Dealing With The Loss Of A Dear Cousin And Fishing Buddy

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matt-meyer

Matt Meyer, as he introduces his niece Abby, to her first bass.

I recently lost a dear, dear, cousin and fishing buddy of mine. Matt Meyer, lived 950 miles away in Minneapolis, KS, so I didn’t get the opportunity to fish with him all that much. But whenever I was lucky to fish side-by-side with Matt, it was pure bliss. Our times together on the water were spent with constant laughter, cold beers, and black bass bending our rods. When the sun set, and the fishing rods were stowed, we’d spend the rest of the evening barbecuing and eating until we were sick to our stomachs. God, he had the worlds greatest laugh. It was one that had the power to instantly wash away all the stresses of life as soon as it hit your ears. I’m really going to miss hearing that laugh. When our two paths crossed, generally only every two to three years, Matt and I always spent as much time as our busy schedules permitted, fishing bass ponds together and expressing our love for one another. I’ve got memories fishing with Matt as far back as Kindergarten. The first memory I can recall, ends with me hooking into a bass that pulled so strong, Matt’s Dad had to grab me by the waist to keep me from getting pulled into the pond. We’ve got a polaroid picture, somewhere in the photo albums, with Matt and I proudly holding up bass from that day.

Matt happened to be one of my biggest fans. He was so proud of what I had accomplished in the fly fishing industry, and he knew way more than most, how much I had struggled and sacrificed, trying to follow my dreams of making a living in the industry. He always provided me support when I needed it, and he kept his phone line open, regardless of how late into the a.m. hours I happened to dial his number. Matt welcomed me to vent to him when I was struggling with life’s challenges, telling me,

“Kent, don’t worry if things aren’t going as well in life as you’d like them to be right now. If there’s one thing that I’m damn certain of, it’s that Klewein’s and Meyer’s don’t give up, and we’ll find a way to make it all work out, if it’s out there. You keep focused cuz, don’t give up, I believe in you.”

Matt always had a unique way of putting the important things in life into perspective for me, and he never failed to raise my spirits by the end of every phone conversation, no matter how down in the gutters I happened to be at the time. After we exchanged our farewells and we hung up the phone, I always found I was able to hit the ground running with work harder than I’d every been able to muster in the past. I tried my best to return the same comfort and support to Matt as he provided me. I just hope I was able to supply him with half of what he gave me in life.

Matt never fully caught the fly fishing bug. He was content with the comforts that his conventional fishing gear brought him, but it didn’t stop him from going out of his way to tell as many people as possible about his Georgia cousin, who was a professional fly fisherman and guide. I never told him, but that meant the world to me. It warmed my heart and gave me a great sense of pride in my work. Before I heard of his passing, I had planned on fishing with him in the coming weeks during a get together for our Grandmother’s 90th birthday party. I had a fly fishing rod that I had planned on giving him, along with some hand tied bass flies that I had turned out at the vise. It kills me that I wasn’t able to get that gear to him sooner. He would have really enjoyed using it with his family. It hurts even worse, that I wasn’t able to make one more trip out there to tell him how great of a cousin he was, and how proud I was of his accomplishments. I had recieved a voicemail from him days before his passing, and I tried calling him back but wasn’t able to reach him. If you’ve got a friend or family member that you’ve built a loving fishing relationship with, get out on the water with them as soon as you can. If that’s not possible, get on the phone and let them know how much you care about them. You never know when the day will come when that won’t be an option.

I’ll always cherish the time I had with my cousin, his pure joy for the sport of fishing, and his powerful and genuine love for my family and I. I’ll always respect how he made a point to let anyone tag along with him who wanted to learn about fishing, regardless of their age or skill level. Rest in peace Matt, and God bless. I hope you’re exploring the infinite amounts of fishing grounds in heaven, and having numerous red beers with Grandpa Meyer. I look forward to meeting up with you when it’s my time, so we can pick up where we left off.

I know today’s post wasn’t one of my usuals. I just felt the need to pay my respects to my beloved cousin who frequently followed Gink & Gasoline. With the wonderful community of G&G readers, I knew all of you would respect my wishes to share this.

matt

Keep it Reel,

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
www.ginkandgasoline.com
hookups@ginkandgasoline.com
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32 thoughts on “Dealing With The Loss Of A Dear Cousin And Fishing Buddy

  1. it is always difficult to lose family member before their time. sorry to hear about your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family~
    Tight Lines,
    Koz

  2. A truly moving piece, Kent. Thanks for sharing. Stories like this one always help put life in perspective for us, reminding us to treasure what we have now. Our thoughts are with Matt’s family and friends…

  3. A very nice read this morning, reminding me of trying to stay close and keep in touch with the ones we love.
    Sorry for your loss, it’s never easy. My prayers are with you Kent.

