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 24, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2009. Mattie was undergoing one of his last treatments of chemotherapy. Things seemed optimistic for us back then. This is before we knew that Mattie's cancer had spread everywhere. Linda (Mattie's childlife specialist) gave Mattie star and planet glow in the dark stickers to place on the wall near his bed. He loved them! Then Mattie got into a goofy mood, and had Peter blowing up rubber gloves. In fact, Mattie got the PICU nurses involved as well, which explains where the purple gloves came from. To make a long story short, that night Mattie was surrounded by rubber glove balloons, and he even attached one to his remote controlled car. He had me write the following message on the balloon, "I Love You Ashley" and then he remotely drove the car down the hallway of the PICU. Ashley was one of the fantastic PICU nurses who we had the opportunity to meet over the year. Ashley was from Boston, went to Boston College (like myself), and wasn't only a competent nurse, but was warm, empathetic, and understood Mattie. Needless to say, Mattie transformed rubber gloves for me that night! By the way, Ashley was very touched that night, and if I recall she came into the room with a tear in her eyes to thank Mattie.

Poem of the day: Saying Goodbye by Brenda Penepent

Go now, my child, the time has come.
All tasks today are done.
There are others waiting there for you,
And songs yet to be sung.
Go quietly, go softly,
Leave all pain and fear behind.
Today has left a part of you
In our hearts, our souls, and minds.
I’ll remember you, my dear one,
As I lay down to sleep.
I’ll remember that you made me smile,
Although, it makes me weep.
As you go to face your future,
As you go to touch the sky
Know that God makes all things possible,
Angels never die.
Go now, my child, the time has come.
All worldly tasks are done.
There are others waiting there for you,
And songs yet to be sung.

I finished the Evans' book, The Walk, which I told you I was reading a few weeks ago. Unlike his other books, I was very disappointed with this book for many reasons. However, toward the end of the book there was a passage that caught my attention. Mainly because after Mattie's death, I have been questioning my religious beliefs of whether there really is life after death. A concept I never challenged growing up or even in my adult years. However, post-cancer, everything and anything is up for debate in my mind. Here is the passage that had me stop and wonder...........

People who have near death experiences, that's what they called them, have trouble keeping jobs or staying married. I guess we just get bored with what's here. Normal people don't know anything else, so they live as if this life is everything. It's like Mrs. Santos, down the road at the Delgado ranch. The farthest away she's ever been from home is Seattle. She has no idea what's out there. She can't even comprehend the mist rising off Sun Moon lake or the way the Italian sun gilds the Chianti vineyards. In a way that's the way the life-huggers are. I made this word up. They're people who hang on to this life because they think this is it. But they're fools, thinking they can hold on to this life. Everything in this world passes. Everything. You can't hold on to a single thing. But God knows they try. Some people even freeze their bodies so they can be woken again at some future time. Fools. All they have to do is look around and they can see that nothing here lasts. There's evidence of the other side everywhere. Just ask anyone who works with death - like geriatric doctors and hospice workers. Any of them will tell you what happens when someone dies. How often it is that someone dying looks up and greets a visitor from that other side. It's the rule, not the exception. But no one ever talks about that. They don't even talk about death, as if not talking about it will make it go away. How can you understand life if you don't understand death?"

This passage from the book is powerful to me because it captures many things I have observed and felt over the course of this year. After experiencing Mattie's horrific death, I think if you asked Peter and I about death, we most likely would say, we no longer fear death. We intimately saw what it looked it, and facing death head on enables you not to fear it. With that said, I rather have not had this education, and would prefer to be a life hugger. After cancer though, I am no longer a life hugger. In addition, it is not only doctors and hospice workers who know what happens with someone dies. Peter and I observed that a few hours before Mattie died, he tried to raise his weakened body and looked at the door of his PICU room. By this point Mattie was having trouble breathing and also was for the most part incoherent. Nonetheless, I could tell he saw someone, and he was sure someone was standing by the door. It was a very eerie feeling, because he was adamant and wanted us to see it too. I have no idea what he saw that night! Scientifically I am sure if we asked some folks in the medical profession, they would have a very logical explanation for Mattie's sighting and behavior. However, having a spiritual side, I do believe that this was a message and a sign to Mattie and to us. Evans' passage made me re-evaluate whether my initial notions of life after death are really correct. I have no conclusions, but I do know what I distinctly observed with Mattie. I also agree that to understand the purpose and true meaning in life, you have to experience death. Death has opened my eyes to what is important. The analogy Evans' is trying to make is that death is similar to having an adventure or a visit to a new country or culture. Such a visit transforms you. It opens your eyes to perhaps a new way of communicating, it exposes you to different foods, traditions, and attitudes about life. Similarly, death also can have this profound impact. So in essence, I may not have traveled anywhere during the last two years, but cancer and death did introduce me to a new world and a new culture.

