About Joni Bouchard

I am a mother of three boys; two who run and one who soars. I lost my youngest son, Will (age 12), on the long weekend of May 2011 in a tragic accident near our home The world as I knew it was shattered in an instant. My purpose now is to help and support moms who have lost children; to let them know that they are not alone on this painful journey. But, it's bigger than that. I am hopeful that my story, my reality, can serve as a reminder to moms who are not living the "unimaginable" to remind them that motherhood is a precious gift. Helping others, in turn, helps me.

My Blue Crayon

December 5, 2019

My Sweet Will,

Blue.

My favourite color for as long as I can remember.

The color of your eyes and yes, the color of the sky on a beautiful sun-kissed day.

You are undeniably our little Mr Blue Sky but sometimes blue is used to describe feelings of sadness and these December days are quite blue for me, Willy. It’s not surprising at this time of year to harbour these feelings — we know this well, for every book on grief, every counsellor we spoke to and every parent walking with us on this journey will attest that that is true. Of course, it is. Missing a loved one over the holidays can certainly conjure up a dark blue cloud of sad that can sometimes, for some, make December unbearable.

For me, December feels like a magnifying glass pointed at the empty chair. Your absence is palpable, Will … sometimes it screams at me and try as I do to search for the silver lining sometimes there are days when I just have to succumb to these blue feelings and I retreat to a place within. I go quietly to that sacred place in my heart where the very best memories live, where you live and where I feel closest to you. I pray to God to help me through the darkness and ask him to watch over me as I sit there for a bit. Long enough to get lost in all those perfectly ordinary days that we shared but not too long that I would forget how to pull myself up. You know this place well, Willy… it’s where we learned to dance between what was and what is. My heart reminds me that grief and sadness are the price of love and that I am feeling blue because I love you and I miss you.

Sure, the hustle and bustle of December is here and…

I’ve yet to pull out the Christmas boxes, but I will.

I’ve yet to put up the tree, but I will.

I’ll bake little gingerbread boys, like I always do.

I’ll play Christmas music and sing out loud, like I always do.

I’ve yet to make my shopping list and venture out to the shops, but I will.

I’ll wrap gifts and plan our Christmas dinner, like I always do.

And, all the while I will miss you every second of every minute. Like I always do.

But, for today and maybe even tomorrow I will dance with you and not worry about the list. When it feels right I’ll be ready to return to the hustle and bustle of December feeling recharged and ready to go. You will urge me to go, reminding me that it is what you’d want me to do. With your gentle nudge I will get busy and “bring on” Christmas like we always do. I will trust that everything will get done to the best of my ability and that what will be this December, will be exactly what it should be. I will be present for those that are my world — Dad and Ben and Justin and Amy and Finn — knowing that together is the best place to be and knowing also that you’ll be smack dab in the middle of all of it. My beautiful family and my friends that feel like family will be close in my thoughts and I will let them all know how grateful I am for their love, their continued support and for their friendship. They really are the best gifts.

You are my blue crayon, Will, and I love you more than a blue sky day and a bus full of blue crayons.

Momxo

A Gold Dipped Yellow Leaf

September 16, 2019

Dear sweet Will,

Today I watched the first yellow leaf fall from your tree. It reminded me of a tear as it fell to the ground and in those few seconds I did wipe a tear as it rolled down my cheek. Sometimes the unexpected can just get me like that. It was also a stark reminder of the passage of time… another season, another fall since you passed to the other side. I ponder how that can be possible when it feels both so long ago and like yesterday at the same time. That golden yellow leaf is also a reminder of the many signs of you that seem to be everywhere – all of them beautiful in their abundance and all of them I am ever grateful to be witness of. They are a daily reminder that you are indeed near and that you continue to watch over us. It really is possible in the moments of each passing day, week, month, season and year to see little signs of you in all kinds of places and in so many different ways. Little blue butterflies, heart shaped rocks, a snowflake, a brand new leaf, rainbows, tiny-fluffy- speckled feathers, a chattering squirrel or cawing crow and sometimes the magical, indescribable way Finn seems to look through me instead of at me. I know all of these are somehow you. I often reply to these abundant signs saying out loud, “Hey Willy, I see you, I hear you, I feel you.” I have had many conversations with these signs of you believing and hoping that you can see me, hear me and feel me, too.

