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,

 

Momxo

8 thoughts on “Returning to School as a Starfish

  1. You amaze me Miss Joni, I am so very proud of you good luck with school the children are so very lucky to have you in there lives. Love Lyn. XX.

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    • Thanks Lyn. This is actually a letter that I wrote just months after Will’s accident. It turned out to be too early for mr to return as it was just too difficult to be in the school then. I did, however, return last september for the year and loved it! It was like medicine. I always appreciate your comments and love that you keep visiting my site. Thanks. Xo

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    • Thank you, Lori. So nice to hear from you and comforting to know that you think of me. It is painful to live without Will and I try hard to find the silver lining in all things. Not sure there is a silver lining in losing a child, but there are certainly ways to channel the sadness into positive things like helping other parents who are living the unimaginable. I think of you too and hope life is treating you well. Thanks for you note. It means so much. xo

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  2. love it Joni…your stories make me cry and every time I do I feel a little pain leaving my body. i don’t expect the pain will ever go away and maybe it is never supposed to- but you put words to the voice I have lost…God Bless, love you Kristin

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    • Oh Kristin. Your comments are always so heartfelt. Because you know what this journey feels like, you would probably agree that crying is not optional when you lose a child. Tears become part of who we are. I remember Bob saying that it is important that you let the pain leave your body and that keeping it inside makes it worse. Do you remember him saying that? I also remember him saying that the deeper you love someone the more it hurts. Boy, if that doesn’t explain why it hurts so much I don’t know what would. I am so glad to have met you, K. I wish we didn’t have to live this nightmare… but I find it helps to just be around you. Love you back and upside down. xo

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