Tonight's picture features Mattie driving in "Speedy Red." Mattie was wearing oxygen cannula's in his nose, and his portable oxygen tank was sitting behind his seat. Nonetheless, this did not hold him back or slow him down. Mattie was a great driver... a natural! He just had a feeling for steering, making turns, and when to push down on the gas peddle. Speedy Red brought Mattie great joy and excitement, and I am so happy he had these moments before he died.
Poem of the day: Four Candles for You
The first candle represents our grief.
The pain of losing you is intense.
It reminds us of the depth of our love for you.
This second candle represents our courage.
To confront our sorrow,
To comfort each other,
To change our lives.
This third candle we light in your memory.
For the times we laughed,
The times we cried,
The times we were angry with each other,
The silly things you did,
The caring and joy you gave us.
This fourth candle we light for our love.
We light this candle that your light will always shine.
As we enter this holiday season and share this night of remembrance
with our family and friends.
We cherish the special place in our hearts
that will always be reserved for you.
We thank you for the gift
your living brought to each of us.
We love you.
We remember you.
Today was a busy day for me, filled with many social interactions. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet up with a fellow SSSAS mom, Diane. Many of you may remember meeting Diane and her son, Holden, at Mattie's walk. Holden is a sixth grader at Mattie's school and is now a cancer survivor. Diane and I e-mailed each other many times this year as both of our boys were undergoing intense treatments. It was nice to be able to connect with someone who experienced something quite similar to me, and we shared our cancer stories, fears, and a host of other thoughts with one another over lunch. I find it fascinating how cancer can unite people, and in a way it was like we were talking a common or shared language with each other.
After lunch I had the opportunity to spend some time with Ann and her family. I got to hear about the Halloween parade at her children's school. Mattie's school has a big parade for the kids, in which the children walk around the campus and display their costumes. Mattie did this during his kindergarten year, and absolutely loved it. I will never forget that day or the Halloween party that took place in his classroom. Life seemed so much simpler back then! I also went with Ann's children to pick out pumpkins today, which they carved tonight. It was lovely to see the excitement on their faces as they were picking out just the right pumpkin, and it reminded me of how Mattie would search and search until he found what he deemed the perfect pumpkin. I used to love pumpkins, but now I just feel totally indifferent to them and the holiday of Halloween. Most likely because without Mattie, this holiday seems non-existent to me. Later in the afternoon, I had the chance to have tea with Ann. We chatted about a bunch of different things, but at one point she told me that the kind of care I gave to Mattie was not only hard, but it was selfless, and amazing. These comments meant a lot to me, and I guess because of the simple fact that Mattie did die and he is no longer with me, that at times I do need this reassurance and positive feedback.
I also had a chance to see Mary, Ann's mom, this evening too, and I will get the chance to spend more time with her tomorrow, as we will be teaming up to give out Halloween candy at Ann's house. My joke with Mary is, that the two of us teaming up together could be a potentially scary experience for any trick or treater. I am joking naturally, but our combined feelings about the death of our sons makes for a very powerful force to be reckoned with.
This evening, Tamra, a fellow SSSAS mom, friend, and major Mattie supporter, invited me to the play, A Mid Summer Night's Dream at Mattie's school. It was a clever and witty performance, and I was very impressed with the teenagers who performed their roles with such humor, professionalism, and maturity. I appreciated Tamra's invitation, since I have always been a person who enjoys going to the theatre. I enjoyed her company and at the play I also had the opportunity to meet another young girl from Mattie's school who is battling cancer. It amazes me how many young people in our small community have been touched by cancer. Through helping Mattie, I have learned not to shy away from illness, but instead to embrace it, understand it, and to support those experiencing it.
I would like to end tonight's posting with a message from my friend, Charlie. Charlie wrote, "What you said about Mattie impacting everyone who knew him is true. You can certainly see that in these wonderful children like Campbell and Charlotte, who while they have had to deal with loss early in their lives in a very profound way, have become even more sensitive, thoughtful and loving as a result. I, like many others, have once again found myself reevaluating what am I doing with my life, my friends, my connections. For me this means stepping up and doing things I want to do but have been putting off for a better time. What if a better time doesn't come? Will these important things go undone and what effect will that have? I am thrilled that the foundation is on the way and I look forward to hearing about each milestone achieved. I remember sharing this with you at some earlier point but I will reflect on it again: in Judaism, when one does mitzvahs (good deeds) in someone's memory, they count twice, once for the person doing them and once for the person who died and can no longer do them him or herself. Reflect today on how many lovely deeds are done in Mattie's memory and may that give you some comfort."