The painful part is that I miss you as you were. So many things I miss… I miss watching you grow, seeing you run and jump. I miss hearing your giggle and the sound of your voice. I miss watching you make cinnamon toast in the morning and how you’d pour milk into your bowl of honey nut Cheerios. Frequently there’d be more milk on the counter than in your bowl but you insisted that you could do it and if I made a fuss about how that was wasteful you’d look at me and without saying a word you’d lick it right off the counter just to prove a point. I know I didn’t miss that back then but I’d give anything for a bowl of spilled milk now. I miss watching you swing your backpack over your shoulder and how sometimes it was so jam packed that you looked like a turtle carrying its shell. I long for the morning chaos that was part of every school day… how you’d rush to eat breakfast and brush your teeth before you’d stuff your backpack with all you needed for the day and then how you’d saunter out the door (and sometimes run like mad) to catch the bus to school. I miss our conversations about what mattered most to you on each given day. I miss watching how you loved being with your buddies and how much you loved pushing your brothers’ buttons and wrestling and cuddling with Dad. I miss your “Hi Mom” when I’d see you in the hallways at school and your public hugs when you just knew it meant more to me than to you. I miss watching you work so hard to get through your homework after school because every extra minute was golden when you were playing with your friends and / or jumping on the trampoline before dinner. I miss the way you would stall every bedtime routine and then how you’d look forward to our time to read together before bed. I miss hearing you say, “goodnight mom” and how you’d tell me you loved me like a bus. I miss our bedtime hugs and watching you as you slept when I’d enter your room one more time before it was my turn to crawl into my bed down the hall. I know these times were fleeting in the big picture but like every parent I always believed that these little nuances – these routines of everyday life – would morph into different age appropriate routines as you grew older. Never did I ever believe that it would end so tragically and so quickly. When I look back I am reminded of how fleeting it really was and how precious those moments really were. What a gift an ordinary day was back then and how lucky I am to be able to recall so many. I am especially grateful to have had that perspective. I will hold onto each and every one of them for all of my days on earth.

And Will, when the next golden leaf flutters from your tree to the ground I will choose to look at it as you waving to me instead of feeling it as my tears. I will watch closely so I don’t miss it and as fall inevitably makes its grand entrance I will see you wave many, many times as the leaves from your thriving little tree cover the ground. Watch me, Will, as I will be waving back at you.

I miss all of you, sweet boy, and I love you beyond words. Like a bus. A big, yellow bus full of beautiful gold dipped, yellow leaves.

Momxo

Rolling Down the Highway

April 28, 2019

Dear Will,

Gosh, sweet boy, it’s been a bit since I’ve put my words to you in a letter… but it sure doesn’t mean that I haven’t been talking to you. Not a day goes by where I don’t find myself having some sort of conversation with you. When I think about it, it must look awkward, even weird, to those who see and hear what looks like a one sided conversation… ahhh, but what they don’t know is that they aren’t one sided at all. I see you and I hear you in all kinds of ways.

I have spent the last few months travelling between what is our new home in Fernie and the place that will always feel like home back in Redwood and area. Both places so very special because they are the two places on this earth that you loved. One you called home and the other you dreamed of calling home. Each time I drive the three hours between those two places I settle into a trip down memory lane and the nostalgia gets me every time. When the sun is shining and the roads are bare I enjoy these road trips with you very much. As I pass the countryside and the landmarks along the way I imagine you are sitting on my left shoulder where my wise friend told me the boys angels sit. I hear you whisper in my ear, “Mom, can we stop and climb on the rocks at the Frank Slide?” “Can we stop for icecream?” “Mom, I have to pee… can you pull over? I can’t wait til we get to a gas station… I gotta go!”

I fondly remember the car games we played; the Geography Game, 20 Questions, and the “When I go to Fernie I’m gonna take my – something that begins with A, then B and C and so on. When you were little we’d play “I spy with my little eye” and no one could ever see what you where spying because, one, you were the random master of detail and, two, I know you would change your mind during play when one of us guessed correctly leading us on a goose chase of confusion until one of us would say “Will, I give up!”. On one of my trips not long ago I found myself playing the Sign Game all by myself. You loved that game, too.

All these family trips back and forth are vividly etched in my heart and as I sit with them now I am grateful that it was a time when phones and iPads and digital devices weren’t as popular as they are now. It gifted us hours and hours of looking out of the window instead of down at a screen. I remember how we’d moo at cows in the fields as we passed and how we sang Christmas carols at the top of our lungs for two months before Christmas. You knew them all.

