Mattie Miracle 10th Anniversary Walk was an $119,000 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: www.mattiemiracle.com 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

June 4, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2008, weeks before Mattie was diagnosed with cancer. We took Mattie to the DC Aquatic Gardens. Each July the garden has a breathtaking display of water lilies. These water lilies are part of the natural terrain of the gardens, it isn't a special exhibit brought in. However in July the garden is transformed because every water lily is in bloom. It is an extraordinary sight, and I can see why Claude Monet was intrigued by water lilies and painted a series of them. Though Mattie's eyes are closed in this picture, he seems to be absorbing the sun, right along side the water lilies. I also love the fact that despite going to the gardens and walking around, notice what was in Mattie's left hand. A toy car! I used to have toy cars in my purse, in my car, all over our home, and rest assured wherever Mattie went a toy car was usually with us.

Quote of the day: (On grief) And you do come out of it, that’s true. After a year, after five. But you don’t come out of it like a train coming out of a tunnel, bursting through the downs into sunshine and that swift, rattling descent to the Channel; you come out of it as a gull comes out of an oil-slick. You are tarred and feathered for life. ~ Julian Barnes


I woke up this morning to this sight. Peter was up and washing his car. That may sound like a chore, but for Peter who works a 12 hour day Monday through Friday, couped up in an office, being outside, and having an opportunity to do outdoor things is actually very needed.
While talking to Peter from the deck as he was washing his car, I happened to see a BUNNY, hopping up the neighbor's driveway. It isn't the best picture, but that brown bundle at the edge of the driveway heading to the bushes was my morning bunny sighting.
This afternoon we headed into the town of Bethany and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend their annual craft fair. It was well done, with vendors in tents all along the boardwalk and main avenue. I particularly fell in love with the locally made pottery and local jewelers who make their own stunning pieces out of sterling silver and glass. I had the opportunity to talk to several of the vendors and learn more about their craft. As I was purchasing some pieces, I was listening to a wonderful quartet playing music in the bandstand. The musicians were in their early 70's and they were wearing red vests and bow ties. They were very talented and captured the attention of all ages. However, they began playing Louis Armstrong's song, What a Wonderful World (click on this link to listen to the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIdbroOLvhw&feature=related) and the song made me very sad. In fact, I began crying while hearing it.

The interesting thing about an intense loss, is that it never leaves your side. You carry it with you, it colors every aspect of your world, thoughts, and feelings. Sometimes it appears that things are fine for a griever, but then in a split second, everything can change. Sadness can take over, at even the slightest and more innocuous of triggers. Louis Armstrong's song is NOT connected to Mattie and I in any way. But it was the words of the song that caught my heart and mind. In particular, the following lyrics: "I hear babies cry, I watch them grow," was overwhelming to me. Most people will not know first hand, thankfully, the pain of losing a child to cancer, and though I struggle each day to find new meaning and purpose in my life, there are times like today when I reflect on the fact that this is NOT a wonderful world. Any world where pediatric cancer exists and consumes children and their families, is NOT a good world. So you can imagine with me being in this emotional state, I wasn't the best of company today.

The other troubling thing about grieve is it doesn't go on vacation when you do! It exists and is ever present, even when I am surrounded by beauty and the serenity of the beach. This evening, Peter and I went for a walk on the beach. On the way to the beach, I passed my favorite garden, and right in and amongst the plants was a bunny. You can see him to the left of the green lantern. He blends in beautifully with his terrain!
There was A LOT going on at the beach at 5pm! As you can see there was a wedding taking place. I have heard of weddings by the beach, but never actually saw one.
It is certainly an ideal spot for a wedding and frankly though that caught my attention, the wedding really wasn't what was so captivating about tonight's visit to the beach. As we were approaching the beach, I swear it sounded like it was raining over the ocean. I could hear the pitter pattering of something, or almost like a rhythmic hand clapping. It was NONE of these things. Instead, it was hundreds of tiny fish jumping out of the water. Why? Because dolphins were herding these fish to shore, and the fish were jumping out of the water so they wouldn't get eaten. It was a sight beyond description.

Naturally when fish are jumping out of the water, you expect birds of prey, like osprey, to be on the scene. I saw this osprey come swooping in, dove into the water, and literally grabbed a fish right out of the water. You can see the fish hanging from this birds talons. Also notice in the water what looks like little waves. These are NOT waves, these are fish jumping!!!

The osprey has a wingspan of 5-6 feet, and having this bird fly over my head made an impression on me.
Tonight I saw the cycle or law of nature happen right before my eyes, and it made me pause with intrigue.

