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

January 12, 2016

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 -- Mattie died 330 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken on January 7, 2009. Mattie was home between treatments and that evening we received a visit from JJ, our resident Jack Russell. JJ and Mattie practically grew up together, as JJ was a puppy when Mattie was a toddler. JJ really tried to understand what was wrong with Mattie and when Mattie died, JJ pined for Mattie. He wouldn't eat for a week and stuck close to a sandal of Mattie's. This sandal remained by JJ's bed at home for months. Patches, our cat, went through a similar mourning period. She had different behaviors than JJ, but you could tell she was impacted. She also spent many hours each day on Mattie's bed, something she hadn't done when Mattie was alive. 

Quote of the day: It’s easier to miss her at a cemetery, where she’s never been anything but dead, than to miss her at all the places where she was alive. ~ John Scalzi

I had a conversation with a friend today about relationships. Particularly friendships between women. Well l should qualify, friendships that you establish during a crisis like an illness. It is one thing to develop a friendship naturally, over time, over common interests, work, and so forth. But what happens when you form a bond with someone while joining forces to caregive for a loved one? A different kind of connection develops. One that is hard to describe unless you have found yourself in a similar circumstance. When caring for someone who is ill, this intense environment impacts the depth of friendships formed while caregiving. After all in our every day lives we typically are not dealing with communications that involve whether to give a medication, the potential side effects from medication, how the treatment may impact one's quality of life, or worse whether the medication will produce a reaction leading to death. Some may think such conversations are reserved for medical staff, but that is NOT the case when you are caregiving for someone who is ill. Caregivers are very much a part of all medical conversations, decisions, and of course the consequences of treatment and decisions. 

Yet when you have a person around you who shares in these caregiving decisions, who listens and supports you every step of the way when most people are too afraid to face these harsh realities, it produces a connection which I suppose is friendship. Or is it? Friends who help one another care for someone in sickness and in death, develop a loving bond with one another that to me is much deeper than a friendship. When someone stays up with you through the night to care for a loved one, who worries about you and your welfare, and faces painful physical and emotional medical sights with you... that person becomes an integral part of your life journey. 

So what happens to such a friendship after the loved one you are caring for together dies? Well that is what my friend and I talked about today. This is not a friend who went through Mattie's battle with me, but instead a person who also was a caregiver to a loved one who recently died. As she was talking to me today, she expressed the feelings I am describing here, and I immediately understood them all too well without much prompting from her. After a death, one of the biggest fears we have is those around us who we were closest to us during the battle will disappear from our lives. Or that our friendships with them will change and if they change how can we go on? Can we handle that loss too? This may sound silly or even trite, but actually this fear or abandonment is very real and also very painful if it actually happens. The connection with our friends who caregave with us help to keep our loved one's memory alive. The fear of losing these friendships in a way symbolizes losing our loved one all over again. Not that our friends can replace the person who died, but they do provide a level of comfort. They shared an intimate part of our lives with us and we let them in to help us, therefore, emotionally we expect these friends to always be there. 

Yet what if that doesn't happen? After all what bonded you with your friend was the role of caregiving. This becomes a challenging journey in its own right because either you have to learn to develop the friendship without your loved one present, or you have to learn to appreciate that the bond isn't going to be the same and will change because you are no longer operating at the intense caregiving level you once were. I am sure some of you are reading this and saying...... what on earth is she talking about? Whereas others of you who have experienced the special bond over caring for a dying loved one get me immediately. Needless to say, these struggles with friendships are something that I have had to face after Mattie died and when my friend brought this topic up today I felt..... WOW, I am not alone. Someone else out there is experiencing these same thoughts and fears. 

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