Mattie Miracle 2021 Walk was a $125,000 success!

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

May 14, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2007 at Zachary's house (Mattie's closest preschool buddy). Sara, who was Zachary's nanny at the time, had a baby, and she brought the baby over for Mattie and Zachary to meet. This was Mattie's first encounter with a baby. It was actually quite interesting to watch two very active boys slow down and be gentle with the baby. Almost as if they knew they had to behave differently. I remember that day so well, as if it were yesterday. Mattie and I were very fond of Sara, and we got to know each other well since we basically spent many preschool days after school together. Those were precious days and times, and I am not sure I realized that at the time.

Quote of the day: It seems the misfortune of one can plow a deeper furrow in the heart than the misfortune of millions. ~ Kirby Larson

Peter and I had a productive day together. We accomplished several Foundation Walk tasks and then we stopped by to see our friend, Christine, who is in charge of Walk registration. Registration is a huge task and requires a lot of organization. We delivered several large boxes today to Christine, and I told her I was moving my warehouse into her house. She is sorting through t-shirts, drawstring bags, and carabiner clips for us and by next week, will have it all organized and ready to distribute at the Walk. I am thrilled to get these items off my hands and into hers. All of Christine's family is helping with registration, and her two little ones are even involved in the process.

While talking with Christine today, her daughter was in the kitchen with us and listening. Ironically both Peter and I had the same reaction. Which was.....Livi, Christine's daughter, reminded us of Mattie.  It was how she was listening and taking all the information in, and observing us. You could see she was engaged and processing what was going on, and as Peter said tonight, it caught him by surprise. Because he had to face the fact that he has led two lives, one as a parent, and one as a non-parent. 

Peter took some pictures outside today. This first one was taken on our deck. You can see the big sun and moon wind chime here which I bought this week. Somehow this chime reminds me of Mattie.

Peter planted these lilies in our commons area, and today they opened up and I was stunned to see their beautiful red color!

I love growing all sorts of plants, but NOT roses. I have never had luck growing a solitary rose. However, Peter cultivates roses and as you can see they are growing beautifully!

Later today, we went to Clyde's, which was Mattie's favorite restaurant. As many of our readers know, Clyde's is donating food to the Mattie Miracle Walk. In fact, I am working closely with Rebecca Jacks at Clyde's, who is their executive chef. Rebecca told me yesterday that not only is she going to prepare the food, but she is coming to the walk to actually cook it and serve it herself. So today, when I went to the restaurant, I asked the hostess if Rebecca was working. Rebecca came out from the kitchen and met Peter and I. I told her how much Mattie loved her food and her restaurant and how much her participation meant to us. She is delightful and clearly is passionate about volunteering. She made an impression on me, and when she also gave me dessert today, well she won my heart. I am all about sugar!

I would like to end tonight's posting with a message from my friend and colleague, Lisa, and then with a video clip. Lisa wrote, "I have not read the blog in several days and was amazed to read about all of your accomplishments. Of course you know that I am an outsider looking in, but I feel a certain energy emanating from the blog. What you have and continue to accomplish is beyond noteworthy. It may not matter, but I am so proud of you, Vicki. I don't know if hardy and resilient are the right words but how lucky the world is to have you. Good luck on the 22nd. I hope that you have a turnout that amazes YOU and Peter."

I received this video clip the other day in my inbox. It is a very meaningful video, in which a teacher asks her young students what the seven wonders of the world are. You may be quite surprised by the response. Sometimes children are much wiser than we give them credit for. Enjoy!

May 13, 2011

Google Blogger Shut Down

Thursday, May 12, 2011 AND Friday, May 13, 2011

NOTE: Google Blogger, which hosts Mattie's blog, had technical issues yesterday. The service was shut down for at least 12 hours, which is why I was unable to post last night.

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2007. Mattie and Peter ventured on a rowboat together on the Potomac River. As you can see Mattie caught a catfish while fishing, and by his smile you can tell he was proud of his catch. Peter snapped a quick picture, and then as they always did, they threw the fish right back in the water. Peter and Mattie liked their time together on the water, and on occasion, I would join them. While along with them, Mattie would try to instruct me on how to hold a fishing pole and he would tell me about his special technique for catching fish. He took great pleasure in knowing something in which I had no clue about!