June 3, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2008, at Mattie's end of the year Kindergarten party. Pictured on either side of Mattie were his two closest kindergarten friends, Charlotte and Campbell. I am very aware of the fact that Mattie's friends have just completed another school year. Today was the last day of school, and if Mattie were alive he would have completed third grade. In so many ways the beginning of summer vacation is troubling to me. It seems to signal in a profound way who is missing from our lives. It is hard to rationalize that Mattie died, and yet everyone around us continues to thrive and live their lives. When I look at this picture, Mattie seemed so happy and was bookended by two wonderful friends. I am lucky I volunteered that day at Mattie's school, and that I got to capture this happy moment in time.

Quote of the day: It's so curious: one can resist tears and 'behave' very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses. ~  Colette

Based on how I was feeling yesterday, Peter and I had a slower day today. We spent some time in Ellen's garden, walking along the beach, and journeying through town. During the day, I received an electronic newsletter from Children's Cause Cancer Advocacy. The Children’s Cause for Cancer Advocacy (CCCA) is the leading national advocacy organization working to achieve access to less toxic and more effective pediatric cancer therapies; to expand resources for research and specialized care; and to address the unique needs and challenges of childhood cancer survivors and their families. CCCA leads efforts to ensure that these needs and perspectives of children with cancer are integrated into the highest deliberations on health care and cancer policy at the Federal level.

The wonderful surprise in the newsletter was CCCA's support of the Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation's House Resolution (HR 262) which was introduced by Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Rep. Mike McCaul:

http://www.childrenscause.org/newsletter-june2011#section3.

We appreciate CCCA's support on this important and unique Resolution that addresses the psychosocial issues of children and their families fighting cancer!

I have some more pictures to share with you from our day!


As Peter and I were walking on the beach, Peter spotted this wonderful crab shell. The creature has been cleaned out, so only the shell remains. But I have never seen such an intact shell. Somehow I felt compelled to carry it with me and take it home. Mattie would have done this, and in his absence I stepped in and did it for him.






Bethany Beach at sunset! Notice that there was NO ONE else on the beach with us. It was as if we were walking on a private beach.
On the way to the beach, we get to pass several gardens. This particular one I happen to love. The owner has two ponds incorporated into his garden. It is at these ponds that I usually spot frogs. The choice of plantings are vibrant and they make you feel happy and surrounded by beauty.
Here is another garden along the way that I also love. I like the colors, but I also find that the neighborhood bunnies love to hang out here.
I came across this lovely, colorful, and metal butterfly in a garden store a couple of days ago. I added it to Ellen's house today. To me it is a symbol of Mattie and his ethereal presence. The ironic part about this is that Ellen invited Mattie and I to her beach house in the summer of 2008. We never visited because of our schedule and then of course Mattie was diagnosed with cancer. Mattie never saw the beach house, so somehow this butterfly seems like an appropriate gift that captures Mattie's spirit here. Mattie would have loved this beach and experiencing many of the wonderful sights we have seen this week.   

June 2, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2008, at Bethesda's arts and craft festival. This picture was taken a month before Mattie was diagnosed with cancer. As you can see in this picture, Mattie decided to paint a flower pot and was really enjoying the whole process. Mattie was always about the process and loved the opportunity to create and use happy and bright colors.

Quote of the day: People think they know you. They think they know how you're handling a situation. But the truth is no one knows. No one knows what happens after you leave them, when you're lying in bed or sitting over your breakfast alone and all you want to do is cry or scream. They don't know what's going on inside your head--the mind-numbing cocktail of anger and sadness and guilt. This isn't their fault. They just don't know. And so they pretend and they say you're doing great when you're really not. And this makes everyone feel better. Everybody but you. ~ William H. Woodwell Jr

Peter and I spent the day in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. It was SUCH a wonderful way to see Rehoboth because is was NOT congested and wall to wall people. We are at the beach before the summer season begins, and it has been simply delightful. We had the opportunity to chat with many shop owners and learn about the patterns of vacationers who come to their town and how they make their livelihood. I entered one store and was surrounded by butterflies. Butterfly suncatchers, cards, jewelry boxes, tiles, you name it, and it was there! As the day has worn on however, I have developed a cold and a fever, so I am spending the night trying to relax and regroup. I am sharing our day with you visually!


As some of you may recall, Peter and I went on a walk last night. Along our journey, I spotted this lovely green number! The sighting of this frog would have been right up Mattie's alley.










