Tonight's picture was taken in September of 2008 in Mattie's hospital room. At first you may look at this picture and be confused by what you are seeing. The white and blue objects were blankets, and we helped Mattie create a tent made out of blankets so that he could feel safe and hide. If you look closely at Mattie's face, you will see instantly that he was not happy. Instead, he was exhausted, and in pain. In moments like this it is natural anyone would want to protect one's self from the outside world. As Mattie's cancer battle continued or wore on, he became more remote, and wanted to isolate himself from noise, friends, and family. This was a painful reality for many of us to watch, but my philosophy was we were going to do whatever it took for Mattie to feel comfortable and to help him get through his treatment. I do not usually reveal this, but balancing Mattie's need for isolation, and his community's desire to want to visit and support him were at times almost impossible to do, and I admit sometimes I did neither well.
Childhood Cancer Fact of the Day: As a result of treatment, 59% of children have a diagnosable mental health issue (DeMaso & Shaw, 2010).
There are some nights when writing the blog is easier than others. Tonight is not one of those easy nights. I am tired and therefore plan on making this shorter than usual.
Peter is in Los Angeles now with me, and together we went with my parents to Santa Barbara. With traffic, Santa Barbara is about two hours away from Los Angeles. As is typical with most California seaside towns, they start off foggy in the morning but as the day evolves, the sun eventually comes out and the fog seems to just disappear. On our drive to Santa Barbara, it seemed like we went through fog and rain, but eventually the sun did not disappoint us. We all had a lovely lunch by the pacific ocean, and though you can't see it, the ocean was behind us in this picture.
Along our drive home, I snapped some pictures of the beautiful terrain and ocean. By that time of day, the sun was out and shinning.
We drove passed a beautiful pumpkin patch, which you can see is filled with those lovely squash like fruits.
My final picture I took today was of these colorful clouds in the sky. I have no doubt that if Mattie were with me, he would have seen some sort of animal or other creature formed within these clouds. So in honor of Mattie, what I see is a flying pig. The pig's face is in profile, facing toward the left. Under the pig, is a crab, almost coming up to pinch the pig's belly. The only thing missing now is Mattie's commentary. But this gives you a feeling for the kinds of games we would play together.