Quote of the day: You incorporate the loss into the inner landscape of who you are. ~ unknown

It was another busy day filled with Walk tasks to complete. Thursday afternoon, I met up with Peter and we both headed to Capitol Hill to visit with Ray Thorn, Health Legislative Assistant, in Rep. Chris Van Hollen's (D-MD) office and Laura Bunten, Health Legislative Assistant, in Rep. Mike McCaul's (R-TX) office.

Peter and I met Ray Thorn in March of 2010 (only six months after Mattie died) when we attended CureSearch's Advocacy Day on the Hill. Peter and I, along with at least 12 other people had a meeting that day with Ray to discuss CureSearch's advocacy agenda. In the meeting, we all went around and introduced ourselves to Ray. As I was talking, I could feel that Ray was really listening to what I was saying and felt deeply hurt that Peter and I had lost Mattie so tragically. He also commended us for visiting the Hill and trying to make a difference, only six months after Mattie died. I immediately liked Ray when we met him, despite being in a room full of other parents telling their story, I felt like he was able to hear all of our stories and appreciate each message. Which isn't easy to do with such a big group!

When Peter and I began working with Brett Thompson (Managing Director with Mercury, a high-stakes public strategy firm who has taken us on as a pro-bono client) we suggested to Brett that we would like to go back and visit with Ray Thorn. So in February of 2011, we met Ray for a second time. Ray remembered meeting Peter and I almost 11 months prior! When we told Ray the reason for our visit and the importance of psychosocial support for children and their families with cancer, he got the relevance and need immediately.

For the last four months we have been working closely with Ray, and thanks to the wonderful guidance of Brett Thompson, on May 10, 2011, a House Resolution was introduced that we helped to draft. The resolution is a FIRST of its kind that specifically addresses the need to raise awareness, improve education, and encourage research and treatment of the psychosocial needs of children, adolescents, and young adults diagnosed with a childhood cancer and their families.

We had the pleasure today to visit with Ray and with Laura Bunten and to express our great appreciation for their time, skills, and efforts. Ray really helped champion our cause and has faith in our Foundation's mission and in us. Peter and I are both saddened that after eight years in Rep. Van Hollen's office, Ray is leaving. Tomorrow is his last day! I am happy for Ray and for the opportunities ahead of him, but from our perspective the connection we made with him was very special and we greatly appreciate the fact that he worked so hard to get this Resolution introduced by his boss before he left his position.

Peter and I then went to visit with Laura Bunten in Rep. McCaul's office. Rep. McCaul is an original co-signer of the psychosocial Resolution and his office's support is deeply appreciated by us. To our amazement, we learned that Laura too is leaving her position in June to attend law school. So these are big changes for us and in essence the pediatric cancer advocacy world.

I included three links below that maybe of interest to you. The first link is to a press release regarding the Resolution. The second link is an overview of Resolution (H.Res 262), and the third link is the full text of the Resolution. H.Res 262 has been introduced in the House and it certainly has a way to travel before it gets passed, but it is a major first step that acknowledges the importance of understanding, treating, and researching the psychological and social issues of childhood cancer! Peter and I are very grateful to Ray and Laura, and our Mercury team.... Thanks Brett and Greg!

Press Release:

Overview of the Resolution:

Full text of the Resolution:

I would like to end tonight's posting with a message from my friend and colleague. Nancy wrote, "Bravo!!!!!!!!!! The work that you are doing is so valuable and necessary. Mattie's life and death has created the energy needed to accomplish this most humane circle of care and support. Luda and others are committed to the Foundation because of the excellent preparation by Peter and you. As you must have done in your classroom, you give 120%. You do set high standards for yourself, sometimes, that is a concern as you judge yourself too harshly. It is these high standards that are bringing such important results. Mattie has given you some very special friends. He has some very special friends. When I read about Zachary, Campbell, and Ann's Abbie, all of them exhibit such poise and consideration beyond their years. It is a way to see the world as positive even when some results are so painful and devastating. I look forward to reading tonight's blog to learn of your news. I hope that you are feeling a bit better physically. I know that you viewed the tightening of your speech for next week as daunting. What I also know is you will capture the essence of what is needed in whatever time you have been allowed. You will be able to communicate to the doctors what is needed for their patients during difficult procedures and circumstances. I am so proud of you."

