Love Bursts

A love burst memory

A love burst memory of a ski day in Fernie

December 31, 2016

Dear Will,

Well, sweet One, December has been quite a month. For me (your Type A Mom!) it was a month that will go down in the books as one that reminded me that even with all of the best intentions sometimes plans can go sideways and coming up with a Plan B can be good, too. I will also remember this December as one that beckoned even more strength than usual. With the holiday season our broken hearts seem more broken than ever and I realize that the jagged edges of losing you have not smoothed over time. Some things are just not possible and not having you in our earthly world will always be the most painful thing to endure. No matter the day, the month or the year.

In mid December your biggest brother became ill and we learned that his appendix had unfortunately burst. With that came an emergency surgery followed by 11 days in hospital. Not only did he spend his 28th birthday in hospital but as Christmas Day approached there was the probability that he would have to remain in hospital due to the serious abdominal infection he was fighting. It was an easy decision to accept that we’d forego Christmas in Fernie as Christmas without Justin was never an option.

My favourite gingerbread boy.  The one you made.

My favourite gingerbread boy. The one you made.

So Plan B ensued and Dad dug out the tiny artificial tree from the basement and brought up the box of Christmas decorations that I opened only once since losing you. That box held all of the special handmade ornaments that you boys made in kindergarten and elementary school – those special Christmases when magic pumped through your veins and through our house right down to bells on boots and zipper pulls, special Santa pillowcases and advent calendars and boxes and cups of hot chocolate stuffed with marshmallows while reading Christmas books in our jammies. The first Christmas without you I’d pulled out only a few to take with us to Fernie where, out of mere survival and the need to have certain special things in our midst, we began a new tradition. Our new Willy Christmases are all about you. Your Santa hat or toque has replaced the angel figure that used to grace the top of our tree and we adorn the tree branches with all of our family ski passes over the years. IMG_1783Each year I have added sparkly snowflakes of all colors and sizes, fuzzy snowballs and the glitteriest things I could find. All the while I’d not forgotten that at home was that very special box of Christmas treasures and one that I knew one day when I was ready I’d open again and cherish more than I had ever before. Well, that day did come and though I might not have been ready it seemed the right thing to put on our little tree. And so I did. And it was beautiful, Will.

As each day brought us closer to Christmas we continued to pray that Justin would be well enough to come home and each day we’d hear again the “not today” news. We decided that if Justin couldn’t come to us, we’d take Christmas to him. With a heavy heart on Christmas morning I went upstairs to bathe and dress so we could go to the hospital and when I came down the stairs what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Justin and Amy sitting on the couch in our living room in front of our little tree. There were only two things I could do, Will. One was to cry and the other was to hold on to the stair railing so I wouldn’t fall. For the rest of my life I will always remember that moment of surprise and how my heart burst. Oh, how I love a love burst! We had a wonderful day complete with Christmas dinner and though Justin needed to return to hospital that evening we knew that if they’d allowed him a day pass that a hospital discharge was not far away. Our wish came true the next day.

As I look back now this last day of 2016 I think about the love bursts of the year and am refilling my heart with the happy moments that will help sustain me as I flip the calendar to a new year and another painful reminder of the passage of time. I think about all of the signs you continue to send our way — the magical rainbows, the sunspots and the beautiful sparkly snowflakes that can only be you. I think about another successful Ride For Will and how your legacy just keeps on keepin’ on. I think about Justin marrying his Amy and the girl that we are delighted to have as part of our family. I think about Ben and the love for the outdoors that is his passion and the exhilaration and anticipation that comes with completing his last year of university. I think of Dad and how we continue to hold each other in happy times and how we find comfort in each other’s arms when the world is too much to bear. I think of Finn and how much joy he brings to our home and I swear that lurking behind his knowing eyes are your eyes and a place I often look to for love bursts. For all of these moments I am grateful and when I wake tomorrow to 2017 I will continue to fill my heart with all of these moments while I search for and cultivate more.

I love you, Sweet Will. Like a bus full of love bursts and sparkles and glittery things and all the things that I cherish most in my life… you, your brothers, your Dad and our big, brown dog.

Momxo

September and Socks

Will, Brent and Jordan.  Friends Then, Friends Still

Will, Brent and Jordan.
Friends Then, Friends Still

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hey Will,

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.

