October 14, 2014,
Happy Heavenly Birthday Will,
Upon waking this morning and with you ever present in my mind, the first words out of my mouth as I looked out my bedroom window and up to the sky were my birthday wishes for you. Today is your 16th birthday and I am saving today just for you.
So much has happened in a week, since my last letter. It was so great to have Ben home from University for Thanksgiving; gosh, I miss him (his mess, not so much) and I was grateful for having both Justin and Ben at the table for our turkey dinner on Sunday. You were there too, in the middle of the four of us lighting up our table by candlelight.
Unfortunately, Thanksgiving was far from the minds of Nana and my Uncle and cousins and family as they are in the midst of missing their beautiful sister, wife, mom and grandmother. Auntie Barb succumbed to her battle with cancer early on Saturday morning and has left all of us with all of those questions that have no answers. I remember it as if it were yesterday, those first days after losing you. All the numbness and the pain, the disbelief and the wishing that it were just a bad dream. It STILL feels like that. I drove to Medicine Hat on Friday wanting desperately to see her and to be there for Nana. I wanted to tell Auntie Barb that you’d be waiting for her, and that you’d make her smile and take her to Papa D. She beat me to it Will – as soon as I took her hand in my own and before I could speak, she told me she’d be seeing you soon and that she hoped I wouldn’t be too sad. If I could have traded places with her I would have. I told her that and in her wise and barely audible words she told me life didn’t work like that. I returned home Sunday morning wanting so very badly to see Dad and your brothers and to find the comfort I needed amongst them and memories of you in our home on Thanksgiving and your birthday.
Today I think about you being 16. I wonder what you’d look like, how long your hair would be or whether you’d want it short. I wonder how tall you would be and what your voice would sound like all grown up. I wonder how big your feet would be and if you’d be wearing a hat or a toque today. I wonder if you’d be shaving, and if you would have a girlfriend. I wonder if Kathleen would show up after school today with a bag full of your favourite candy and if today would have been the day you’d have passed your driver’s test.
I smile knowing only that you’d be handsome as ever with the bluest eyes in the land. I smile knowing that you’d be taller than me, and that your feet would be large. I know you’d be over the moon happy today, happy to be 16 and the centre of attention and happy to be driving like your friends. While I was walking Finn this morning I thought about what kind of car you might have up there. Whether it was an expensive racecar type that boys dream about or a ski van. Pondering those thoughts for a few minutes it suddenly came to me that you’d probably have the same vehicle as Ben. A truck just like his… probably even the same color… and I think Ben might actually be happy about that too.
Today I will visit Heaven’s Gate and I will place a painted rock under your tree there. Tonight we will have angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream just like we would have had if you were here with us. Instead I imagine that today Auntie Barb might just bake you the best angel food cake ever and that she’d ice it with that really fluffy white icing that only Nana D could make.
Happy Sixteen, Willy. I am sending you love and wishes and hand blown kisses all day.
Love you like a bus and a birthday truck just like Ben’s.