Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2009. Mattie, Peter, and I went outside that night to drive Speedy Red. As you can see, by this point, Mattie's hair was growing back because his chemotherapy treatment ended six weeks earlier. However, only six weeks off of chemotherapy, Mattie's cancer took over his body. What should have been a happy time, being off of chemotherapy, was actually a devastating time. I can't think of anything quite as bad to hear as your child is dying and there is nothing else that can be done. Somehow the disposal of Speedy Red on Saturday has been weighing on my mind, because what it signals to me is that Mattie isn't coming back and frankly I do not think others can possibly understand how profound a loss this truly is.
Quote of the day: It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it. ~ John Steinbeck
Steinbeck's quote resonates with me tonight. I am tired and upset about various different things, so perhaps I need a "committee of sleep" to work on my problems. If it was only that easy! I am too tired to write tonight, so I leave you with thoughts from my mom and Peter. I received a lovely email today from my mom regarding Speedy Red. I have shared that with you below, along with an email communication between Peter and my mom about Speedy Red.
Speedy Red Remembered by Virginia R. Sardi
Speedy Red was on a mission to be with Mattie in his final hours here on earth. It was a motivator that restored the energetic little boy inside Mattie to respond to life, escaping when he could from the physical and mental trauma of being a terminal cancer victim awaiting the final curtain! When the going got rough, he retreated to his oxygen tubes and pain medication to gain a measure of relief from the evil, poisonous enemy within that was slowly invading and wasting away his body, reminding me of a story written by Rudyard Kipling entitled, “The Light That Failed.” It was a story about an artist going blind but who would not give up his passion for his artistry and fought to use every ounce of his failing eyesight to keep painting till the darkness prevailed. In a similar way, Mattie mustered together his inner resources, inspired by his bright, shiny red electric car that he personally named Speedy Red, for he loved it with a passion, and as the spunky, mighty warrior that he was, learned to ride it in a “New York Minute,” like the natural born driver that he was. Whether handling the wheel, beeping the horn or negotiating turns, he mastered that electric car like a pro. It was remarkable to see him up to the task, sick as he was, and exhibit the joy of living during these last painful days. He took pride in his skill and didn’t think about what was happening to him. He invited me to ride with him a few times, a marvelous experience, and he graciously explained how all its many gadgets worked. No surprise there for he had always been a “gadget guy!” Mauro and I were so glad to see the lift Speedy Red gave him, how it released him from his hideous reality, even if but briefly, for it was his dream come true and was what made him smile with joy. If I can point to any one thing, it would be Speedy Red that truly provided his last moments of happiness on earth. So I Say with gratitude in a very nostalgic way, “Goodbye, Speedy Red, you will never be forgotten for what you did for Mattie in the final days of his life.” And, may I add, “Well done, Speedy Red!”
After Peter read my mom's message. He sent her an email. Within it Peter wrote, "As the story continues, I had the "pleasure" of dispatching Speedy early Saturday morning all on my own. As you can imagine it was very hard and emotional, but in true Speedy form he fought me at every turn, making nothing easy and making me work for every inch. Even though he was falling apart, Speedy still kicked, fought and battled. The comparisons were obvious, and the battle too familiar, but in the end, we got Speedy to a state where things were resolved. In fact, as I was leaving the loading dock where the dumpsters are, Speedy's radio (yes, he had an in-dash radio) turned on, and real loud, as if to announce his arrival, importance and mission. It reminded me all too well of another character we all know and love. How fitting."
In response to Peter, my mom wrote, "Great description of the demise of Speedy and his tough, fighting spirit just like his owner who also had the stamina for a good fight! I remember the in-dash radio and remember vividly how Mattie demonstrated how it worked, He had figured out how the whole car worked by osmosis!! In every way possible, Mattie was "brainy and a born innovator!" He saw solutions before most realized there was a problem!! That was Mattie and some of it rubbed off on Speedy Red!!!"