.  We always had an assortment of cats, and dogs and hamsters around, but we got 20+ years of love and affection, and support out of animals we gave to and got from the North Shore Animal League, based on Long Island.  It’s the world’s biggest no-kill adoption shelter.

If you feel the need to give, in lieu of any other flowers or donations, please donate to North Shore Animal League in memory of Debra Knell.   If anything has to come out of her loss, it should be that some wonderful animals find real love like our pets did with us.

Thank you for your thoughts, and prayers, and wish wishes and support at this time.  I can’t tell you all how much it means to me and my family.


  1. What a beautiful tribute, my dear friend. I love you very much. Thinking of you, as always. If you need anything, you know where I am.

  2. My deepest condolences Matt. She raised a fine son, and I’m sure she’s proud of you. We’re here if you need us.

  3. Your mom must have been pretty special because she made you. I’m so sorry for your loss and know it will take time to heal, but you’ll be stronger for it. She will always be with you, and will be so proud of the incredible man you continue to be. You mean so much to everyone who is lucky enough to call you a friend. I love you so much.

  4. Matt, my thoughts are with you and your family. Please let me know if there is anything I can do. I’m sure your mother was so proud of the wonderful son she has, as I am proud of the wonderful friend I have in you. *HUGS*

  5. What a well written tribute, Matt. Knowing how great and true you are, I’m confident your mom was, too.

    My thoughts are with you, Matt. If there’s anything I can do for you, just say the word.

  6. My thoughts are prayers are with you and your family Matt. Your mom has to be looking down on you with such pride at the son she raised. Like everyone above me, we’re here for you if you need anything.

  7. Such a beautiful post, Matt. My heart goes out to you during this time. Know that your mother wants you to celebrate her life rather than dwell on her death. Your tribute to her is a wonderful start. I’m here if you’d like someone to talk with or if there is anything else I can do for you.

  8. Matt, Andreas and I were both just devastated to hear this sad news. From all you told me, I know your mom was a wonderful, caring woman who gave everything to her children and who will be sorely missed. I am hugging you tight right now and sending you all the love and prayers I have. I love you. And if you need to someone to listen, I’m your gal.

  9. Matt – My thoughts and prayers are with both you and your family! Let me know if there is ANYTHING I can do for you!

  10. Matt, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. Your entire family is in my prayers.

    You have some of the most devoted friends I’ve ever seen and I hope you will lean on them…they’ll be there when you need them.

  11. A beautiful tribute Matt for what sounds like a wonderful woman.

    She brought an amazing person into this world, and by you sharing the love she gave, she lives on that much more.

    Thoughts and prayers are with you and yours, and here in case you need anything.

  12. Matt,
    I want you to know that we all love you and we’re here for you in this time and throughout your life. I can’t imagine what its like to lose a parent especially one as beautiful and caring as your mother. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  13. I am so sorry for your loss. Your mom was so amazing and aside from making sure her biological children were taken care for she always made the strays you brought home feel warm and welcome and loved. She will be missed.

  14. I feel lucky to have known your mom. You and Steve are a testament to what an wonderful person she was. She was definitely an amazing woman who will always live on in our warm memories. Words fail me but please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. Please let me know if there is absolutely anything we can do. Love you

  15. Dear Matt,

    A big loss to you and your family. Condolences to you and your family. Losing someone important and special to you, who has influenced your life, is very hard. When I lost someone I took solace in knowing how lucky I was to have known them, and their imprint was forever on my heart. Thoughts and prayers, and the biggest hug I can find for you.

  16. I don’t know who I’d be right now if I’d never known mom. She fed me when I was poor and had no food. She gave me the warmth and compassion of a mother when mine was too far away to look out for me. She treated me like her own. I was lucky. We all were. I’ll never forget her. Love you, Mama Knell.

  17. Oh, sweetie. I’m so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to an obviously wonderful woman. I can see all of her goodness and generosity of spirit in you. How lucky you were to have each other. My thoughts are with you and your family. xo

  18. matt –

    oh my dear friend, i am so so sorry. i am just hearing of this right at this moment. from the bottom of my heart, i send you my deepest sympathies and the largest hug i could possibly muster. love and peace to you.

  19. Matt,

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I’ve been there, but still can only imagine what you are feeling. My deepest sympathies and warmest regards go out to you and your family. Remember you are all in our thoughts and prayers.

  20. God I am so, so sorry Matt. I just saw this. I wish you and your family all the best. I wish I could give you a big hug right now. 🙁

  21. Hi Matt, I know we are new friends, but my support for you and your family is great. my thoughts are with you and i am so very sorry for your loss. HUGS and SUPPORT.

  22. I’m so sorry, Matt. I lost my mother 20 years ago, and I still acutely remember the shock of it all and the very difficult transition to life after she was gone in the subsequent months. My heart goes out to you.

  23. It’s been four years since my mother died, after two months of dealing with a horrendous illness. I’m still reeling and trying to get past it. It’s an ongoing battle. The greatest comfort is in knowing you’re not alone, and no one ever really is. That’s the biggest thing that I’ve learned since becoming an orphan.

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