Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2007 at Dutch Wonderland. We all went on a train ride around the amusement park, and I snapped a picture of Mattie and Peter together. Mattie was excited about going to the park, and therefore, we got up at the crack of dawn, and were one of the first families into the park that day. We literally covered every inch of the park, and as you can see Mattie's smile showed his happiness about his day's adventure.
Quote of the day: One person caring about another represents life's greatest value. ~ Jim Rohn
Today was not the best day for either Peter or I. The irony is I was in an absolutely foul mood, and therefore this only set Peter off further. We woke up at 6am today to attend a local childhood cancer organization's annual fundraiser. The Fundraiser was hosted by Just Tryan It, and the event entailed a triathlon in which healthy children swim, bike, and run on a timed course to raise money for children battling cancer. All proceeds from today's race go to Georgetown University Hospital. One of the racers today, ran on behalf of Mattie's memory, so we felt compelled to go and support Will and the works of Just Tryan It.
There were many disheartening aspects of the day that impacted me greatly and unlike my usual postings, these feelings, observations, and thoughts, I am not publicly sharing. Which is why when Peter opened up a Father's Day card from my parents this afternoon, and found a typed letter from my mom, I decided to share my mom's words on the blog instead of my own! My mom has me covered for tonight, which I appreciate it, because what I would want to write would not be appropriate, appreciated, or understood.
To all our readers who are fathers, we hope you had a good Father's Day, felt appreciated, and realize how important your role is and how lucky you are to have a child who is alive to care for and spend time with.
Happy Father's Day Peter -- by Virginia R. Sardi
You deserve accolades for pioneering a special role as a father whose love and commitment to your son, Mattie, began even before the day he was born. From the moment you looked at his sonogram pictures given to you by Vicki's doctor, you were bonded to him forever and your attachment is as resilient and strong today as when he was alive through your faithful devotion to his memory as expressed in the good works you do on his behalf for children with cancer. When Mattie's bone cancer was diagnosed, you became a "cancer warrior" and gave yourself unconditionally to him so that he felt the safety of your presence and knew he was not alone in facing up to the battle against the cancer that was ravishing his body. You were and have always been his hero in times of trouble and your support then was the security blanket he needed to get through the long, hard fight ahead of him. Mattie gave it his all but bone cancer, his enemy, proved too virulent and unstoppable against the meager weapons of modern medicine. To say that this has left a powerful impression on you is an understatement for such an emotional crisis creates an upheaval in the very core of your being that must lead you to question life itself and what your role as a father should be after suffering the loss of your precious only son. It is against this background of pain and sorrow that Mattie Miracle was founded. The mission statement of Mattie Miracle bears witness to the awesome task confronted by you and Vicki as Mattie was transformed from a positive, outgoing, and happy child to a belligerent, angry, and moody one through no fault of his own as his behavior became a function of his response to invasive treatment for his aggressive cancer over a fourteen month period and the progressive deterioration of his body from the cancer itself. The psychological component of his illness grew ever more complex, could not be dismissed as inconsequential and required professional counseling to help him cope with the darkness that invaded every aspect of his psyche over time. Both you and Vicki absorbed it all and realized that little attention was being paid to the psychosocial deterioration that accompanied his decline. Together, you made this issue your cause and have already gained widespread public attention in promoting the importance of setting psychosocial standards in the treatment of childhood cancer accomplishing much in three years. Social upheaval leaves children with cancer lonely, unhappy, and depressed where once they were like other kids using their energies in carefree and happy pursuits. In Mattie's case there was to be no more playground antics with friends, no more riding his bicycle in your complex as if preparing for entry into the Grand Prix and no more soccer, a sport that he really liked that made him look so dashing in his colorful blue uniform. He was only six when he lost all that! You, as his Dad with infinite wisdom, capitalized on his passion for building, art and sculpting and created an alternate universe for him in his hospital confinement by allowing him to use his artistic and constructive talents in new and innovative ways. What a great father and son team you were as you successfully took on the challenges of the most intricate Legos projects the company had to offer and then went on to make all kinds of original creations that Mattie envisioned using his fertile imagination. Mattie's art left to your thoughtful guidance knew no bounds. It is with patience and love that you imparted this final gift of fatherhood to your beloved son.
If Mattie were here today he would say that you were the best and most caring father that any son ever had. I would add that your strength of character in times of turmoil and strife gave you the amazing grace to remain steadfast through the hard times that Mattie's deadly illness caused. It was an awesome relationship you had with Mattie and remarkably it all happened in only seven years. You have earned the esteem of all who know you for showing that a loving connection to a son is a lifetime commitment. Happy Father's Day! You've earned it!!!