Mattie Miracle 10th Anniversary Walk was an $119,000 success!

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: www.mattiemiracle.com 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

November 24, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2008. Mattie was in the hospital and recovering from his second limb salvaging surgery. Which meant that three out of four limbs were operated on! After Mattie's surgeries, one of the goals was to get his body moving and certainly to exercise his lungs to prevent fluids from building up in them post-surgery. One of the ways we would get Mattie to use his lungs was through blowing a straw. Team Mattie gave us these funny straw glasses and though Mattie was hesitant to use them, I put them on to try to encourage him. Mattie thought I was a riot to watch!

Quote of the day: The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we'd done were less real and important than they had been hours before. ~ John Green


 
On Friday, when we toured the Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse, there was a playground on the grounds which caught our attention. I couldn't find the photo on my camera last night, but while downloading photos today I found it. To me this is the most unusual playground equipment I have ever seen. Basically these white things are climbing blocks for kids, but in the shape of teeth!    
 
We joked that this playground set up had to be designed by a dentist! Check out the bench right next to the teeth... it is two toothbrushes side by side!
 
We packed up this morning and were in the car by 10am. Before getting on the highway, we went to visit the neighborhood I grew up in and passed my old house. It was amazing to see that  some things do not change. Our return trip home seemed endless. Traffic was awful. Along our journey I snapped a picture of the NYC skyline.
 
It seemed like we experienced many weather changes along our car trip today. At times we saw the sun, at times it snowed, and then at other times the sky was so dramatic. As you can see there were rays of sunshine desperately trying to shine through the clouds. It looked very ethereal.
 
As we drove through Baltimore, the Enchantment of the Seas was in port. Several cruise ships now leave out of Baltimore, and to me it is always a lovely sight to see a ship while driving through Maryland. Maybe it is because I know this ship is going to the Caribbean, away from the cold and grey skies.



Peter and I were in the car for about 7 hours. Tonight I feel very tired and motion sick. So I am signing off for the evening and I know Patches (our cat) is thrilled to be home.
 
 
 
 
 


 

November 23, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2008, before Mattie's second limb salvaging surgery. Peter and Mattie had a post-Thanksgiving tradition together. The day after Thanksgiving, they would spend time outside and set up Christmas light displays in our commons area. These displays were significant, and each year we would have neighbors admire their work. Some neighbors would actually take photographs of the amazing light show. In 2008, Mattie went with Peter to Target, and Mattie picked out this wonderful Scooby Doo light up figure to add to their growing scene. That year Mattie was in LOVE with Scooby, so it only made sense that he picked this light fixture which was as big as him.


Quote of the day: When someone you love dies, and you're not expecting it, you don't lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time—the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes—when there's a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she's gone, forever—there comes another day, and another specifically missing part. ~ John Irving


 
We had a very busy day with Karen and her mom. However, before we got together, Peter and I sat for a while near the hotel's indoor pool. The hotel we are staying at in Westchester County holds great meaning to us. My family moved to Los Angeles when I was in high school. This was a hard adjustment which caused us to fly back to NY often to visit family and friends. When we came back we would always stay at this hotel. The hotel became like a second home for us in which we got to know many of the hotel employees. In addition, at this hotel we also celebrated my grandmother's surprise 80th birthday, our wedding party stayed here, our family breakfast the day after our wedding was held at this hotel, and when my grandmother died we stayed at this hotel. So there are many memories here. Though the interior of the hotel has changed since I have last seen it, to me it is still familiar. My grandma and I used to love sitting by the pool, because the space was heated, warm, and it felt like you were in Florida. As we were sitting by the pool today, I remembered all the times I sat with my grandmother at the table on the left.

 
When we would visit NY, we would occasionally walk the grounds of Lyndhurst. But I don't recall ever touring the house until today. Lyndhurst is a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Lyndhurst sits on a knoll with a lawn that stretches toward the mighty Hudson River, this Gothic Revival mansion was built in an early Gilded Age style. Designed in 1838 and expanded in 1865, its turrets and a four-story tower are a tribute to original architect Alexander Jackson Davis. Narrow hallways lead to rooms with vaulted ceilings and pointed arched windows. Now open to the public, Lyndhurst was originally the home of William Pauldring, Jr., who was the mayor of New York City in the 1820s. The home was later purchased by merchant George Merritt and eventually by the railroad tycoon Jay Gould.
 