Though it is quite early in the season, I was thrilled to see one of my favorite sea shore birds, the Piping Plover. What I love about the plover is its grace, agility, and tenaciousness. This is a bird with long legs, legs which apparently do NOT like to get wet. As the water rolls onto the shore this bird literally runs away from it. However, as the waves roll back into the ocean, the plover runs back out looking for crabs burrowing in the sand. This running game can happen for hours during feeding time.
As we continued walking, we ran into this transparent crab, or otherwise affectionately called a "ghost crab." I am not sure who was more startled, the crab or me! Nonetheless, this crab was literally looking right at the camera for this picture.
Here is the sight we see each evening during sunset on Bethany Beach!
Peter took a picture of me on the boardwalk of Rehoboth Beach. The irony is in a few weeks, every inch of space behind me will be filled with people.
Along our shopping journey in Rehoboth, I entered a small store that captured my attention from the window. The store was filled with all sorts of shells and unique beachy jewelry. At first the store owner was on the phone, but when she saw us enter, she ended her call and apologized for being distracted and not greeting us initially. Needless to say, Linda, the owner, and I began talking for a while and I got to meet her husband and hear about her 4 grown up daughters. She features handcrafted jewelry made by an artist in Florida. I love glass pieces, and this particular piece caught my attention because it reminded me of Mattie's adopted Sea Turtle, Roxana. Mattie loved Roxana and also enjoyed getting updates about her. So in honor of Roxana and all the joy she brought Mattie, I bought this piece. The turtle itself is made of  Dichronic or aluminized glass. This type of glass was developed by NASA as a protective coating. It has an uncanny quality to capture and reflect a rainbow of colors. The picture doesn't do the turtle justice, because in the light, it looks blue and also purple!

I would like to end tonight's posting with a message from our new friend, Amy. Amy's daughter, Caroline, spent a great deal of time in the hospital, when Mattie was at Georgetown. Though I never met Amy, she has and continues to be supportive of us electronically. I had the pleasure of meeting Amy and her family at this year's Walk, and her message meant a lot to me, which is why I am sharing with you. Amy wrote, "Just a quick email to let you both know how wonderful the walk was. My daughter Caroline still talks about it, and asked just the other day if we could go again to "Mattie's Walk" next year and I said of course we will! (She happens to be wearing her t-shirt to school today! It doesn't hurt that orange is her favorite color!) The whole day made quite an impression on us all. The grounds were perfect and the setting bucolic. Even the rain held off for Mattie's day - only a little drizzle to cool us off when we most needed it! The activities kept all of the children occupied and entertained - it was truly a family-friendly event. I have to say that all of the speeches that day moved me to tears. Those children were absolutely amazing. And the posters around the track were very compelling. My HOPE beads are on my key chain as a reminder of Mattie and the other children who I learned about that day. I have so much awe and amazement for parents such as yourself, who have experienced a loss that is incomprehensible, and manage to do such good for others. And I really appreciate your emphasis on the psychosocial needs of children who are ill - I think that the medical staff is so focused on the physical side that the emotional implications are sometimes lost. The Child Life program does such good for all of the children who go inpatient at Georgetown."

June 1, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2008 (three months before Mattie was diagnosed with cancer), at Mattie's school's spring festival. Mattie was pictured here with his close buddy Campbell and Campbell's sister, Livi. Some of my readers may recall that Campbell and Livi are the thoughtful children who recently made me a beautiful ceramic cupcake for Mother's day! I absolutely love this picture. I loved it when I took it and I continue to love it today because it captured a happy and fun time in Mattie's life. A time when he felt connected to something and to others. Making friends, good friends, can be a live long endeavor. But in Mattie's case, he found close friends immediately in life, which was a good thing since his life was cut short too quickly! 

Quote of the day: And when your sorrow is comforted you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure . . . And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, 'Yes, the stars always make me laugh!' And they will think you are crazy. It will be a very shabby trick that I shall have played on you... ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (The Little Prince - Le Petit Prince)

Tonight's quote speaks to me. Mattie's preschool teacher, Margaret, told me about the book, The Little Prince. I have read condensed versions of this book, but never the entire book. As I came across this quote it instantly reminded me of Mattie. I have a feeling many of my readers, whether you knew Mattie or NOT, open your windows at night and when you see the moon, think of my Mattie Moon!

I would like to share more pictures with you tonight to illustrate how we spent our day. It was another adventurous day by the beach for us. The ironic part about this is we haven't spent much time on the actual beach, we have instead tried to spend the time being physical active, getting in touch with nature in various ways, and talking with each other.