  4. Kent,
    Truly sorry for your loss. This writing was a great tribute to your cousin, not doubt. I’m sure he’ll still be looking in on you from time to time. Thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

  5. Sending our deepest sympathy from the Grocers in Linn, Ks. Matt was a great guy and always be remembered fondly and never forgotten. And now, thru Matt, I have found you and your site. 🙂 ( I love fishing and in the last few years have learned to fly fish.)
    We are friends with your parents, please also give them our heartfelt sympathy.

    • Lori,

      Thank you for the very nice comment about Matt and the article. I’m very happy that you found G&G b/c its a great place to learn about fly fishing and our followers in many ways support and help out as well. Its a wonderful community of people that love fly fishing. You’ll be in good hands. Hope to meet you

      Kent

  6. Kent, I’m deeply sorry about your loss. I’m sure most of your reads have had similar events happen. Cherish those memories, I pray for you and your family to stay strong.

  7. So sorry to hear of your loss. It is so hard to lose a young friend and family member. I don’t always know the news around the Linn area and through reading your blog that one of my friends had posted on FB, I realized who Matt was. I am a friend of your mothers and grew up next door to your great grandparents.. Please give my condolences to your parents also.

  8. Lisa and I are so sorry for your loss. It would be great if we could all “live for the day” but that is awfully hard to do. Hug your wife and children, tell them you love them everyday. We worry about such crazy things, in my life all the really bad things hit you like a brick out of nowhere, you never see it coming. I believe there are “bass ponds” in the next life, and lots of friends to fish with. He will see you again, and hand you the fly rod of your dreams.

    • Gary & Lisa,

      Your words of support got me worked up but warmed my heart. Thank you for being such good friends. I’m looking forward to spending time with you on the water later this month. God Bless

      Kent

  9. I have know Matt for many years also growing up in Washington County. Being related to what seemed like half the people that went to Linn High School. I don’t think I could have said what Matt did for so many any better than you have Kent. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of Matt’s Family and Friends both near and far.

  10. Hi Kent,
    Thanks for this story of two cousins separated too early. As you know, I never knew Matt, but I feel a little bit closer to him now. Thanks for the tribute to such an admirable man and his loved ones. In return, I offer my sorrow, my prayers and my respect for such a fine family that produces these kinds of cousins. They can certainly be proud.

    With you as my own son-in-law, I’ve always been impressed by the breadth and depth of your friend & family relationships, and by the personal strengths of character, love & family that run deep in you. I’m proud to be your father-in-law, and I’m blessed to be part of your family. Matt seems to be another from the same mold.

    Your network of friends, G&G fishing buddies, family and long lost neighbors & relatives came together this week for Matt. They met through an invisible blend of technology, love, prayer & magic to honor Matt and his family.

    I have many long-lost cousins who I cherish deeply despite the erosion of time. Your words have encouraged me to to take heed before time wins another round. And for that, I thank you.

    May God heal the sorrows…
    Love you… Randy / Dad

    • Randy,

      Those were beautiful words and a joy to read. It means a lot that you took the time to write those comments. I’ve been very blessed to have family that I love deeply and thoroughly enjoy hanging out with on all sides every chance I get. Every one of my cousins, brothers, sisters, parents and wife’s siblings are tight, and we’d drop everything to help each other out one of us was in need. Having a loving network of family and friends is definitely one of God’s greatest gifts.

      Kent

  11. Kent, Very sorry to hear of the passing of your family member and friend. It is hard to find understanding in these times, but I think those are fine words your cousin shared with you and that should be a world of encouragement. Be encouraged friend and look forward to the day when you both will meet again in the presents of the Lord, and cast flies together on the eternal rivers of perfection. Love and comfort to you and your family during this time. God bless

  12. I know I’m two days late, and in matters of this, always more than two dollars short, but my condolences. Losing a close friend and family member is never easy.

  13. Kent,
    That was an amazing article that I’m sure Matt is very proud of. Many of us know the feeling of someone that you care for deeply leaving us sooner than we anticipate and that is a very tough pill to swallow. Although I did not know Matt, I am lucky enough to know many more of your family members and what kind of people that you all are. You guys are all extremely genuine, caring, and very passionate people. This is something that you are lucky to have, and you should be proud of. Stay strong buddy and enjoy the fond memories, they will last for a lifetime and beyond.

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