At approximately 6:30 PM on May 30, 2018, our sweet baby boy, Mason got his wings. He had fought cancer so damn hard for nearly one year, and he ultimately told us it was time for him to be at peace. No more exams, needles, tests, medications or chemo treatment. He would get to be cancer-free again and eat all of the food his heart desired. To say we have struggled would be the understatement of the year. While we always have known our babies would in all likelihood pass before us, we never in a million years expected to receive Mason’s cancer diagnosis exactly one year ago yesterday and then to lose him at such a young age. He would only be turning nine this fall. But as I have always believed, quality is greater than quantity, and he sure knew how to live it up!
Mason literally and figuratively tumbled into our lives in early November 2009. Matt had come over and was waiting on our front porch as I was still finishing biochemistry lab. As soon as I pulled into the driveway, I knew something was up by the look on Matt’s face. As I walked toward him, he gently opened his fleece jacket just enough to show this itty bitty, so damn adorable kitten tucked away. I was in shock! Where had he come from, and why did Matt have him? Matt explained that as a car, he believes a Buick model, was driving up our very busy street, Mason tumbled out from where he had climbed into the engine to stay warm. By some miracle, he had been unharmed as the car had been started and driven! All that he sustained was a little bump to his lip and nose. The bottom two photos were taken that very evening, and you can see his “battle wounds”!
Kaci and I rushed him down to the vets, and they were so amazing. They examined him for free and gave us food to take home. We had Rachel for going on two years at this point, and we were not sure how she would respond to another baby. We nicknamed him Squirt and for a few hours debated if we should find him a home. How utterly ridiculous!!!! He was our baby, and we knew it. The next day we began brainstorming names. I don’t remember exactly who, but either Matt, Kaci or I suggested Mason. Somehow we just knew that was the purrfect name. We then came up with Storm for his middle name, and thus Mason Storm Daniel became our second baby. At the time, Kaci was into Garfield, so somehow we started calling him Pookie Bear like Garfield’s teddy bear. That then morphed to just Pookie, Pookie No-Pants, and Pooks. He responded to all of them and especially loved when we’d say, “pooooooks” in our baby voices. He would dance with his back feet and shake his tail while mewing and purring for rubs. He had a purrsonality that was bigger than life itself!
It’s hard to believe he was ever this tiny!
His eyes hadn’t even turned green yet, and he still had a ways to go in order to grow into his ears. <3
This photo gets me every time!
One of the most precious photos ever. He loved his daddy from the very beginning!
Does this even look comfortable? Ha! He had a love of fleece from the moment we introduced him to it.
Despite Rachel acting upset or indifferent at times, she truly loved her brother.
Matt looked forward to seeing Mason after work every day! These two were so fun together.
Mason’t first snow! He got to see it from the comfort of our warm home. You can see Kaci’s reflection in the window, ha.
He had always been such a snuggle-monster.
By spring of 2010, he had really grown! I’m sure Rachel was just as shocked. Where did that little pipsqueak go?
Mason adored both of his mamas, and Kaci was the very best to him!
He was such a ham for the camera!
This shot is so incredibly sweet. Just look how at ease he was all snuggled in Kaci’s fleece robe? Fleece was his favorite fabric.
He was the best study-buddy!
He loved his noms! He was super healthy and happy, and that’s all that mattered.
Mason on the day I graduated from undergrad in May 2011.
I don’t exactly remember when he got his first taste of peanut butter, but man oh man was he hooked!! He seriously had *the* best taste and appetite. He ultimately had tried peanut butter, oatmeal, sweet potato, toast, avocado, whole baked chicken, pork, beef, turkey, tuna, sardines, carrots, cauliflower, yogurt, smoothies, and so much more.
I took this on one of the first nights in Matt and my place together, August 2015. We didn’t have a couch or love seat, so Mason and I chilled on the floor. It felt so strange when I first looked at this photo again because just over from where I took this he took his last breath less than three years later.
I took these next four on the day we returned from our honeymoon.
How could anyone resist those eyes or that face?!
We nicknamed his scrunchy nose “Pookie nose”, and Matt said I had it in this bridal wedding day photo. I love it!
No matter what, Mason was always there for me. When I caught a cold spring 2017, he kept me company all day!
Morning cuddles before work!
As soon as he would lay his head on my shoulder, my heart would absolutely melt.
That face! <3
We adored his big, green eyes. Are they not amazing?
Mason received amazing news after his exam on May 24th, so we were that much more heartbroken when we learned that his cancer had come back and changed. His body had already been through so much, so we decided that he had fought long and hard and deserved to just be spoiled by us. We got him medications to help give comfort, but sadly, the next day he just told us he was ready. He still would not eat, he slept under our bed, and he was so exhausted. Despite this, Matt suggested Kaci, Drew, he, and I take him outside before the vet was scheduled to arrive that evening. His eyes lit up and were the biggest and brightest that they had been for days! Normally we limit their grass grazing, but we let him eat to his heart’s content. He was in heaven already. He purred and mewed for us, and he rubbed on us when we pet him. That is just what my heart needed: to see him so very happy and as much himself again before he had to go.
Kaci snapped the majority of these, and they are amazing!!!
He just couldn’t get enough “salad”.
He was so interested in the grass that he was like, “Uh, no guys. No photos”. 😉
Once we were back inside, he held up the wall one last time. The vet explained what we should expect and was so kind. She gently eased him into a restful state and then finally gave him his wings. I dreaded taking him to the vets to say goodbye, so doing it at home was such a blessing. She allowed me to transfer him into a basket complete with the softest fleece blanket. As I mentioned before, he loved fleece, so it just felt so special and so right.
The incredible vet shared this heartfelt post in his honor. Mason could be really shy and timid, but as soon as she walked up to him, he greeted her with excitement. We feel without a doubt he knew why she was there. She gave him Temptations treats, and for the first time in days, he was SO excited to eat!! I couldn’t believe it. My biggest wish was to see him enjoy food one last time before he was at rest, and while that may sound silly, it gave me a lot of peace of mind.
I love this photo so much.
Sadly, my parents had to say goodbye to one of their babies in March due to cancer, and they shared this poem with us. It chokes me up every single time I read it. I felt it was exactly what Mason was trying to tell us.
We truly hope that Mason knows just how much we adored him and miss him now. We can’t stop thinking about him and wish more than anything that he were still here. But we are eternally grateful that we had the privilege of being his parents: Kaci, Matt, and me. The Animal Emergency and Specialty Center gave us one more beautiful year with our baby boy. May he rest in peace. I’m thankful I have the best guardian angel one could ever hope for. <3