Tracey Matters gave the eulogy on Friday at the funeral for her brother Greg Matters, who died on Sept. 10. Greg was shot to death by police at his home following a stand off.
Here is the full text of the written text of the eulogy Tracey provided to the media:
On behalf of the Matters family, I would like to thank everyone for coming here today to give your respects to my brother Greg and to support our family and friends during this difficult time.
We would especially like to thank members of the Canadian Forces, veterans, legionnaires and people visiting from out of town.
Many people have sent their apologies for not being able to attend including Vern Johnson, uncle Stanley, Sonya Booker, Michelle Lawrence, Oliver Matters and Ryan and Tammy Seguin.
Today we celebrate the life of Gregory John de Matters and the special moments and gifts he has given during his brief stay with us.
Greg was born on a beautiful spring day on April 12, 1972. Mom and dad wanted it to be clear that Greg was named after his great great uncle, John de Gruchy, a short, round, gentle soul who lived in a small house next to my grandparents at the farm next door, a place where both Greg and I found solace in years to follow. We affectionately called it Unkies shack - a place that Greg planned to renovate for people like me to stay when they came to visit.
I was five years old when my brother Greg was born and I dont remember much about his birth but I do remember him being a chubby little baby with bright blue eyes. He always had a smile and a giggle and I remember smothering him with affection from the moment he was born. To me he was a living doll.
At the age of 4, Greg was an accomplished tree-climber. Mom, not believing this to be true, one morning found a tiny red sock dangling from a tree branch 30 feet in the air. "See mom, I told you I could climb high," he said, smiling. Mom told him to never do that again - but of course, he ignored her.
Tree-climbing proved to be quite a useful skill for Greg later on - feeling sorry for all of the birds he had stunned with slingshots as a youth, in later years, he vowed to provide them with as much food and shelter as possible. There are now numerous new trees planted around the yard and around 40 birdhouses including a three-story condominium perched in the trees with three more birdhouses still waiting to be put up.
Growing up on the farm in Pineview, the three of us kids had our chores to do and our animals to care for. Greg had his chickens. Greg loved his chickens. He used to carry them around tucked snuggly in his arms and would show off to everyone how he could put them to sleep by rocking them like a baby. He even insisted they be included on our 4-H floats during the May Day parades.
At elementary school, Greg was bright, kind and very sensitive. As shy as he was, Greg was always standing up for those who were picked on, bullied or disadvantaged in any way. Greg always tried to go out of his way to make sure these children were treated fairly and with respect. He would stand up for those that couldnt stand up for themselves. He made people feel valued.
As a young boy, Greg enjoyed fishing in the local creeks. With a stick, some fishing line, a hook and some big fat worms from moms garden, Greg and the boys would go down the road to the culvert at Johnsons to catch the nights dinner. Dr. Johnson would often shoo the boys away if they started creeping further into his property.
In later years, Vern would become a good friend and mentor to Greg. Until Gregs passing, they would spend every Friday golfing together. Vern said that Greg appreciated every moment on the golf course at Alder Hills pointing out the birds and the bunny rabbits hopping in the forest.
Greg was very touched when Vern gave him a set of his very own golf clubs. Greg was like a son to Vern. Vern described Greg as "an innocent gentle giant walking among us and full of potential for good."
Only two weeks before Greg passed away, his persistence with the regional district led to the completion of a brand new box culvert where Greg used to fish as a boy. The rainbow trout population will now recover as a result. Greg will be delighted.
Greg was very bashful but that didnt stop him from being a practical joker and enjoying a good laugh. He had a great sense of humour and a wonderful imagination. He played tricks on everyone, including his grandparents. Dad used to give us heck for singing at the dinner table and for playing what song am I whistling? or what song am I humming? Trust me, we were not a musical family, and this wasnt very pleasant at the best of times.
Greg was also a natural athlete. At six-foot-two inches tall and 190 pounds, dad used to say that he could run like a deer. He loved playing rugby and he even tried out for one of the local baseball teams. He had a remarkable throwing arm - but he lacked the confidence to take this any further. One of his coaches told mom that Greg could have gone a long way in any sport he chose. I thought Greg was a superstar, but he was so incredibly humble he didnt want to go out of his way to attract attention despite his handsome good looks and muscular physique.
