And the world keeps going.
I still had to do the groceries, go to the post office, go shopping, get a hair cut. I would be out in public thinking do they know? Does my face show that I had lost a baby? Why wont they ask me? Why has everyone slowly stopped talking about Mason?
The funeral was done. I felt like my mothering duties were over. There was no more visiting Mason, no more last cuddles and kisses, no more buying him little outfits, no more planning and prepping. Life moved on yet I felt I was still stuck back at the hospital. Stuck. Not moving forward. My world has stopped. Everyone is moving forward and I am left behind.
I remember our lovely neighbor across the road who is in her late 70’s knocked on the door. I opened the door and her face lit up. “You’re home! Where is he? I knew you must have been overdue since we hadn’t seen your car in days” she excitedly said. “He didn’t make it” was all I could say. Our neighbor didn’t move, Jesus Christ I thought she was having a stroke. She turned pale, lost all eye contact with me and didn’t say anything. What can you say? After saying she was so so so very sorry she hurried off across the road. We didn’t see or hear from her for a while. I joked to Saunders “shit I think I probably killed her”. Then one afternoon while I was out there was a small pot plant of a Daphne flower from her. Thank god I thought.
Whilst on mat leave, I got to know the postman. He was a lovely jolly man He would knock on the door and joke about how I was keeping him in business with all these online deliveries I was ordering for Mason, personalized blankets, more clothes, more shoes, matching furry beanies that I had planned for Mase and I to wear in winter (lame I know I was one of THOSE mothers)….the list goes on. A few days after the funeral more deliveries kept coming in and when I opened the door the postie exclaimed “Your belly is gone! How did it all go? How’s bubs?”. I gave the same reply as I did to my neighbor the day before. I also received the same reaction from the postman. He doesn’t come to the door anymore. He places my mail in the letter box now and does a runner.
Leonie called from the funeral home to let us know that Mason’s ashes had arrived and we were welcome at any time to collect him. I wanted to get Mason straight away and bring him home where he belonged. Seeing Leonie again brought me comfort because she was the only other person besides Saunders and I that had looked after Mason and had spent deeply personal time with him. She was one of the very few that knew Mason and had met him. She greeted us and we chatted for a bit. I didn’t know how to thank Leonie enough for what she had done for us and Mason. I knew time was so important. All I wanted in the world was more time. I gave Leonie a Thank You card, which I enclosed a photo of Mason and a $100 best restaurants voucher for her to use at any restaurant of her choice to spend precious family time with her family. Something I wish I got to experience with my new little family.
Leonie left us to grab Mason from the back room. When she returned, she had a small paper bag. I remember just staring at it. My son was in there. In a little plastic box. My big beautiful boy was now in a small box. I just couldn’t register it. In the car on the way home I had Mason on my lap. I couldn’t believe that we would be taking our precious baby home in a plastic box instead of in a car seat. Who would have thought this would happen I kept thinking. This just isn’t right.
Those two weeks after Mason was born were such a blur. We were running on adrenaline. I was pregnant for nearly 42 weeks, I gave birth, I was put under general anesthetic, I had an emergency c-sect, I was separated from my baby for 2 days, when I finally met Mason I would spend the next few days trying to get to know him, look after him whilst waiting on test results, then organize his last day on earth for family, then go home and organize a funeral…did I mention I had a c-sect? I totally forgot I even had one I was so focused on Mason and didn’t give a thought on my poor body and what it had been through.
Every parent that has lost a baby talk about the dreaded milestones and events. The firsts. The first smile, first laugh, first steps, first words, first birthday. Do you think we got a break from that for a while? Fuck no. Saunders birthday was coming up a few weeks after Mason’s funeral. Then a few days after that would be FATHER’S DAY. I know right? What shit luck. Double whammy. Urban dictionary defines the meaning as this:
I often think that in a past life I must have been King Joffrey from Game of Thrones or someone that the whole world absolutely hated to have gone through all this.
