Thursday, September 29, 2016
Well, fall is definitely in the air these days and the crisp mornings, yellow leaves and fall smells have enveloped me in what I can only describe as my favourite season. Soon the snow will fly and your favourite season will be upon us. For now, though, I will savour everything that is fall and will remember all of what September was to our family when our world was perfect.
For a few years now, September is the month Ben returns to university and Dad and I are confronted again with living alone in the house that for a long time was filled with all you boys and all the smelly stuff that is part of you guys. The best Septembers were when you were all here at home — three new school backpacks hanging in the closet, three new pairs of outdoor shoes in the vicinity of the front door and oodles of brand new socks after all the old tattered and mismatched ones with holes were silently thrown away before school started again. New socks… such a September right of passage…
Sadly, this September should have been our first empty nest, Will, but life threw us that terrible tragedy 5 ½ years ago and we were robbed of precious time. A lifetime with you would never have been enough but oh, to have had more time… I’ve spent much of this month wondering where you’d be this first September after high school, and knowing of course that you’d be at UBC in the Okanangan – Just. Like. Ben. No one would be surprised as your idolization for Ben was no secret. You do know it drove your brother crazy but raining on his parade was what you loved to do and to do that at university would have been a proud feather in your cap.
I’ve frequently thought about Kathleen too and hoped that she would be on the good side of your conscience; a reminder to you to make good choices. I have also thought a lot about your friends, Jordan and Brent, who are also at UBC in Kelowna and I just know that the three of you would be thick as thieves on that campus and that I’d be worrying myself crazy… then in the next breath wishing more than anything that it was true and that I had the chance to worry about you. Sigh. I’d give anything to have all of that. I was corresponding with Jordan mid September, wondering how he was doing, and when your name came up he, too, agreed that in a perfect world you’d be there with them. I reminded him that as an angel you were there looking out for them, keeping them safe and sharing in the fun. He replied that he knew you were. My heart smiles, Will, when I hear that your friends still keep you close. I hope that they will for all of their lives.
Next weekend is Thanksgiving and Ben will be coming home. And Kathleen. And Brent. And Jordan. Ben who has adapted to being away from home and whom we are used to coming home and then going again, but for the others coming home having just spent their first September at university will be a bit more exciting. Not just for them, but for their parents and families, too. Dinner is always better when everyone is sitting around the table and we’re blessed that Justin is able to come for dinner frequently. Having Ben at home for Thanksgiving is something I look forward to very much. I count the days. I imagine in our perfect world that once in the driveway you’d pile out of the car on his coat tails leaving everything in the back seat and make a run for the front door thinking it was a race to get their first while he’d saunter in, leaving a trail of things he was bringing with him from the back seat. Of course, there’d be hugs and then to the refrigerator you’d both go only this time it would be a race to see who’d get there first. It’s difficult still to live with the reality that you won’t be returning home too, and the pining that my heart feels tugs heavily on my heartstrings sometimes still pulling me down to my knees.
Instead, I know that you’ll be with us in spirit. That you’ll be sitting in your spot at the table. We’ll talk about you like we always do and we’ll be grateful for the times we did have together. We’ll reminisce about all of the Septembers that we did have and we’ll laugh and cry and eat turkey and mashed potatoes til our tummies are ready to explode. And then I’ll pick up all the dirty, new socks that will have littered the house whilst Ben is home…
Love you, Willy. Like a bus full of brand new socks.