Lyndhurst itself is remarkable (though I LOVE touring historic homes!), but our tour guide made the visit unforgettable. His name was Ed and he recognized Karen immediately. He claimed to "remember" my eyes! Anycase, Ed was a former teacher at Edgemont High School, which I attended up until 10th grade. Ed was a Spanish teacher and he joked with me when I told him I studied French! Ed made Lyndhurst come alive and explained to us that this mansion was owned by three different families. However, when the house changed hands, each of the former families literally left all their items and furnishings in the house! They didn't take the items with them, mainly because they would buy all new things to outfit their next estate. Each of the families who lived in the house were extremely wealthy, which is why it is ironic that everything in the house is practically FAUX! When you look at this photo, it appears that the walls and ceilings are made out of marble! This isn't the case. It was wood painted to look like marble. This occurred throughout the mansion, and one has to ask why? The reasoning is that in Europe in the 1840s, this faux look was very popular. The US being a new country, looked to Europe for style and fashion. Therefore the wealthy adopted this style, which showcased their knowledge and their worldliness.

Lyndhurst at one time sat on 500 acres of land and overlooks the Hudson River in Tarrytown, New York. You can see the Tappan Zee Bridge from the property. Lyndhurst is considered one of America’s finest Gothic Revival mansions. The architectural brilliance of the residence, designed in 1838 by Alexander Jackson Davis, is complemented by the park-like landscape of the estate and a comprehensive collection of original decorative arts.

The estate was shaped during more than a century by three families. Their influence is evident in the expansion of the main house from a country villa “in the pointed style” to a Gothic mansion; in the rich furnishings; and in the park-like design of the grounds. The 19th century was a period of political and technological change in America. Romanticism dominated the arts, and as the movement emphasized the appreciation of nature, imagination and emotion, the Hudson River Valley became the center of painting and architecture. Wealthy patrons commissioned the construction of mansions in a variety of styles along the bluffs of the river from New York City to Albany.
 
Lyndhurst was first conceived in the minds of architect A.J. Davis and William Paulding (Mayor of NY) who constructed the country villa in 1838 and called it “Knoll.” The romantic Gothic Revival design immediately drew attention to the building, critics called it “Paulding’s Folly” because its fanciful turrets and asymmetrical outline were unlike most homes constructed in the post-colonial era.
 
But fascination with the property continued for decades and, as ideas of wealth and status changed with the growing nation, so did the estate, reflecting the tastes and interests of wealthy New York. In 1864-1865, Davis doubled the size of the mansion for the second owner New York merchant George Merritt, who renamed it “Lyndenhurst” after the Linden trees that were planted on the estate. Railroad magnate Jay Gould purchased the estate as a summer home in 1880, seven years after Merritt died. By 1884 Jay Gould was at the zenith of his power, having gained control of Western Union Telegraph, the New York Elevated Railway and the Union Pacific Railroad. Mr. Gould used Lyndhurst as an escape from the pressures of his business life and when his health was impaired by tuberculosis; Lyndhurst served as a country retreat until his death in 1892.

Jay Gould’s daughter, Helen, who later married Finley J. Shepard (a romantic story, because Finley rescued Helen in a train accident, and it was love at first sight), was given charge of the property upon her father’s death. She was involved in numerous philanthropic works during her lifetime. After her death in 1938, her sister, Anna, Duchess of Talleyrand-Perigord, returned from France and maintained Lyndhurst until her death in 1961 when the 67-acre estate passed to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The grounds at Lyndhurst survive as an outstanding example of 19th century landscape design. Elements include sweeping lawns accented with shrubs and specimen trees, the curving entrance drive revealing “surprise” views, and the angular repetition of the Gothic roofline in the evergreens. Unlike later mansions along the Hudson River, Lyndhurst's rooms are few and of a more modest scale, and strongly Gothic in character. Hallways are narrow, windows small and sharply arched, and ceilings are fantastically peaked, vaulted, and ornamented. The effect is at once gloomy, somber, and highly romantic.
 
On the property is a wonderful 1.5 mile Riverwalk. We followed this path which was covered in beautiful Fall leaves. It reminded me of my childhood days walking through leaves, observing colors, and listening to the rustling of leaves underfoot. Mind you, the path was parallel to the Hudson River.
 