Peter started his morning very early and by 8am, he was aboard the Judy V. a 65 foot fishing vessel (www.fishjudyv.com). Peter went on a half day fishing adventure. Peter and Mattie used to love to fish together, and I knew this is something Peter wanted to do while on vacation. I am happy he had the chance to do this, and throughout his journey, he sent me periodic pictures.
Pictured here is Captain Roger, who piloted Peter's fishing trip. Peter was accompanied by 9 other people on the boat. For the first hour of the trip, the boat sailed out into the Atlantic. Peter was with the Captain in the wheelhouse chatting during that first hour. Then the next two hours, the group fished, and during the final hour, the boat sailed back to shore. Everyone aboard the boat entered a fishing contest pool, and the person who caught the biggest fish on the journey won the pool.
This is the beautiful fish that Peter caught. A wonderful sea bass! Guess who won the fishing pool? It was Peter!!!
I love this picture! Peter aptly describes this pictures as "dinner!" Fortunately the fishing excursion people filleted it for us, otherwise, I am sure I would have added that skill to my resume tonight.
Peter and I ventured to Assateague Island this afternoon. We had never been there before and I have always wanted to see wild horses. I recall going to the Outer Banks, NC for years and visiting Corolla. Which is well known for its wild horse inhabitants. However, after years of visiting that location, I gave up and NEVER saw a horse. So in all reality I never expected to see a wild horse today either based on my track record!

Assateague Island is a barrier island built by sand that persistent waves have raised from the ocean's gently sloping floor. Constant reshaping mirrors a relentless origin, as steady winds continue moving trillions of sand grains, each a bit of eroded ancient Appalachian Mountains. The State of Maryland owns 680 acres of Assateague Island that it operates as a state park.

Two herds of wild horses known as "ponies" by an adoring public make their homes on Assateague Island. The herds are separated by a fence at the boundary between Maryland and Virginia. In Maryland, horses are often seen around roads and campgrounds. In Virginia, they are seen in Black Duck Marsh from the observation platforms along Beach Road and Woodland Trail. The Maryland herd is managed by the National Park Service. The Virginia herd is owned by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company and is allowed by permit to graze on the Chincoteague refugee. Each year horses from the Virginia herd are rounded up and many of the foals are sold at the Pony Penning and Auction, held on the last Wednesday and Thursday of July. Proceeds from the auction help support the fire company. Today's wild horses on Assateague Island are descended from domesticated stock that was grazed on the Island as early as the 17th century by Eastern Shore planters. These farmers grazed their horses and other live stock here to avoid the mainland taxes and fencing requirements. Only slightly smaller than other horses, these shaggy, sturdy animals are well adapted to their harsh seashore environment. Marsh and dune grasses supply the bulk of their food. They get water from natural fresh water ponds or human-made inpoundments in Virginia.

As soon as Peter and I entered the park, look at the sight we saw!!!!! At first, I honestly couldn't believe these were the wild horses. They were freely roaming about the Island the entire time we were there. It was clear that we were NOW on their turf. These wild horses however, are NOT to be touched or approached because they bite and kick people. There are warning signs up everywhere with pictures on them of the damage these horses can inflict on people.
A closeup of the ponies!
I love this picture and I know if Mattie were with me, he would have absolutely loved this sight. Most likely his comment would have been there is a baby Mattie horse and his Una Moon (which was the nickname Mattie gave me).
We then took a walk on the salt marsh boardwalk. It was an incredible sight, filled with birds, and fascinating marsh lands and vegetation. However, it was extremely HOT out today, and though it is June it feels like a July or August weather day!
An overview of the boardwalk.
The boardwalk took us out to the shore line. This is very unique shoreline, because it is the last preserved and pristine seashore on the Eastern seaboard. The sand is like pure white powder and it is clear from the horse reminents that even they love the beach.
As we left the park, we were greeted yet again by a herd of horses on roadway. They were simply a beautiful and unforgettable sight to see.
Later this evening, Peter and I took a walk along the beach. It was a memorable time of day. It wasn't too cool or too hot, and we practically had the beach to ourselves. We reflected on all the creatures we saw and the running list for TODAY alone is: dolphins, wild horses, frogs, toads, crabs, a piping plover, bunnies, and a cat!

