Mattie Miracle 8th Annual Walk & Family Festival was an $88,000 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

Random Shots of Mattie, Family and Friends

April 5, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

Tonight's picture was taken on April 4, 2009. After Mattie's party in the Hospital's playroom, his two buddies, Charlotte and Abbie came back with him to his PICU room. The fun continued on Mattie's bed with balloons, jumping around, jokes, and even watching an episode or two of Scooby Doo. Visiting a hospital is challenging enough, but I can assure you visiting a PICU can be over the top. It is hard to see very sick children, some on ventilators, and others with no family or friends by their side. Yet Charlotte and Abbie came often to visit Mattie. I am sure they absorbed everything around them, yet that did not prevent them from engaging and playing with Mattie. That to me speaks to their courage but also the power of friendship.


Quote of the day: The house is eerily quiet. All this time I thought silence would be a welcome reprieve, but it's less comforting than I imagined. The house feels so much bigger and colder than it ever has. ~ Hannah Harrington



It has been an interesting weather week at the beach. Everything from rain, hail, and temperatures at night down in the 20s! YES the 20s. We were prepared for rain today, but by 11am, the glorious sun came out and eventually we lost that COLD wiping wind! We took a walk on the beach later this afternoon and Peter snapped some wonderful photos. It is so unusual to see shells on the beach, but with all the storms, it is a target rich environment. Collecting shells, like this Fan tail, remind me of Mattie.


In the morning, we went to the outlets. While shopping we talked to many of the store clerks. They were all complaining about the weather, the lack of visitors to the beach area, and their desire for spring to reach Delaware. I think this afternoon, we saw a potential glimpse of spring!




The waves today were huge. Like six to eight feet! They were totally impressive to watch and they made us stop in our tracks and watch them in awe.









Our friends live in a housing complex with about 30 to 40 houses. For the week we have been here there have been maybe three to four houses occupied in total. Today, however, there has been a flurry of move ins. I guess because the weather is predicted to be better this weekend. I love this cloud photo Peter snapped today.


There are MANY osprey flying all over the Delaware Shore skyline. This is NOT a bird I would ever see in DC. They are very impressive and have a huge wing span. They excel at nest building and capturing fish after diving into the water.




If you look carefully the resident Immature Common Eider was riding this wave. There were NO other birds on the shore today while we walked the beach for an hour. The only bird we saw on the water was this Eider. Got to love how he braves the cold water! Tomorrow, Peter and I head back to Washington, DC, and the sound and sights will be very different than Bethany.

I would like to end tonight's posting with a message I received from my friend and colleague, Nancy. It is a tribute to Mattie's 11 years!


11 Lessons Mattie Taught Us by Nancy Heller Moskowitz

I was going to write on Tuesday and then decided that I wanted to wait until Mattie's birthday. I have so much that I want to say, however, I will restrict my focus to Mattie and the lessons that he taught each and everyone of us. For me, having never met Mattie, in person, I am surprised by how much I know about him. Of course, that is because both of you have shared openly within the blog and our visits. Your view of parenthood and loving a child brought many memories of how I felt as a new Mom about each of my own children and now grandchildren. They are such an integral part of our day and being. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts on this Mattie's 11th birthday. May the day be one where all of our love keeps you safe as you weather another birthday without Mattie's presence. He lives on in all of us. Thank you for sharing him with us.
 
1st lesson - TENACITY - based on your recounting Mattie's early days, he was tenacious and wanted to keep everyone on their toes. He was "demanding" as only a newborn tends to be. The world revolves around them!

2nd lesson - HUMOR - Mattie enjoyed the "comedy" of life. Even while he was hurting and dying, there were many times that you told of funny things that he wanted to do or had done in healthier times. This is the value of pictures and memories, They keep us going when the source is not readily available. Humor is what keeps us young and alive. Like any 6 year old, he loved Sponge Bob Square Pants and Scooby Doo. Too very silly characters and he gave them character too. I remember one time when I was away and wanted to send Mattie something. I was in an airport shop and found a watercolor book filled with Sponge Bob. I don't know or want to know if he was ever able to use it. What was important is that I knew that it was a favorite diversion of his.

3rd lesson - LOVE OPENLY - Each picture shown with Peter or you screams how much Mattie loved his Mommy and Daddy. You both got him and not always in the same way. Peter spent so much time building Lego creations with Mattie, holding him on his shoulders, and teaching him and taking him to Red Sox events, along with Washington Nationals events. These are important, yet, what Peter gave Mattie, the most, was himself. That is what I love about Peter as a man. He is aware of what he needs and shows it. During his grieving, he has had to wear a mask so unless one really looks closely, his pain is not visible. I feel very honored that Peter has shown his tears along with sharing his own stories about Mattie. That is how Mattie learned to love openly. He was shown it!

