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

October 31, 2015

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Tonight's picture was taken on Halloween of 2008. This was our last Halloween with Mattie. I will never forget this costume. Mattie was tentative about celebrating Halloween and even wearing a costume. He had just had his first limb salvaging surgery two weeks before and his right arm was still bandaged. Mattie was in pain and moved gingerly with his arm. However, Mattie's child life specialist and art therapists had a solution. They invited Mattie to come into clinic and pick a costume a day before the other children. The reason this was crucial was because Mattie had trouble moving around in crowds with his arm. He was frightened that someone would bang up against his arm and he was also self conscious about looking different and not finding a costume that would work for him. So exploring the costumes in a room without other children was an excellent plan. Mattie gravitated to the mummy costume as soon as he saw it, because in this costume you really couldn't tell that his right arm wasn't usable. It just seemed wrapped up as part of the costume. This photo was taken in the hospital elevator, while Mattie was trick or treating around the hospital! 


Quote of the day: Hold on, man. We don't go anywhere with "scary," "spooky," "haunted," or "forbidden" in the title. ~ From Scooby-Doo


For as long as we have lived in our complex in DC, no one has trick or treated! There are children who live here, but I am sure they go to the homes of friends instead. I know that is what we used to do with Mattie. We wanted Mattie to have the suburban experience of what it was like to walk around in a neighborhood on sidewalks and get candy with friends. I know Mattie did enjoy that, but now that Mattie is gone, Halloween seems to also have disappeared for us. Friends no longer invite us over and I imagine the reasoning is that seeing other children trick or treating will make us upset. Perhaps! I think it is hard to exist in a world in which you once had a child and then by no fault of your own, become childless. People don't know how to interact with you and what happens is you land up in isolation. If on the rare occasion you are included, you can sense that your presence makes others uncomfortable or people don't necessarily care for your reactions to things. Which of course leads to further isolation. I wish I could say this is just a Vicki/Peter issue. But it isn't. 

After my biopsy yesterday, I had a tough night of sleep and continue to be in pain. Every movement seems to hurt. I could have easily just sat on the couch all day. But I figured that wasn't going to solve anything. So with the sun shining, I decided we should go to Huntley Meadows (one of the nature preserves that I really love) and walk. It is typically tranquil and you can always see a piece of beauty on the boardwalk. 


As soon as we entered the boardwalk, we saw a flock of Canadian Geese. I happen to love these geese, and they are actually the only positive to our winters! 










To me this photo is hysterical! It shows Turtles trying to be ballerinas! I never saw turtles extending their legs like this toward the sun!









The seeds of the cattails have exploded and this fluff was floating all over the place. It looks like cotton. I remember having several intact cat tails in my apartment in Boston. I placed them on display in a vase! What a mistake! I did not know that when they dry up, they explode. I literally was picking up this fluff everywhere. It was like a down comforter had exploded all over the apartment. I learned my lesson about cat tails the hard way. 

The beauty of the boardwalk.














No trip is ever complete without a Great Blue Heron sighting!












The tranquility of Huntley Meadows. 















A Mattie remembrance came to greet us! 












If there is any doubt.... we are very much into the Fall season. This golden color was so vibrant on this Chinese Maple, that I thought it deserved to be captured!


October 30, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2007. Mattie was five years old and had just started kindergarten. That year, Mattie knew exactly what he wanted to be..... an Air Force pilot. When we went costume shopping together, the only pilot costume I could find was actually a navy pilot one. But thanks to my friend, Charlie, who was a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, I was able to get some wonderful Air Force patches to sew onto Mattie's costume. Mattie loved having these unique patches and he truly enjoyed the whole Halloween experience that year. His school had a wonderful Halloween parade, and I recall thinking that year that Mattie would have many more Halloween parades to come.  


