Mattie Miracle 2021 Walk was a $125,000 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: 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

June 25, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Look at this face!!!! Can you guess when this picture was taken? Well it was taken in July of 2009. Right after Mattie's speedy recovery from his sternotomy and a month before we learned that Mattie's cancer spread everywhere. It is hard to believe that in this picture was a very sick little boy, who we were pushing to do physical therapy. Despite cancer taking over Mattie's body, he fought! He fought to regain his strength and to try to walk again. Naturally as July 2009 wore on, Mattie's energy decreased significantly and he was unable to breathe without the use of oxygen. Tonight as Peter and I were walking home, Peter told me to look up in the sky. There before me was the most beautiful moon. It was breath taking, and all I could think of was my Mattie moon. Just as the moon lights our night's sky, I thought the energy in tonight's picture captured the light that Mattie brought to our lives each day.

Poem of the day: Spirit Within by Charlie Brown

I saw the tree they planted
In memory of you
And I suddenly realized
That you were here too
A quiet presence
But very much here
Radiating serenity
With nothing to fear
I have to be open
And willing to see
What my heart already knows
You're always with me
I carry you inside
As I did once before
But this time you stay
Within, evermore
I'll see you again
On that "other side"
And until that time comes
I'm here for the ride.

I had a very social day today, and as I sit to write tonight's blog, I find that I am very tired physically and emotionally. I met two of my former students for lunch. One of my students, Charlie, my blog readers know quite well. Charlie and Theresa were students of mine when I believe I was pregnant with Mattie. It was a long time ago, and life seemed very different back then. It was nice to catch up with both of these women, and Charlie told us some funny stories about how she met and married her husband. Theresa and I learned another side to Charlie today, which is ironic, because just when you think you know a person, there is always more to learn. At lunch we also talked about cancer defining a person. I do think as much as others in our lives may want us to get over our cancer experiences and become whole or "normal" again, I think it is safe to say that this isn't going to happen. From my perspective it can't happen, especially since, talking about cancer is what keeps Mattie's memory alive. It is what has altered my world, my views, my feelings, and my future. Not allowing others to know I am a cancer survivor is equivalent to me denying that I am a woman. Yes there are other parts to me, such as an educator, counselor, advocate, and wife, but I will always be a mom who lost her only child to cancer.

Later in the afternoon, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Ann and her children. Katie, Ann's older daughter, and Katie's friend, Lexi, attended a cooking class all week (in the picture: Katie is on the left and Lexi is on the right). Each day they learned to cook popular foods from different parts of the world, such as Italy, Mexico, Japan, and Germany. So this afternoon, they were very excited to be preparing dinner for their family. They planned out the menu, and while I was there, I was helping them with a potato recipe. These girls are 12, so I am learning to adjust my level of participation with their level of need. Remember I am used to working with a six or seven year old, so I have a learning curve for understanding the pre-teen. In any case, when in doubt, I just asked them if they needed help. The recipe called for them to boil potatoes, but I wasn't sure they knew how to test the potato to see if it was soft and ready to come out of the water. So unlike how I would react to Mattie, which would be rather hands on, I just discussed the technique from where I was sitting and reading my book. When I sensed that they really wanted my help, I got up and assisted, but I do think it is important to empower girls at this age, and therefore try not to hover. Any case, in the short amount of time I spent with them, I got a kick out of helping them.

I met Peter and his colleague, Heidi, for dinner tonight. We had a wonderful time getting to know each other. Heidi has spent a significant amount of time working in Africa and we talked about her experiences living overseas and the quality of life she had there. She talked about the complexities of living in places like Rwanda long term, and I found it very interesting and insightful. She highlighted the level of social isolation she felt at times and also described the lack of freedom to move about and do things, a freedom which we take for granted in the United States. I rarely connect with Peter's colleagues from work, so meeting Heidi was a wonderful opportunity. Because in meeting Peter's colleagues, I learn more about how Peter is perceived as a professional and how people feel about him at work. I clearly am biased because I was aware of Peter's numerous talents at the age of 19, when I met him in college.

I am packed and ready to go on this one night beach adventure. Because of beach traffic, we are going to leave at 7am. Wish us luck getting there, because Ann and I are both directionally challenged individuals! As I told her tonight, "Lucy, Ethel doesn't like getting lost." I did not think it was possible to have a zanier duo than Lucy and Ethel, but Ann and I do come close. I will miss the blog for a night, but I know it is in good hands with Peter.

My mom sent me a You Tube link today, and she entitled her e-mail to me, "There should be more of this." I wasn't sure what to expect, but when I opened up this video and watched it, it somehow made me smile. I hope it does the same for you!

I would like to end tonight's posting with a message from my friend, Charlie. Charlie wrote, "It was lovely of Ann's children to donate their time and efforts to the car wash/fundraiser for Mattie. The generosity of children continues to impress all of us and reminds us in turn to be generous with others. It is nice that you got to go out to dinner with Debbi; I know how much keeping in touch with the people who helped Mattie (and you and Peter) means to you. Since you mentioned the book, "The Walk," by Evans, I picked it up but have not yet started it. However, I do have some thoughts based on what you wrote about it. Giving up one's innocence and facing life's realities is never easy. I do understand why you and most others would rather be "life huggers." Life is to be treasured especially because it cannot be taken for granted. That's the paradox we live with. To appreciate life we have to face the reality that life as we know it is not permanent but that either casts a shadow on our time here, or alternately helps us to make decisions about what is really important. As an adult, one can only pick the way you choose to spend the limited time you have; we don't have the ability to "create more." You know how precious time is now and although you would rather have remained with that knowledge in your subconscious, you face it every day. That's one of the reasons you have yet to figure out what it is you want/need to do going forward. You don't want to spend that un-reimbursable asset on something that is not worthwhile. As I practice today I will send you my energy to help you as you continue your search for where you need to take your life next. I hold you gently in my thoughts."

No comments: