Fifteen Candles and Four Balloons

Will's 12th Birthday

Will’s 12th Birthday

October 14, 2013

Dear Will,

Today is your birthday and another one we will celebrate without you.  You’d be 15 years old today and I can’t help but wonder what you would look like?  Handsome as ever I already know, but it’s not enough.  Yup, your eyes would still be blue as ever, but would your hair be short or long?  Long, I am guessing, like your brothers and whatever Ben had you’d want to have too.  How tall would you be?  Well, taller than me for sure for you were almost as tall as me 2 ½ years ago.  You were on your way to being tall like Justin.  Loud and proud?  Oh yeah.  Would you still be super athletic and active?  I think so.  Big feet?  Oh yes. Your feet were already big.  I wonder what your voice would sound like now?  I still remember clearly what it sounded like at 12 ½ but you missed the phase of squeaks and intermittent highs and lows that come with being a teenage boy and a man cub.  There are many things I don’t know now; things I can only imagine to be true about you.  I imagine that you’d still love bacon, and ribs, and candy.  But, would Skittles still be your favourite?  I’m not sure, but I doubt very much that you would ever say no to a handful of candy in any form!  I imagine winter would still be your favourite season and snow still your favourite “toy” because freestyle skiing was so much a part of you.

Will's 6th Birthday. With his big brothers, Justin and Ben

Will’s 6th Birthday.
With his big brothers, Justin and Ben

Today I will set the table and tie four helium balloons to your chair — two green (your favourite color) and two blue (the color of your eyes).  We will light a white candle and place it in the middle of the table and we will honor you with what we imagine you would still love.  As we have done and will continue to do for everyone in our family on their birthday, we will have your favourite meal.  I will make ribs and remember how I’d have to remind you that dinner was more than just a plate FULL of ribs.  I’ll smile remembering how you’d negotiate taking the smallest amount of vegetables and rice or potato to keep me quiet.  We will have an angel food cake with whipped topping and strawberries and remember and laugh at how you’d only want the cake part, no topping, and perhaps maybe a few strawberries.  I shake my head and smile now remembering how, away from the dinner table, you’d flatten and squish a piece of that cake into a bite-sized morsel and how you’d say you just loved it that way.  How coincidental it seems now that your favourite cake was angel food?  Hmmm.  We will light fifteen candles and blow them out making our own wish — our wish that you were here so that we could sing happy birthday to you and wish you many more.  All the stuff that we took for granted back then and no longer do.  We’d shower you with gifts and handmade cards and watch you open the others from your grandparents and extended family.  Now there are no gifts and cards. Instead, Dad and I and Ben and Justin will write you a personal message and each of us will tie it to one of the helium balloons on your chair. After your cake we will go outside and on our own time and in our own little space in the backyard we’ll let them go, sending our love and our wishes up to you. Watch for them Will and please make the stars appear a little brighter and give them a special sparkle tonight so we know that you got them.

Miss you little blue.  My heart aches more than usual today…if that is even possible.


3 thoughts on “Fifteen Candles and Four Balloons

  1. I am so sorry that Will had his 15th birthday in heaven, Joni. My friend’s son Brandon spent his 18th in heaven as well on Tuesday, Oct. 8th. Like you, his family and friends had cake, ice cream and sent balloons and lanterns filled with wishes into the evening sky. My heart hurts for you and these landmarks for Will must be especially painful for you and your family. All I can do is to send wishes for courage, peace, strength and hope that all these beautiful memories of Will that you write so eloquently about somehow bring you some comfort. I only heard really nice, positive things about Will and you must be proud to have been his mom. Hugs….


  2. Oh Joni, the most beautiful letter your lovley Will is so proud of his Mom Dad and brothers your beautiful boy knows how much he is missed and OH is he loved. God Bless to you all ,I have been thinking of you all day. I love you Miss Joni.Xxm


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