Quote of the day: Fear doesn't shut you down; it wakes you up. ~ Veronica Roth


Where do I begin regarding today!? It is a long story which includes YET ANOTHER hospital experience under my belt. On Wednesday of this week, I decided to make an appointment with my internist/family practitioner because I have been experiencing breast pain for a week. When the pain started, I figured it was muscular or hormone related. However, as time kept marching on and the pain wasn't getting better, a red flag went off that I needed to be proactive. 

This morning, I had a 9:30am appointment in my doctor's office. But the office was an absolute ZOO! I never saw it this way.... with patients standing everywhere because there weren't enough seats. I literally waited 40 minutes to be called back, and another 30 minutes in the office until I was finally seen. Thankfully the office took my concerns seriously, especially when I told them that Mattie died from osteosarcoma, and a fellow osteo mom told me that there is a correlation between sons getting osteo and their moms developing breast cancer. My doctor can't find any data to substantiate that claim, but no one is taking any chances. So I had NO FIGHTING to do in my doctor's office. The only thing I did ask, is that on the script for my mammogram and sonogram... that it be marked STAT. Meaning that the radiology department needed to do it today. I am SO HAPPY I had that put in writing, otherwise, I am sure I would have been sent home today without a testing time. 

With the scan script in hand, I walked over to the hospital radiology department. Thankfully in my case, my doctor's office is connected to Virginia Hospital Center. The radiology department ASSURED me there would be NO WAY I would get these procedures done today. In my mind I thought.... YOU WANT TO BET?! But they said I should wait for the scheduler to schedule the testing! So I waited, and I waited. Try over an hour! I have to admit, when I sense there is a medical problem, I now become hyperalert and also extremely anxious. Not to the point that I can't function! I will never look outwardly phased, but internally, the anxiety shows up with a fixation on getting testing done and results. From Mattie's experience I no longer go to any of my medical appointments (in which I have symptoms and pain) expecting the ordinary. On the contrary, I am always prepared for the worse news and always fear cancer. I am not sure how many other people live their lives like this, but I suspect those of us who lost a child to cancer, the percentage is HIGH! 

After an hour wait in the radiology department, I finally went back to the receptionist and said that either someone was going to process me, or I was taking my script back. She told me I was next to be processed, so I continued waiting. When I finally interacted with the scheduling person, she wanted me to get the mammogram and sonogram done on November 9th! With that I laughed and I said what would a person do if they were dying. Would you still make them wait until November 9th?! I also said that if she did not help me, I was going right to the ER. She responded back to me that my issue wasn't an emergency and that my doctor did not include on the script that the testing had to be done STAT. With that I jumped out of my chair and helped her read the script which clearly stated that the testing had to be done today! She couldn't refute that. Next thing I knew, she contacted the breast center manager and got me in! Of course that meant another 30 minutes of being proceeded through hospital paperwork in order to move along to the breast center. 

Once I got to the breast center, I had my first counter with a tech who did my imaging. The imagining went quickly and I took that as a good sign. She then took me back to the interior waiting room and she told me the radiologist would look at my scans and determine if anything else was needed. I honestly interpreted all of this as.... I was done, and she would tell me I was free to go home within minutes. That is NOT what happened. Instead another technician came to get me and asked me to proceed into a room for a sonogram, conducted by a radiologist. This radiologist showed me two cysts, which he knew were benign, and one questionable cyst. It was questionable because it wasn't round or oval, but instead an odd shape, it looked globular, it was cloudy inside and he did not like its borders. So he said I would need an aspiration and possibly a biopsy. I naturally wanted it done today, and they accommodated me. They told me to wait an hour and then come back to the breast center. By that point I was shaking like a leaf in fear and the hospital air conditioning made things much worse. 

After the hour wait, I went back to the breast center and was introduced to Kerry! A technician. I will never forget her, because she was very kind, patient, and compassionate. She stayed with me for two hours of testing and a biopsy. She explained everything that was happening to me, and the radiologist performing the biopsy seemed skilled. The radiologist did not want to do an aspiration, but wanted to move straight into a biopsy because she felt that the image was questionable. 