I love how you’d pack your dark blue drawstring bag with all the possessions you couldn’t live without before we headed to and from Fernie. When you were small, there were little cars and a lego man or two, sometimes a yo-yo or Pokémon cards and always, always a bag of fishy crackers and a juice box. As you got older, that same blue bag held your iPod and your earbuds, your sticker collection, a couple of ski magazines, usually some candy and, always, always fishy crackers and a juice box.

I am smiling to myself now as I reminisce over how you couldn’t stop singing. You. Never. Stopped. Singing. Outside of the car, Will, it was how I knew where you were. Like for real. When you were small it was children’s songs and jingles and lots of Dad’s and your brothers’ music choices – songs that you grew up listening to. And then when you were 10 or 11 you got an iPod and discovered your own world of music. This was a happy time for you as your little world of music and singing exploded. And so did the quiet times in the car. You’d plug in your earbuds and sing and hum and sing and hum and sing and hum… with many reminders to please stop singing out loud. You just couldn’t do it. Not surprising, Dad and I just got back from visiting Uncle Jim in Kelowna and as we meandered along highways we’d never driven we listened to one of your playlists. Years ago, I downloaded it to my iTunes so that I could have it with me always. I’m pretty sure you were with us in the truck that day singing out loud with us as we drove through the mountains. Each song took us back to you and all the countless road trips we made as a family… so many bittersweets attached to that playlist.

These frequent trips I have been making between Fernie and “the hood” are full of memories that at the time seemed uneventful and at times frustrating. After all, a backseat filled with three boys wasn’t always harmonious. But as I look back now, the family time we spent rolling down the highways was a large part of how our family lived and played. What mattered is that we were together on all those drives and my heart swells as I let my mind wander back to those days when our world was perfect.

I miss you, sweet Will. And I will always love you. More than anything and like a bus full of fishy crackers and your favourite tunes rolling down the highway with the sun shining down on us and the windows wide open as we sing at the top of our lungs.

Momxo

Christmas. Sigh…

December 22, 2018

Dear sweet boy,

In these final, few days before Christmas I am stopping to pause; to give myself permission to escape this busy bubble of hustle and bustle so I can spend a day uninterrupted with you. As the busy season unfolds I struggle more with losing you than I normally do. Every December feels like this. Perhaps it is because there is such a strong focus on family and for us, well, it is out of order and interrupted. We carry on as best as we can because we know you’d want us to spend Christmas doing and being and loving as we always did. And so we do. For you. And because of you.

Last night was a restless one for me. I tossed and turned, waking frequently with thoughts of you and Christmases past. Memories that would shake me awake followed by a sense of urgency to want to close my eyes and try to lull myself back to those very precious times. It was a bittersweet dance and after hours of going back and forth I decided that writing a letter to you while I sat in the early morning darkness amidst the lights on our Christmas tree would be time well spent. I always do feel better after a conversation with you.

As I sipped my hot tea I thought about the magic of Christmas and how you, being the youngest of the three boys, were the one who kept the Santa magic alive for all of us for many years. I laughed recalling some of the tactics Justin and Ben would use to keep you believing that without a doubt there really was a white bearded, chubby guy in a red suit that made and brought presents, but only if you were on the good kid list. They had explanations for every question and played along not wanting to ruin it for you (… probably because I threatened them and I’m quite sure the thought of no Santa gifts was a pretty strong deterrent). I did hear recently of a funny albeit brilliant story of a mom who told her two boys that the smoke alarms in the house were Santa cams and that when the green light was on (which, of course, is always on) it meant that Santa was watching. Everyday. All year long. I wonder how long that worked? Your brothers weren’t quite that menacing.

Mostly, Will, I remembered how much fun we had every Christmas and how important it was for all of us to be together. Never did I ever imagine that we’d have a Christmas without you and that “never” actually meant forever. The pain of losing a child is unimaginable and I believe wholeheartedly that the human spirit can only go to that kind of pain if it has no choice but to. Seven years into our grief journey I feel like we have come to a place now that we can find moments of joy again but it is because we have surrounded our Christmas with memories of you. You are our Santa and the angel atop of our tree. The last gift under the tree is always a jigsaw puzzle to us from you. You are the candle light on our Christmas table and as we toast the season and each other we toast you as well. I do feel your presence and know with my whole heart that you are with us and that you always will be.

This summer I photographed some of your journal writings from your grade 7 school year. Indubitably what we didn’t know then was that Christmas 2010 was your last Christmas with us on earth. I scrolled through my photos and found what you’d written about Christmas that year.