May 31, 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 -- Mattie died 90 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2008. A month before Mattie was diagnosed with cancer. We took Mattie to Roosevelt Island to operate his remote controlled boat. Mattie loved gadgets and particularly wanted to understand how things worked. He went through his car and train phase, and as he was getting older, he still loved those vehicles, but his true love became boats. In fact, if you asked Mattie why he was saving his pennies and other money in his piggy bank, his response was always, "to buy a boat!" Mattie did not mean a toy boat either, he wanted his own life sized boat one day. He wanted to be "Captain Mattie." Unfortunately that dream will never become a reality.

Quote of the day: Love is an engraved invitation to grief. ~ Sunshine O'Donnell

Peter and I had a very active day. Certainly we are right on the beach and we could have stayed there the whole day. But sometimes when I find I am in a funk and my mood is low, doing something active and different helps me. So instead of just describing our day, I will show it to you in pictures!

This picture was taken on Sunday, as we were leaving Washington, DC to head to the beach. Memorial day is a special and unique holiday for our Nation's capital. What makes it an unforgettable visual and auditory experience is seeing Rolling Thunder. For those of you unfamiliar with Rolling Thunder, it was incorporated in 1995, and is a class 501(c)(4) non-profit organization with over 90 chartered chapters throughout the United States and members abroad. While many members of Rolling Thunder are veterans and many ride motorcycles, neither qualification is a prerequisite. Rolling Thunder members are old and young, men and women, veterans and non-veterans. All are united in the cause to bring full accountability for Prisoners Of War (POW) and Missing In Action (MIA) of all wars, reminding the government, the media and the public by our watchwords: “We Will Not Forget.”
Along our drive, we had to traverse over the Bay Bridge. Thankfully Peter and I have never experienced a back up or terrible traffic over this bridge. But it is a special sight to be surrounded by land and then all of a sudden, this bridge comes upon you and you are surrounded by water. It seems to be the symbol of vacation approaching!
As we were approaching town, I got a kick out of this sight and needed to take a picture of this tractor. It seems like the perfect visualization of going on vacation and having to slow down. After all, if this tractor were on the streets of Washington, DC, he would most likely get run right off the road.
Peter and I went to Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes, DE today. I have never been to this park, but Ellen suggested we check it out and she told me that bicycles are available for free to visitors at the nature center of the park. I haven't been on a bicycle in years, but there is some truth to the fact that some skills you never loose. I must admit the last time Peter and I went bicycle riding together in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, it was LESS than a pleasant experience. It wasn't pleasant because a bee flew into my ear, which disoriented me. So I drove my bicycle right into Peter's (who was ahead of me), and I literally went flying through the air, and injured myself. I was a bloody mess. So I am sure he was hesitant to go out with me today. But I was determined and I needed an adventure and to do something different. We rode on the "Bike Loop Trail" of the park, which was about a four mile ride. Along the way, I saw a black snake, heard many beautiful birds, saw beautiful terrain, and we even traversed through time (back to the 1940s) and saw Fort Miles.
Along the bike trail were these amazing cactus flowers. I am happy that Peter stopped to photograph them! I should let you know however, that parts of this bike trail weren't easy. There were moderate and sometimes steep hills to pedal up, and yet the bicycles we were on had only one gear. It was hysterical at one point, because as I was struggling to pedal up hill, a family was passing me coming down hill and were cheering me on and telling me I could get up the hill. Most of the hills I managed to get up, but one I simply had to walk myself and the bicycle up the hill!
As we got to the peak of one of the trails, we got off the bicycles and walked around. As you can see Peter snapped a picture of me right by the ocean.
519 Battery Cantonment of Fort Miles-- This was an absolutely fascinating part of the bicycle trail!!!! This cantonment was comprised of 6 concrete block barracks. Typically barracks back them were built from wood, but because of the humidity and location of these barracks, the builders decided to use concrete blocks. These buildings are STILL standing today. Here is some information about Fort Miles:

Lying amidst rolling dunes, in the shadow of a World War II observation tower, is Fort Miles Historical Area. During World War II, the Delaware River was a chief priority for defense planners because of the access it afforded to the giant trade centers of Wilmington, Philadelphia, and beyond. Fort Miles, located in what is now Cape Henlopen State Park, was a key piece in the nation's coastal defense at that time. Henlopen State Park. In April, 2005, Fort Miles was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Fort Miles is a special place for families, history buffs, veterans, or anyone interested in learning about the Delaware shore and WWII.

