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

May 12, 2013

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tonight's picture was taken on Mother's Day of 2007. Peter and Mattie took me out for an early dinner that day. Mattie's crossed arms were meant to illustrate to Peter and the camera just how much he loved me. Fortunately I have pictures because they will have to last me a lifetime. Since Mattie's death I wouldn't dream of going out for lunch or dinner on Mother's Day. The irony is I checked in with my friend Annie today. Annie lost her daughter Eloise about eight months after Mattie died. I told her I was thinking about her and hoped she was surviving the day. Ironically Annie retreats as well on Mother's Day and doesn't like going out and being forced to see moms with their children. Not that this notion makes me feel any better, but I appreciate that I can turn to Annie and get her perspective. Having similar perspectives on our losses, it does help to normalize my feelings at times. Feelings which are very hard to convey and understand if you haven't lost a child to cancer.

Quote of the day: But there's a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother's story, because hers is where yours begin. ~ Mitch Albom

I started my day by opening cards that Peter, my mom, and Peter's parents sent me. They also sent me gifts which were lovely, but it was the sentiments in ALL their cards that truly got me. Later in the morning I spoke to both Peter's mom and my mom. Despite how I am feeling about the day, I was happy knowing that how we recognized our moms made them happy! That was the highlight of my day.

Years ago, Peter planted this beautiful rhododendron
in our commons area. I have to tell you, I have NEVER seen it bloom! I mean EVER! Until this spring. But look at how stunning it is!!! While I have been working on the Foundation Walk items in Mattie's room all week, I have been looking out Mattie's window and seeing this beauty.

I am not the only one who appreciates Peter's common area plantings. Check out this robin! We have a lot of robins visiting now which is very unusual for us. In addition, we have two doves that visit our kitchen windowsill every morning. I view that as a positive sign or a meaningful sign of Mattie's presence. However, Peter reminds me that the last time we had doves visiting, we later learned Mattie was dying. Frankly I am sticking with my interpretation!

The beauty of our perennial garden!!!

Peter and I went out today to run more chores for the Walk. While out, I got a text message and phone call from my friend Tina. She was in the city and wanted to stop by my home to give me these beautiful Mother's Day Butterfly Cookie treats. To me they are just stunning, but putting that aside, it meant a great deal to me that my friend would be thinking of me, seeing the symbolism of these cookies (since butterflies have become my personal symbol of Mattie), and finding her way to my home to give them to me. Tina is my first friend I have made since Mattie's death. We are not connected through our children, just through our own preferences and bond. Needless to say, receiving these cookies made me feel special.

I would like to end tonight's posting with three things. The first is a message from my mom, the second is a message from my friend and colleague, Nancy, and the third is an article sent to me by my friend Denise. Denise sent me this article on my first Mother's Day without Mattie. Nonetheless, the article is still relevant today. To all my blog readers who are mothers, I hope you had a beautiful day no matter what you did. If your children are alive and healthy, you received life's greatest gift today.


A Mother's Love Transcends Mortal Bounds by Virginia R. Sardi

Your bonds to Mattie are as real today as when he was a physical presence in your life. Mattie loved you and Peter so much that is was painful for him to say goodbye in the final moments of his life. His love endures today though he may be gone. You have taken that love and transformed it into a living and breathing Foundation dedicated to the benefit of children stricken with cancer which gives validation to Mattie's life and ensures that his memory will live on in the good deeds accomplished in his name.

You were an exceptionally devoted mother to the little Mattie that grew up to be a beautiful, gifted, happy toddler who is still revered by his family, friends and teachers who reminisce about his life and hold fast to their memories of him, keeping his spirit alive by supporting your efforts to benefit his Foundation through which you have succeeded in keeping his bubbling personality and intensity for life alive and well.

Without him, you have found a very real place for him in your heart which has given you the hope to dream those ambitious dreams of making this world a better place for children like Mattie in whose name all your energies are devoted and for whom you seek to make a difference! Mother's Day is your day because you have shown that in spite of your great loss that your love is immutable and enduring, setting the example for all mothers to know just how infinite a mother's love can be!

Nancy wrote, "Although, Mattie isn't with you, in life, he is always and will always be in your heart. I know that you understand this, yet, I also know how painful this day is for you as you aren't able to wrap your arms around him. I remember you saying that the Foundation has become your baby and I think that you are correct. It is your baby because it is about your baby. Mattie has given new meaning to the importance of cherishing each day that we have with our children/grandchildren. Of course, not everyday is filled with sweetness and calm. You've shared so much of the realities of raising a child in the blog. You have allowed all of us who care about you to know how unnatural it feels to be around others especially on this day. I admire how you have taken care of yourself and Peter takes care of you as you navigate these difficult days. I hope that you know that you are always and will always be a Mom and are Mattie's Mom. I believe Mattie's gift to you everyday is having the strength to keep getting up and getting out, reaching out to as many as you can to share your story and support those who have to go through the same pains that you did with more support and care. I know that I'm only one of the many who wish you a gentle day on this Mother's Day. I can't believe that the Walk is only a week away. I know that you will be very busy this week and wanted to touch base before I see you. I'm so glad that I can be there, in person this year, to see the fruits of Peter and your hearts."

Mothers who have lost a child - May 14, 1995 by Erma Bombeck

If you're looking for an answer this Mother's Day on why God reclaimed your child, I don't now.  I only know that thousands of mothers out there today desperately need an answer as to why they were permitted to go through the elation of carrying child and then lose it to miscarriage, accident , violence disease or drugs 

Motherhood isn't just a series of contractions. It's a state of mind.  From the moment we know life is inside us, we feel a responsibility to protect and defend that human being. It's a promise we can't keep.  We beat ourselves to death over that pledge. "If I hadn't worked through the eighth month."  "If I had taken him to the doctor when he had a fever." "If I hadn't let him use the car that night."  "If I hadn't been so na├»ve, I'd have noticed he was on drugs."

The longer I live, the more convinced I become that surviving changes us.  After the bitterness, the anger, the guilt, and the despair are tempered by time, we look at life differently. While I was writing  my book, I Want to Grow Hair, I Want to Grow Up, I Want to Go to Boise, I talked with mothers who had lost a child to cancer.  Every single one said death gave their lives new meaning and purpose.  And who do you think prepared them for the rough, lonely road they had to travel?  Their dying child. They pointed their mothers toward the future and told them to keep going. The children had already accepted what their mothers were fighting to reject. 

The children in the bombed-out nursery in Oklahoma City have touched more lives than they will ever know.  Workers who had probably given their kids a mechanical pat on the head without thinking that morning are making phone calls home during the day to their children to say "I love you."

This may seem like a strange Mother's Day column on a day when joy and life abound for the millions of mothers throughout the country. But it's also a day of appreciation and respect.  I can think of no mothers who deserve it more than those who had to give a child back. 

In the face of adversity, we are not permitted to ask, "Why me?" You can ask, but you wont get an answer.  Maybe you are the instrument who is left behind to perpetuate the life that was lost and appreciate the time you had with it. 

The late Gilda Radner sums it up well: I wanted a perfect ending.  Now I've learned the hard way that some poems don't rhyme and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle and end.  Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what is going to happen next.  Delicious ambiguity. 

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