Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2009. Mattie and I were sitting on the couch posing for a picture before heading to the Mattie March. An event Mattie's team coordinated for him to show their support and friendship. The "March" was a socially and physically taxing day for Mattie but one we will never forget.
Quote of the day: Some things, like a parent's love, do last forever in a time and place where all broken hearts will forever be made whole. ~ Richard Paul Evans
I had the opportunity to begin my morning with Patricia. Patricia is a mom at Mattie's school. In fact, she has twins in Mattie's grade level, and yet while Mattie was in kindergarten I never met Patricia. However, when Mattie battled cancer, Patricia and her family volunteered to work at the Mattie March. Once Mattie died however, their support only grew and continued. Patricia and her family coordinate food and beverages at every Foundation Walk. This is a huge undertaking and a labor of love. Yet Patricia makes it look easy, and pulls it off each year without a hitch. Last year, Patricia suggested we meet for coffee to go over walk plans. I certainly was open to that and wanted to support her in any way that I could. We continued the tradition and had a coffee/tea meeting today, and what I love about this, is in the process we are getting to know each other better. It is always nice to connect with someone and I consider it a priority to get to know anyone who is going to work closely with the Foundation.
After my meeting with Patricia, I went shopping for some last minute raffle basket fillers and while shopping someone called out my name. I am embarrassed to say that I did not recognize this mom initially until she told me who she was. It turns out that Mattie and her son were on the same recreational soccer team together. Alexandria City is a small world, and despite the fact that I live in DC, when I go to Alexandria, I seem destined to run into someone I know. Which is funny since it isn't exactly a small town.
For the past two days, I have picked Ann's son, Michael, up at school since she was visiting a sick relative. Michael and I understand each other, and as soon as he sees me at school, I get greeted with a smile and he is eager to talk. This is a very different greeting than Mattie would give me. In a way, Mattie was like me. After school, he was grumpy, and really did not want to talk. Naturally Mattie was only five and Michael is 12. With Mattie, the way to his heart was to help him into his car seat, give him milk and a snack while driving home from school. It was while he was snacking, that he would eventually begin to talk about his day. Michael and I chat about a host of different things, and also we chat about how certain people make us feel. Needless to say, each day, during the entire ride back to Ann's house, Michael and I conversed and a part of me sits back and wonders.... would it have been like this for Mattie and I if he lived to age 12?
Later in the day, I went to visit Mary, Ann's mom. For the past two or three weeks, we have been reading another Richard Paul Evans' book, The Timepiece. This is the sequel to the Christmas Box, which I read to Mary in March. I had never read the Timepiece, but it was a beautiful short story. I included a link to it below if you would like to read more about it. However, tonight's quote I pulled from the book. It was one of the last lines in the book, and it simply resonated with me. Evans does a great job at portraying the heartache of losing a child in both books, and his characters enlighten the reader that the death of a child changes one permanently. In so many respects one's life completely ends, and you feel shattered and broken. Yet how do you continue to live in this condition? He has no answers, but stating "a place where broken hearts will forever be made whole," is so meaningful to me. Because a parent's love is just that. There is no time or boundaries to it, and therefore broken hearts are repaired or made whole in the radiance of that special kind of love. Even if that love isn't physically present or tangible anymore.