So after 7 hours of being in the hospital today, I have successfully completed two sets of mammograms, a sonogram, and a guided image biopsy. Within the guided image biopsy they inserted a titanium marker at the site. This marker will remain in me for future mammograms, so people can see that the site has been biopsied. Or if I need surgery, the marker will guide that process. Now comes waiting for results. Since the tissue needs to be cultured and analyzed. They tell me they may know something on Monday. All I know is it feels very reminiscent of July 2008, in which Mattie presented with pain, and after simple testing our world changed dramatically. 

But at this point I have NO CONFIDENCE AT ALL in mammograms. I do my 3-D mammogram religiously every year. My last one as in June. In June I had NOTHING showing up at all. Now four months later, I have two cysts and something questionable. It seems to me mammograms NEED TO GO, and women should be getting sonograms. Yet who am I? The breast cancer gurus promote breast health (self exams -- another thing that makes me laugh, because even today after an exam the doctor FELT NOTHING!) and mammogram screenings. I am case in point that mammograms do not catch everything. If I did not have pain for a week, I would never have known I had something within me that needed to be biopsied. 

October 29, 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2006. There is a long story regarding this costume. Back in October of 2005, Mattie decided he wanted to be a calico cat (like our cat Patches) for Halloween. Since Mattie preferred sweat suit type material, I decided to make the cat costume myself. Mattie and I went to AC Moore and we picked out felt for the cat's spots, and then he and I glue gunned the spots onto the sweat suit. We even made a tail out of black tights and I transformed my headband into ears. Mattie was all set for Halloween 2005 to be a cat, until he became very ill. He spiked a high fever, was vomiting non-stop and was in pain. We took him to the Emergency Room and he was then admitted to the hospital for two days. He had an ear infection that went septic throughout his body. Mind you I took him to his pediatrician the day before our ER visit, and I told her I suspected that Mattie had an ear infection. She looked in his ears and in her patronizing tone, dismissed us, saying he was fine! She blew that one royally, and therefore from that moment on if I complained Mattie had an issue, I was taken seriously. Not given anymore of that first time mom dialogue which I found so UNHELPFUL! Needless to say, when Mattie was admitted to the hospital, it was during Halloween. Mattie never got to wear his costume or go trick or treating. Which was why in 2006, we brought out the costume we made the year before, and Mattie finally got to wear it!


Quote of the day: Seashells remind us that every passing life leaves something beautiful behind. ~ Unknown


My friend Carolyn, sent me this photo today. It is "Mattie Moon by morning." Carolyn's daughter went to preschool with Mattie, and after all these years we are still friends. Carolyn is the chair of our Foundation raffle, and has been helping me for years. Like me, when Carolyn sees the moon following her, she feels that is a good sign..... Mattie is watching over us. 













I went to my friend Janet's funeral today. I like funerals just as much as I like wakes. Yet I know they can be of great comfort to family and friends. I actually like going to church and hearing the music, what turns me off is how priests interpret the scriptures and life in general. If I did not have to hear their homilies, I most likely would go to church. Now I realize there are gifted priests out there, it does happen every now and then. The priest who baptized Mattie and also presided over his funeral is brilliant, compassionate, and very spiritual. I met Father Jim, when I was a graduate student at the George Washington University. For one of my first assignments in my graduate program, I had to find a person in the community to counsel and then write a case study about this person and the experience. The complicated part was I had to be able to do this under the supervision of a licensed professional. It dawned on me to approach the Catholic Newman Center on campus with my request to do a case study. That is when I met Jim. My joke with him always was.... you gave me my first client! But I liked Jim immediately and Peter and I are still connected with him. We need to clone him. 

During today's homily, I heard that line that drives me batty.... that my friend died because it was God's will. It was her time and we should take comfort in knowing she is with God. I am sure this brings peace to some people. I know hearing this helped me when my grandmother (who I was very close to) died. But if I apply this same homily to losing Mattie, it just doesn't work! There is no reason that Mattie should have died and it certainly wasn't his time. Someone who tells me it is, just doesn't get it! Fortunately Father Jim did not spout off any of these platitudes because I probably would have leaped out of the pew. Yet was it really Janet's time to die? She is leaving behind a husband and 12 year old child! I don't know, and I will leave it at that. 

