The family of Matthew Joseph La Porte has found solace in their Catholic faith; their religion has given them strength. Matthew’s parents and his sister Priscilla made a conscientious effort not to be angry, but the journey back to some semblance of normalcy has been hard, painful, and difficult. And, more than five years after the shootings, they still struggle— they still cry. The family, like almost all of the Tech families, sought counseling which has helped them deal with their loss.
A family whose child survived sent the La Portes a letter thanking them for Matthew’s heroism because it helped save their daughter’s life. At his funeral a friend of Matthew’s told his sister, Priscilla, that her brother had recently discussed Columbine, saying that he “would do something” to try and stop the shooting. To quote Priscilla, “I don’t know where his strength came from, but he was incredible. My heart swells with pride.”
Priscilla La Porte remembers her brother vividly—his memory will always be with her. Matthew was two years older and the type of big brother every young woman should have. He was kind. Matthew was funny, and especially enjoyed making his sister laugh.
When Priscilla remembers about Matthew she thinks about his determination. Once Matthew, a Political Science student from Dumont, New Jersey, set his mind to something, there was no stopping him. He would move heaven and earth to get something done or to achieve a goal. Matthew was quiet; he didn’t talk a lot. Not because he was shy, but because he was a thinker. He was so very, very special to his sister and to his parents. The memory of this fine, exemplary young man is bittersweet.
Despite the comfort of the church, despite the counseling, Priscilla feels the intensity of the loss every bit today as she did on April 16, 2007. “It is as if I (exist) without my arms and legs—you simply cannot forget. It will be with me forever. He was such an important part of me, and I lost something that was meant to be in my life forever.”
Matthew La Porte was buried with full military honor. (To be continued)