We passed this wonderful walking bridge along the Riverwalk!
 


 
After touring Lyndhurst we visited the Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse. The 1883, Lighthouse at Sleepy Hollow, formerly known as the Tarrytown Lighthouse or the Kingsland Point Lighthouse, is the only Caisson-style lighthouse on the river. Erected in 1882-1883, the lighthouse provided navigational aid to shipping on the Hudson and warned captains away from the dangerous shoals on the river's eastern shore. It is easily seen from the Tappan Zee Bridge, with the best viewing from Kingsland Point Park, located directly on the Hudson River. Like all lighthouses on the Hudson, the 1883 Lighthouse at Sleepy Hollow was designed as a "family station," as the keeper and his family lived in the five-story structure year-round. The duties of the keeper were to perform the never-ending chores of maintaining the lighthouse and lamp and to operate the lamp every night as well as during inclement weather. In 1923, the General Motors automobile plant located along the river was expanded, altering the course of the Pocantico River. Gradually the river was filled in, so that now there is a separation of about only 50 feet between the lighthouse and the shoreline, connected by a metal bridge. However, throughout the times of the keepers, access to the shore was by rowboat (or by foot, when the river was frozen solid), and lighthouse life could be best described as insular. When the Tappan Zee Bridge was completed in 1955, the navigational lights on the bridge rendered the lighthouse obsolete. By 1957, it had been reduced in candlepower and placed on automatic operation. In 1961, the lighthouse was deactivated and the structure listed with the General Services Administration (G.S.A.) for disposal. On the brink of demolition for several years, individuals and organizations rallied to save the "Tarrytown Lighthouse." In 1969, the Westchester County Board of Supervisors voted to accept the lighthouse from the G.S.A. The Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation officially re-opened the lighthouse to the public on October 1, 1983, one hundred years after the beacon was first lit.

The keyword for the day was CASTLE. Next on our self made tour was a visit to Castle on the Hudson, an historic hotel of America. Just 25 miles north of New York City, lies a historic medieval castle, overlooking the majestic Hudson River. The Castle on the Hudson, situated on 11 hilltop acres, was originally called Carrollcliffe and later Axe Castle. It was built in two stages between 1897 and 1910 by General Carroll, the son of a Civil War General. The grounds are enclosed by a stone wall and support a veritable arboretum of evergreens and rare varieties of trees, grasslands and flowers. Designs by noted New York Architect Henry Killburn. The Castle was built in a style reminiscent of Norman fortification in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The finished castle boasted 45 rooms. The main tower of the Castle rises 75 feet, making it the highest point in Westchester County.


The last stop on our tour was dinner at Hudson at Haymount House. In the early 1900’s, a Wall Street financier named William Fuller decided to build a country estate on an expanse of property that spanned from the water line of the Hudson River to the top of a beautiful hill in Briarcliff Manor, NY. The estate would be his home for retirement—a place where he would devote his time to family, farming, and elegant country living. He named the estate “Haymount” after the town in North Carolina where he was born. Over the years, Haymount enjoyed a colorful history. The estate was profiled in a variety of architectural magazines, portrayed “Tara” in scenes from the American classic, “Gone with the Wind,” and was even home to a Dutch industrialist named Bernard Van Leer who lived on the property with members (both human and animal!) of the Holland Classical Circus. A fire famously occurred near the stables where Van Leer kept four world-famous elephants. The elephants survived…but the east wing of Haymount did not! The west wing was later torn down to retain symmetry.


When we arrived at the house/restaurant we spoke with the manager and asked him if he would give us a tour of the house. He was kind enough to entertain us and in the process told us about the resident ghosts, who he swears live within the house. He told us several unexplained stories where glasses have literally jumped off of tables or trays. As he was telling us these stories it was clear he believed them, or at least he was good at convincing me that he believed them. To make a long story short, I have no intention of spending the night in one of their rooms anytime soon.
 
We got around Tarrytown and Briarcliff Manor today and saw parts of New York I wanted to see! I think Karen and Naomi (Karen's mom) also saw new sights today, we explored it together. I relate to this, because I really only get around DC when people come to visit me! Tomorrow, Peter and I head back to DC in hopes of missing post holiday traffic.
 

