We called Mason “Our Little Helper” because he always wanted to be involved in everything and help people with whatever he could. He was a smart, fun, happy, giggly, goofy and lovable kid. He loved life and playing with his big brother Max. He was a healthy, happy child up until he came down with a cough and our lives changed forever in a matter of a very difficult 6 days.
On Jan 26, 2017 he had a cough with no other symptoms but we took him to our pediatrician because pneumonia was going around in preschool and we wanted to be proactive and just check it out. They said everything was clear in his lungs, ears, heart, etc. It was just a virus that had to run its course. He seemed ok on that Thursday. We went to lunch and shopping that day and he was driving the car cart at Home Depot. By Friday he was weaker and not eating or drinking as much. We took him back to the doctor and they sent us to the ER for fluids to boost his system up a bit. He saw two different doctors there, ate a grape popsicle after his IV and we went home. He slept well Friday night and we went back to the pediatrician for a follow up Saturday morning after the ER the day before. Keep eating and drinking but all sounds ok they said. At 3:00 that afternoon we were calling 911. He wasn’t breathing. We went by ambulance to the new hospital in Huntley. They got him back and stabilized him enough to put him on Flight for Life to Lurie’s in Chicago. We couldn’t fly with him so we watched him go and then we drove down to Lurie’s. Before we even got there they had run 250 tests on him. They couldn’t figure it out. He never even had a fever.
We spent Saturday through Wednesday of the next week at Lurie’s with him but we ended up having to take him off life support and say goodbye at 5:30pm on 2/1/17. His brain kept swelling due to lack of oxygen because his heart stopped. They had done everything they could but nothing worked to reverse the damage. They never figured out why he went into cardiac arrest that Saturday afternoon. They weren’t even sure that it has anything to do with the cough he had. He had seen 4 doctors between our office and the ER in the two days prior to his arrest so it was unlikely that they could even be related. We really thought in our heart of hearts that the autopsy would come back that he had a heart defect and the virus he had settled around his heart and that’s what made it stop beating. The autopsy came back that the only thing he had was a lung infection which we knew already…he was coughing. Kids get coughs all the time though. A week of antibiotic and they are fine. His heart and everything else was fine based on the autopsy.
Between Saturday night and Wednesday night we had the gift of time with Mason. We were able to exhaust all the options, speak with doctors, get our questions answered with 100% certainty, speak with Gift of Hope and sign papers to donate organs with complete clarity. We got to snuggle him, kiss him, love him, talk to him, sleep with him one more time his last night here. All things we wouldn’t have gotten if it ended in 20 minutes in Huntley. We were able to have lots of family and friends come to see Mason, love him, and spend time with him. That meant the world to us and I know Mason knew and could feel all of the love for him. We didn’t get the outcome we wanted but we are trying to continue in his happy and kind spirit. We want to see good come out of this heartache and tragedy. It’s a comfort that through Gift of Hope, Mason could help and save lives for up to 20 people with his donations.
We called Mason “Our Little Helper” because he always wanted to be involved in everything and help people with whatever he could. We have since started the Mason Wasz Foundation and received our 501(c)(3) status so that we can continue to help others in his memory. We want to do good things in honor and memory of our sweet boy and we know that he is looking down smiling and we are trying to make him proud. It is wonderful to see good things happen and it makes our hearts happy.
Words from Mason’s Mom
We always called Mason our “Little Helper.” It didn’t matter what was happening or who was working on something…Mason would come up to you and say “I help.” He has taught us so many things in his short 3 1/2 years but the lessons he is still teaching us are so profound.
When we got to Lurie’s that Saturday night after the ER in Huntley and a Flight for Life ride, I sat by his bedside and perspective hit me like a semi truck. All of the things that I had been upset about that day all of a sudden were no big deal. As I watched him lay there and fight for his life, I realized how much time in life we spend dwelling on the little things and we spend so much precious time being upset, having no patience, and being irritated about stuff that really isn’t important.
We have also learned that one of the greatest gifts in life is time. Mason fought so hard to give us time to process, time to talk to the doctors and get all of the info, time to love him more, give more kisses, see his big beautiful blue eyes again and feel him squeeze our hands. We had the time to make the hardest decisions of our lives but we were able to make them with 100% certainty. We had the time to appreciate the doctors and the teams of people that were doing everything in their power to help him. We had the time to bond together as a family to rally for Mason. Moving forward, Mason is teaching us that time will ease our pain but because we spent the time together while he was here, we have no regrets and so many happy times and memories to carry us through.
Our little helper gave the ultimate gift…the gift of life to others. Mason will live on in others and we are so thankful that he can help other families not have to be where we are. That is truly amazing! What a gift!
As the days went on at Lurie’s we had never felt more loved and cared for. The love and support just kept coming and it hasn’t stopped. We kept telling Mason continually how much he and we are loved. We have realized how many truly awesome people we have in our lives This has taught us the lesson of being more appreciative of people. This has shown us that even with all of the negativity and bad in the world, there is still so much good!
Mason kept fighting and we kept loving every second with him. We told him all the things we wanted him to hear, gave more kisses, and I actually slept with him and held him his last night here. What a blessing that I will forever have.
Everyone got to say their final goodbyes and Mike and I went down to the OR with him to be there til his last breath.
Before that happened, I told him that if someone would have told me that I would only have 3 1/2 years with him, I wouldn’t change a thing or have had it any other way. As the saying goes, “It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.”
Then all I did was thank him. I thanked him for being such a wonderful kid, all the fun times and great memories. I thanked him for always being up for anything. I thanked him for being such a great teacher and making me a better person and a better mom. I then thanked God for giving him to me and for letting me be his mom. What a pleasure!!
The last thing I told our little helper was that he would be so missed but I promised him that he is making people be better people and parents be better parents. What a truly awesome legacy to leave this world!
The saying goes that good things come from bad. As a parent it doesn’t get any worse than this. However even in all of this, we can feel Mason looking down and being happy and proud of what he sees so far.
Please remember Mason and keep things in perspective. That’s what he would want. Don’t sweat the small stuff and waste so much time being unhappy. Mason sure didn’t. He saw the good in everyone and everything and he was unbelievably happy in his 3 1/2 years.
Mason has already taught so many people so many lessons and will continue teaching. He would want you to take the time to love…play the game again, watch the TV show you can’t stand, read the book for the 100th time. You never know how quickly life can change. You can’t get time back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Time and love are the best gifts you can give your kids. Kids value your presence…not the presents you give them.
Please remember these life lessons when you think of Mason. Our ultimate little helper will always be helping us.