Greg always wanted to make a difference. When Greg turned 20, he decided he wanted to become a Canadian Forces peacekeeper. It wasnt easy to get in to the Forces for Greg owing to a shoulder injury he sustained falling off a bicycle in Australia. But after successful surgery and re-application, the Forces agreed to take him on board. Greg was over the moon. He couldnt think of a more important job than serving and protecting his country. We were proud and supportive of Greg. The family took great delight in calling him Private Matters at every opportunity. Greg was not impressed but I know he thought it was kind of funny too even though he never admitted it.
It didnt seem too long after Greg joined the forces - maybe three or four years afterwards, and we began to notice a change in his personality. He no longer saw the funny side of things and every summer that I saw him after that he seemed more withdrawn.
When Greg came home in 2009, he was a shadow of the man that he used to be. He slept constantly, he was moody and he refused to see anyone except for his immediate family. We didnt know what had happened to him and, more importantly, we didnt know what to do.
After discussing Gregs behaviour with a friend of mine who works with veterans in Australia, I was certain that Greg had post traumatic stress disorder. It took a lot of phone calls and plenty of hard work, but we were finally able to get some help and were fortunate enough to have Dr. Greg Passey from the Operational Stress Injury clinic in Vancouver meet with Greg. They were a perfect match.
Within a month, we began to see small improvements in Greg, within six months, we saw huge improvements and within 12 months, my brother was beginning to spread his wings and soar.
Simon and I were fortunate enough to spend last Christmas (Simons first white Christmas) here with Greg. Before we arrived, Greg decorated the house with lights and tinsel - he even bought a snowmobile so that we could go skidoo-ing through the fields. Before our luggage was even in the house, Greg had Simon on the snowmobile and they were both going for a ride. The three of us built an eight-foot snowman in the front yard - Greg even made a top hat for our snowman out of an old a paint bucket and gave our snowman one of his scarves to wear. The ride in a limo to look at Christmas lights on the top of Connaught Hill was a night that I will never forget. It was by far the best Christmas I have ever had.
I was so looking forward to having Greg spend Christmas with us in Australia this year and was even taking a sock knitting course so that I could make him some homemade socks in his favourite green colour. Two days before Greg died we were making plans for his trip to Australia and talking about driving to the beach in my 1959 convertible, drinking mango daiquiris and eating food beyond Gregs wildest imagination. I told Greg that I was going to give him a full man-makeover. He laughed at me and said "Yeah OK - as long as you give me a nice comfortable bed to sleep in and a table and chair where I can do my psychology studies, you can do whatever you want." We then put our cats on the phone to judge which one could purr the loudest - Gregs cat won.
Greg loved animals - he loved his two new little black kittens and he loved his dog Moya. Every time Greg came home from town, he would have a new toy for his dog and treats for the cats.
Greg and I talked on the phone once a week and he would tell me of his wonderful ideas of how to bring the Pineview community closer together. He talked about establishing a Pineview farmers market, introducing a civic tree-planting program, preserving farmland in the historical Tabor Creek area and of becoming a volunteer at the PG hospice where our beloved uncle Harold recently passed away.
We also talked about love. He told me that he was ready to find someone with whom he could settle down. I was so happy for him and for his bright future ahead.
My girlfriends tell me that in the last few months, Greg became a big hugger. Every time they would see him shopping, instead of hiding as he had done previously, he gave them heartfelt hugs and sometimes helped them choose gifts for their loved ones.
And Greg loved to shop. Every time he came home from town he would have blankets, lamps, artwork, crafts or candles. And a cake. He always came home with a cake. Mom complained about all of the weight she was gaining because of Gregs cakes.
Greg also bought mom a bright potted plant every two weeks, just as the previous plant was beginning to wilt away.
Greg loved our mom with all of his heart. He often purchased her jewellery and artwork and warm clothes - anything to make her comfortable. When she was in the hospital recently with pneumonia, he spent several nights holding her hand - mom was so sick, she didnt even know he was there.
He spoiled me with beautiful gifts too. He even had slippers, a jumper and jewellery here waiting to be mailed. Mom said that another package waits for me at home. That will be a very hard package to open.
Greg also cherished his grandmother, Helen, and recently when my mom went away for a couple of weeks, Greg visited her frequently taking her cookies and Chinese food.
Greg adored his nephew, nieces, godchildren, and friends children. They brought him happiness and joy and Greg was looking forward to becoming a father himself one day.
Home was Gregs favourite place to be and Greg was a huge part of what home meant to me. Greg was pure potential and a shining beacon to those that needed help. Greg made a lasting impression on everyone he met. The world was a better place with him in it.
Greg, we will miss you dearly. One day we will meet you in the stars.