Vicki, Mattie and you were "One" in many ways. He looked like you.
You shared a smile. You allowed him to be himself, very early on. I
learned that we will mimic our parents, once we are parents, or toss
away what we didn't like about our childhood. I imagine that you used
both in learning how to give Mattie your time and experience. He may
have been here for a brief time, however, he learned so much in that
time. He learned that he had a Mommy who would do anything for him and
did. You may have tired physically, Vicki, yet, you were always there,
no matter what. And then there was Patches, blessed Patches, who was
Mattie's constant companion. Mattie learned a lot from her too about
love.

4th lesson - BEING ADVENTUROUS - The stories and pictures showing Mattie on his many trips with you. He loved exploring. He incorporated his learning within his play. He collected memories of his escapades with you and your families. I picture his room, especially when he was alive, filled with the treasures of a trip surrounding him and wondering how he was going to keep everything forever. He didn't start out that way, I know. School and Margaret brought that out in him. The power of others was important to Mattie and he could amuse himself too. That is balance and so important.

5th lesson - ADAPTABILITY - You didn't show many pictures of Mattie walking with aides, however, the best memories here are of Speedy Red. Your parents found a way for him to get around, have fun, learn to drive and experience independence when he couldn't have it on his own. Being isolated in the hospital and how he used the cartons/boxes to illustrate his interests. His friendships, where he learned to share with others.

6th lesson - LOVE OF NATURE - especially BUGS - Only a boy comes to mind, although, many little girls do too. Did Zachary, Campbell, and Charlotte, engage in these antics too? Did you bird watch with Mattie or is this something that developed as a coping tool? I think that is why Mattie's tree, on the school grounds, is such a beautiful testament to him. It is meaningful because it continues to grow strong and tall. Each year, new symbols grace it to remind everyone of Mattie's life. Many people try to do "big" things that will leave their imprint on the world and your little boy did it just by being himself. That is very SPECIAL! And the Full Moon will never just be a moon phase, it will always be a Mattie Moon.

7th lesson - THE POWER OF MUSIC - I believe, I remember, that Mattie loved ABBA music. If I'm correct than Dancing Queen had to be one of his favorites. I remember you telling of music within the hospital and Mattie dancing with his medicine pole. He would have loved Mama Mia. Music gives us a way to express ourselves like nothing else. It involves sight, sound, and touch. It involves our sense of freedom within the world. It can take us places that we may never visit.

8th lesson - APPRECIATION - Mattie appreciated time and used it well. The stories of the nursing staff at Georgetown Hospital gave him a wealth for appreciating how important caring about others is to a strong presence. Here, I need to include Brandon. He taught Mattie to appreciate each day. Brandon gave Mattie, a mentor, of how to appreciate what one has at the moment and how precious it is to use it wisely.

9th lesson - FRIENDSHIP - Mattie's friends were very important to him, once he went to school. Kindergarten was such a wonderful experience for him. It brought Mattie to the world and the world to him. The way in which each of his playmates would just be with him, especially, in the hospital. I remember pictures of Charlotte sitting on his bed watching TV. The fact that so many of the children remember Mattie each year and share their lives with you shows how much he is a part of them. I believe that is what makes Lauren and the other child vendors of the Walk so important, they
represent friendship on a higher plane.

10th lesson - PUT ON A BRAVE FACE - Each day that Mattie had a procedure, a new drug, a "down day" where he wanted a part of no one or nothing, his daily pain and limitations, when you took out the camera, he tried and succeeded in giving us a smile. I know that this is purposeful for the blog and remember the time, close to the end, when he just couldn't smile, yet, his brave face was there. He attempted so much with all of you giving him courage and encouraging him to strive for what was important to him. He took his time on earth and made it count. He was a fighter. He was and is a winner!

11th lesson - CREATIVITY - Mattie's creations, documented by your photos, showed inspiration. He was an architect, a designer, a builder! What he did with Legos was masterful for his age. I know that Peter had a lot to do with this too, still, Mattie had to want to accomplish all of those buildings. In an age where technology rules, Mattie got the best instruction of how to use what resources he had and make them count. His "box" creations, his bug collections, all showed Mattie's creativity.
 

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