I went with Ann today to the lower campus of Mattie's school. She was picking up her girls from summer camp, and I remained in the car. I was staring at the playground, and in the distance something VERY green, a new greenish color, caught my attention. Sure enough it was Mattie's tree. I had the strangest feeling come over me at that point. Seeing the tree almost took my breath away, but at the same time, it made me feel like I was visiting Mattie. I have no idea why, but seeing that young but strong tree standing there, seemed very symbolic of Mattie. The irony is I did not think about how I was going to feel by coming on campus today, and was open to any feeling that I had. In that state of openness, I felt I was in the presence of Mattie.

I had the opportunity to be at Ann's house for the car wash today. Though it was as hot as it could be out and it looked like rain, there was an level of excitement in the air. The kids were really motivated to do this car wash, and I literally got a chuckle at watching them running around and spraying each other with water. Things started out slow, so I gave them my car to wash. In all reality, they did a great job, and I snapped some pictures of the process for you to see. In total, I would say they did five cars. Of those that stopped by, some we knew and others we did not. Some people just drove by and stopped to donate money to the Mattie Miracle Foundation. I had the pleasure of meeting Coach Howell from Mattie's school, SSSAS. I asked him how he knew about the car wash, and he told me his wife is an avid blog reader. I was very touched, so I have to say thank you Cathy for sending Jerry by!

In addition to the car wash, there was a table set up with cookies, chips, and drinks. With a donation, people could help themselves to these items.

The car wash team! From left to right is: Lexi, Abigail, Alice, Michael, Katie, and Michael.

The car washing team hard at work on my car! Mattie would have loved this activity! The idea of spraying water would have been up his alley.

Tonight, I went out to dinner with Debbi (our friend and Mattie's sedation nurse angel), and our friend, Tanja. Tanja's daughter is having a surgical procedure in July, and she wanted to discuss some sedation options with Debbi. It was lovely to see Debbi and I really value her input as a professional and friend. A friend who saw Peter and I undergo one of the worst things that can happen in one's lifetime. The beauty of Debbi is she simply understands where Peter and I are and always normalizes it. As we were talking about surgery and sedation tonight, I couldn't help but reflect back on Mattie's treatments. It was as if they just happened yesterday. I recall some things so vividly. We had a lovely dinner and I was happy to connect Debbi with Tanja, because Debbi has a way of handling stressful situations and making them more manageable.

I was telling Debbi that I am going to the beach for one night this weekend to visit Ellen's family (Ellen is Charlotte's mom). Ann actually asked if I wanted to go with her, since she is taking her girls to Ellen's house on Saturday. In my entire married life, Peter and I never did separate trips (other than work related trips of course). At first the idea of leaving Peter behind did not seem right, but as I was talking to Debbi tonight, I realized that it is okay, or actually better than okay, for us at times to spend time a part. Peter and I need different things to cope with our grief. This has been a hard realization, but one we accept and understand about each other. So I am alerting my blog readers that on Saturday, Peter will be doing the blog, and you will get the original author back on line! Which I am happy about. I am not sure how I will handle one day away from the blog, because this will be a first for me!

I would like to end tonight's posting with a message from my friend, Charlie. Charlie wrote, "Another full and emotionally laden day for you and yet it sounds like you handled it well. Crying or not crying is not the test of whether you are strong enough to handle your grief contrary to what some people think. What is an indicator is whether you are able to get up and go on and do the things you need to do. Just like laughter or smiles or a flash of anger, these are outward manifestations of what we are feeling and not our ability to get things done. Unfortunately, some people don't understand the difference and judge by the emotions they see (or think they do) and not by the person's past and present activities and accomplishments. I am waiting to see the article by Rick (in the Post) and I know others are as well so please make sure that you let us all know when that will appear. I am sure, knowing you, that the sessions with the photographer will be interesting as well and he or she will probably be recruited to the cause! It sounds as if your meeting with Carrie was very productive and helpful to you both. I know that you will be a great addition to the board at Georgetown. Maybe you will finally be able to get the issues with admissions fixed! I want to share something that came up in practice yesterday with one of the teachers whose class I really look forward to. She is getting married and leaving the immediate area and she said she is having challenges deciding what to take with her and what to leave behind. In many cases, she said she couldn't even figure out why she had brought this item into her life while in others, she found herself examining her relationship with an item and trying to decide if she had moved beyond it. Yesterday's practice both physical and mental was about examining what we carry with us and how in order to make room in our lives for some new things, some new growth, we have to examine and leave (or give away) those things which no longer fit and continue to fill up our space. So today as I practice I send you my energy to help you continue to examine your ongoing and future roles and decide what it is that you want to do and what you do not. I hold you gently in my thoughts."

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