I miss my little man so much. I wake up at 6am and decide another big walk on the beach is what we need. We get ready and head down to the beach. Watching the waves roll in is so soothing. Each step I take I think about another set of footprints beside me. I wonder what it would be like going for beach walks as a family. I have a vision of Hamish as a toddler wanting to run off down the beach. He is a free spirit and is laughing as he runs towards the water lapping up to us on the sand.
I turn and look at Greg and grab him for a cuddle. I still can’t believe this is our life now. I still can’t believe what has happened. He says “It is all going to be ok Mummy”. “Don’t ever forget your a Mum and while Hamish isn’t here physically we are still his parents.” His words comfort me but the more I think about motherhood the more it just makes me sad.
We pack our stuff up and set off for the day. We drive to our favourite café here called ‘The Farm’. It is a gorgeous farm with freshly grown produce used in the café. We both order some eggs and avocado on toast. Once breakfast is finished I go to check my phone. I have been checking my emails daily for the Heartfelt photographer to send through the professional photos of us with Hamish. I get the link for our photos but another email also comes through. It is from the funeral directors with their bill and asking if we would like to keep or scatter our sons ashes. It contains a bunch of links to buy different types of urns. There is also an option to buy a teddy bear that holds his ashes. I couldn’t think of anything worse. I don’t want his ashes in a teddy. It brings me back to reality. The reality that the first thing I am buying for my newborn son is an urn for his ashes.
We leave the café and head to Crystal Castle. It has peaceful gardens filled with statues and crystals from all around the world. There is also a Kalachakra Stupa, a rare sacred monument created to protect against negative energies. I pray for Hamish and think of his soul while we walk around the Stupa. I also spend some time sitting in front of the stone blessing budda. I am thankful for all I have in my life and am thankful for the 9 months I got to know Hamish.
Every kick, every roll, every thought I had while you were in my womb was filled with joy. I felt like I was the most healthiest and happiest pregnant woman. I felt so vibrant and loved while you were in my belly.
We leave the gardens to go to our next accommodation which is in 45 acres of rainforest which then faces on to a beautiful beach a few km’s out of the main town. Once checked in, I head to a wellness centre down the road I visited last time we were here 5 months earlier. I have booked in for a Qigong healing and acupuncture session. I know Katrina who runs it with her husband as we connected the last time I visited. She knows what has happened as she follows my Instagram. I walk in broken. After the healing I feel a little light headed. I wander back to the resort. I know I need to channel more Qi into my being to help with my healing. I still feel empty but as each day goes by things are starting to get better.
We get up at 5am and walk down to the beach to wait for the sunrise. It is so beautiful and I thank my blessings for being alive and here right now. I feel sad but grateful. I watch the waves roll in. We sit on the cold sand watching the sun rise up from the horizon. It happens quicker than I expect and within around 10 minutes the hot Virgo sun is beaming down on us. I write Hamish’s name in the sand and just pray that he is in a better place. One part of my mind is like everything happens for a reason then the other part is like what f**king reason would my son die just before he was born? Why does it have to be this way? How can I be a mum and not be a mum? How can I move on from this? Why is life so cruel sometimes?
We go for a big walk up and down the beach. I know these thoughts are not helping me so I try and think more positively. I know that no one is to blame in this situation and I also know it is not going to do me any good to keep going over how things could have turned out differently. We decide to go in to town for a massage and to have our tarot cards read. I go for my reading first and it takes me 30 minutes to tell the lady all I really want to know is about is children. Is Hamish ok? Will there be more children in my future? It turns out the Tarot card reader is a trained grief and loss counsellor and our session turns into more of a chat about life and loss. She lets me know some great ways to work through my loss as well as reading my cards. She also tells me I would be a great counsellor and social worker. It gets me thinking.
The tarot card reader also wrote down a book we should read that might help us through our healing process. It is called ‘Journey of Souls’. I go and find the book at the local book store and start reading it as soon as we are back at the resort. It talks about our souls journey. I know that we are all guided in some ways in our lives and I feel like Hamish’s soul will be a guide for us for many years to come.