I love birthdays. I go all out for Saunders birthday. Every year I bloody spoil him because he bloody deserves it. Wtf am I to do for this? The first birthday without his son? He didn’t even get a birthday WITH his son. How am I going to make this even special? What do I even get him? Then Father’s day? Is my life a joke? And that’s when I had an idea. Saunders best friend also shared a birthday in August. Two birds, one stone. Joint birthday. Surprise joint birthday. It would be the first time we would be out with friends and it was to celebrate their birthdays.
We went to Holey Moley indoor mini golf and bar in the city and then headed out for dinner with everyone after on a Saturday night just before Saunders actual birthday. It was a great night out with friends. Well as good as it could be. Our first social outing since loosing Mase. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. I tried to enjoy myself. I looked like I was having a good time but in the back of my mind was Mason. It wasn’t meant to be this way. I had it all planned in my head when I was pregnant of what I would do for Saunders first birthday with Mason. I would go to town. Buy presents from Mase to his daddy. Write a nice birthday card from Mase. A nice dinner at our favorite restaurant Nobu. Us three. It would have been our first outing with little Mase. I was going to order that much beef tataki we would have had to sell our house since I couldn’t have it when I was pregnant. I felt bad for going out, I felt bad for celebrating, I felt bad for smiling or laughing. I just lost my beautiful baby boy. I shouldn’t be out. I should be at home. I felt guilty.
As Saunders birthday was approaching I needed to buy him a birthday card and whilst I was at it, a Father’s Day card. I remember heading to my local gift card shop on a mission. I needed to find something, anything that would suit our situation. Finding a birthday card was a hell of a lot easier than finding a Father’s Day card. Every Father’s day card spoke with words from living children. They went along the lines of thanking their fathers for giving the best advice, for being there, for helping them in their lives, for teaching them and making them laugh. Saunders didn’t get a chance to do any of that except be there for Mason. It broke my heart reading all the cards. Killed me. It’s so unfair. When you have a baby, before they are born you have already planned their lives. I had planned so much for Mason. I wanted him to have the best life. He already had the best father. I couldn’t wait to see those two together. Father and son. Doing father and son things.
After a long hunt for the cards I settled for these.
Saunders birthday was on a Wednesday night. We went to our favorite local Japanese restaurant. The waiter sent us to our table. The table we were sent to had 3 seats. Out of the whole restaurant which wasn’t very busy for a Wednesday night and out of all the tables we were given a table for 3. My broken heart said thank you in my mind. Mason would be sitting with us for his daddy’s birthday.
The present I got for Saunders birthday was a white gold necklace with Mason’s ashes from a company in the UK called Ashes into Glass. I had only made the order a few weeks ago so it hadn’t arrived yet.
As a back up gift I bought Saunders some Nike clothes that were from Mase. Saunders was very impressed at Mason’s taste of clothes and I said ” Well he got it from his mumma”.
The following Sunday was Father’s day.
I didn’t have any plans for Father’s day. It was so unlike me. I had asked Saunders what he would like to do and he didn’t know either. So we decided we would wing it. Anywhere we would go, it wouldn’t matter, we were faced with the day being all about Fathers. Dads. Daddies. Families. Children. Kids. Babies. We knew there was no point escaping it. So instead we joined it.
We went out for breakfast at our favourite cafe. The Cafe was filled with young families, all with their kids, sharing meals, love, laughs and hugs. We sat in the back. I could tell it was hard for Saunders. It was hard watching him try to be ok. But I knew deep down he wasn’t. He wanted his little boy laughing and hugging him too. When we got home he decided out of nowhere that he wanted to build a side gate for our home. There was nothing wrong with our side gate we had, but I knew he wanted a distraction from the day. So off he went to Bunnings to get materials. He spent all day working on building a side gate while I sat on the couch trying to watch some trashy tv. When we went to bed that night I asked him how his day was. It wasn’t breakfast that was hard, it was his trip to Bunnings which broke him. Fathers and sons filled the store, buying materials for projects to work together on. My husband is such a handy man. Every weekend there would always be a trip to Bunnings. He loved being hands on and I knew once Mason was here that he envisioned trips to Bunnings together, building things together, creating projects together, teaching Mase about what each tool did and how to use it. We just couldn’t escape the day even if we tried.
I told Saunders that when Mother’s day comes around, I am going to a place where no one would celebrate it or know where to find me. I am going to the moon.