After the mass today, I jumped into my car to pick up the catered food trays for the family for their luncheon reception at their home. I really tried to get the food as quickly as possible, in order to set it up before people arrived at their home. However, what I wasn't counting on was having dialogues with people at the store where I was picking up the trays. Both people worked for the store. One woman, seemed besides herself. She was working, but was running a fever and was feeling miserable. She started talking to me about the grey weather yesterday and how this depresses her. One thing led to another and she followed me throughout the store. She then asked what my profession was, when I told her, she asked if I would be her therapist. Cute no? I told her I wasn't actively practicing. With that she asked if I would come to the store again because she looks forward to seeing me, because she considers me an angel. I suppose an angel because I listened to her and gave her the time of day. That is another problem in our world, no one has time for anyone or anything. 

When I finished talking to this woman, another store employee got a hold of me and he started talking to me. I honestly wasn't sure I was ever going to get out of the store this afternoon! But it all worked out well. This fellow said that he couldn't pass up the opportunity to talk to a beautiful lady! I told him flattery always works with me!


I met my friend Janet in 2006, when Mattie was in preschool. Her daughter and Mattie were in the same classroom. Janet supported the Foundation and came to all of our Walks. She was part of the Resurrection Children's Center walk team this year! A team which raised the most money for Mattie Miracle. Janet is pictured on the right, wearing a light blue shirt. 


I had the opportunity to see Janet's tribute video today. It is very touching and you can see once again how cancer has destroyed another family:

http://www.everlywheatley.com/obituaries/Janet-Marie-Popowitz-5702532948/#!/PhotosVideos/00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000001/TributeVideo

October 28, 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2004. Mattie was two and a half years old and by that age, he got what Halloween was about. Though he still did not like the idea of a big, itchy, or uncomfortable costume, he agreed to another sweat suit type costume. Mattie and I both liked Winnie the Pooh, so as soon as he saw this costume, it resonated with him. The funny part about Mattie, was he liked the trick or treating activity, but could care less about getting the candy! In fact, whatever candy he got he normally gave it to others! Mattie was never into sweets, which made him the ideal trick or treating companion for his friends later in life! 


Quote of the day: Nothing you love is lost. Not really. Things, people–they always go away sooner or later. You can’t hold them anymore than you can hold moonlight. But if they’ve touched you, if they’re inside you, then they’re still yours. The only things you ever really have are the ones you hold inside your heart. ~ Bruce Coville


This evening Peter and I are headed to our friend, Janet's wake. I am not sure the last time I have been to a wake. I did not have one for Mattie and I am not a big fan of the process. I remember my father in law saying a long time ago to me that flowers are for the living. This is a saying that I have heard him use throughout my married life. However, I guess with age, I now get the greater significance of the statement. With regard to a loved one, the time to connect and share gifts are when you are living. Which makes you realize you shouldn't wait for tomorrow or the next day, or next year to make amends, to strengthen one's bond, or wait to tell or give something of importance. 

My first experience attending a wake, was when I was a teenager. I went to my paternal grandmother's wake and funeral. All I know is it was a vision I will never forget and remains with me today, as I am sure many people who attend open casket wakes understand. I know this maybe tradition, it perhaps is a way to pay tribute to the person who died, and most likely it gives loved ones who remain behind a visual reality of the loss. Yet last visions you have of a loved one, are sometimes hard to come to peace with, and therefore harder to remember the happier times with one another. 