November 22, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2008, our last Thanksgiving with Mattie. Mattie's school counselor gave him this cute turkey hat. Mattie thought the hat was funny and quickly put it on his head. I can't think of a more adorable turkey.











Quote of the day: It's so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone. ~ John Steinbeck


We want to wish our readers a very Happy Thanksgiving. Today, Peter and I are driving to New York to spend Thanksgiving with my friend Karen and her mom. Karen's mom lives in Scarsdale, where I spent the first decade of my life before moving to California. Mattie visited Boston many times and he got to see several of the places that were important to Peter as he was growing up. Yet Mattie never went to New York, he never saw where I grew up, the church Peter and I got married in, where I used to live, where we got married, and so forth. These are aspects of one's history that typically you like to share with your child. For us it wasn't meant to be.

I am posting today's entry early and will write from New York on Friday evening. In the mean time, it is my hope that our readers have a meaningful and peaceful Thanksgiving. I do realize that holidays can be challenging times for so many of us, for many different reasons. I wholeheartedly acknowledge this and want you to know that we are thankful to all our readers who remain committed to our journey. For you we are grateful!
 

November 21, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2002. Mattie was seven months old and that was his first Fall. This happens to be one of my favorite pictures. I loved that puppy dog hat on Mattie, and we both loved the beautiful oak tree in the background. That oak tree's leaves later served as the food for all of Mattie's tent moth caterpillars which we housed in containers and we released when they transformed into moths. Now when I see our oak tree turn colors in the Fall, it always reminds me of this picture taken the year Mattie was born.

Quote of the day: In time, in time they tell me, I'll not feel so bad. I don't want time to heal me. There's a reason I'm like this. I want time to set me ugly and knotted with loss of you, marking me. I won't smooth you away. I can't say goodbye. ~ China Miéville


Mieville's quote may sound very depressing or even disturbing, but to a mom who lost a child to cancer, there is great truth in what he is saying. I have mentioned it before on the blog, surviving the death of a child produces great guilt. It simply isn't natural or how life is expected to be. Yet this is what Peter and I are facing day after day without Mattie. I certainly know time doesn't heal all wounds, but I would say Mieville is correct, I don't want "time to heal me" either. Somehow healing me implies that I would be forgetting Mattie, which is disrespectful and only compounds the guilt. I am not sure what the answer is to finding a way back to the land of the living, I am still in search of these answers. Yet holiday times cause us to reflect on what is missing in our lives, which can lead to resentment, jealousy, and anger. Not the greatest emotions to be filled with on Thanksgiving.

Over the past several days I have had an email exchange with a mental health professional who attended the palliative care seminar Peter and I presented at last Friday. This woman wrote to me because she was touched by what we spoke about and also wanted me to know that it evoked many feelings for her, since her child is a cancer survivor. One of the things she spoke to me about is the love between a child and his/her parent. This of course is a special bond and therefore when your child dies, the grief is beyond overwhelming. In a way, she was saying that the death of a child is one of the hardest losses to live with. I remember hearing this while I was in graduate school, and naturally made a mental note of it, but never thought I would experience it first hand. It is a type of grief that is so intense at times that it can make you feel like you are going crazy, that no one else can possibly understand you, and the list goes on. Yet when I receive emails like the one today it does cause me to pause and acknowledge that others do get it or want to get it. At this same palliative care conference, I also connected with a dad who lost an only child to cancer. This dad basically told me that he was happy he met me because parents who lost an only child to cancer are rare. In many ways we instantly connected and understood each other because we both had raised a male only child. It is hard when your only child dies because your identity as a parent also dies. I am not suggesting that parents with multiple children have an easier time grieving over the loss of a child. In fact, I know several sad scenarios in which parents who lost a child to cancer could no longer parent their other children. But I am saying that losing an only child changes family dynamics and one's identity in a very profound way.

As tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I want to pause and thank our readers for your steadfast support, for checking in with us, and for your care and concern. For you we are very grateful! 

 

November 20, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 -- Mattie died 167 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in November of 2002. Mattie was seven months old and one of the things that absolutely fascinated him was a camera and especially the flash of a camera. Peter was holding Mattie in this photo, and as you can see reflected in our mirror, Mattie was very focused upon the light. It practically stopped him from all wiggling and moving around.


