New Gloucester man succumbs to COVID-19 four months after son’s birth
New Gloucester man succumbs to COVID-19 four months after son’s birth

New Gloucester man succumbs to COVID-19 four months after son’s birth

Matthew Libby had so much to look forward to in his life.

He was a new father. His son, Alexander, was only 4 months old. He was engaged to Alexander’s mother. They planned to get married in May.

Libby was strong and healthy. He reckoned he was at low risk of getting a severe case of COVID-19. So he chose not to be vaccinated.

Matthew Libby with his son, Alex. Photo courtesy of Jenny Freeman

He died Jan. 28 from complications of COVID in the intensive care unit at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

He was 43 years old. He had spent 22 days in the hospital, all except the first three in respirator.

His fiancée, Jenny Freeman, who had been on guard to get the vaccine while she was pregnant, was vaccinated after he was admitted.

“It scared the hell out of us,” she said. “No one has to go through what I’m going through now. None.”

She held his hand when he died.

“I’m still in shock and completely crushed,” she wrote in a Facebook post a few days later. “It doesn’t matter how much the doctors prepare you for the worst, you never really think it could happen. His poor body just could not fight anymore. “

Libby grew up in Poland and graduated in 1998 from Edward Little High School in Auburn, where he played football and ran indoor court.

As a 17-year-old, he began working in the yard at Hancock Lumber in Windham, picking up orders for clients. He continued to work with shipping and receiving and internal sales support. He was the account manager at the time he died.

Freeman works at Hancock Lumber as a kitchen designer. That was where the two met. She said she was nervous at first about driving with him to work because he was so quiet and reserved. Then she made him open up and they just kept talking.

“He was a very genuine person,” Freeman said. “He did not sugarcoat things or hold back, but he was never so thoughtful in his delivery. He made his intentions clear. He was no nonsense, no game. He had a very dry sense of humor. Sometimes you did not know if he (decorated) or insulted you. ”

Matthew Libby and Jenny Freeman Photo courtesy of Jenny Freeman

They were together for two years. They lived together in New Gloucester. Freeman has three daughters – 6, 10 and 12. When she described how Libby opened her heart and home to her girls, she was strangled.

“He saw me in front of me and he welcomed my kids into his home,” Freeman said. “Matthew was all in, which was great for me. He warmed up right up to them. They are devastated that he is gone. They loved him dearly. “

Alexander’s birth on October 4 changed him, Freeman said.

“By having her son, it was great to see this introverted, locked-in personality show so much emotion,” she said. “He was so loving and so cute, where he was not usually like that. It changed him in such a positive way. “

Libby had dreams of coaching his son’s baseball team and teaching Alex to hunt and fish, just like his father, Ralph Libby, had taught him.

“It’s one of the things that hurts the most,” said Susan Libby, his mother. “He had three months with him. It’s not nearly long enough. He’s never got that opportunity. It’s heartbreaking.”

Libby and Freeman got engaged in November. They planned to get married by a justice of the peace in May and then hold a backyard barbecue to celebrate it.

“He was mine forever. We were in this for the rest of our lives,” Freeman said. “I’ll miss everything. I will miss the way he loved me unconditionally and reassured me. He buried me. He was my home. I will miss sharing our lives with each other. ”

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