Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation Promotional Video

Thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive!

Dear Mattie Blog Readers,

It means a great deal to us that you take the time to write to us and to share your thoughts, feelings, and reflections on Mattie's battle and death. Your messages are very meaningful to us and help support us through very challenging times. To you we are forever grateful. As my readers know, I promised to write the blog for a year after Mattie's death, which would mean that I could technically stop writing on September 9, 2010. However, at the moment, I feel like our journey with grief still needs to be processed and fortunately I have a willing support network still committed to reading. Therefore, the blog continues on. If I should find the need to stop writing, I assure you I will give you advanced notice. In the mean time, thank you for reading, thank you for having the courage to share this journey with us, and most importantly thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive.

As Mattie would say, Ooga Booga (meaning, I LOVE YOU)! Vicki and Peter

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation celebrates its 7th anniversary!

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation was created in the honor of Mattie.

We are a 501(c)(3) Public Charity. We are dedicated to increasing childhood cancer awareness, education, advocacy, research and psychosocial support services to children, their families and medical personnel. Children and their families will be supported throughout the cancer treatment journey, to ensure access to quality psychosocial and mental health care, and to enable children to cope with cancer so they can lead happy and productive lives. Please visit the website at: and take some time to explore the site.

We have only gotten this far because of people like yourself, who have supported us through thick and thin. So thank you for your continued support and caring, and remember:

.... Let's Make the Miracle Happen and Stomp Out Childhood Cancer!

A Remembrance Video of Mattie

January 23, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tonight's picture was taken in January of 2005. Mattie was about two and a half years old. By this stage, Mattie was in love with the bathtub, and he switched from a child deathly afraid of bath time to a child I couldn't get out of the tub. Baths could go on for over an hour, and therefore, I had to plan accordingly. With each bath, he would bring in cars, trucks, and other toys to play with. As you can see from this picture, there was a yellow rubber duckie in the tub with Mattie. This duck was on display at my baby shower, and as Mattie got older, he decided to claim all my baby shower ducks to play with. In fact, this duck still sits on my bathtub today. Somehow I don't have the heart to move it. This duck symbolizes my pregnancy with Mattie, and naturally it reminds me of all the times he played and had fun in the tub. That is the problem, each thing I keep has a story and a meaning to it, and therefore parting with Mattie's things seem impossible to me.  

Quote of the day: Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind. ~ Marcel Proust

Well if this quote is true, then Peter and I are developing incredible cognitive powers! Early this morning, Peter went for a walk on Roosevelt Island. I would like to report that I went with him, but I did not. Early and cold are NOT my two favorite words. When Peter returned, he showed me some wonderful pictures he took on the Island of woodpeckers. In addition, it is during these quiet walks, I know that Peter reflects on Mattie and our times together. Peter told me that while walking today, he reflected on the fact that Mattie has in a way planted thousands of seeds, and at all times of the year (not unlike plants), these seeds grow and produce beautiful flowers. In Mattie's case the beautiful flowers are not literal, instead the seeds Mattie planted get harvested as friendships and acts of kindness by those around us. We saw this in full bloom yesterday at Mattie's favorite restaurant, when the general manager conveyed to us how Mattie touched his life, and how he plans on supporting our Foundation Walk. When we sit back and see all the seeds Mattie planted in seven short years, we find that we have to stop, pause, and smile, because it means Mattie has impacted many lives and as a result it is in these friendships and kind acts that Mattie's life is captured and forever remembered. When you lose a child, healing is NOT about forgetting, it is ALWAYS about remembering. On our quest to find a future, Peter and I find it imperative to know that Mattie's life and death served a purpose, and we are reminded of this purpose, when we see the essence of our special son reflected in the thoughts and feelings of others.

I never ventured out today, but our bird feeder kept us entertained for portions of the day. We have flocks of birds who visit us daily, and as you can see Peter took some pictures of the hundreds of sparrows stopping by to eat. Watching their behaviors can be fascinating, especially since they do not travel alone. They travel and swoop down in handfuls. As you can see we had sparrows everywhere!

