This NOLA family suffered a tragic lost when their son, Renard Matthews was killed two weeks ago. At only 18 years old, this loss weighs heavily on his loved ones. When young people’s lives are taken from them, it’s hard not to imagine what they may have become and feel an insurmountable grief as a result. And so, many find comfort in focusing their thoughts on who they were and what they stood for.
With this in mind, when Matthews was being prepared for the wake, his family decided to have him presented in a way that spoke to who he was and what he loved. Rather than follow the traditional wake format and have the embalmed/prepared body in an open casket, the Matthews’ family opted to position Matthews the way they remember him: sitting in a chair, snacks by his side, PlayStation 4 controller in hand, and draped in Celtics gear. According to local New Orleans news station, WGNO, “Matthew’s mother Temeka says her son was a bit of a homebody, who only recently started to venture out to walk the dog she’d recently gotten him. Temeka Matthews also said that her son was a big fan of Celtics guard Kyrie Irving.”
Although it’s not stated explicitly, he’s likely “playing” a version of NBA 2K based on the above video which included a shot of the television screen.
While some may find this rather peculiar, the sentiment reminds me of the concept of altars and shrines for the fallen in which people would place items representing the person and what they love. Granted, those don’t include the body itself; still, the sentiment is loving. I think it also speaks to the way being a gamer can be such a core part to our identities. We get used to seeing each other occupy certain spaces so I think there’s something strangely beautiful about wanting to see Renard Matthews in that chair, controller in hand, one last time.