I’ve read and re-read your words not only for what you said but loving how your writing looked and how I remembered it to be. Your message reflects the true essence of Christmas. Simple and thoughtful. It really is not so much about the receiving part and so much more about the giving. Just like you wrote. That you felt like that at 12 years old makes me a proud mom.

Our tree this year is full of our ski passes as usual and new this year I filled it with fuzzy, soft snowballs. They remind me so much of you. And your brothers, too. I hope it makes you smile as you look down on it. Yup, your Santa hat is still at the top as our angel.

As the morning dawns I think about my list… all the things I need to do… the last minute shopping, the wrapping, the cleaning. And then I looked at your face on your last Fernie ski pass and decided to go make myself another cup of tea. I grabbed a blanket and returned to where I last sat in front of our tree. There is no rush. It will all get done. It always does. More important, today is about you and me.

I miss you so much, sweet Will. More than words can describe.

And, I love you. Like a bus. Full of Christmas love, snowballs, candlelight, childhood memories and everything that is you at Christmas. Sigh…

Momxo

Happy Heavenly Twenty

Will B&W

Almost a teenager…

Sunday, October 14, 2018

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, my sweet boy,

 

This week began with a throwback to a sunny afternoon 20 years ago when I welcomed you into my arms and you officially became a member of our little family. It was and will always be one of the very best days of my life. It’s terribly sad for me to think that today you would be 20 years old and even more sad that I had only 12 birthdays to plan and celebrate with you here. You have to know, however, that we’ve never missed a year celebrating your birthday, Willy. Ribs, an angel food cake and cinnamon buns were your favourite and so we continue with the same birthday menu year after year after year.

I’ve been thinking all week about your birthday and how we were robbed of so much when you passed. A boy who never got to be 13. A boy who never got to be a teenager. A boy turned man who would now be 20. Eight birthdays where instead of lighting candles on your cake for you to make a wish and blow out we instead light a white pillar candle that sits in the middle of our dinner table. This candle lights our way so to speak and we don’t put it out until well after our dinner for you. Instead we make our own wish and I’m pretty sure that we all make the same one — a collective, “I wish you were here.”

 

Today I will put all my energy into celebrating one of my happiest of days. I will remember your welcome into the world and the 12 short, but full to the brim, years we shared.   I will remember your sticky fingers while eating your birthday ribs and I’ll smile at how you used to squish/press/roll your slice of angel food cake into a small ball of doughy goodness. I will remember how at age 10 you learned how to make the gooey-ist bread-maker cinnamon buns in our family. I will remember your smile and your laugh and how much you loved being with us. And I will remember how much we loved celebrating you and how much we miss you. We will never stop celebrating you, Will. You will always be a part of us and every October 14 will always be a special day.

 

Love you, sweet one. Bigger than a bus full of birthday ribs and angel food cake squished into a million tiny cake balls and more than a Willy batch of the best cinnamon buns in the land.

 

 

 

Momxo

willandcole

Will and his friend, Cole, who celebrated birthdays together because they were only 2 days apart.

And a New Chapter Begins…

WagonRocks

Our wagon of rocks has a new home

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Dear Will,

It’s been a while since I’ve put pen to paper (or as one would say nowadays, fingers to QWERTY keyboard). It is not for lack of thinking of you or talking to you, in fact, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear you say, “you sure do talk a lot, Mom.” Duh, no surprise there. I’ve tried all summer to find the right time to just sit with you instead of nattering to you endlessly while I purged and packed, sold and donated, dumped and repurposed, unpacked and nested, arranged and rearranged…. and I’m still doing it. Summer has been full of all of that and lots of road trips back and forth from Redwood to Fernie. And now, the next chapter has officially begun.

This chapter begins with downsizing from our five bedroom home to two (and a bunkie). How novel for the Bouchard’s to own one home instead of maintaining two for so many years. We said goodbye to our home in Redwood on August 6th and though we knew our farewell to 22 years in Redwood Meadows would be difficult, let me just tell you that I created my own little river of tears as I said goodbye to every room in our home. The only thing that kept me sane was knowing that we were relocating to the mountain town where we have played as a family for 28 years. You always said you wanted to move here and well, here we are, Willy!