May 11, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2007. Mattie went to visit his preschool buddy one weekend, and their next door neighbor had the sprinkler going. It did not take Mattie long to run over to it and jump right in. He was absolutely soaked and loved it. I am so happy he had these fun, spontaneous, and unprogrammed moments.

Quote of the day: One often calms one's grief by recounting it. ~ Pierre Corneille

There is one thing I have concluded, the Foundation has become my full time work. There is no way I could accomplish all that I am doing now, if I were balancing other things. As the Walk approaches, I can easily work a 12 hour day, if not more. It becomes all consuming! This year's Walk I feel is a direct reflection of me and therefore, I set expectations for myself that are sometimes hard to reach. However, my motivating force is always Mattie, and ultimately helping children and their families. The Walk is NOT about me or how I appear. It is about raising money to help children psychologically and emotionally at Georgetown University Hospital. Specifically to raise funds for the childlife department at Georgetown. Childlife was our saving grace, as it is for SO many other children and their families. Regardless of how well or poorly the medical treatment is going when battling cancer, there are always psychological ramifications for the patient and the entire family. Childlife specialists assist children and their families in extraordinary ways, and I experienced this first hand with Linda (Mattie's childlife specialist). Going through chemotherapy, procedures, surgeries, and hospital stays are hard to adjust to, and yet though these things are medically mandatory they come at a price. Treating a child with cancer must be a holistic process, because the psychological needs and concerns of a child are just as valid and important to address as irradicating the cells growing out of control in the body. It is impossible to treat one without the other. This may sound like a very simple and intuitive concept, yet not all medical doctors embrace what I am saying.

When Mattie was in kindergarten, each Tuesday (ironically it was a Tuesday!), his school had chapel. Parents were invited each week to chapel, and I went because I wanted to see Mattie and hear what he was learning about. I also enjoy observing others and understanding my environment, so chapel gave me the opportunity to do this. Each Tuesday, I sat between two moms. One was Junko and the other was Luda. Ironically they have both become my friends, despite the fact that I no longer attend the school. Sitting together and chatting each week was a bonding force for us.

This morning I met Luda at her company, ABC Imaging ( For the past two Walks we have held, Luda and her husband graciously produced our posters at NO cost to us. Their work is top quality and always looks professional. This year I contacted Luda again, but my request for this year's Walk was MUCH larger. I expected her to say that she would cover a portion of it and the Foundation would pay for the rest. Not only did she not say this, but she sat down with me and one of her graphic designers, and together we worked through all my poster needs. For those of you in attendance at the Walk this year, you have a real treat in store for you around the track. I haven't mentioned this project I have been working on, because I honestly did not know if I could even pull it off. The theme for this year's Walk is Faces of Hope, and what better way to understand this than to see pictures of childhood cancer survivors? Thanks to families that I reached out to personally, I captured 22 beautiful faces to share with walkers this year. To me their faces say it all, and are wonderful reminders for why we walk and why we work hard at raising money to help these children and their families in a meaningful way. As a person who is technically challenged, it was VERY helpful to be sitting next to Luda's technology person and talking to him live about the end products I wanted printed out. It was a very productive meeting followed by Luda and I having lunch together and reconnecting. Again, here is another example of the wonderful connections Mattie helped to make for me. Peter and I are very grateful to Luda and Medi for their generous support.

Later on this evening, Peter and I went out to dinner with Jerry and Nancy. My faithful readers know that Jerry and Nancy are the hospital musical duo that go door to door in the pediatric wards entertaining the children and their families. In fact, we met Jerry and Nancy on the first week Mattie began chemotherapy. I will never forget them. Our world was spinning all around us, and yet they came in and brought us music, and made us forget for just a few minutes that cancer had taken over our lives. We had a fun dinner tonight, and Peter got to share some of his adventures with all of us in Bangladesh and Kenya. I learned tonight that on Peter's last day in Bangladesh, he was asked to sign training certificates for all attendees. However he did not only provide each person with a certificate, but they wanted their individual pictures taken with Peter. A picture of him handing them a certificate and shaking hands. I found this whole dialogue fascinating and touching. However, as we continued talking, it began quite clear that I could have never done the kind of traveling Peter did. He is much more adventuresome, sturdy, and courageous than I. Everyone at the table tonight got a kick out of hearing us banter back and forth about this!

