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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Sunday, October 14, 2018

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, my sweet boy,

 

This week began with a throwback to a sunny afternoon 20 years ago when I welcomed you into my arms and you officially became a member of our little family. It was and will always be one of the very best days of my life. It’s terribly sad for me to think that today you would be 20 years old and even more sad that I had only 12 birthdays to plan and celebrate with you here. You have to know, however, that we’ve never missed a year celebrating your birthday, Willy. Ribs, an angel food cake and cinnamon buns were your favourite and so we continue with the same birthday menu year after year after year.

I’ve been thinking all week about your birthday and how we were robbed of so much when you passed. A boy who never got to be 13. A boy who never got to be a teenager. A boy turned man who would now be 20. Eight birthdays where instead of lighting candles on your cake for you to make a wish and blow out we instead light a white pillar candle that sits in the middle of our dinner table. This candle lights our way so to speak and we don’t put it out until well after our dinner for you. Instead we make our own wish and I’m pretty sure that we all make the same one — a collective, “I wish you were here.”

 

Today I will put all my energy into celebrating one of my happiest of days. I will remember your welcome into the world and the 12 short, but full to the brim, years we shared.   I will remember your sticky fingers while eating your birthday ribs and I’ll smile at how you used to squish/press/roll your slice of angel food cake into a small ball of doughy goodness. I will remember how at age 10 you learned how to make the gooey-ist bread-maker cinnamon buns in our family. I will remember your smile and your laugh and how much you loved being with us. And I will remember how much we loved celebrating you and how much we miss you. We will never stop celebrating you, Will. You will always be a part of us and every October 14 will always be a special day.

 

Love you, sweet one. Bigger than a bus full of birthday ribs and angel food cake squished into a million tiny cake balls and more than a Willy batch of the best cinnamon buns in the land.

 

 

 

Momxo

willandcole

Will and his friend, Cole, who celebrated birthdays together because they were only 2 days apart.

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