Momxo

Little Super Heroes

My Little Superhero - Batman Will

My Little Superhero – Batman Will

October 3, 2015

Hey Willy,

On Thursday when I turned the calendar to October my heart felt heavy. What was once one of the happiest months of the year now feels empty and hard as I try to prepare myself nothing seems to be able to take that feeling away. I’ve certainly gotten better at recognizing that my cup is half full instead of half empty but the turning of the calendar is yet another blatant sign of the passage of time; not just because it marks another month but because it’s your birthday month.   On the fourteenth (in eleven days) you’d have been 17 years old and instead of celebrating with you at our family table we will honor you in what has become our new birthday tradition for you. Like always, I will still prepare your favourite meal (ribs) and bake a birthday cake and like we’ve done on your last four birthdays after dinner we’ll gather in the backyard with our handwritten messages tied to a helium balloon and in our own time we’ll let go, sending our messages up to you in heaven. It’s not easy, Will, but it is beautiful.

Instead of ruminating on the heaviness of what could have been I will live in the memories of birthdays past and remember the sometimes crazy birthday party adventures that you so loved. Your laugh, Will, and the sound of you and your friends running around like little super heroes outside will always be one of my favourite sounds.

Super heroes? … Well, here’s a super hero story that I want to tell you about. This week one of the little boys that I work with at school shot a ray of sunshine through my heart like a little super hero when he asked, “Mrs. Bouchard, can you tell me about your Will?” Of course, I said yes as I love when your name comes up. You are always on my mind and when someone asks about you my hearts swells.   Though sometimes it’s through tears I can pour my heart out with stories about you. This little guy didn’t know you, Will; he’d never met you as he’d have only been 3 years old when you passed but somehow he’d heard of you and he wanted to know more about you. You were definitely on super hero status that day and after I answered his questions and shared the beautiful parts of having a boy like you he thanked me. You’d like this little guy, Will. And by the way, when he asked me if he’d meet you when he went to heaven I told him that for sure he would (because I told him you have his dog. His dog died a couple of weeks ago and you have him because you always wanted a dog).

My sweet Will, you are indeed a super hero. You’ll always be a super hero to me. The missing part of you is so big and I know that if you had the special powers it took to come home for your birthday you would. Instead, I believe you have the special skiing super powers that enable you to ski from cloud to cloud and star to star.

Love you like a bus with a big super hero cape.

Momxo

Signs and Big, Big Love

Fernie Alpine Resort photo credit:  Fernie Alpine Resort

Fernie Alpine Resort
photo credit: Fernie Alpine Resort

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Dear Willy,

It’s a beautiful, bluebird morning in Fernie and I am in my pajamas with a cup of tea watching the sunshine awaken the mountain that beckons you. You, Will, are all I am thinking of.   I feel drawn to this place, a gentle unwavering pull that is you. It seems to me that so many adults struggle with where they want to retire, where they see themselves wanting to spend the next chapter of their lives when their kids are grown and have finished university to embark on “the school of real life”. The decision to spend more time in Fernie and make this the place where we will retire became crystal clear when we sadly and tragically lost you in May 2011. Life and me so defined by that day – like a line in the sand. I subconsciously categorize all that happens in my world as before losing you and after losing you.

Will skiing in Fernie - the place he wanted to someday call home.

Will skiing in Fernie – the place he wanted to someday call home.

The before is full of so many wonderful memories; days full of laughs and giggles, of hugs and I love yous (oh, there were some “I’m mad at yous” too), of brothers pushing buttons to provoke deliberate annoyance, of driving here and there and everywhere, and of constant negotiations around, well, everything. Life was good then, it was full and the way it was supposed to be, the norm so to speak… all of them days that I would give anything to have back. Life after losing you has been a struggle to say the least. Days where there is no choice but to find a way to live, days where I must go on without the physicality of you. Even though I see signs of you everywhere and know in my heart that you are all around me spiritually, the physical part is what I miss so very much. The reality that I cannot see you grow, that I can’t tousle your hair and feel your hugs or hear what your teenage voice would sound like are still too hard to bear. What keeps me going, Will, is my belief that I will see you again and that when I do we will be together for eternity. Believing that you strategically send signs that confirm your presence continue to put the warm and fuzzy in my living days.

Our FinnWilly

Our FinnWilly

I will forever believe that you are every beautiful snowflake, every rainbow, every blue butterfly, and every heart shaped rock on my path. You are the sparkle in a dewdrop and the twinkle of a star and you are that warm wind that sometimes so suddenly will hit my face on a frigidly cold day. I believe that you are the knowing eyes in our dog and the playful spirit and knowing way that Finn just has to be in the middle of Dad and I wherever we are. I think all of this is YOU showing up, sending your love, and reminding us that you are here.