I leave you all tonight with a thought...... stay tuned for tomorrow's posting. We have wonderful news from a psychosocial legislative standpoint to share with you!

May 10, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 -- Mattie died 87 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2007 at Roosevelt Island. As you can see it was raining and Mattie came prepared with his Lightning McQueen umbrella. I still recall buying this umbrella with him. He loved Lightning McQueen, and between Peter and I, we must have seen the movie, Cars, 200 times with Mattie.

Quote of the day: There are places in the heart that do not yet exist; suffering has to enter in for them to come to be. ~ Leon Bloy

Despite not feeling well, I did get up and out today. I even walked three miles. But you shouldn't confuse my walking with feeling well. Sometimes I walk because it helps take my mind off how I am feeling. I spent a good portion of the afternoon finalizing raffle items for the walk. In fact, I decided to give you a picture display of what we have been working on. I think the pictures and items speak for themselves. In fact, when I attended a Georgetown Hospital parent advisory board meeting tonight, the chair of the board let everyone know that she was very impressed with our raffle, and hasn't seen another come close to it. I was very touched by her sentiments, because it has been a solicitation challenge, and the coordination of this is cumbersome. Which is why, for me, it is important to have a raffle coordinator I can get along with and is flexible with my demands. Take a look at our 10 packages! Tickets for these items are being sold on-line, and on the day of the event. You do not have to be present at the walk to win! For tickets, please visit:

Annapolis Sailing Excursion

Sail Away for a fabulous day on the bay aboard the Windemere – a 39’ sailboat docked in Annapolis. Day sail is for up to 4 people for 4-6 hours and can be scheduled for week/weekend day this summer
(excluding Memorial Day Weekend, July 4th Weekend and June 12-20).

Around Town Gift Basket

Enjoy all that our area has to offer with this variety of gift certificates from local restaurants, vendors, and 2 tickets to Wicked the Musical on June 18, 2011 at 1:30pm. Also included are a custom portrait by the renowned Jeff Lubin Portrait Studio and a salon package from one of DC's top spots, Molecule Salon.

Washington Capitals Fan Pack

A Caps enthusiast’s dream – a fabulous collection of Caps Memorabilia and Autographs! And, get ready to cheer them on to victory in the 2011-2012 season with 2 sets of tickets to 2 home games (dates determined by winner and donor)!

Kenny Chesney Tickets

Calling all Country Music Fans – Enjoy 2 tickets to the SOLD OUT Kenny Chesney Concert on June 4, 2011, 4:30pm, at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.


Clyde’s Star Spangled Basket

This basket includes all you will need to host your own summer “lobstah” feast and then treat yourself to another fabulous feast with $200 in Clyde’s Coins!

Washington Nationals Tickets

Enjoy a night out at Nationals Stadium – June 22 – first pitch at 7:05pm – when the Nationals take on the Seattle Mariners. Game package includes 4 Diamond Level seats with parking and “all you can eat” in Diamond Club or Diamond Club Seats! Nats collectibles included.

Pamper Me Package

Everything the “Lady of the House” needs to feel relaxed and pampered – from a day at the spa (certificates to ALL 3: Serenity Day Spa, Elizabeth Arden's Red Door, and Sugar House Day Spa) to some special items just for her!

Red Sox Fanatics Package

For all of the displaced Red Sox Fans out there – enjoy this package of collectible Red Sox Gear along with two Club Box tickets to the Monday, July 18, 7:05pm, game vs. the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.

Summer Fun Basket

The Dog Days of Summer are just around the corner – and this item has everything you will need to keep the entire family entertained and excited all summer long –
including St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School Summer Camp, Nats Tickets (August 23, 7:05pm, Diamond Club Seats), Amusement Parks, and so much more!

