Tonight's picture was taken in February of 2009 right outside Mattie's hospital room door. As my faithful readers know, hospital admissions and discharges were a nightmare for us. Mainly because we had a ton of items to transport with us. After all we had to live in the hospital for days and weeks on end. So that meant we needed clothes, laundry detergent, plates and utensils, Mattie's favorite toys, videos, and snack foods just to name a few. With each hospital admission we also accumulated more things as well, since Mattie would get gifts from friends and supporters, and from childlife in the hospital. Which is why, after Mattie's death our home looked like a warehouse. With each discharge I would bring all our bins and items home and naturally things were piling up all around us because I was unable to get to cleaning out and organizing things. I had no time, because when I was home I was a full time nurse, doctor, mom, and play companion. After Mattie's death, one of the worst things we had to contend with was cleaning out our home. I did not deal with this for over a year. In fact, it was last February, that I began going through piles and donating items. I am showing you this picture tonight because yesterday's visit to the hospital triggered a memory. The memory was the importance to me of decorating Mattie's room. With each admission, out came my boxes of decorations. I had things hanging from the ceiling, posted on the walls, the door, and anything that I deemed needed cheering up. Which was literally the entire space. As you can see, Mattie was posing in front of his artwork, that I taped to his door. I felt that those who entered the room needed to see these things as much as I needed to post them. I wanted them to immediately see that this was our home, and just like one's home you put your own personal touches on it. In addition, the art and decorations just humanized the space. It wasn't easy bringing in the decorations, decorating the room, or disassembling the room with each discharge. But I did it!
Quote of the day: Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. ~ John Woode
I simply love this quote! We all have our own limitations, yet the key is to focus upon what we can and do bring to our job, family, and life. Peter and I began our day with a conference call with one of the student groups from Georgetown University who is working with us this semester. It was interesting to hear this group's ideas about our website and strategies they would like to research to enhance our web presence.
Despite the greyness and rain, Peter and I took a walk in the city and went out to lunch. One of my friends gave me a gift card to a restaurant in Georgetown pretty soon after Mattie died. I had never used it, and today it seemed to motivate me to get out of our of home and try something different.
One of the highlights of my day was listening to a voice message that Heidi's daughter, Isabel, left for me. Isabel is part of the Girl Scout Troop I have been working with, and Isabel was inspired by Lauren's Bows for Hope and would like to create her own art pieces that can be sold at our Foundation Walk in May. Pieces that can be sold to generate funds for the Foundation! I really welcome this kind of creativity and commitment, because what I have determined is that the vendors which bring in income at our Walk are those run by teens. Children and adults who attend the Walk are more eager to support homemade crafts than manufactured products they can get else where. That was an important lesson I learned over the last two years. So I am thrilled that Isabel heard my desire to get kids her age more involved with the Foundation and generated a wonderful idea to accomplish this!
I would like to end tonight's posting with a message from my friend and colleague. Nancy wrote, "The blog stimulated me to remember that people respond to kindness more than disappointment. It took great courage for you to step into Cory's room yesterday. Somehow I believe that Mattie wanted you to do this so that you would have a new experience with this room. I believe that he doesn't want you to remember it only as the room in which he died. He wants you to associate it with life as well. That's where Cory comes in. I loved his smile and I smiled at his red Mohawk. I wonder if he has had it red for a long time or just yesterday for Wear Red Day. You, like Mattie, wore a smile even though you were having such tender feelings about this room. I noticed your eyes and was reminded of your description of Mattie, who smiled when he was in pain. Brava to you for going through the process of obtaining 8 CEU's for professionals attending the Symposium. I know that takes a lot of preparation. It added another dimension to encourage professionals to take time from their days to participate in this worthwhile and important session. I am so proud of you for bringing another level of professionalism to the Foundation. I wish that I was able to experience you in your classroom and realize that I am with each description and venture that you undertake. When you write about your experiences, you give such detail and depth to the undertaking. It shows your devotion to what you believe in. Your attention to detail is inspiring!"