What makes this easier is knowing that you are very much here with us. Not surprising, part of you and us will live in the trees and on the paths beside the river in Redwood Meadows. The indelible memories of having lived the very best of life raising you and your brothers in such a safe and magical place is inseparable. It’s a kind of “you can take the mom out of Redwood but you can’t take Redwood out of the mom” kind of feeling. I do wholeheartedly believe that one cannot ever really leave Redwood. Kind of like the Eagles’ Hotel California in some ways.

JustinBenWill

Raising our boys in Redwood Meadows… the very best of life

It is important to note that living in our mountain play place full time is a transition and will take some time as Dad is still very much working in Calgary. Retirement is not in the short term picture yet but owning one home sure has its advantages. Dad and Ben are renting a condo in Calgary… two peas in a pod living very much in a pod. My frequent trips to Calgary will include visits to the condo, visits with Justin and Amy at their home and visits with my forever friends in Redwood and Bragg Creek. I look forward to all of this as it would have been impossibly difficult to move “cold turkey”.

Having you with me, Will, is the constant in this life that makes everything possible. There is peace knowing that it matters not where we are, but who we take with us in our hearts that is most important. This time, my sweet boy, it was I who took your hand and lead you down hwy 22 and then a right onto hwy 3 instead of you taking mine while we danced in the clouds. And now that I’m here my hand is back in yours ready to dance once again in the heavenly skies.

I love you, Willy. More than all the happy times in Redwood packed into a bus beside the Elbow River where the little blue butterflies flutter and the most magical of snowflakes fall (sometimes too frequently… like in the late spring… grrrr). That is big love, my sweet boy. Big. Bus. Love.

Momxo

FernieWillPower

Will’s Mountain Bike Trail at Fernie Alpine Resort

 

Butterfly Love

June 13, 2018

 

 

Dear Sweet Will,

 

If there was ever a day that I needed to see one of those little blue butterflies it was today. And I have to tell you that the little yellow one dancing in it’s path was the icing on the proverbial cake. You see, my sweet boy, it meant to me that maybe you have seen my friend Dina up there where the sky is always blue and no one gets cancer. She passed a week and a bit ago after a lengthy battle with cancer – so unfair at only 53 years of age.

img_0743-3

On one of my last visits with her we talked about you. Actually, your name would frequently come up. For as long as I knew Dina she’d ask about you and your brothers; so genuinely interested in all of you. She was at peace with dying and was always more concerned about those she’d leave behind down here. We would talk about how she would see you and how she would make sure you were brushing your teeth and wearing clean socks. She told me she was going to look out for you.

 

 

img_0742-1I’m sure you’d remember her when you saw her and when you did you’d notice that her heart was larger than most everyone’s. She was a beautiful woman who made the world down here a better, kinder place. She was a super cool lady and I know you’ll love spending time with her. She’ll make you laugh, Will. And she’ll buy you ice cream and new shoes. She’ll want to take you to the rainbow bridge to show you her beloved dogs – Max and Sammy. She loved those doggies and I think she’ll be spending a lot of time throwing balls and sticks. Perhaps, you could help her with that.   Sticks and balls… boys and dogs… yup, it’s not rocket science. ..

 

Thank you for fluttering along beside me on my doggie walk today, Will. I love when you do that. And thanks for inviting Dina along with you. Through fresh tears for my friend and my never ending tears for you my heart did smile and dance a little.

 

Come back soon, sweet boy. You know where to find me and I’m always looking for you.

 

Love you, Willy. Like a bus full of little blue butterflies x a million. And the yellow ones are pretty adorable, too.

 

Momxo

 

May. Another Circle Around The Sun Begins.

May 13, 2018

Here we go again. The hardest month of the year is upon us and as your angel date approaches it is this month that is the biggest reminder of the passage of time. The 22nd day of May will mark seven years since our worst day ever and it still feels like yesterday and forever. How can time dance between these two extremes?

May brings with it a flood of memories; an abundant and beautiful playlist of memories that no one can ever take from me. The onset of May meant soccer at the park, riding your bike and wearing shorts again. After a long winter it was the month where we’d have to shop for new shorts and t-shirts and pull out Ben’s hand-me-downs because of how much you grew since we switched them out for warmer clothes and snow pants. With May also comes Mother’s Day and what used to be one of my favourite days of the year. Now, not so much. There is an emptiness that nothing can fill and the empty chair at the table is so blatantly noticeable on this day. I will always treasure the gifts you and your brothers made at school when you were all small. I have kept them all, along with every handmade card.