I know this was true when we lost Mattie. We had 14 horrific months of cancer filling our minds and hearts. It took a very long time to process Mattie's battle emotionally, in order to be able to remember the times when he was healthy. The good times did not just jump back in my mind. Which is why when I hear those suffering the loss of a loved one tell me that they have to quickly put the bad memories behind them and remember the good. I pause and usually respond...... are you doing this because you want to, or are you doing this because this is what you think others in your life want you to be doing? If it is the latter, then I would rethink this. It is true that grief is a party and conversation stopper and it is also true that after the first year, many of us who have experienced a traumatic loss lose friends. That is the only natural order that occurs in a very unnatural loss. Yet blocking out or pushing aside what one experienced without addressing those feelings and emotions is problematic. Because somehow when you least suspect them, feelings and reflections have a way of surfacing. Being able to learn how to accept these set backs and also adjust to the changes in others around us are two keys to coping with grief over the long term.   



October 27, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 -- Mattie died 319 weeks ago today. 

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2003. Mattie was a year and half old. This was his second Halloween and I remember shopping with him at Target for his costume. Mattie was very sensitive to anything that was rough on his skin and he certainly did not want anything around his neck or his head. So this soft plushy pumpkin sweatsuit seemed like the perfect first Halloween costume to wear. 


Quote of the day: Great grief does not of itself put an end to itself. ~ Seneca



After four years of going to my zumba class with Jenny, we all said our good-byes today. Jenny is starting a new chapter in her life and is returning to full time work. Jenny started her zumba class in the winter of 2011, and I joined her class in September of 2011. Pictured here are Jamie, Jenny, and myself. 


Jamie and I brought Jenny gifts today. Jamie even created a little song for Jenny that we sang to her. Jenny was very surprised. The music to the song, was from 9 to 5, but with altered lyrics. The lyrics were:

Workin' 9 to 5
toiling all day in a room, a
way to earn good cash....
But not half as fun as Zumba!

Workin' 9 to 5,
dedicated to each issue,
You'll be the best one there...
But Jenny, we will miss you!


How did I come to this zumba class? Well my first zumba class was on a cruise ship with my mom. I enjoyed it and found it good exercise, so I decided I would try it when I returned home. However, given how I felt about losing Mattie, I honestly did not want to go out and venture into the world. Not with people I did not know or who did not understood what I have been surviving. When I found that Jenny was teaching a zumba class, I decided to try it. I assure you this was a big leap out of my comfort zone because in many ways I view the world as me versus everyone else. To me Jenny was a known quantity because her daughter and Mattie were in the same kindergarten class together and she knew what I had been through and continue to live with. 

I will never forget the first day back in 2011, when I came to Jenny's class. Another woman by the name of Heidi was in the class and she came up to me as soon as I entered the room and gave me a big hug. I was confused because I did not know Heidi, but she seemed to know me. I found out she had been reading Mattie's blog throughout his illness. So in essence she felt like she knew me. Heidi was one of my first friends I made after Mattie died and the connection to Heidi and Jenny, made this class emotionally doable for me. 

To most people, when they hear that my zumba class is ending, it seems like no big deal to them. But to me it is a huge deal. This class has given my life structure for four years, it forced me up and out during the week, and it also made me interact with the world around. I joke with Jenny that her class was therapeutic for me, but I am actually not kidding. It was a social experience, in a safe environment, in which I felt understood, despite being so different from those around me. 


October 26, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Tonight's picture was taken in October of 2002. This was Mattie's first Halloween, he was six months old. He did not understand what on earth I was doing, other than I sat him in a chair next to a large orange ball. A ball that he was fascinated with, but that was as big as he was. Mattie did not wear a costume or go trick or treating that year. We felt he was too young, which was the right decision for him. 


Quote of the day: There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery. ~ Dante



This morning after I woke up and went downstairs, I was hit by an intoxicating fragrance. I knew what it was immediately.... it was the aroma from our Butterfly Ginger Lily plant. Overnight one of its buds started blooming!

We got this plant two years ago in North Carolina, and what intrigued me about the plant was its name. I am drawn to anything butterfly oriented. However, when we got the plant it was tiny, around knee level! Now look at it, it is 6 feet tall. 