Collectible Lego Systems

Expand your LEGO® collections with a 4000 piece Tower Bridge system, Star Wars systems, Indiana Jones systems, and several other highly collectible items too!

This evening, I headed to Georgetown University Hospital for a parent advisory board meeting. After the meeting, we had a rehearsal for the presentation three of us will be giving at the Medical Grand Rounds next Friday. I spent weeks working on a speech, but it is hard for me to tell Mattie's story and messages learned in 10 minutes. So my 30 minute speech needs to be cut down to 10 minutes. Not an easy thing for me, since in my book everything I am saying is important. Visiting the hospital on a Tuesday is particularly challenging, and then factor into it that where the board meeting was tonight, was a waiting room in the pediatric cardiology department. A waiting room I recall being in with Mattie several times. It was eerie tonight, because as I looked around the waiting room, I remembered all the toys and tables. As if Mattie was still there. So it was a long and emotionally draining day. A day which acknowledges week 87 of Mattie's passing.

I would like to end tonight's posting with a message from Mattie's oncologist and our friend, Kristen. As so many of you know, Kristen writes to us each Tuesday in memory of Mattie's death. Kristen wrote, "Thinking of you today. Planning to be at the walk next Sunday...I am looking forward to seeing the culmination of all of your efforts! Thinking of you this Tuesday and everyday."

May 9, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2007. As you can see, there was a lot going on, on our deck. Mattie had an inflatable pool that took up a 1/3 of the deck space, we had Patches sitting on the sandbox, and all of us eating together outside. Thank goodness we had those special moments and that we also captured them in pictures.

Quote of the day: The sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other organs weep. ~ Henry Maudsley

I began my day by sifting through emails. In my inbox, I was sent a video clip entitled, If I Had My Child to Raise Again. The title actually caught my attention and I therefore clicked on the link. I actually found the video very touching and very meaningful, and it cuts to the chase about life. The true meaning and joy in life is not about doing, competing, or completing tasks. It is about the sincere and genuine connections we make with others. Especially our children. You only have one opportunity to raise your child, so the video in essence asks you how you want to spend that time. Do you want to spend it looking at your watch running from one activity to the next, or do you want to spend the time really watching your children grow? Needless to say, for me, who no longer actively raises a child, this video resonated with me. Because I know all too well, through Mattie's death, that what I remember and what is important was not the things accomplished or achieved, but the connections and lessons we learned together. I have gained a much clearer perspective on life and its priorities, one of which I try to write about or reflect upon each day here. I hope you find this video as powerful as I did! Click on the link to see the video:

Today was a busy day. I stayed up to around 2am doing Foundation Walk plans, and then thanks to Patches she had me up by 7am. I accomplished a lot in terms of tasks, and while out, I even bumped into one of the preschool teachers at Mattie's school. The irony is she said she was thinking of me today, and then all of a sudden there I was! Mattie was never in this teacher's classroom, and therefore I haven't had the opportunity to spend much time with her. But we are changing that by meeting next week for coffee/tea.

I jumped around from one place to another today, and finally later in the afternoon, went home to do more work. Peter came home earlier today because he is wiped out and still on another time zone. I found him sitting on our deck working on his computer with the cat right next to him and one of Mattie's fountains bubbling in the background. It was wonderful to hear the fountain going again, and despite all the chores I did today, I found the time to buy a string of outdoor summer lights and a beautiful sun and moon wind chime to appreciate. We put both of these items up on our deck tonight after having dinner outside.

Despite my productivity, I started not feeling well again this afternoon. This particular feeling makes me absolutely crazy, because it is an indescribable pain. A type of pain where nothing makes you feel good or comfortable. Tomorrow evening I have a dress rehearsal at Georgetown University Hospital to prepare for the Grand Rounds on May 20. I am actually happy we are doing this, because when speaking to a crowd it is nice to understand the space and the equipment ahead of time.

May 8, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011 -- Second Mother's Day without Mattie

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007, on Mother's Day. Peter and Mattie took me out for lunch and as you can see, Mattie was crossing his arms over his heart to indicate his love for me. I am living proof of the fact that it isn't only FIRST holidays that are challenging after a loss. It is really all holidays. Mother's day is a bittersweet occasion and it is simply hard to believe the cutie in this picture is no longer with us.