Quote of the day: From childhood's hour I have not been. As others were, I have not seen. As others saw, I could not awaken. My heart to joy at the same tone. And all I loved, I loved alone. ~ Edgar Allan Poe


The highlight of my day today was going out to lunch with my friends Ann and Heidi. We had a nice time chatting about all sorts of things and though the holidays are coming up, this wasn't our focus. Holidays are times for so many which produce mixed feelings. For us, holidays are just not the same. It is hard for me to hear about Christmas shopping, decorating, parties, and the list goes on. There is great guilt associated with holidays and I honestly feel like others just can't relate to me during this season.

Thanksgiving isn't a holiday with wonderful memories for us either. The last Thanksgiving as a family was in 2008. Mattie was home recovering from his limb salvaging surgeries. I recall that day as if it were yesterday. A day neither Peter or I will ever forget. Mattie was in terrible pain, felt isolated, couldn't move or use his body, and his mood was extremely depressed and his anxiety level was threw the roof. Peter and I were walking on egg shells that day. I turned on the TV and sat with Mattie as we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. But this distraction did not help matters at all. There was no pleasing Mattie that day and when I reflect on that moment and so many others, I just do not know how any of us survived through this battle. Despite how worn out we were, Peter and I never snapped at Mattie. EVER! We understood what he was up against and how awful his existence was. We absorbed a lot of his pain, fears, and emotions. So many of these feelings remain with us today.

This evening I headed back to the Hospital for a parent advisory board meeting. Last month I wrote a letter about some of the issues Peter and I experienced with the hospital admission process. There is a great deal of redundancy with the admissions process, and worse as a cancer patient, we would have to take Mattie to the outpatient clinic first. Once Mattie had his lab work and met the criteria for an infusion of chemotherapy, I would then have to walk from the clinic to admissions to get Mattie admitted to the hospital. The admission never happened directly from the clinic. That may not seem like a big deal, but it is when you are worried about your child, you want the chemotherapy process to start as soon as possible, and keep in mind that Mattie was in a wheelchair. Rarely did Mattie want to leave the clinic to be wheeled to admissions. So if I left him in clinic, I had to make sure someone was there to watch over him while I dealt with the admission process. When I think about the lost hours commuting from the clinic to admissions, we are talking double digits! Needless to say, one of my admissions issues has been resolved and now childhood cancer families will be able to get their children admitted to the hospital directly from the clinic. Side stepping having to walk to the main admissions department. This is a wonderful new change and I am happy that my letter could cause this streamlining. Streamlining which will save a parent time and energy.

Nonetheless, at the meeting there was talk of holiday parties. Parties for the kids and fundraising parties for the pediatric programs. Regardless of the nature of the parties, just hearing about them made me sad. This is the problem with being the only bereaved parent on the board. Others just can't relate to my feelings, even those who have experienced childhood cancer. Being a bereaved parent puts me in a whole other club, one that I would trade admission to any day.

November 19, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012


Tonight's picture was taken in February of 2009, on Valentine's Day. I will never forget that day. Mattie was adamant that he wanted to make me something special. Basically Mattie had me leave the Child Life playroom and with the help of Jenny and Jessie (his art therapists), he later surprised me with many Mattie creations. One was on my head! A paper wreath of hearts. Mattie also made me a big box filled with hearts and various Mattie messages of love. I still have this hand decorated box in my closet. Needless to say, this moment of love (which Jenny fortunately captured on camera) now has to last me a lifetime. When I reflect on tonight's quote, which really resonates with me, Mattie will never be forgotten, nor will I ever stop talking about him. I love Jeanette Winterson's analogy..... in essence the hole in my heart is in the shape of Mattie. So if I were to stop reflecting on Mattie it most likely would mean that my heart stopped working.


Quote of the day: "You’ll get over it…” It’s the clichés that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life forever. You don’t get over it because 'it' is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never loses. How could it? The particularness of someone who mattered enough to grieve over is not made anodyne by death. This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no-one else can fit it. Why would I want them to?  ~ Jeanette Winterson


I could reflect further on tonight's quote, but the quote itself has left me in tears. When someone can write or speak words that capture the feelings, frustrations, and profound loss that are in your heart, it is a powerful feeling. Winterson's quote was able to quickly do that for me tonight.
 