I wake up at 6am. I slept. Hurrah for the first time in a week I slept a whole night through. I can hear the waves crashing in the distance and our cabin is so peaceful. We are nestled in the bush right near the beach. I roll over and kiss Greg. Going through what we have in the last 8 days has definitely brought us closer. While we might grieve in different ways and be going through this experience in different ways I feel so supported by him. I know the pressure of keeping it strong has been getting to him. I know we can get through this together. We will just take one day at a time, one foot in front of the other.
We decide to go and lie by the pool for a while. I sit there with the sun beaming down on me and wonder how I can be grateful for this day. I know I am lying in paradise but at the same time it feels so wrong for doing it. I feel like I should be in the foetal position crying my eyes out. Instead here I am at the pool of a beautiful resort and soaking up the sun. I look up to the sky and think of my boy. I wonder how we got here. How just over one week ago life was completely different. It feels like a rug was dragged from under us and now we have to get back up and just get on with it.
I decide to go spend some time alone on the beach. I sit in the sand and just weep for my little boy. I love him with all my heart. I start to go through my whole pregnancy again in my head thinking what could have been done differently. I google about a million different things around stillbirth. I search for answers. So many babies lost so many with no explanation. Knowing that the cord is what took Hamish kind of gives us some peace but at the same time it is so cruel knowing that. It was the one thing that was supposed to be giving him life.
My first week of motherhood is not how I expected it to be. I thought I would be knee deep in nappies, breastfeeding and endless cuddles. The only thing that is the same as what I expected is the lack of sleep. Not from being woken up by a little one. Instead I lie each night in my bed in complete silence. I can’t get to sleep no matter what I try.
I have to get packing. We are flying out today to Byron Bay which is my happy place. I love being close to the ocean and even though my doctor and midwife advise against swimming for 6 weeks, just being able to put my feet in the ocean will be soothing for me. I do wonder how I can pull myself together and get on a plane but I know staying in my apartment another night will not be good for me.
Just before my flight one of my goddess friends comes over and drops another hamper of food and flowers. I sit with her and tell her my story. Being quite intuitive she tells me she channelled Hamish’s soul and spent some time with him on Friday. This gives me a little more peace hearing he is part of my soul family and in a past life he may have been my grandfather. I feel his nurturing presence and I know my little Hamish had a purpose for this life and it will keep unfolding through Greg and I.
Another comforting story was the midwife who discovered Hamish had no heartbeat also saw a little blonde blue eyed toddler sitting on the midwifes station in the middle of the birthing ward while I was being induced. She came to tell me a day after his birth. I knew it must of been him. Watching over us as we went through his birth. I also had a dream that he came to me when I was dozing in and out of sleep on the second night after he was born. He came to me and stroked my face and said “Don’t worry Mummy it is all going to be ok”.
Hamish wherever your soul is now know that Mummy and Daddy love you more each day.
That’s it we need to getaway. I wake up from a few hours sleep. I know we have to get out of Sydney and spend some time away. I text my friend to help me book a trip. Within a few hours its all sorted. We are off to Byron Bay in a couple of days for a week. We have booked to stay right near the beach in the rainforest. As much as I don’t want to go on a ‘Holiday’ right now I want to spend some time away from the apartment. I want to be close to the ocean and to let it help us heal. Both Greg and I feel most at peace when we are close to nature and the ocean. It really is our happy place. Byron Bay was the first holiday we went on as a couple.
Hamish is constantly in my thoughts. I scroll through the photos on my phone over and over. I especially love the photos we took when we went outside through the gardens of the hospital. You can see his blond hair shining in the sun. My sister comes over with her laptop so we can transfer the photos Deb took from the CD to usb. I look lovingly at each one. I am so grateful we have these precious photos of Hamish’s birth and the days after. Deb says she isn’t a professional with the camera but let me tell you these photos are brilliant. They capture our little man perfectly.
