Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007 at Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA. This picture completes the series of photos I have been displaying on the blog from that family trip. As you can see Mattie and Peter went on a water ride that happened to go up and down steep inclines. Mostly definitely NOT a ride for me, but as you can see Mattie loved it!
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
This is actually a very interesting quote, because I do think on some level this is very true. We are definitely moved and our hearts ache when tragedy strikes a group of people whether it be for example from the massive devastation of September 11th, the Oklahoma City Bombing, the bombing and shootings in Oslo, Norway, or the earthquake in Japan. Nonetheless, I do think that the impact on each of us seems to be magnified when a misfortune hits someone we know. I have seen how Mattie's cancer and his death has impacted our friends and family, and this loss (though perhaps not talked about each day) has become ingrained in so many. So much so that Mattie's battle and death have affected how people live their lives, how they evaluate a problem, and the time they spend with their children. I have to believe that we are all taken aback when something happens to someone we know, because in our minds we realize this could have happened to us. It makes the tragedy more real, more tangible, and far more daunting. Which is why it is so memorable and remains etched somewhere in the recesses of our minds and hearts. Pediatric cancer is a worldwide tragedy and impacts families daily. Yet most of us will not reflect on this fact, but Mattie's community I have a hunch will never forget that kids do get cancer. Mattie made pediatric cancer real for all those who touched his life.
Peter went for a walk this morning on Roosevelt Island. Along his journey he snapped a picture of this sight! Basically a snake shed his skin and left it on a tree stump. I STRONGLY dislike snakes!!! So Peter did not take this picture for my benefit, but this would have been a sight Mattie would have absolutely LOVED! Also along Peter's walk he found a kid's pretend gold coin. Peter brought it home with him, and both of us seemed to immediately think of Mattie! Mattie loved collecting coins and it seems to me Peter had his own Mattie signs today.
For two days now I have visited Mary, Ann's mom. Yesterday Mary announced to me that she got married. However, it was a secret and no one knew about it! Particularly me and her daughter. She wanted to break the news to me because she wanted my opinion on how to tell Ann. Honestly at first, I thought that Mary was serious. But I am good at playing along, and sifting through information to determine if something is real or a delusion. What I assessed after a few minutes was Mary was pulling my leg. She was having fun with this made up story, and knew it wasn't real. But she had me going for a while. The story however makes her laugh, smile, and talk! We talked about it for over an hour yesterday, and it continued today. We are having a grand old time imagining a wedding, her new house, and so forth. What all of this tells me is Mary has a good sense of humor and isn't afraid to be creative. She just looks at me and smiles now, and I know that means she wants to talk about her "wedding." Personally I find this form of creativity to be a wonderful coping mechanism. It makes us talk, laugh together, and imagine a world beyond her four walls. It fascinates me that I have known Mary for two and a half years and I never saw this side to her before. But I simply love it because it passes the time for us quite quickly.
I would like to end tonight's posting with a facebook message we received from our preschool mom friend, Kathy. Kathy is an ICU nurse, and I really appreciated her comments. So I am sharing them with you tonight. Kathy wrote, "I have been thinking a lot lately at work about how we interact with patients and families. I think that especially in the ICU where I work, people become sooo task oriented and forget about that they're working with people. We have so many new nurses at this time of year (and Drs) and they become so engrossed with getting things done and finding out what's going on that they forget about the patients. At GW now, how we interact with people has become a large part of our evaluations and our supervisors actually round and ask very pointed questions about that. Luckily for me, that is something I'm good at. :) One quote that I have come across lately is "You will always be remembered for your kindness". That is so true and especially true with the caregiver you talked about today and all those wonderful nurses and Drs that took care of Mattie. It was very nice of you to validate the kindness of Mary's caregiver. I'm certain that she will always remember YOUR kindness."