Quote of the day: A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. ~ Washington Irving

To all my readers who are mothers, I hope you had a lovely Mother's Day. As Washington Irving's quote indicates, motherhood is usually a life long commitment and one that provides undying love. A mother's job is a tiring, relentless, draining, unpaid, and many times thankless one. However, when you see your children happy, healthy, and developing, you know that it is all worth it. In fact, nurturing a child maybe one of life's greatest gifts, and though each day provides its own challenges, don't forget how lucky you are because as I have experienced, happiness and your child can change or disappear in an instant.

I woke up today at a normal hour. NOT at 4am! Patches is thrilled to have Peter home, and with his arrival, her anxieties have subsided. I was greeted this morning by these beautiful orange/pink roses. A color Mattie would have approved of. Throughout the day, I received emails and text messages. I thank all of you for thinking of me and reaching out.

My friend, Tina, wrote to me today, and just like on Easter, she presented me with a whole bunch of ideas and things to do together. I think the greatest gift a friend can give you is to be included in his/her life. I appreciate Tina's kindness, and I am awaiting her report about the ice cream flavor of the day. She and I enjoy going for ice cream together, and one of the shops we visit had a feature flavor today called "Breakfast in Bed." We joked back and forth about what that actual flavor was, and based on its title, we thought about bacon and maple syrup. I honestly can't picture breakfast foods as ice cream, which is why I can't wait to hear the verdict!

As I told my blog readers last night, my friend Christine gave me a gift yesterday. She told me I couldn't open it until today. So I abided by her wishes. When I opened up the card today, I quickly realized the gift was NOT from Christine. Instead it was a mother's day present from her two children. Christine's son, Campbell, was one of Mattie's closest kindergarten friends, and Campbell and Livi (his sister) wanted me to know that not only was Mattie their friend, but so am I. Campbell and Livi painted a ceramic cupcake for me, and as you can see the frosting is Mattie's favorite color, red. As so many of you know, Mattie loved cupcakes and I used them in the hospital as incentives for him to participate in physical therapy. So this cupcake has many meanings! Inside the ceramic cupcake, they placed shells and rocks, things that Mattie loved to collect, and they also signed the inside of the cupcake! As I told Christine, I was deeply touched that they thought of me on Mother's Day. One of the things I miss is receiving things from a child, I miss Mattie's cards, the art, and the extraneous rocks, sticks, and leaves! Receiving a gift from a child means something to me. To me such gifts are to be cherished, and they are symbols of the relationships Mattie created, which continue to live on.

It would have been very easy for me to stay in my pajamas today and work on Foundation materials all day. However, Peter wanted us to get out, walk, get fresh air and spend time together. It was a rough evening and morning, because certain things just triggered tears. Peter's mother's day card started my crying again today. It is, simply stated, a hard realization not to have Mattie around.

Peter and I went for a walk on Roosevelt Island. Parking there was a major problem today. Mainly because the weather was lovely and everyone wanted to be there. I really thought we were not going to be able to park the car, but then I forgot I was with a Bostonian, who has no trouble creating his own parking space!

While walking the Island, I showed Peter where I planted forget me not seeds on Mattie's birthday in April. We then talked about some of Mattie's favorite spots on the Island. However, to my surprise, I saw hundreds of yellow irises. I have walked on this Island so many times, and each spring I am amazed by all the greenery that unfurls after a long winter. But I do not recall ever seeing these wonderful irises. For me this was a first.

I would like to end tonight's posting with three items. The first is a message from my mom, entitled, A Mother for All Seasons. Following this message is an article written by Bombeck entitled, Mothers Who Have Lost a Child, and finally you will read a message I received today from Ann, a nurse and a daily mattiebear blog reader. Ann and I have never met each other.

