April 10, 2018
My sweet boy,
I think it must be very busy up there. Since the news of the fatal team bus tragedy in Saskatchewan that took the lives of so many my heart has gone back to that dark and scary place in May 2011 when we experienced our own personal tragedy having lost you. There are no words for the magnitude of this loss and I am all consumed with thoughts of all those moms and dads and brothers and sisters and friends and extended family that are having to deal with the horrific loss of these innocent young men, their coaches and their bus driver. Of course, this event has triggered all of the intense feelings of those moments and days after losing you and my broken heart is with all of those parents who have joined the club no one ever chooses to join. Sadly, this club is just way too big.
Heaven has quite a hockey team and the 10 Humboldt Broncos that were called up this weekend is 10 more too many. I think that instead of your skis you might be wearing your hockey skates and have your hockey stick in hand. I imagine you’ve put fresh tape on your stick and created the best tape knob ever on the end. Tape… you always did like the tape… the usual black hockey stick tape (and the occasional coloured one) and the clear tape that would hold up your hockey socks (oh, and take paint off the walls when you used it to put up posters and tape mini sticks to your wall. Ya, that tape). There were rolls everywhere… on your dresser, the coffee table, in the car, in your hockey bag, at the back door, in the wagon on the front porch and occasionally in my purse. The growing tape ball in your hockey bag was pretty special. You know… the one that you would add to after every practice and game by peeling off the tape that held up your socks and adding it layer by layer to the ball of used tape. The last time I saw it, it was about the size of a small soccer ball… that was a lot of tape.
Ten cool boys have just arrived in heaven and I know you’ll find them, Will. Maybe you already have. They’ll be the boys in gold and green jerseys with Humboldt Broncos crests on the front and they’ll all be together. A team of boys who love hockey as much as you love skiing. Take them, Will, to the biggest and the best and the most beautiful hockey rink heaven could have. Show them around up there, and have some fun with them. Listen to their stories and show them where the boy angels sit on the left shoulders of their mom’s down here. Tell them how much their moms will like that. Show them how to let their loved ones know that they’re looking out for them and tell them how much they’ll be missed. Show them how to send signs to those down here who desperately need them and tell them to visit often. Laugh and play cards with them, Will, and break out the mini sticks too. When you’re tired and need a rest share high fives and fist bumps and tell them that they don’t need to do homework in heaven or ever have to go to the dentist.
Those beautiful boys known as The Humboldt Broncos…. the boys in the gold and green jerseys… will be missed so very much and loved forever and ever. Just like you.
Love you, Willy. Like a bus full of millions of hockey sticks. And tape. Oh, and don’t forget to leave your hockey stick out on your heavenly porch tonight. Your new hockey friends will love that.
Joni I’m beside myself on your letter. You have spoken for so many mothers who have unfortunately gone through a similar experience. But in the end you offer a small bright light that will only grow. Thank you.
Thank you for your kind message, Eppo. This horrific event and the loss of all those boys triggered moments for me that I didn’t think I would ever overcome when I lost my son. Without “hope” I wouldn’t be here. It is everything. If I can be “a small, bright light” for anyone who is summoned to join this club then I have done what my son, Will, would want me to do. Your kindness gives me hope and a reason to keep on sharing. Thank you, Eppo.
Joanie thank you so much for your loving careing blog you have personally echoed what everyone is trying to say and adding your own personal thoughts thank you for that
Thank you for your kind words, Jim. My heart is extra heavy these days. The news of that horrific bus accident threw me back into a very sad place. I hope that through my words my picture of heaven can help others believe that it is as real as I believe and hope it to be.
Thanks for your “love”, Jane. Hope you’re doing well, sweet one.