Mattie Miracle 9th Annual Walk & Family Festival -- Raised over $97,000

Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation Promotional Video

Thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive!

Dear Mattie Blog Readers,

It means a great deal to us that you take the time to write to us and to share your thoughts, feelings, and reflections on Mattie's battle and death. Your messages are very meaningful to us and help support us through very challenging times. To you we are forever grateful. As my readers know, I promised to write the blog for a year after Mattie's death, which would mean that I could technically stop writing on September 9, 2010. However, at the moment, I feel like our journey with grief still needs to be processed and fortunately I have a willing support network still committed to reading. Therefore, the blog continues on. If I should find the need to stop writing, I assure you I will give you advanced notice. In the mean time, thank you for reading, thank you for having the courage to share this journey with us, and most importantly thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive.

As Mattie would say, Ooga Booga (meaning, I LOVE YOU)! Vicki and Peter

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation celebrates its 7th anniversary!

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation was created in the honor of Mattie.

We are a 501(c)(3) Public Charity. We are dedicated to increasing childhood cancer awareness, education, advocacy, research and psychosocial support services to children, their families and medical personnel. Children and their families will be supported throughout the cancer treatment journey, to ensure access to quality psychosocial and mental health care, and to enable children to cope with cancer so they can lead happy and productive lives. Please visit the website at: and take some time to explore the site.

We have only gotten this far because of people like yourself, who have supported us through thick and thin. So thank you for your continued support and caring, and remember:

.... Let's Make the Miracle Happen and Stomp Out Childhood Cancer!

A Remembrance Video of Mattie

Random Shots of Mattie, Family and Friends

August 5, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2008. Peter took Mattie to Nationals Park to see a baseball game. I wasn't at this game, but one of Peter's colleagues from work snapped this wonderful picture! I related to how Mattie watched a baseball game, because he wasn't interested in the game itself. He was instead fascinated by watching the people in attendance, seeing all the signage, and walking around the park. Which is quite different from Peter! Yet despite being a baseball lover, Peter accepted Mattie's interest or lack thereof during all the games they attended together. What this said to me was Mattie always came first in Peter's eyes and I appreciated Peter's well balanced view of life and sports.

Quote of the day: When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete everybody will respect you. ~ Lao Tzu

My dad sent me this quote, and as soon as I read it, I related it to grief. That probably comes as no surprise to my readers since grief has become one of the topics I now focus upon in Mattie's blog. I know I have expressed this before on the blog, but because it is such a significant issue, I think it is worth mentioning again. Grief somehow prevents you from being yourself at times, and therefore even the best of us find that we compare and compete with others around us who are also grieving. This may sound absolutely odd, inaccurate, or unhealthy, but unfortunately it is definitely the case. Sometimes the comparisons and competitions between grievers are outright and at other times they are much more subtle. At the root, I imagine the instinct to compete is purely human, but putting that aside, I do think some losses are so painful and difficult that we feel the need to emote and speak with conviction because it is vital that others around us know how important the loss is and how significant an impact it is having on our lives.  

I do see growth in myself with regard to Tzu's quote. Because in the recent past if confronted with what I deemed an insensitive or out of touch comment from a fellow griever, I would get upset, verbalize my feelings, and in essence highlight the comparisons. Now instead, I try to put these hurtful comments into context and not lash out at the person delivering them. Realizing that they are hurting too! With that said, I still do feel their hurt and I am quite aware of the insensitivities! I am talking theoretically and vaguely, so I will attempt to give you an example of what I am trying to convey.

It is not unusual after a significant loss occurs that loved ones feel lost, certainly everyday, but even more so on holidays, special events, and mile markers in one's life. The myth however is that the FIRST holiday or event is the HARDEST and that is gets easier subsequently. VERY, VERY WRONG!!! In fact, I suspect why each holiday and event gets harder for a griever is that over time people expect your life and YOU to return to normal. They expect you to snap out of it, and that joy and happiness will just set in and take over. As Peter jokes with me, he feels people want us to return to Disneyland. If it were only that simple. I am not sure reaching an emotional Disneyland will ever be possible, but finding some sort of equilibrium takes work and time. So onto the example......

Recently someone we are close to was reflecting with us about Christmas and how hard it will be for her and her family this year now that a significant relative in her family died. This person was instrumental to the family's holiday dynamics, and in essence he helped to create and bring to life a family tradition. A tradition that to some extent also dies with the person who created it. Loss has so many tangles and webs, it isn't just the loss itself that sends us spiraling down hill, but it is every aspect of life that is changed, altered, and missing. It leaves us fragile, numb, and directionless. The reflections, what she was saying, and her feelings were very understood by Peter and I. However, what impacted me was I felt as if she was talking to us as if we had no idea of what she was talking about. As if, every Christmas, holiday, and event are fine for us, and therefore we couldn't relate to the challenge that lies ahead for her. Instead of this being something that bonded us together, it further separated us apart. This whole scenario brought Tzu's quote to my mind, and in the past I would have verbalized my feelings, but now I keep them at bay. Because during certain times expressing how you are truly feeling serves no purpose especially in grief. I know how I feel, I accept that I am entitled to my feelings, and I have just about had it when I have to explain to people I perceive are close to me how I am feeling and doing. Or better yet why I am entitled to feel this way. After this interaction took place, I had no commentary on it, in fact I did not even bring it up. It was Peter who brought it to my attention and when he was telling me how he felt, it got me to see that my feelings were justified. He and I were feeling the same way. I am fortunate Peter was able to express how he felt, otherwise I may have thought I was alone in these feelings.

The sad part about grief is that the feelings are intense, emotions can be volatile and raw, and even those you once were close to, can seem miles apart from you emotionally. I assure you this is a great loss in and of itself. As Tzu implied, simply being yourself enables others to respect you. However, I find when I have to stifle how I am feeling or what I need to express to others, then I find ultimately I do not respect myself or am being authentic. Therefore, if I don't respect my own decisions, in the end no one will respect me either. So what is the lesson learned???? The lesson is grief is a journey and to survive the journey you need people who will allow you to be yourself, to express your feelings and needs, in a way that are honest and open, and doesn't set up the dynamic for comparisons and competition. When that is achieved, I find that I feel better about myself, I can be open to hearing and empathetizing with others about their losses, and as a result can unite with them as we manage through this unbearable journey.

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