"My son is gone: I am a shell of a woman."

Rachel & Hamish






Rachel is a mother to four beautiful children. She lost her baby Hamish in a tragic accident on the 4th of October 2012. Since then, she has created a blog where she shares her thoughts, feelings and her grief.


The last time I lay my beautiful little boy down for his daytime nap, I lay him in his cot, placed his special quilt over him, looked him directly in the eye and smiled. “I love you,” I told him. I don’t know why but I said it slowly and deliberately.

He smiled and squirmed with happiness.  I walked out and he immediately rolled over and went to sleep. He was like that. I never had to settle him as a baby. As long as he had his blanket, he would stick out his little tongue (he sucked it like a dummy) and go straight to sleep.

When he woke up just after midday, my sister and his two cousins were at our house and he smiled and laughed as we all sat down and ate hotdogs. He’d never had one before (not the healthiest lunch around) and enjoyed it immensely.

Later in the day, I realised he had a dirty nappy, so I did a bit of a rushed nappy change in the back of the car whilst he squirmed and giggled. I bought Hamish a small ice cream cone and my sister Kelly fed it to him lick by lick while he shouted, “More! More!”

For some reason it was not a good food day. Normally, he’d eat loads of fruit (banana, kiwifruit and strawberries were his favourite) and at least one avocado sandwich.  After ice-cream the kids ran around on the grass and Hamish joined them for a bit before finding flowers to pick for me. As he handed me a dandelion, I said “thank you Hami” and gave him a kiss (my last one).

Rachel & Hamish

Soon after we returned home that afternoon our nightmare began.


I know you want to hear about what happened next but I can’t go on any more. The next half hour is so traumatic, I can’t bear to recall it.

I also can’t recall it without upsetting my daughter in future years, so that’s where I will leave it for now.

That was my precious son’s last day on earth. He died the next morning (October 4th) at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.  My beautiful, stunning child. The love and light of my life. He’s gone. HE’S GONE!  I still can’t believe someone so beautiful, innocent and precious is no longer here.

I don’t know why this happened. I can’t even start to fathom how I’m going to live. I hate life right now. I hate it. I can’t physically bear it. I’m desperate for some kind of escape but there’s no way out of the blackest of black holes I’m in.  My son is gone and I have to somehow find a way to live with that.

God help me.

I am a shell of a woman. I carry my shattered heart inside my heaving chest day in, day out. People swirl around me in a maze of colour and frivolity. I see kindness. I see happiness. I see compassion. I see beautiful people. But I feel nothing.

I see delicious food, but I taste dirt. I see beauty but it feels meaningless. I see sunsets and lapping waves and I feel blackness. It means nothing. Because my world has ceased to be beautiful. Without Hamish, nothing is beautiful. Nothing is precious. It’s all pointless. Hopeless.

I experienced Hamish. He was nothing but beauty and light. Nothing but innocence and joy.  He showed me how beautiful life can be and how swiftly and cruelly it can be taken away. How, in a blink of an eye, you can be left with only a shadow of a life.

Rachel calls Hamish her “little ray of light” in this photo

I have beautiful friends. Some of them persevere with me day in, day out. One of them told me today that I write powerfully. That, through my words, I am changing lives.  I think she overstates my skill (but I love her for saying it). The only reason I’m still standing is because of my remaining family and the remote possibility, that perhaps my tragic journey may help somebody else.


I wish this never happens to anyone else. But as I’ve discovered the world can be a very cruel place and inevitably, tragedy will strike again.  If that person is you, know that somebody else knows the intensity of your pain. Somebody else knows the hopelessness of never being able to experience the beauty that was your child.

I went to the beach yesterday to get some clarity. In the depths of my despair I thought to myself, I need to think of something positive, however small. I couldn’t think of a single thing. I could only feel the heavy, painful thud in my chest and the eternal ache.

Almost on cue, I received a message from a lovely lady who lost her sweet angel last year.  She said the only thing worse than losing her daughter was the thought of never having had her at all. She wrote, “she was so delightful and changed me, my life forever. I know we will be together again one day and it helps me on the bad days to think I am one day closer to seeing her again.”

Death no longer frightens me. Whenever it comes, I will welcome it with open arms and I will embrace my darling in complete ecstasy. Just to be clear, I am not at risk of ending my life prematurely. I care too much about my other 3 gorgeous kids to entertain thoughts like that and I intend to be around for them as long as possible.

But what a sweet day it will be….

This post has been re-published and was originally written here.

Rachel is a mother to four beautiful children. She lost her baby Hamish in a tragic accident on the 4th of October 2012. Since then, she has created a blog where she shares her thoughts, feelings and her grief. You can read Rachel’s blog here.

If you’re dealing with the loss of loved one or you feel like you need support call Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14