Matthew Yarnell is finally home.  14 years later.

The remains of the New Jersey native were recently identified from the ruins of the September 11 attacks at World Trade Center.

There are many more, still unidentified, still unknown to many of us.  I am always curious to find out more about these people.  Obituaries and profiles of the lost victims of that tragic day tell so many stories.  They do not, however, tell us what they may have become.

So many questions remain unanswered about the victims of this attack.  Who were these people?  What were their talents?  Where would they be now?

Long since many have been forgotten, their stories still live on.  For instance, where would Matthew be now?  Matthew would be in or near his 40’s now.  Where would Matthew be now?  Would he have stayed in his native New Jersey or would he have moved and explored some other part of the country or some other part of the world?  Would Matthew have stayed at his job, had that tragedy not occurred?  No matter what he did with his life it is doubtless that David, a vice president of technology at Fidelity, would have been successful.

Imagine what Matthew’s life would be like now, if not for that fateful day.  Would he be married?  Would Matthew have children?  What would their names be?  Would they look like him or their mother? What talents and traits would they have inherited from him?  Had he settled down and began a family, even in his 30’s, his children would be at that special age when they are learning, developing and becoming more like him with each day.

Even if Matthew had not married or had children, what joys would he have brought to others?  Whose lives would Matthew have impacted?  How many happy times was he robbed?   What would Matthew be doing right this moment?  Would he be carelessly whittling away his few special moments as we often do, unaware of just how important those lost moments we take for granted?

You don’t have to know Matthew to know you would have liked him.  Stories from his profiles tell a story of a “merry prankster” who had an affinity for cars.

Matthew and I were close to the same age when Matthew was killed.  I can easily see him and I going out for drinks with the rest of the office for drinks and revelry.    In fact, had we lived closer, attended the same school s or worked together, it’s easy to see that Matthew and I would be friends.  Our lives would have intersected in many ways.  We were both in our 20’s, single and working our way up that corporate ladder, Matt having been promoted twice since he had been hired.  We both also shared a comedic sense.  Additionally, with our brown eyes and hair and slight build, we even shared some similar physical characteristics.

Too much time has passed for some people to draw a connection to the pain of that day.  We push away the pain of that day, choosing to focus on sporting events, celebrity gossip, news stories and other distractions. However,  Matthew David Yarnell is one of the thousands we should know better.  It is painful to relive the events of that day.  It is more comforting and easier to brush away those emotions.  By connecting with the victims of that day, we would have to confront our own fears of death. But, it also underscores just how much we must embrace life and live.

Matthew’s story is yet another untold story of what might have been.  What could have been.  What should have been.

10 thoughts on “What Could Have Been

  1. An exceptional and thoughtful post. I especially like your questions, ” What would Matthew be doing right this moment? Would he be carelessly whittling away his few special moments as we often do, unaware of just how important those lost moments we take for granted?” – Excellent post!

  2. Thank you, Vocare Mentor. I often wonder why we waste so much of our time when so many don’t have time on this Earth. I suppose, our downtime can be as relaxing and important as the time we spend creating or doing things.

  3. excellent post, I’m glad you wrote it! Time flits by and we should all be a bit more wisely using it, in whatever fashion that is for each 🙂

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