Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2004. We took Mattie to Boston to visit Peter's parents. In our adventures there, Peter's parents took Mattie to Horn pond. Mattie was only two years old in this picture, but he loved ducks and Canadian Geese at a very young age. He loved to feed them, observe them, and try to get as close as possible to these feathered friends. I remember many wonderful times feeding ducks and birds with Mattie and I am happy we had these simple and special times, times which I feel could never have been achieved with overprogramming. This was something Peter and I were always opposed to doing to Mattie. I realize as he got older, programming would come with the territory of life, but to me, these young years were about giving Mattie the time to explore his environment, become socialized within it, and become comfortable with his self naturally, NOT on my schedule.
Quote of the day: Insist on yourself. Never imitate. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I received a beautiful email from Mattie's sedation nurse angel, Debbi. In the email, Debbi shared with me the fact that she had a recent dream in which Mattie was in it. She recounted the details for me and she wanted me to know that Mattie seemed happy. Debbi asked me if I have dreams of Mattie often. It is an interesting question, because for the most part, I would say my dreams of Mattie have been infrequent. However, when I went to the beach in May after the Foundation's Walk, I basically dreamt of Mattie EACH night. The dreams were very vivid and actually confusing, because I expected to wake up and find Mattie there. When I returned home after the beach, things returned back to usual, without me remembering my dreams. Well that is, until recently. For the past several nights, I have had dreams in which Mattie is talking to me, is driving in the car with me, and we are making plans. I find it fascinating that Debbi should also have a Mattie dream this week. Messages from Mattie!
I suppose on a subconscious level, my brain is working on over drive, as Peter and I prepare emotionally to serve on a palliative care panel at Georgetown University Hospital this Friday. It is one thing to share my story over the blog, and quite another thing to share it to an audience of hundreds of doctors, nurses, and other hospital personnel. Personnel who work in the same Hospital that Mattie was treated and died in. The last palliative care panel we participated on was at a conference in November of 2011, and it was a very empowering experience for us. It is my hope that Friday is the same. Having a forum to discuss our thoughts, feelings, and insights about the death of Mattie and how it impacts our marriage, our lives, and our future are rare gifts. We are serving on a panel with another couple we met in November, a couple who lost a child in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Though our stories are different, the ultimate feelings of loss, isolation, anger, and frustration about the future are QUITE similar. In fact, when we first met this couple in November, we took to each other like chocolate syrup and milk. We got each other immediately and all of us are vocal about our feelings and how these feelings are not always understood, appreciated, or allowed to be expressed in our everyday lives.
I had the opportunity to spend a good portion of my day today with my friend, Tina. When I arrived at her house, her labradoodle, Max, gave me a big friendly doggie greeting. I love animals and it has been a while since I have been around a big dog like Max. Max was great company today, and being part labrador, I got to see his retrieving heritage come to life. He, Tina, and I had a wonderful game of fetch going with him. He was beyond entertaining, and he can truly make you forget about your problems. Mattie would have been thrilled to see Max running and fetching and would have been right in the mix of things. It has been a while since a person or animal has wanted to actually play with ME. So this was in a way therapeutic in its own right. Before I left Tina's house, she gave me this cute bug shaped pin wheel. Mattie was a bug affectionato, so the bug theme is meaningful to me. As you can see I put this cute fellow right in my geranium tonight. He may migrate around my garden, but for now he is greeting me at our door.