724 N Humphreys St Flagstaff, AZ 86001

(928) 779-4151

Live Like Mason – A Heartbroken Mom’s Words of Wisdom


Wow, there is a lot of love in this room. A lot of sadness, but a lot of love. Look at how beautiful that little boy is.


I was contemplating talking about the most dramatic poop experience with you all but I suppose it would be a good ice breaker. 5 weeks ago I let my Mason go without a diaper for no more than 3 minutes. I wanted to watch his cute little naked butt running around for a short period of time. As I was watching him I noticed he was giving me the look….The, I’m going to poop on the floor look. From that second on everything was in slow motion. I said buddy, don’t do it… I stood up and as I was going to pick him up he pooped right on the floor…then I stepped in it. So there I was standing in my daughters room on one foot holding a naked baby who was ready to fire at any given moment. I started yelling for Mikey…

Mikey come help me! I have a poop emergency! He reluctantly came into the room and saw the situation. I requested that he clean the bottom of my foot with a Kleenex so I could walk to the bathroom. Mikey was such a good big brother. He reluctantly cleaned the bottom of my foot. Gagging the whole time.

I never thought I would want to step in someone’s poop again, but I really wish Mason was with us so I could have another poop emergency!

Alright, now onto the serious stuff.

HansonFamilyPortraitFlagstaff10-2015_026For the last 11 days our family has experienced a pain unlike any other. Every cell in my body has been turned inside out, my whole being is aching to hold my sweet baby Mason. To breath to him in and hold his warm fragile body in my arms. I long for that one drop of drool to hit my chest as he is drifting off to sleep. When I close my eyes I can only see him, when I dream I dream only of him. An explanation for the reason that this beautiful baby was taken from us is not going to be found. So Instead of standing here searching for the reasons why he died I have decided to focus on the amazing little person he was.


As many mothers know, your world is expected to turn upside down with the birth of a child. With Mason, it was upside down and backwards. He required 100% of my attention all of the time. For the first 3 months of his life he didn’t stop crying unless I was holding him, whether bathing, sleeping, eating, we were attached for every minute of every day and night. For the next 6 months he had graciously allowed me to be an arm’s length away but I was still not allowed to break eye contact for longer than thirty seconds. No phone, no TV, no computer, it was Mason or nothin. He would literally grab my face and make me look at him “pay attention mom”

He woke up multiple times a night every night for the 22 months of his life, he wanted to snuggle and be together. No matter what it took Mason claimed time with me, as one of my friends calls it “found time” in a schedule that didn’t seem to allow it. How lucky am I? It seemed as though he intended to double our time together, and for that I will forever be grateful. We truly believe that Mason knew his time here would be brief. He knew he did not have time for such incidental things like sleeping or waiting for someone to get off their phone. He had people to meet and impressions to make.


I’m sure everyone here has known someone who could walk into a room and effortlessly capture the attention of everyone present. Mason had that power. He had a liveliness and light that literally took my breath away, he caught the attention of perfect strangers. They would stare in awe, watching him and soaking up his powerful positive energy.

An example of Mason unintentionally stealing the spotlight was three weeks ago at boy scouts. The troop leader announced that we had to “circle up” as a way get the attention of 25 crazy little boys. After we all stood in a circle Mason took this as an opportunity to be lighten things up and have some fun. He ran to the middle of the circle and started yelling “high five” “knuckles” and before I knew it the entire Boy Scout troop was laughing. They loved to see a little boy spread happiness with no regard to the seriousness of the meeting around him. This was one of the messages Mason was broadcasting; It was a sort of “Hey you unenlightened ‘grown-ups’, this is what life is about; have fun, laugh, smile, and love… life is to short to not appreciate the beauty.”


Masons best friends were Mikey and Megan, every morning we would hear Mason yelling “Mikey! Mikey! Get up!!!” to that we would soon hear giggles from my 6 year old son. Hearing giggles as an alarm clock is a perfect way to start the day. Mikey’s favorite thing about Mason was that he followed him everywhere, and if Mikey wasn’t nearby Mason would yell his name at the top of his lungs. Mikey loved being a big brother to Mason and he will miss him very much.

After Mason successfully woke Mikey he would then shift his attention to Megan. He would run into Megan’s room and crawl into her bed. He would start patting her and saying “Sis, sis…get up.” He wanted to start having fun at 6am and he needed his best friends to play. Megan’s favorite thing about Mason was that he snuggled her all time, gave her kisses, and had super sweet dance moves.

Megan and Mikey wanted me to tell everyone that they love Mason very much, and he loves them back.

I will face my tomorrows broken, I will always have a piece of me gone. My being will never be whole again. Instead of allowing that sliver of myself to ruin me I am going to choose to “Live Like Mason” I am going to choose to stop taking life to seriously, I am going to choose to love, laugh, giggle, and have fun. Life is beautiful and I am ready to start seeing it.

It’s human nature to try and find a reason when things like this happen. I ask you not to. Rather, I challenge each of you to be the best you can be. Let baby Mason’s death not be in vain, let this death transcend from tragedy into legacy. The support we have received from our little mountain town, our friends, and family has been life changing. It has actually made us want to do better, to be better. Our family has felt more love and warmth from this community then we have ever felt before in our lives. Let Flagstaff set the standards for our new normal. Let us “Live Like Mason”


Please remember to do small acts of kindness every day. Please remember to be in the moment with your loved ones. Breathe your children in. Remember the way they push their face into your chest until there is no them or you, there is only one.. Give your loved ones the attention that Mason taught me to give to mine; turn off the cell phones and the television and look into the eyes of the people you love. Study their face, watch their lips when they speak. Hold their hand when they don’t want to. Study the way they walk and the words they say. Listen. Be present. Focus. You will never get these moments back. If this teaches us anything it is teaching us that life is unpredictable and we don’t know when someone who we really love is going to be taken away from us. Please be kind, please be better, do it for Mason.


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Keiji Iwai & Kristen Dacey Iwai



724 N. Humphreys St

Flagstaff, AZ 86001



(928) 779-4151



M - F 9 - 5 by appointment

KDI Photography Portrait Studio in Flagstaff, Az