Fort Miles has many observation towers that surrounded it. This one in particular is Tower 7. These towers were designed to protect Eastern shores from aerial and naval attacks. Peter and I had the opportunity to climb up Tower 7, all 115 steps of a spiral staircase! In the heat and humidity this was quite a physical challenge.
This is the view from on top of Tower 7. You can see the 519 battery cantonment in the background here.
Peter snapped a picture of what the Bike Trail Loop actually looked like. It was a lovely paved and serene pathway.
At the end of our four mile journey we landed back at the Nature Center of the park. Right outside the center were incredible birds. This little fellow is an Oriole, and like any oriole when he extends his wings there is a beautiful red stripe that stands out.
As we were leaving the park, Peter saw this deer up ahead crossing the roadway. The deer are very used to people in the park, so much so, that when he saw me, he stopped and posed. He wasn't frightened and even as we drove away, the deer remained in the same location to eat.
Peter and I went on several walks today as well. At around 5pm, we went out looking for bunnies. I did not have to go too far, since in Ellen's front yard there were two beautiful bunnies just sitting there. This particular bunny got used to us, since we took several pictures of him over the course of the evening.
During our second walk, we headed to the beach and literally there was NO one on the beach but us and the seagulls. It was a very peaceful sight.
Peter is beginning to relax, which is wonderful to see, and based on his horrendous spring work travelling schedule, he really needed this break.
I would like to end tonight's posting with a message from my friend and colleague, Nancy. Nancy wrote, "Both of your shares regarding Mattie were sweet and beautiful. I appreciate how difficult it must be to have children running to their parents and Mattie being felt, in spirit. As I've said often through these last few years, you are and will always be Mattie's Mom and Peter, his Dad.Thank you for such a heartfelt story last night. It is a gentle introduction to another week spent without him. Ooga booga."

May 30, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

Tonight's picture was taken sometime after Mattie's sixth birthday in April of 2008. Keep in mind this picture was taken only 3 months prior to Mattie being diagnosed with cancer. Mattie loved the whole cake and candle process, and typically what I would do after his party, was I would serve him left over cake and put candles on it and sing Happy Birthday all over again to him.


Quote of the day: Words are like nets - we hope they'll cover what we mean, but we know they can't possibly hold that much joy, or grief, or wonder. ~ Jodi Picoult


First and foremost, as today is Memorial Day, I certainly pause and reflect on Americans who have died fighting in all wars. These individuals gave their lives to uphold our freedoms and way of life. May we never forget these sacrifices and the families permanently affected by these losses.

This evening Peter and I said goodbye to Ellen, her family, as well as their friends who were visiting. Their friends are also parents at Mattie's school. I find at times that it is difficult to socialize with other parents. Most likely if you were to interact with me, you wouldn't visibly know how upsetting this can be for me. But I do absorb these feelings on an emotional level and it is quite difficult to come to terms with certain things. It is hard to fit in with other parents, because the likely form of conversation is about one's child or his/her school experience. In addition, I noticed that each of the children paired off with his or her parents, and yet there Peter and I were, and no one was running to us, calling out Mommy or Daddy, or playing with us. It is a sobering reality, which is why in many respects going on vacation is challenging for me. Which may explain why I rarely go on one.

I feel as if Peter and I saw four Mattie signs today. On the way to the beach, I was walking on the boardwalk and right in front of me was a pine cone. There weren't any other pine cones on the boardwalk. I seemed to be the only one who noticed it too. Naturally it made me pause and think of Mattie, and I bent down and picked up the pine cone. As other parents are escorting their live children to the beach, I am walking with a pine cone trying to reconnect to the spirit of mine. Later on when Peter and I were walking along the beach, we both spotted a beautiful yellow butterfly. There were NO other butterflies around, but this one, and it caught our attention immediately. But this was only our second out of FOUR nature sighting today. Peter spotted dolphins swimming and jumping by the shore line. They are wonderful sights to see, and I couldn't help but think if Mattie were with us, he would have simply loved this glorious gift.

At around 5pm, Peter and I went for a walk. From my recollection, 5pm is the time the bunnies come out and about in Ellen's community. Sure enough they did not disappoint today. We spotted five wonderful white tailed rabbits, and my one conclusion today was Mattie was sending me signs. He wanted me to know we are not alone and he is with us, it may not be so obvious, but if I look hard enough he will be there. When Mattie was a preschooler, we would take him to the Outer Banks of North Carolina each summer. We stayed in a community like Ellen's, which had bunnies which would come out at dusk. Mattie and I loved going for walks to have these special bunny sightings together. Which is why looking for bunnies at Ellen's is SO special to me.