Returning to School as a Starfish

Jordan, Sam, and Will

Waiting their turn to play volleyball… Jordan, Sam, and Will

Thursday, August 18, 2011 (89 days)

Dear Willy,

Today I met with Mrs. McLaren at your school and mine, too.  She kindly bought me a latte and we shared a piece of banana bread while we talked about you and all the things that made you so special to Banded Peak.  I have decided that I’d like to return to the school for a couple of days a week and so we talked about that too.  To be there everyday would be just too difficult and as I explained to Mrs. McLaren I have some work to do on me.  I have to grow that new appendage… remember the starfish story?  When a starfish loses one of it’s “arms” it grows a new one and I was telling her that when I lost you, I lost one of my “arms” and that arm will always be with you… you, being only twelve, still needed your mom and, gosh, as your mom I still needed you too.  I don’t know what my new appendage will look like but I am on a mission to grow a fabulous one because it will be for you.  One could also call it finding my new purpose here on earth; finding a reason to live out my days until I am reunited with you.   I think she understood what I was trying to say.  We discussed that I will not work in your grade grouping as that would be torturous really.  But I think being at the school in a lower grade might be good for me.  Another bittersweet, Will… and boy oh boy, my world is filled with those.

I explained to Mrs. McLaren that sometimes my eyes will well up with tears while at work but that maybe my tears didn’t have to be a negative; that maybe the kids would see that being sad is part of being human — that even adults have tears sometimes and that it is ok.  Maybe my emotions would bring out their emotions and maybe, just maybe, bring down their “walls”; especially the kids that come to school and hide amongst the turmoil of anxiety, the ones that have tummy aches and tears and sadness and behavior issues, etc.  I told her how great it might be for them to see that they are helping me too and that it wouldn’t be just me helping them.  Life is a two way street and working together could help them and me all at the same time.  I know that there will be times when   it will be overwhelmingly sad and I will have to excuse myself and maybe leave for a few minutes, but she told me that would be ok and completely understandable.  I am so grateful for the school and the support I have there.

You have impacted so many, Will, and I will need you to help me through this.  Help me understand that it is right and good for me to go back.  Give me the strength I will need daily and the courage to show that being human has all kinds of faces; some happy and some really sad.  Sit proudly on my left shoulder where the boy angels sit everyday I am there.  I will need you there WITH me…. because that is where you should be.  And, by the way, Willy, when I grow my new “arm”, this starfish Mom of yours will still always need you.

Love you more than five arms,



My Special Invisible Glasses

My Sweet Will

My Sweet Will

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hey Will,

One of the hardest parts of losing you is watching time pass.  The world keeps turning; days turning into weeks and then to months and when I note the date or have to write it on something I shake my head – still not believing that its been two years (actually, 2 years, 52 days).  It seems like yesterday and forever at the same time.  I carry-on (somehow) most days but it isn’t without you on my mind every minute of every day.  I guess it is true that you are a part of me; a part of me that will be forever, and I find comfort in believing that as a mom and a son we are inseparable always.  Innately, I look for you everywhere I go, like I have special invisible glasses that can see you in the smallest of things.  Yesterday while walking through the woods I stopped and took notice of all the different hues of your favourite color, green, that surrounded me; so many trees, tall and short, big and small, both deciduous and coniferous, the bushes abundant with leaves of all shapes and colors of, yes, green.  The forest floor, also green, was covered with plants of all types, new shoots, moss… like a green carpet covering the dark brown fertile soil that provided a rich contrast to all the greenery.  It was beautiful; Mother Nature at one of her finest.  You’ll like this part, Will, for in the next heartbeat, I shuddered to think how many insects (for me, just a nicer sounding word for bugs) there were all around where I stood and instantly I thought how that wouldn’t have bothered you at all.  On the contrary, for surely you’d have looked for the bugs, the spiders, the creepy crawly things, and found the “ickyness” written all over my face quite entertaining.  I felt you with me in that green world and I laughed to myself knowing that while I was noticing all of the green stuff, you’d have been looking at the forest quite differently.  You’d have been looking at the tree trunks, and the branches, wondering how and where you could get up in there and climb, wondering how high you could go without a worry in the world.

As my eyes were diverted back down to the ground, they were drawn to a little white flower that sprouted up and out of the soil.  It was small with feathery leaves; bowing its head in my direction… and through my special invisible glasses I saw you. I frequently notice the little things now – like this little white flower, little blue butterflies, even the beauty in a single raindrop; things I’d have not really thought twice about before.  Somehow these invisible glasses also give me a double vision; I see things through my eyes and then through yours. When I stop to look at the beauty in little things, I see you looking back at me and for a moment time stands still. Then when I blink, you’re gone.  I used to cry, straining so hard to find you, to see you, but now I trust that you are there and that I will see you.  It’s a lesson I am happy to have learned for when I tried to see you in the big picture I could never find you.  I know you are never far from me, Will.  We are inseparable, held together by an invisible thread.  You will always be my Will and I will always be your mom.  No one can ever take that away.

Love you little son/sun… like a bus and a little white flower in a green world.


The Cord

We are connected, my child and I,

By an invisible cord not seen by the eye.

It’s not like the cord that connects us ’til birth,

This cord can’t be seen by any on earth.

This cord does its work right from the start

It binds us together, attached to my heart.

I know that it’s there, though no one can see

The invisible cord from my child to me.

The strength of this cord is hard to describe

It can’t be destroyed, it can’t be denied.

It’s stronger than any cord man could create

It withstands the test, can hold any weight.

And though you are gone, though you’re not here with me

The cord is still there, but no one can see.

It pulls at my heart, I am bruised, I am sore

But this cord is my lifeline as never before.

I am thankful that God connects us this way

A mother and child, death can’t take it away.

~ author unknown ~