 
My day began by delivering 972 pounds of candy to Georgetown University Hospital. Once I got to the Hospital, I was fortunate to have Linda (Mattie's Child Life Specialist) and her staff specialists Katie and Jess meet me. They had carts in tow and within 15 minutes removed all the candy from our Explorer. Before any candy was removed, I snapped a picture of our very full car. I entitled this photo, "a MMCF special delivery!"

A close up! I can certainly say that Peter's explorer was drooping in the back. It was weighed down by all the candy!

I can't tell you how many people came up to us while we were unloading the car to see if we would give them some candy! It was hysterical. One man was so enthralled by what he was seeing that he offered to take a picture of us! Pictured with me are Katie and Linda, and of course several carts filled with candy!
Later this evening I went to visit my friend Mary, who lives in an assisted living facility. I try to see Mary at least once a week. When I entered the facility tonight I had one woman stop me. She is a daughter of a patient. She sees me each time I visit however, she wanted me to know she saw me on the news. She said she couldn't get over it! Someone she sees all the time in person, was now on the news. She had me laughing. When I arrived in Mary's room, Mary seemed exhausted and out of sorts. I know that feeling all too well, and usually I can talk right through it with her. It helped that I brought home made chicken soup that I made this weekend and some corn muffins. Fortunately Mary is like me, in that food can change our moods quickly. Mary ate all the soup and said that it made her feel better, and of course no night would be complete without her telling me I must be an angel. Which of course always gets me to smile. Clearly we both know I am not an angel, but what she is saying is that she appreciates my visits and company.

November 18, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012



Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2004. Back then I was teaching at the George Washington University and some of my students invited us to a Halloween event they were hosting for local underpriviledged children. They wanted me to see the event and they also wanted to meet Mattie. Mattie got dressed up in his Halloween outfit and enjoyed the fact that they were giving away free children's books to the attendees. Mattie loved Franklin (a turtle) and Little Bear and when he saw stories featuring his favorite characters, he grabbed the books. Peter snapped a picture of us reading together in the midst of all the activities going on!


Quote of the day: Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back. ~ Mitch Albom


It is with no doubt that collecting and SORTING all of this candy is a labor of love. Unlike those of you who have children to nurture each day, our nurturing has to be done in different ways. One of the ways to keep Mattie's memory alive and help others this Fall is through our candy drive. The drive has certainly kept me busy, focused, and determined to collect as much candy as possible to keep the snack cart at the Hospital stocked for the year.

The grand total collected is 1000 pounds of candy!!! This is a significant increase from last year, in which we collected 238 pounds of candy. I think the candy drive was a major success this year because I reached out to a couple of my friends who helped to publicize the drive on listservs and through their social circles. In addition, we had Foundation supporters, schools, mom's groups, girl scouts troops, brownie troops, and a temple in Maryland partnering with us to collect candy. We literally collected candy from individuals and groups in DC, Virginia, and Maryland this year!

The picture below illustrates how significant 1000 pounds of candy is, but what you can not determine from the picture is that each of these bags is quite heavy and very fragrant! It took Peter and I several hours to cart these bags down to the car and pack it efficiently in order to deliver them to the Hospital tomorrow. I love the pictures Peter took today because they prominently feature Mattie. Mattie is the motivation behind our efforts and naturally his memory gives us the energy to take on such a large project. For those of you who are interested in specifics you will find a chart reflecting the type of candy and poundage for each item below this picture. To everyone who made this possible, we THANK YOU!!!


 

Candy Type
Pounds
Reece's Peanut Butter Cups
63
Whoopers
22
Candy Corn
6
Baby Ruth
22
Nestle Crunch
26
Starbursts
35
Skittles
21
Milk Duds
11
Almond Joys
21
Butterfingers
42
Tootsie Rolls
42
Laffy Taffy
22
Twizzlers
22
Peanut M&Ms
25
3 Musketeers
19
Kit Kat
55
M&Ms
41
Milky Ways
43
Peppermint Patties
8
100k bars
9
Snickers
102
Mini Peanut Butter Cups
28
Twix
39
Hershey miniatures
43
Lollipops
60
Hot Tamales
3
Chips/Pretzels
10
Hard Candy
39
Hershey Bars
42
Chewy Candy
33
Sweet Tarts
38
Granola
8
TOTAL:
1000