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Crisis Center of Tampa Bay
 September 2013


Remembering Matthew: The Ella Bing Story


Most do not think about suicide or the effects it has on families and loved ones  

until it hits home. More than 300 people turned out for Matthew's funeral, a testament to the influence he had on so many people's lives.  He was known as a person who could light up a room, always smiling on the outside, always a friend. Very few knew what he was dealing with on the inside.  When the Crisis Center came to me about writing this article, I didn't realize how difficult it would be to do. I spoke with my mother and received her thoughts on the subject. She was able to express her feelings beautifully. Here is her recollection of the night of August 31, 2010, in her own words.

I remember trying to reach Matthew, just to say hello and to tell him that I loved him, as I always did. I had forgotten he was in class for the majority of the day. Matthew finally called me around 10:30 that night. I remember being happy just to hear his voice. We had a normal conversation, just as we did every day. We ended our call as we always did, by saying, 'I love you'. Little did I know that was the last time I would speak to my son.

I was awakened from my sleep by a text message from Matthew's partner, asking if I had heard from him. I instantly knew in my heart something was wrong.   

Not knowing what had happened just 45 minutes after I last spoke with Matthew, I remember frantically trying to call him over and over, leaving messages for him to call me and that I was worried. I sent text messages, reached out to his  

friends in Manhattan, even left him messages on Facebook. I was desperate to get in contact with him.

We still to this day struggle with the decision he made. We still ask why. We  

still blame ourselves. We still cry. He was loved by so many people. He gave so much to the world and didn't realize the impact his split second decision would have on so many people.

So all I am left with of my beautiful son is a box of ashes, pictures and my memories. I still speak of him as if he were here, not wanting to believe that  

he is gone. God blessed me with Matthew and I know that someday we will be reunited once again.

As life moves on you start to heal. In spring of 2012 we had an idea to keep the memory of Matthew alive. We started a company around his favorite accessory:  

the bow tie. You see Matthew had a vision of standing out, being unique and being his own person. With the phenomenal sewing talents of my mother, Lisa, and my IT back ground, the company took shape. Later we added my father's beautiful gift  

of woodworking to the mix. Running this business brings our family closer, and gives us a sense of purpose. In an effort to raise awareness about suicide prevention, Ella Bing proudly donates 10% of our quarterly sales to the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. It's simply a small gesture, in an effort to help others.

Brent and Lisa Kraus are founders of Ella Bing Bow Ties. To learn more about Ella Bing and their support of the Crisis Center, visit their website at: www.ellabing.com 




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