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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Butterfly Love

June 13, 2018



Dear Sweet Will,


If there was ever a day that I needed to see one of those little blue butterflies it was today. And I have to tell you that the little yellow one dancing in it’s path was the icing on the proverbial cake. You see, my sweet boy, it meant to me that maybe you have seen my friend Dina up there where the sky is always blue and no one gets cancer. She passed a week and a bit ago after a lengthy battle with cancer – so unfair at only 53 years of age.


On one of my last visits with her we talked about you. Actually, your name would frequently come up. For as long as I knew Dina she’d ask about you and your brothers; so genuinely interested in all of you. She was at peace with dying and was always more concerned about those she’d leave behind down here. We would talk about how she would see you and how she would make sure you were brushing your teeth and wearing clean socks. She told me she was going to look out for you.



img_0742-1I’m sure you’d remember her when you saw her and when you did you’d notice that her heart was larger than most everyone’s. She was a beautiful woman who made the world down here a better, kinder place. She was a super cool lady and I know you’ll love spending time with her. She’ll make you laugh, Will. And she’ll buy you ice cream and new shoes. She’ll want to take you to the rainbow bridge to show you her beloved dogs – Max and Sammy. She loved those doggies and I think she’ll be spending a lot of time throwing balls and sticks. Perhaps, you could help her with that.   Sticks and balls… boys and dogs… yup, it’s not rocket science. ..


Thank you for fluttering along beside me on my doggie walk today, Will. I love when you do that. And thanks for inviting Dina along with you. Through fresh tears for my friend and my never ending tears for you my heart did smile and dance a little.


Come back soon, sweet boy. You know where to find me and I’m always looking for you.


Love you, Willy. Like a bus full of little blue butterflies x a million. And the yellow ones are pretty adorable, too.




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