October Days and Little Boy Arms

Little Boy Arms

Little Boy Arms

October 6, 2013

Dear Willy,

Well, here it is again.  October; your birth month and one of the most difficult for me. No month is easy by any means, but October conjures up so many memories of you.  For most of your much-too-short life as soon as I turned the calendar to October the conversations would begin… “Mom, my birthday is in 14 days!”  And in the next breath, “can we plan my birthday party?  How many friends can I invite?  Can they all sleepover?  Ok. Well, can some sleepover?”  Today, remembering these conversations that would begin at the beginning of October every year now make me cry.

I think back to that very special day in October 1998; to the 14th day of the month when you made your debut into this world.  You, my youngest son, were pure joy from the moment Dad and I found out that we were blessed with another son.  An easy pregnancy, an easy delivery (easy to say now!?), and such a happy and beautiful baby boy with your blonde curly hair and blue eyes. It was one of the happiest days in my life, for sure.  Having you felt like everyone in my world was now here and that my kitchen table was supposed to have five people occupy the chairs that were tucked in around it.  For the first time, I could honestly say that it felt like my family was complete. I took much pride, and still do, in being a mother to three boys. Little Nan, (papa’s mom and my grandmother) was also a mother of three boys and I always thought it was so special.  And now I, too, was a proud mama bear to three cubs.  One of the things I loved the most about all three of you, was the feel of your little boy arms around my neck and even at 12 ½ your arms, the smallest of the three of you, gave me such comfort. Right up until your angel date, I loved the tuck-me-in goodnight hugs we still shared regularly.  I don’t ever want to forget those hugs, Will, for there is just nothing quite like them.

Remembering the joy you brought to all of us on the day you were born and the happiness that you brought to our lives as you grew now feels so empty and when October comes around it is especially heartbreaking. It is like you were stolen from me and I am left now with only memories of you as a boy on the cusp of becoming a teenager and a time you were looking forward to so very much.  Watching your two older brothers navigate through the teenage years gave you insight into the freedoms and privileges that were coming your way; learning to drive, girls, girls, girls, summer jobs and spending money of your own, later curfews and later bedtimes.  You certainly didn’t choose to see the “not so fun” parts like more homework, negotiations with Dad and I that wouldn’t always go as you’d hoped, losing privileges, being grounded, etc.  It was just like you to find the fun parts wherever you were.

So, as I watch each of these October days come and go and as your birthday approaches I must continue to find the strength to carry on somehow. I know there will be days when grace will be lost; days where it will take all I have to just get out of bed. And then to my amazement there will be days, too, that I will somehow find a smile, feel you with me, and that I will celebrate having had you for as long as I did, even though it was much, much too short. There is not a day, Will, that I wish the outcome would have been different and that you were here with us saying, “Mom, my birthday is in 14 days!  Can we plan…”

I believe it is you giving us these warm and sunny fall days and I am grateful.  I imagine it is your way of giving me those little boy hugs I miss so very much.  Beautiful October days… and little boy arms.  Thank you, Will.

I miss you to the moon and love you like a bus.


5 thoughts on “October Days and Little Boy Arms

  1. Hi Joni, when you read this comment would you close your eyes as I am sending you the warmest of hugs I am visualising my arms going around you and sending you love. A very beautiful letter.
    Love Lyn.Xx.


  2. Oh, Joni, it doesn’t get easier at all, does it? Kim Thomas’ son Brandon’s 18th birthday is on October 8th and she has been dreading all the pain it will bring. She has planned a gathering at the ponds with his friends, but I know from previous experience it will be bittersweet. I love the way you describe your relationship with Will and how his life was so wonderfully “typical” of all boys in families. Don’t I know….I have two! All the ups and the downs; and how everything is so memorable for different reasons. Yes, my kids when they were younger also started bugging us about birthday parties and plans; usually much earlier than I wanted to start planning! But they did get excited didn’t they, and we had to set limits otherwise utter chaos would ensue!! I hope you can find strength and hope before, during, and after Will’s birthdate. My heart truly hurts for you….I pray you find some comfort, strength and hope. Hugs to you….


    • Hi Cheryl. It is wonderful to hear from you. I have missed our conversations back and forth. I wish I could say that it gets easier but it just doesn’t. They say it gets different. But so far it is still so very painful. I am glad that Kim has a plan for Brandon’s birthday. It helps to have a plan to honor him and sometimes the build up to the day can be worse. Life is full of bittersweets now and it seems to be the measurement I use these days for good things.

      I love that you have two boys and that you can relate to all the boy stuff I write about. He wasn’t famous, didn’t have super powers (other than the four months when he was five that he thought he was really Spider-Man. I’ll never forgetth at little red and blue suit… In fact I probably still have it). He was a normal and wonderful and silly and sometimes loud but always lovable 12 year old boy. Gosh, I miss him and I know I always will.

      I hope Kim is doing a bit better. Please give her a hug from me. Whenever I’d rive the highway to cochrane I see Brandon’s memorial and next time I see someone there I will assume that it is her and I am going to stop.

      Happy fall,



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