On the eve of another “22nd day” of another month, of course you continue to be in my thoughts and like everyday I wish more than anything that you were here. Tomorrow afternoon is an important day for your big brother, as he will receive his iron ring in a ceremony where engineering students in their final year of university take part in what is known as The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer. It’s been almost five years since Justin began his university studies towards his dream of obtaining a degree in mechanical engineering and almost three of them have been without you here. You’d have been blown away, Will, by looking at the mind-boggling formulas and complexity of the assignments that he completed on a regular basis. I couldn’t make sense of any of them and wasn’t ever sure if I was even looking at them right side up. Justin would have been the best math tutor you could ever have and I wish I could have been witness to the two of you sitting at the kitchen table while he was helping you work through a math problem. As his little brother, you’d have enjoyed it and Justin would have too.
I imagined that this afternoon after school you and I would have driven to the city on a mission to find something nice for you to wear tomorrow. I wonder how tall you would be now and what size pants and shirt we’d have to buy? And would you still be trying to convince me that your Vans would be ok with your pants and that no one would be looking at your shoes anyway? I noticed myself pause and reflect as I typed that sentence, my head nodding up and down like you really did have a point. Oh, what I’d have given to be in the stores with you this afternoon doing what I wish we’d have had a chance to do.
Come tomorrow morning I already know that my heart will be heavier than usual; that it’ll ache a little more because you won’t physically be with us on this special day. Of course you’ll be with us in spirit; that I know with all my heart. You’ll be sitting proudly on my left shoulder where all the boy angels sit and you’ll be inside my heart where you always are. I already know that I will reach up and touch my left shoulder and that one or both of my hands will cup the heart necklace that is you. I don’t even know how many times I find myself holding that heart pendant in my hands. It happens frequently everyday. As Dad and I and Ben proudly watch Justin tomorrow afternoon we know you’ll be there too… in the middle, of course, where you loved to be.
Oh Willy. I will never understand why this tragedy happened to us. I will forever feel so robbed of watching you live your dreams and of enjoying the life you so deserved here with us. You, our youngest son and little brother to Justin and Ben will always be a part of our lives. That will never ever change, but oh what I would do to be able to see you, to touch you, to hug you.
I love you, little blue. Bigger than a bus. And more than the sky. I’ll be waiting and watching for the little wink I know you’ll send our way tomorrow while we watch Justin realize his dream of becoming an engineer and receive his much deserved iron ring.
February was a long month for me. It’s been too cold to do much of anything outside lately, which seems to have magnified the too many days without you. It is no secret that looking at the mounds and mounds (and mounds!) of snow makes me think of you. Your presence is huge this winter and it is incredibly beautiful to take in the sight of the blanket of Willy that covers the ground in and around our community. However, in these frigid temperatures after days of feeling imprisoned on the warm side of the window, I am anxious for the cold weather to leave. Yesterday morning as I sat in the chair in front of the window that looks out at your snow-covered garden and our WillBilly tree, a quilt on my lap and my hands cupped around my mug of hot tea, I noticed the stiff, frozen branches of your tree waver in the wind… I want to believe it was you waving at me from the cold side of the window.
As I am writing to you now, on what is yet another “too cold to do anything outside” kind of day, I can’t help but notice the brilliant blue sky and the way the sunshine makes the snow sparkle; it’s like you’re winking at me. Then there’s the untouched snow that blankets the trampoline making it look like a giant marshmallow. That snow so deep and heavy has pulled the springs towards the ground making the jumpy part stretch and curve into what looks like a giant grin. Yup, it’s you again. I don’t imagine the weight of the snow can be good for the trampoline but the giant smile it has created makes my heart smile with it. Hey, speaking of marshmallows… I am just remembering how you’d like to put one on a plate and slide it into the microwave for a minute. It would puff up multiplying in size, seemingly taking on a life of its own… another one of those edible “science projects” and the topic of another letter I’ll write to you on another day, Will. What I remember most about those microwaved marshmallows was how hard the gooey plate was to clean!
Anyways Will, as I’ve turned the calendar to March I am hopeful that the days won’t seem as long as some of the frigid February days we’ve had to endure as of late. With the daylight hours (slowly) increasing and Spring-like weather on the horizon, soon being outside will be enjoyable again and knowing that puts a little bounce in my day. I’ve lived in Alberta long enough to know that we’ve not seen the end of winter by any means but what I have come to expect once February has passed is that when we find ourselves in a cold snap, those deep freeze days don’t hang around for long. Yuk, it is true the cold spell is still upon us but the forecast is for warmer weather to come our way in the next few days. Until that happens, I will continue to look at the abundant beauty from the warm side of the window and I’ll continue to look for all the special winter Willy’s that are you.
Love you like a frozen bus with square wheels, Willy. I am missing you terribly these past few weeks. More so than usual… if that is even possible.