Our first night at home. I drag myself to bed around midnight and take Hamish’s bunny Buster with me. I cuddle Greg and cry just longing for my little boy. I lie awake most of the night just thinking through all the what ifs. I cant let myself sleep. The adrenaline running through my body is still pumping through every vein. I get out of bed around 6am and just start doing things around the house. I make breakfast, start cleaning and just putting things away. A lovely friend drops over a box of food. She has cooked us a beautiful vegetarian shepard’s pie and minestrone soup. We are super grateful as it means for the next few days we don’t have to think about food as its just there for us.
I look around at our perfect new family home. If there was ever a time in my life that I didn’t give a crap about material things this was it. Greg and I have worked super hard to buy our apartment and to ensure we have financial security for our family. The funny thing is none of that matters anymore. I would give up anything to have Hamish back. I had a tough childhood and the one thing I have always worked towards as an adult is to not have to worry too much about things like having a roof over my head and food on the table each night. Nothing matters anymore. The only thing I want right now is to hold my little boy.
The funeral director arrives at the hospital and it’s time for us to make a move. I pick my little boy up in his kilt and cuddle him to my body. We walk straight out of the maternity ward into a secret staff lift down to the bottom floor of the hospital. They let us out the back loading dock and we get into the funeral car. I hold Hamish in my arms for the 30 minute drive to the Chapel. There is nothing I want more than to just close my eyes and wake up from this nightmare.
I know we are going to make Hamish proud but it just hurts so much. We walk into his funeral together with all my family and friends standing up. Last time I walked down the aisle was our wedding 3 years prior. I feel Hamish’s presence and know he is in a good place.
The service starts with Eric Clapton ‘Tears in Heaven’ then the lovely celebrant starts the introduction. Both Greg and I get up and speak. Greg reads a beautiful letter he wrote to Hamish 2 months earlier. I stand next to him proud knowing he is such a loving Daddy.
I then read something I wrote in the hospital the day before.
Hamish you have brought so much joy and happiness into our lives in your short little life
We love you our boy and you are so precious
Your love has been felt and your mummy and daddy will always celebrate you and love you
Our little angel up in heaven we will always know we can talk to you and feel your presence with us everyday
While words can’t express how sad we feel right now we know you came into our lives for a reason
We will try and find the strength to move forward one step at a time
Missing out on all the firsts is going to be really tough though
Going home from the hospital without you
Celebrating what should have been your first Christmas
Celebrating what should of been our first family holiday
Staying up all night to feed you
Holding you when you cry
Taking you to meet all your loved ones
Taking you for walks in your beautiful pram
Watching you sleep
Singing you lullabies
Seeing you learn to walk
Teaching you how to kick a ball
and ride a bike
All of these things we will never know but know one thing we do know is our hearts will always yearn for you little one
Every year we will celebrate you
Every year we will be grateful for your short life
Every year we will not forget you Hamish Joseph Matthews
Love you always and forever
My life will never be the same, there will always be a piece of my heart that was taken by my little boy.
We are now getting to the end of the service and it’s time to say goodbye. They play Ed Sheeran ‘Small Bump’ as my family and friends come up to his wollen nest where he lays peacefully. They light a candle and put a piece of thistle down next to him. As each of them say their goodbyes they come and give Greg and I a big hug. I see the tears streaming down my friend and families faces and it is heartbreaking.
This is it. Everyone has left the chapel. We have Jack Johnson playing in the background ‘Better Together’. It’s time for us to say goodbye. I stare down at my son surrounded by shining candles knowing he is so loved and he knows it. I cry and lean over him. We blow out the candles and say goodnight. Goodnight seems better than goodbye. We carry him in his nest to the end of the chapel and lay him down. They close the curtains.
Goodnight Hamish you are so so so loved and don’t you forget it.
We then head into town and my friends have organised a little bar where we can all go and have some food and drinks. The last thing I feel like is drinking but to have my friends and family around me means the world. It is so comforting to talk to everyone about what we have been through in the last few days. It makes me realise how much love we have in our lives and how blessed we are. It makes me realise how loved Hamish was in those 9 months.