A Mother for All Seasons by Virginia R. Sardi

Your instincts as a mother have always been pure and true and Mattie derived many benefits from living his seven years on earth under your guidance experiencing the fullest measure of what it meant to be a treasured son. With love surrounding him in every caring motherly gesture that came so naturally to you, you acted with a God given sense of urgency that gave him a special bond to you from infancy all the way to his development as a little boy that made his spirit soar with ecstasy in the good times and carried him through his trials and tribulations he was to experience in the bad times. You knew he was a gift to you from the start and appreciated the precious moments to be shared with him. For wise beyond your years, you understood that life was to be lived in the moment and not saved for some future time that might never be. In communicating how much motherhood meant to you, Mattie’s life had meaning and substance while he was alive and now that he is gone, his life remains a symbol of hope, courage and strength for those of us left behind to ponder how to put into practice the lessons we have learned from the heartache of your loss. Vicki you are a remarkable mother for all seasons and for all reasons because you gave your all and unburdened your soul in telling the story of Mattie’s illness and death. In so doing, your readers who are mothers have come to rely on you and your advice to try to become the best mothers they can be. Happy Mother's Day!


A year ago, I received an article in the mail from my colleague and friend, Denise. I found this column so meaningful that I kept Denise's letter, so that I could post "Mothers Who Have Lost a Child" on Mother's Day. I read this column again today, and I commend the late Erma Bombeck who had the where with all to understand that Mother's Day isn't always a happy occasion for all of us. For many of the moms out there who are reading this tonight who have lost a child, I am thinking of you and I hope you find some meaning in this article

Mothers Who Have Lost a Child - May 14, 1995 by Erma Bombeck

If you're looking for an answer this Mother's day on why God reclaimed your child, I don't know. I only know that thousands of mothers out there today desperately need an answer as to why they were permitted to go through the elation of carrying a child and then lose it to miscarriage, accident, violence, disease or drugs.

Motherhood isn't just a series of contractions, it's a state of mind. From the moment we know life is inside us, we feel a responsibility to protect and defend that human being. It's a promise we can't keep. We beat ourselves to death over that pledge. "If I hadn't worked through the eighth month." "If I had taken him to the doctor when he had a fever." "If I hadn't let him use the car that night." "If I hadn't been so naive. I'd have noticed he was on drugs."

The longer I live, the more convinced I become that surviving changes us. After the bitterness, the anger, the guilt, and the despair are tempered by time, we look at life differently.

While I was writing my book, I want to Grow Hair, I Want to Grow Up, I Want to Go to Boise, I talked with mothers who had lost a child to cancer. Every single one said death gave their lives new meaning and purpose. And who do you think prepared them for the rough, lonely road they had to travel? Their dying child. They pointed their mothers toward the future and told them to keep going. The children had already accepted what their mothers were fighting to reflect.

The children in the bombed-out nursery in Oklahoma City have touched more lives than they will ever know. Workers who had probably given their kids a mechanical pat on the head without thinking that morning are making calls home during the day to their children to say, "I love you."

This may seem like a strange Mother's Day column on a day when joy and life abound for the millions of mothers throughout the country. But it's also a day of appreciation and respect. I can think of no mothers who deserve it more than those who had to give a child back.

In the face of adversity, we are not permitted to ask, "why me?" You can ask, but you won't get an answer. Maybe you are the instrument who is left behind to perpetuate the life that was lost and appreciate the time you had with it.

The late Gilda Radner summed it up well: "I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned the hard way that some poems don't rhyme and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what is going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity."


This message was sent to me today from a daily blog reader, who happens to be a nurse. Ann wrote, "I have been meaning to write for a while but obviously haven't so I thought today would be a good day to let you know that I am thinking of you and Happy Mother's Day. Even though Mattie is no longer here you are his mother so I think saying Happy Mother's Day seems appropriate. There are a few things that I wanted to write to you about. First, several weeks ago you wrote that you were curious as to who still read your blog. I wanted to let you know that I read the blog everyday. I find you words to be so powerful. You make me want to be a better person, a better mom, a better health care provider, and to be more involved with people around me, to live in the moment and be appreciative of everything I have. You truly are an inspirational person. So for this I thank you.  Another thing that I wanted to write to you about was your talk for the medical staff at Georgetown. I just wanted you to know that I believe that you are going to give a tremendous / invaluable talk to that community. And that your words will have an impact on the care that they will provide in the future."