Stung Again

Will with Jamie and Lauren, at the precious age of 12

Will at twelve, with Jamie and Lauren

Friday, November 22, 2013 (2 ½ years)

Hey Will,

It’s late and I can’t sleep.  The clock on my bedside table marks the last few minutes of another 22nd day of the month and it stings like all the others.  I felt it when I woke this morning.  There was a sluggishness about getting out of bed, about having to go through the motions of this day; another day where it would take a little more effort to put one foot in front of the other. And so after a few minutes of staring out of the window at the sun just beginning to give light to the day I got up and dawdled to the shower. It’s always so easy to cry there; the tears run to the tips of my toes not just down my cheeks to be wiped away with a tissue or my sleeve. Today these tears were as necessary and natural as washing my face and brushing my teeth; tears that have become a routine part of the 22nd day of every month.

When I pulled into the parking lot at school this morning I whispered your name and asked you to help me hold it together today and it worked, Will!  I worked through my day with a smile, but it did sting a little each time I saw the date written on a student’s paper, each time I saw it on a computer screen, each time I saw it written on the whiteboard in every classroom I walked into today, but I’ve come to expect it and so its a little easier when I know its going to sting instead of being taken aback or surprised. That feels more like a punch to the stomach and though that still happens from time to time it is a little less now.  Sadly, to me that can only mean that more time has passed and that I’ve gotten used to what it feels like to be punched in the stomach.  I was working with a grade seven boy who was celebrating his twelfth birthday today and that stung too.  Looking at him took me back to your grade seven year and to you being twelve and how it stopped there.  “Twelve” is yet another word that stings.

The next 22nd day of the month will be 3 days before Christmas and that one will sting more; more like one of those punches to the stomach.  As Christmas approaches the tears will multiply and getting out bed will become more difficult. This I know now and there is no stopping the wave of sadness that lasts throughout the holiday season.  It’ll never be right, never be ok that you’re not physically here with us.  It just is what it is and sadly nothing can change it.  I do feel your presence with us spiritually but oh how I miss seeing you, touching you, smelling you.

Thanks for helping me get through the day, Will.  And thanks for letting me know that you are with me on this new day, the 23rd day of November.  I woke this morning and the first thing I did before getting out of bed was reach for my iPad on the bedside table to re-read my letter. I opened the Songza app and the first song that played was “Mr. Blue Sky”.  I’ll take that as a sign that you are here with me and it made me smile.  It’s no secret that you are my little Mr. Blue Sky; you always will be.

Love you like a bus,


Poppies in Heaven

Poppies in Heaven

November 11, 2013


Dear Will,

Today is Remembrance Day.  The day we wear a red poppy and remember all who sacrificed their lives so we can live in a country free of war.  I think of the families and the sadness they have had to endure, the loss of their loved ones… fathers, sons, grandfathers, daughters, etc. and the choice they made to serve our country so we can enjoy freedom.  Freedom that sometimes I think we take for granted and shouldn’t.

I think about the Remembrance Day assemblies at school and how touching and beautiful they were and continue to be.  I remember when you were here and how the school assembly would sometimes bring me to tears as I watched you and your friends, and your brothers when they were still at Banded Peak, pay tribute to our Canadian soldiers.  I remember explicitly how you could go from being a rambunctious, fun-loving boy who needed to be “gently” reminded at every assembly to settle down, to be quiet, to listen… to needing no reminders at the Remembrance Day assembly.  How you’d sit on the gymnasium floor with your eyes and ears wide open taking in the words, the music, the message.  I remember how proud I felt of you and of everyone in our school for being attentive and respectful when it was so important.  This assembly is still one of my favourites, Will, as it renews my sense of faith in people, young and old, and gives me a chance to really appreciate the country we are so fortunate to call home.

You must know, Will, that at every school assembly my eyes always find their way to your school jersey (your favourite number, 8) that is framed so beautifully above the volleyball banner that the school team you were a part of won the year you were taken from us.  It hangs there with the words “WillPower” above it as a tribute to you.  Each time I look at it I am reminded of the good in people, of the love that is abundant in our community but also of the fragility of life.  At the Remembrance Day assembly I shed a tear for all who had lost their lives fighting for freedom and I shed a tear for you knowing that you lost your life having the time of your life.  Now, if that’s not an oxymoron…

I miss you, Will; all day everyday, and all the soldiers in heaven have loved ones who are missing them too.  Can you do me a favour?  When you see a soldier up there, please take their hand and say “thank you”.  I can just imagine you up there sporting a big, red poppy today.  Just like me down here.  And that makes me smile.

Hugs and busses,