Today was Cameron’s due date. In four days time, it will be his seventh anniversary on the fifteenth. With all that’s consumed our personal life in this last month, I have barely had more than a few moments to grieve. To remember. To shed tears for my son.
Yesterday, I started reading what I wrote last year on his sixth anniversary, and I wanted to share it with you all. Once more, I am reminded of the power of words, the importance of journaling, and how I never want to forget any part of this journey…
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I want to remember how I lay in bed by myself this morning, entranced by the grey light seeping through the blinds. Even though I could already hear the three boys up and about in their room, I savoured that solitary moment to help me get through the rest of the day.
I want to remember how Jamie was upset because he wanted daddy. When I finally placated him, I invited all three of them to climb onto our bed. Angus and Pete immediately made their way to the head of the bed. They plomped themselves down onto the pillows and pretended they were in a car. Jamie, being the tiny rebel, stayed in the middle of the bed and wouldn’t budge even when I asked him to sit beside Pete for a photo. Eventually, I lay down on the bed with the three of them and we took a ‘group selfie’ with my phone camera.
I want to remember the short but heartwarming exchange I shared with Deb and Liz at church later in the morning. Deb had asked me how my week had been, and I replied by telling her how teary I’d been all week. Liz came over as well, and I opened up my locket to show them the photo of me holding Cameron close to me at the hospital. I felt so vulnerable opening up my locket, but I’m glad that I did.
I want to remember how Maria remembered that it was Cameron’s anniversary. I was incredibly touched. She embraced me at least three times that morning.
I want to remember the chat we had with Brett, our student minister, after church. We told him it was Cameron’s sixth anniversary and that we were headed to the Memorial Gardens to meet our parents. He was suitably understanding and didn’t say too much or too little.
I want to remember seeing the white Peugeot and the silver Toyota in the car park. Our parents had parked next to each other, but with one empty car spot between the two of them. Naturally, Rick pulled into the empty spot. I could see our mums in the distance, and my heart immediately lifted.
I want to remember how my dad walked up to our car, took Angus, Pete and Jamie by the hand, and led them over to the grass area. It was sweet to see the three of them holding hands, and walking in a line with my dad. Meanwhile, I grabbed the picnic rugs, my Canon EOS and a bag of jackets while Rick changed Edward in the back of the car.
I want to remember seeing Cameron’s plaque for the first time since we were there last year. It looked exactly the same. Mary had placed a small bunch of flowers in a bronze vase next to it, and it was perfect.
I want to remember how we spread out on picnic rugs and then everyone disappeared to bring food and chairs from the cars, leaving only Pete and myself. Pete immediately took off his shoes and sat down on the picnic rug, telling me that he wanted to eat. I sat down in front of him and he wrapped his arms around my neck. It was the sweetest embrace.
I want to remember the blue sky and the blazing sun. It had rained last night and all morning it had been heavily overcast. Yet, just as we were setting up our picnic, the clouds parted and the sun shone down on us.
I want to remember the amazing picnic that our mums had prepared. Within minutes of sitting down, Mary took out egg sandwiches, salmon sandwiches, Vegemite sandwiches and peanut butter sandwiches along with salad, crackers, dips, cheese and bananas. My mum in turn brought out half a dozen pineapple buns from the Asian bakery as I’d requested along with a thermos of hot tea.
I want to remember drinking that tea. It was still warm, and it was my favourite type of tea as mum had made it with evaporated milk. We drank it using the mugs that Mary had brought along. Mine was yellow. The tea brought me comfort and made me smile.
I want to remember the ANZAC biscuits that Louise had baked for us. She’d passed them onto Mary to give to us, and they were absolutely delicious. They were perfectly chewy and crunchy all at once, and the boys loved them. I told everybody to hold up their half-eaten biscuits so that I could snap a photo to show Louise later.
I want to remember how I asked Angus if he wanted to come with me to Cameron’s spot. He happily agreed, and we both got up and walked together, hand in hand. We sat down opposite Cameron’s plaque. He asked me again if Cameron was buried there, and I told him that Cameron’s ashes were under the ground just in front of his plaque. I explained that even though Cameron’s remains were here, he was actually somewhere else. In heaven, with God. As always, Angus understood perfectly. We sat holding hands under the sun for some time and then we started picking clover out of the grass together. We gathered a small bunch and we placed this in front of Cameron’s plaque. Soon after this, Pete came over and told Angus to chase him. I watched them run off together, and naturally wished that their elder brother were here to play chase with them too.
I want to remember how Jamie sat on my dad’s lap some twenty metres away from the picnic rug. Rick was the first to spy them together. We both grabbed our phones at the same time to try and capture the sweet scene before us. Rick told me later that he’d been close enough to hear bits and pieces of their conversation. Apparently, they were chatting about all the things that they could see, like the birds and the planes. When Jamie finally noticed him, Rick could hear him say, “What’s daddy doing?”
I want to remember how Edward happily sat in his pram for almost the entire time we were there. He didn’t really want to eat, so I held his tiny hand and chatted to him through the sun shade while I ate. After some time, my dad sat next to him and then some time later, when everyone was off wandering about, my mum took over. I was sitting over by Cameron’s plaque with Angus by that time and even then, I could hear the laughs and giggles that came from inside the pram. Mary later told me that mum had Edward completely entranced and that the two of them had a total conversation happening. Later, after our family photos, Grandpa held Edward in his arms and he instantly fell asleep…
I want to remember how Rick took me by the hand towards the end and we walked over to Cameron’s spot together. We didn’t really say anything. We simply looked at the words that we’d so carefully chosen more than five years ago. ‘In memory of Cameron Angus Mason, beloved first child of Richard and Rhonda. Died 15th Sept 2007. Born 16th Sept 2007.’ I’d seen that plaque and those words so many times and yet I still felt a degree of disbelief and incredulity. Could it really be that our precious boy had died? Our baby? “I miss you, little guy,” I heard Rick say. “Me too.”
I want to remember how I stayed behind at the very end. Everything had been packed up. Everyone had walked back to the cars. Yet again, I sat down in front of my son’s plaque. I looked at the words, but they no longer registered. My eyes misted over, and I started to cry. Through my tears, I sang ‘I Cannot Tell’ – the song that I would always sing in the shower when I was pregnant with Cam. I sang, and I cried. I cried, and I sang. I took off my locket, opened it up and placed it next to the bunch of clover. I stared at the tiny photo of me holding Cameron in that last hour, and wished with all my heart that he had not died. “Hey little guy, I miss you so much…” I yearned to stay there longer, but I knew we had to go. I reached down and picked up my locket, and touched the soil one last time.
“I love you, Cam. I love you from the bottom of my heart…”
And with that, I turned and walked away, my heart heavy and full of love all at once.