Tonight's picture was taken in September of 2008. Mattie was in the hospital for chemotherapy and he was given a gift of stackable markers. Mattie wasted no time with this gift, and as you can see, he connected the markers together and made a huge tower. This tower made him smile! Mattie had the kind of smile that lit up a room and caused his eyes to sparkle. Team Mattie was comprised of members from our school communities, and this Team never let him down. They provided such things as weekly gifts and though to some Mattie may have been "spoiled" (yes I had that terminology thrown at me), this type of spoiling and attention was very needed. These gifts helped us cope on some very challenging and heart wrenching days.
In light of the fact that it is National Childhood Cancer Awareness month, I will be spending the next 18 days sharing a childhood cancer fact with you instead of my daily grief quotes.
Childhood Cancer Fact of the Day: Childhood cancer is the #1 killer of children by disease, more than asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, congenital anomalies, and pediatric AIDS combined (National Cancer Institute; Centers for Disease Control & Prevention).
I had a terrible night of sleep last night. I dreamt that our home was filled with live snakes that kept slithering out at me. As fast as they were coming out from under our rugs, Peter was grabbing them and severing their heads. These snakes were bright colors. I can still vividly see the snakes in my head from the dream.... reds, yellows, greens, and blues. One snake however bit Peter and in my dream blood was spewing everywhere and I was trying to contain it. The last part of the dream, Peter was feeling sick, and I had to rush him to the hospital because of the snake bite. Needless to say when I woke up I wasn't feeling great. I am sure there is significance to the snakes, the colors, all the blood, and my fear of Peter getting sick. Nonetheless, I am TOO tired tonight to work that out.
Peter drove me to the airport this morning and we said our good-byes. Spending time apart from each other now that Mattie has died is problematic. I have had to get used to it while Peter has been on overseas travel, but I believe this may be my first long trip away from home, leaving him behind. Thankfully due to my addiction, the blackberry, we are in constant contact. Peter went for a walk on Roosevelt Island today and had an amazing deer sighting. He sent me this fabulous picture! I have been looking all spring and summer for a deer on the Island and never saw one! It is ironic that Peter would see one today.
I flew out of Dulles Airport today and security was tight. There were bomb sniffing dogs inside the airport and security men roaming around with riffles. I have seen this in foreign countries but never my own. This made a lasting impression on me, and not a good one.
My flight today was very turbulent and my only saving grace is that we had head winds and arrived 40 minutes early. I never had that going West, but I wasn't complaining. I actually sat in an emergency exit row today because it was the only seat available on the plane. At first I wasn't happy with this seat reservation, but after sitting there today, I LOVED it. I liked the extra leg room and as nutty as this sounds, I like feeling in control of the window door if something happens to the plane. As my faithful readers know, I have many hang ups about flying, and I need ways to feel in control over a moving experience that I am not happy about. Today as we kept hitting one bump after another, I was reminded of what my friend and colleague, Susan once told me. She told me to imagine angels flying under the plane to guide it and keep it safe. Sometimes an angel has to pass the plane along to another angel to take a break. During the pass over from one wing to another, turbulence occurs. Today I imagined my Mattie angels was flying along with me, and I kept looking out the window. As if I would actually see Mattie!
By the time I got on the ground in Los Angeles and then got to my parents house I felt completely motion sick. It took over an hour to feel like I was on solid ground again. It teaches me to travel without Dramamine. This evening my parents introduced me to a new restaurant located in the hills near where they live. The restaurant overlooked a public golf course. The golf course was SO beautiful, it was hard to believe it wasn't a private club. I love sitting outside and taking in the fresh air, so this restaurant was right up my alley.
While eating dinner, a mother deer and her baby traversed the golfing green. I jumped out of my seat to snap a picture. This would have been a sighting Mattie would have absolutely LOVED! He would have most likely said, there is Unamoon (what Mattie called me) with her Mattie.