Sometimes one person can be missing and the whole world feels empty

~ anonymous ~

JoniBouchard.jpgWelcome to my Love Letters to Will. I am the mother of three boys; two who run and one who soars. Tragically, on the long weekend in May 2011, I lost my youngest son, Will, at the age of 12 1/2. Losing Will has changed me and life as I knew it forever. To imagine is one thing, but to have to live it is another.

In the first year, I wrote Will a daily love letter. I talked to him everyday for 12½ years and I wasn’t about to stop. I couldn’t stop. This daily ritual helped me to, quite literally, survive. I looked forward to some time each day to be with him, to talk to him, to write to him, to imagine that he was sitting with me talking like we used to.

I still write to Will, though not every day. Sometimes I sit in my comfy chair, sometimes I lay in his bed propped up against his pillows like when we used to read together before his bedtime. I’ve taken my laptop down to the river and sat on the banks, written to him while I waited in a waiting room or an office; I’ve written to him as I sat in the passenger seat on our way to Fernie, woken in the early morning before the busyness of the day to write to him, and sometimes made it the last thing I did before I climbed into my own bed. It doesn’t matter where I am or what time it is… I look forward to my quiet time with Will and to writing him a letter.

I’ll need to explain a couple of things that won’t make any sense if you have no background of my relationship with Will. First, Will had many nicknames and I often refer to him in my letters as Willy (obvious), and the WillBilly (I’m not even sure how and when that started, but we called him that often), and “Little Mr. Blue Sky” (after his favourite song, Mr. Blue Sky by ELO). Secondly, for as long as I can remember, Will and I ended each day with a tuck in and the words “love you like a bus”. I know it doesn’t make sense, but when he was little, buses were huge in his world and he believed that you could never love anyone or anything bigger than a bus. And so, this phrase evolved and we used it always. So when I end a letter with that phrase which Will and I sometimes shortened to “lulab” (love u like a bus) you’ll get what I mean.

If you, too,  are a mom who is living the unimaginable loss of a child I hope that through sharing my Love Letters to Will you will find comfort in knowing that you are not alone.  You  might find parallels in your own journey and are looking for a way to continue a relationship with your child, even though it is not the physical one that we on earth only know.  Thank you for allowing me to share my Will with you in this way.

To those of you who have your children I hope that my Love Letters to Will will remind you that Motherhood is a labour of love and that your children are gifts.  There are days when mothering is difficult, when we sometimes wish away the hard parts, but here is what I know for sure. Nothing will ever be as difficult as losing them.

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The Lovers, The Dreamers, and Me

March 10, 2018

Hey Willy,

The other day as I was driving home a song that I hadn’t heard in quite some time played on the radio and in those three or so minutes it was ALL about you. It always amazes me how you can hear a song from a long time ago, even your childhood, and somehow, seemingly out of nowhere, you remember all the words. The song was Rainbow Connection (the Kenny Loggins version) and I can say with certainty that I am a lover and a dreamer for sure. As soon as I heard the banjo in the intro I was surprised at how many of the lyrics I could recall from memory. The power of music is really quite something.

Click on link below to have a listen…

Rainbow Connection

What was perhaps most beautiful was that I was transformed to a place where it was you and me and nothing else and every word of that song was so clear and believable; it moved me like it never had before. This version was not the original Kermit the Frog version but I sure do remember his skinny, little, green self sitting in the swamp singing out his little lungs in the Muppet Movie. Crazy little green frog with a larger than life personality…. hmmm… sounds a bit like you…

I’ve always believed in the magic of rainbows and as a little girl I would make secret wishes and dream of finding the pot of gold at the end every time I saw one. Though I’ve outgrown the pot of gold idea what makes me love them still is the possibility that you are there. And I believe you are. The rainbow connection is alive and well in my little corner of Kermit’s swamp and I wonder, Will, if it’s as clear for you looking at us through those colourful prisms of light. I love the rainbow coloured glasses that Mother Nature gives us so we can catch a glimpse of what awaits on the other side.

So, why days later am I writing to you about rainbows? Well, because I’m still humming that song. It’s stuck in my head and speaking to my heart. I think I won’t forget it ever.

Sweet boy, I miss you more than any dreamer could dream. And I love you more than a bus parked at the end of a million double rainbows. The lovers, the dreamers, and me could only ever get how much that really is.


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