I will play all of my moments with you over and over and over a million times throughout my lifetime, Will. There is solace in recalling the many happy moments but on the other side of all that “happy” is the pining and longing I have for all that was lost and all that could have been and will never be… watching you navigate through your teen years (whilst pulling my hair out on occasion, I’m sure) and then transitioning from man cub to man. Missing out on celebrating the milestones you’d have enjoyed along the way and all the beautiful, ordinary moments and days in between is something that will haunt me for all my days. There is an aching sadness in thinking about that. A month that used to hold such promise and a change of seasons now feels so different. My patience is thinner, my heart is heavier and the onset of tears sits so close to the surface of my being that I can feel their sting.

And yet, I try. I try to be positive, to be hopeful and to be grateful for the little blessings that present themselves each day because I know, Will, that this is what you want for me. I spend more time these days practicing self care and wake each day with the intent to be kinder to myself… because I need to. Walking our chocolate lab down by the river is the best medicine on these May days. I try to be in less of a hurry and to be patient while Finn sniffs everything in sight. It’s quite a ritual he practices and with every sniff of every tree or rock or patch of grass, dog experts say that he can recall which one of his furry friends pee’d there and when. It’s crazy to think about, really, but for whatever reason he must just need to know this stuff. Silly dogs.

Today, I noticed many fat robins strutting around the ground with their proud, red breasts looking for bits and pieces to finish building their nests so they can lay their eggs soon. Last week I picked some pussy willows and put them in a little jar beside my kitchen sink. Such happy little fur balls and I thought to myself that if I was a plant I’d surely love a little fur coat to keep me warm on the not so sunny spring days. While I walked I noticed all the signs of renewal that Mother Nature so intentionally orchestrates. I thought about how hardy the trees and bushes are when after a long winter they spread their branches up to the sky in an effort to begin their growing cycle again. I love how after a few warm days buds appear and how soon after that those buds uncurl into new, tiny, green leaves. I don’t know where else you can even replicate that color of green. It really is quite beautiful.

The forest floor is still covered with a blanket of dead leaves from the fall but here and there there are tufts of new green grass trying to poke through. Though I’ve not yet seen any wildflowers I know they’ll be here soon. This cycle of renewal that is spring is a reminder to me that I can find beauty in little things and that if I set out with the intention to find it I can and will. Even when the sting of tears is so close and my heart aches I can find you, Will. You are every tiny miracle I see on my daily walk and as we circle the sun again I know I can count on you to lead the way. I feel your hand in mine and that helps.

I love you, sweet boy. More than a bus full of spring miracles and the color of brand new leaves. More than pussy willows and and a chocolate lab named Finn.

Momxo

Hockey Sticks in Heaven

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.

Momxo

The Lovers, The Dreamers, and Me

March 10, 2018

Hey Willy,

The other day as I was driving home a song that I hadn’t heard in quite some time played on the radio and in those three or so minutes it was ALL about you. It always amazes me how you can hear a song from a long time ago, even your childhood, and somehow, seemingly out of nowhere, you remember all the words. The song was Rainbow Connection (the Kenny Loggins version) and I can say with certainty that I am a lover and a dreamer for sure. As soon as I heard the banjo in the intro I was surprised at how many of the lyrics I could recall from memory. The power of music is really quite something.

Click on link below to have a listen…

Rainbow Connection

What was perhaps most beautiful was that I was transformed to a place where it was you and me and nothing else and every word of that song was so clear and believable; it moved me like it never had before. This version was not the original Kermit the Frog version but I sure do remember his skinny, little, green self sitting in the swamp singing out his little lungs in the Muppet Movie. Crazy little green frog with a larger than life personality…. hmmm… sounds a bit like you…

I’ve always believed in the magic of rainbows and as a little girl I would make secret wishes and dream of finding the pot of gold at the end every time I saw one. Though I’ve outgrown the pot of gold idea what makes me love them still is the possibility that you are there. And I believe you are. The rainbow connection is alive and well in my little corner of Kermit’s swamp and I wonder, Will, if it’s as clear for you looking at us through those colourful prisms of light. I love the rainbow coloured glasses that Mother Nature gives us so we can catch a glimpse of what awaits on the other side.

So, why days later am I writing to you about rainbows? Well, because I’m still humming that song. It’s stuck in my head and speaking to my heart. I think I won’t forget it ever.

Sweet boy, I miss you more than any dreamer could dream. And I love you more than a bus parked at the end of a million double rainbows. The lovers, the dreamers, and me could only ever get how much that really is.

Momxo