This is a bud of a Butterfly Ginger Lily. In my perspective this is the flower
that keeps on giving. It blooms in segments. As some of the flowers die, the other blossoms open up and we can have this amazing fragrance for at least a week. 








I remember when Peter and I purchased this plant, we were encouraged to buy it from a grounds caretaker at Elizabethan Gardens. He was a young fellow who was devastated over his grandmother's death. He was telling me how therapeutic gardening and being outside was for him after his loss. In any case, we had a meaningful chat with one another and I related to his feelings. 

I posted these flower photos on Facebook today, and my friend Lana sent me this picture of a Hawaiian Lei made from Butterfly Ginger Lily blossoms. Look at the intricate nature of this lei! 




This evening, as I was working by my computer, I looked up from my keyboard and out the window and here is what I saw.... a big Mattie Moon!

















At the same time tonight, I received an email from Laura, an international airline pilot. She snapped a photo of Mattie Moon over India at 32,000 feet! What a special surprise and photo!

We have never met Laura in person, but she was a faithful reader of Mattie's blog during his battle. Though overseas she virtually supported us with lovely and caring messages. When Mattie was battling cancer, Laura was training to be a pilot. Now after all of these years, Laura still thinks of Mattie whenever she sees the moon. 


October 25, 2015

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Tonight's picture was taken on October 20, 2007. That day Mattie's school had a fall festival that was followed by a homecoming football game. Mattie was very interested in attending the fall festival that day and he had a ball. He met up with all his kindergarten buddies and they ran around on the field, jumped on the moon bounces, got their faces painted, and simply enjoyed being with one another. Keep in mind that Mattie had just entered that school in September of 2007, and yet a month later he had a pack of friends. Friends who really enjoyed their time together, playing with each other, without the need for outside distractions like electronics or any other media. 


Quote of the day: To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived is unbearable. ~ Erich Fromm



My long time friend, Mary Ann, posted this beautiful photo that she took of acorns on her Facebook page today. When I saw it, I immediately thought of Mattie. Mattie loved to collect acorns at this time of year. He had a bunch for himself, but the cute thing about Mattie was he liked to give special people in his life... an acorn! He loved collecting the acorns that had their caps on top, and he was selective about which ones he would pick up and take home with us. Pre-cancer Mattie used to see an occupational therapist weekly. Each week that he would visit with Kathie, he literally brought her an acorn. I can assure you she had quite a collection! But if you stop to think about it... how many children, out of their own desire, stop to think about bringing an item/gift to their therapist each week?


Mattie loved oak trees so much that in May of 2010, when I found out that the Class of 2020 (Mattie's high school graduating class) wanted to donate a memorial tree to the school in honor of Mattie, I selected an oak tree. It was a no brainer. The school asked me what kind of tree I felt would symbolize Mattie, and that he would like! Naturally it was an oak! Oak leaves turn a vibrant color in the Fall and also drop their acorns. Two things that reminded me of Mattie... the vibrancy and collecting acorns!

However, that Oak tree wasn't meant to be. It caught a blight, which apparently is a disease that many oaks in Alexandria contract. Therefore the school's arborist encouraged us to select a different type of tree for the replacement tree. This was a very hard decision and some of my faithful blog readers might remember that I had you voting on which tree you thought we should replace the oak with. 

We selected a Yellowwood Tree. Which is not a common tree for our area, but because it produces beautiful flowers in April/May (in honor of Mattie's birthday), and in the Fall its leaves turn a golden yellow (in honor of childhood cancer awareness) we felt it would be the perfect tree. Those of you following the tree saga know, that the first Yellowwood Tree that was planted also died. So now we are onto tree #3 (pictured here), which is also a Yellowwood Tree, but planted in a different location, near the playground. It seems to be thriving, and we hope this is a trend, since it is very devastating for us to find a struggling and dead tree. We visit Mattie's tree often and it gives us an outlet.... not unlike a grave marker to remember him in our physical world.