I love this photo that Peter took because he captured the crazy dynamics we see all the time. Notice one sparrow pecking at the other on the upper left hand side of this picture. They all fight for a place on the feeder, and some are more aggressive about getting their needs met.

In the midst of this feeding frenzy, guess who was watching all of this very carefully?! Our cat, Patches. Patches at times charges the window and would love to get her paws on a bird of two. Naturally she can't, but the sparrows keep her busy and engaged! Patches is 14 years old, which is old for a cat, and has all sorts of physical ailments. Yet she still has an incredible cat instinct to chase anything that moves.

I received two lovely e-mails today. One that came to me all the way from Australia. I told Bern (short for Bernadette), that I am honored to know that Mattie's blog has made it on the other side of the world from us. In Bern's email, she mentions a seven year old girl, Mikayla, in Victoria, Australia who recently lost her battle to cancer. However, if you should click on the link below and see the photos from this child's funeral, you may be a bit surprised. I know I was! So much so that I wrote back to Bern a couple of times. What caught my attention was at the funeral, Mikayla's casket was carried on a horse drawn processional throughout the city. There were police directing traffic, and people were lining the streets blowing bubbles and paying their respects to this child and her family. In the United States, or at least in Washington, DC, to get a horse drawn carriage funeral procession would imply that you were a person of significance and notoriety. The average citizen doesn't get such a funeral. So naturally I was confused when I saw Mikayla's funeral pictures. She wasn't a dignitary, she was a seven year old child. However, here is the beauty in this from my perspective. What Victoria, Australia was saying by having such a ceremony was that Mikayla was important, and what made her important was the sheer fact that she was a member of her community. A community that wanted to support her and show her that even in her death, she will always be remembered and cherished. I was deeply moved by this expression of community love and by Mikayla's thoughts and wishes before she died.

Bern wrote, "Hi Vicki, apropos of your blog posts these past two days, on the subject of Mattie being forgotten - I think both you and Peter have already ensured he will not be, not just by setting up the Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation, but by letting people into your lives, and sharing your thoughts and feelings with them through your blog, and otherwise. Down here in Victoria, Australia, we have spent recent months following the story of a little girl called Mikayla, who passed away from cancer not long before Christmas. Her heart-rending wish was that she would never be forgotten. This theme was picked up by the newspapers, so a whole lot of people got involved to ensure that this wish of hers would come true. I didn't bring this to your attention at the time, but after your comments on the subject of being forgotten, thought you may possibly be interested in hearing Mikayla's story, as she was of a similar age to Mattie and while I've never met Mattie, his personality sounds such that I can imagine him having a similar wish."

Information about Mikayla's life:
The second message was sent to me by a close friend of my sister-in-law's. While I was raising Mattie, my sister-in-law would talk to me about Lesley. Mainly because we were both raising only children, and our boys were very much alike. It wasn't until Mattie actually developed cancer, that Lesley and I started writing to each other, and the first time I met her was when she came down from Boston for the day to attend Mattie's funeral. I will never forget meeting Lesley in person, because I was so touched that she would travel all that way just to hug me at Mattie's funeral. Lesley wrote, "I just read the blog. I am someone that you do not really know and your story has impacted my life in every way. The power and honesty in your writing has made many people pause and reflect on what is important. I am very aware of the similarities in our family structure and from your writing, Mattie and Max were from the same mold. With that mold, I can imagine the relationship you and Peter had individually with him. I also understand the " three" dynamic.... It is incredibly intense and special. My husband and I have spoken about what you have faced, the strength you have as a couple, but also how one forms a future. We have also had the same questions as the manager of the restaurant, " Could we go on?" In all honesty, I do not know my answer. I just know that it would be impossible to "move on" or "feel better now." I think your ability to face each day and swim through it is amazing. The way you have given back to a horrible disease that took so much from you is admirable. My thoughts continuing to be with you and Peter."

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