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

March 15, 2014

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Tonight's picture was taken in March of 2009. Mattie was given several silk screens and got to design whatever he wanted on them. This screen illustrates three of Mattie's tell tale signs.... 1) the sun, 2) grass, and 3) blue sky. These three things always made their way into all of his drawings, with only the main subject matter changing. In this particular silk screen, Mattie drew a picture of his "girlfriend" Charlotte who came to visit him that day in the hospital. Mattie's silk screens became part of our room decorations. Literally I would hang them from the ceilings with each hospital admission. Our admissions and discharges were hilarious because we looked like a traveling circus show with bins on wheels! However in addition to the silk screen, you can also see one of the many surgical scars on Mattie's body (the one on his right leg) in this photo. 

Quote of the day: You’ll get over it…” It’s the clichés that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life for ever. You don’t get over it because ‘it” is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes. How could it? The particularness of someone who mattered enough to grieve over is not made anodyne by death. This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no-one else can fit it. Why would I want them to? Jeanette Winterson

Peter and I are safely home in Washington, DC tonight. However, despite going to Mary's funeral, there is something wonderful about Boston. I am not sure what about it I love so much, but it just seems REAL to me. I love DC, it has been my home for the longest part of my life, yet I suppose my heart relates to the north east. Boston has spunk, people are down to earth, and you just got to love the ACCENTS! As soon as I stepped off the plane, I was cracking up with announcements on the PA system at the airport. But if all of this doesn't get you, then the sheer love these folks have for Dunkin Donuts will! They even have a Dunkin Donuts store in the AIRPORT. Yes I admit to photographing it, but look it was at 10pm at night and it was still BUSY!!!! Two things are for certain in Boston, it is like programmed at birth.... you have got to love the Red Sox and Dunkin Donuts.

This is the rock that greets visitors into Hough's Neck. Hough's Neck is part of the South Shore of Boston and my friend Mary lived and raised her children there for many years. Frankly, until I got to know Mary, I never knew Hough's Neck existed. Mary talked about it with me so often that I felt compelled to see it! Finally this July, Peter and his parents took me to visit it. I was thoroughly excited to see Mary's church, neighborhood, her daughter's schools, and the places Mary had described to me over the years. I remember as we were driving through Hough's Neck my mother in law commented to me that I knew it so well! Funny how a place can come alive and seem so real just by hearing it through someone else's eyes! In July, it never dawned on me that eight months later I would be coming back to this same location for Mary's funeral. This is the photo I took today from the car since in my opinion Boston was frigid and grey!

The last funeral I attended was Mattie's in 2009. Now five years later, I can't say that I found comfort in attending this one either. I should explain my reasoning here. Nothing was wrong with today's funeral. It was quite beautiful, well planned, with a beautiful and meaningful eulogy, and deeply moving music. The issue is where I am at. I remember when my maternal grandmother died in 1994, keep in mind this was a woman I was deeply close to. Losing her was traumatic in a way, and yet for me her funeral was actually quite therapeutic. I took comfort in knowing that my grandmother was no longer suffering from her debilitating stroke and would be united with her husband, son, brother, etc. Some how, as a "good" Catholic, the teachings I grew up learning about, believing and practicing, made sense and helped me cope and find some sort of healing with my grandmother's death. Moving forward to 2009..... then I lost Mattie. Mattie's death has caused a massive spiritual overhaul and questioning for me. Am I still Catholic? Do I still believe? The answer is probably yes, but now on a much different level. A level that I believe God can handle, but not a level that most earthly spiritual advisers can tolerate. 

After Mattie endured his cancer battle for 14 months and he died in our arms in the most grueling of ways, do you think I found much comfort in turning to God? In knowing that Mattie was now joined with my deceased family members? This line of reasoning doesn't work with me and still doesn't! So when I hear these Catholic platitudes being spouted off today as it relates to Mary, I have trouble separating out Mary from Mattie. Am I happy Mary is out of her pain and suffering and possibly being reunited with loved one? Definitely. But if my child can get cancer and die, and this happens to FOUR children every day in the US, how do I know that there is a better place after we die? How do I know what I was taught to believe in all these years really exists? Perhaps if you wonder how I can question my faith, then I would have to say that your faith hasn't been tested enough! For me Mattie's death has caused a spiritual quandary or cross roads and proselytizing to me while in this state only further compounds my confusion. 

Toward the end of the funeral today, there was the mention of the importance of raising your own children to love God. I went to a wedding a year ago and heard the same intention. The message in the Catholic Church is sacrament independent! I understand the reasoning, I understand why it is stated, but wow, for a parent who lost an only child this message gets me every time. 

After the funeral today, we went to the cemetery to attend the burial service. While in the car line, I saw these two lone geese. I love Canadian geese and felt this was a true symbolic sight. Geese tend to mate for life and they also are loyal and travel in packs, never leaving an injured one behind. As Mary was laid to rest today beside her husband, I felt this was a visual of the pair reuniting. 

After the burial, Peter and I attended the reception Ann (Mary's daughter) held for family and friends. Over the years, I have gotten to know many of Ann's family and friends. In fact, Ann's Aunt Helen and I email all the time and today I got to meet several of her good friends at the reception. Here is another case in point where I felt like I knew these three women just from how Helen has described them over the course of the past several months. I would have to say attending social events of any kind for me can be real hits or misses for me. This wasn't the case prior to Mattie getting cancer. But now it most certainly is. It takes much more energy for me to engage, feel connected with others, and want to absorb what is going on around me.  

Though today wasn't about photos, Ann's cousin, JP, has become a friend of ours over the years. The joke is he has so many girl friends none of us can keep track. He enjoys socializing with all of Ann's friends and therefore we wanted to take a photo with him. Though JP, in some circles would be considered an adult with special needs, in my book, he really is a very sharp, sensitive, and caring individual. We appreciate each other and as he tells me, he always remembers Mattie. He gets a gold star in my book! 

The reception gave us all a wonderful time to chat casually with each other about Mary and our connections with each other. Toward the end of the event, the little ones in attendance started to perform little skits and songs. As little ones are so good at doing. This is naturally, healthy, and a great thing! I do not think funerals and such events should necessarily be solemn, and certainly for children, they do not and can not stay in that state for very long. Therefore it was wonderful to see them running around, playing with each other, the older ones helping the younger ones, and so forth. But naturally you know what the next comment is going to be for me, don't you???? Seeing this is very, very bittersweet. Why are all these kids running around and mine was cremated and sitting in my living room? Here is the thing, many people in the room can relate to what it is like to lose a parent, a grand parent, a sibling, or a spouse but how many can say they know what it is like to a lose a child? This is one of many things that bonded me with my friend Mary. A friendship that will never be forgotten. 

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