Please keep on showing up, Willy. Keep on sending those signs that sometimes stop me in my tracks and sometimes make me turn around and go back, the signs that make me whisper your name and make me stop and stay in the moment for awhile. You are the signs that make me feel warm and fuzzy, that sometimes make me smile and sometimes make me cry. Today, Little Blue, you are the blue sky that serves as the backdrop to the mountain you called your own. You are the sunshine that makes that blue sky possible today and you are the reason that I find myself smiling right now.

Big, big Love (photo credit unknown)

Big, big Love
(photo credit unknown)

Love you like a bus, Will. The bus that sits on the white sparkling snow somewhere over the rainbow. That’s big love, Will. Big, big love.

Momxo

And So Winter Begins…

My three boys loving the snow!

My three boys loving the snow!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

 

Holy Cow, Will!

 

You and the ski legends “upstairs” have been busy. After an October full of balmy temperatures and a Halloween that will go on record as one of the warmest in a handful of Halloweens, the big blanket of Willy that I am looking at this morning is another testament to your love for snow.

 

Friday night I was watching the neighbourhood kids in their Halloween costumes parade from door to door in their “skinny” costumes instead of the “fat” ones we’ve become accustomed to because of the snowsuits the little ones needed to wear underneath their costumes. No little roly-poly’s this year, no mittens or gloves or winter boots and no snow to trudge through. The streets were alive with kids and parents who were not in a hurry to get out of the cold and back into their homes unlike some of the bitter cold Halloweens I remember when you boys were younger.

 

snowmanThis morning is quite different. As the snow continues to fall the streets in our Community are quiet. It seems no one is rushing out of their homes… yet. It is still early and soon there will be a few who will venture out to begin to shovel their driveways. By mid morning I’m pretty sure our cul-de-sac will be full of kids in snow gear building snow forts and snowmen, piling snow to build jumps, and the “snow toys” that have been packed away since last winter will find themselves once again all over the yards of those with children. Until three years ago that was our house and if I could wish it all over again I would.

 

The season of winter coats and pants and wet socks begins. The season of lost mitts and constant reminders to put on warm winter boots is now here. The days of clean clothes being dumped from the dryer so the wet ones could be tossed in to dry while the kettle was boiling water for hot chocolate is about to begin. The front door mess of wet toques and mitts, of snow boots and jackets, and ski pants with one leg turned inside out while sometimes still attached to a snow boot is now a memory of winters past. And perhaps the sweetest memory of all was your rosy cheeks and crazy “toque-head” hair. Many a time, you’d adorn one sockless foot while the other sock looked like a snake because your foot was pulled from your snow boot while your sock somehow wanted to stay in there, your big boisterous voice full of excitement and your unforgettable BIG smile when you’d finally come inside from a building-then-playing session in the big snow. Will, these were the days that I will cherish always — the days I would give anything to have back. I’m sure you also remember my raised voice, the sound of my frustration at the mess that would accumulate at the front door. When I’d tell you to hang up your stuff, you and your brothers would say the same thing, “Mom, it doesn’t fit in the closet” or “Mom, what’s the use of putting it away when I’m gonna put it on again as soon as it’s dry.”  And so it seemed that the heap of wet jackets and clothing and all the extra stuff that became a part of the front entrance to our home somehow stayed there for the whole winter. Yup, those were the winters I will fondly remember, the gifts of ordinary winter days.

 

Will on the podium.jpgToday I imagine you up there with your BIG smile and boisterous yippees and yahoos making all that snow that wintertime brings with a big heavenly snow machine. I can visualize you wanting to dump bigger and bigger amounts upon us down here… though not for me per se, but for all the ski nuts like your dad and your brothers and your ski buddies who are anxious to begin a winter full of fun on skis and snowboards. Undoubtedly I will need to remind myself over and over, again and again, in the upcoming months of how much you loved the snow — a tactic I use to get through our winters down here without you. When watching the snow pile up appears nothing but a headache to me, I remind myself of how much you loved it and that can make me smile at all of it (for now).

 

Love you, Willy. Like a bus and a big heavenly snow machine.

 

 

 

Momxo

A Lazy Morning With and Without You

Our Little Blue… so many memories...

Our Little Blue… so many memories…

Good Friday, April 18, 2014

 

Dear Will,

 

It’s a(nother) dreary morning and because there is no place I need to be, there is no rush to climb out of bed. The only good I can find about this morning is that I have chosen to spend it with you. I lay here plumped up against pillows listening to Finn who has just jumped onto the bed for his regular morning visit and after he has unsuccessfully tried many of his nuances to get us up and downstairs he has given up and instead now lays beside me, stretched out, and snoring. Dad is on his side of our bed, reading quietly, seemingly also reluctant to get out of bed this morning. Writing to you seems just the right thing to do.

 

I remember how when you were little you’d sneak into our bed in the early mornings, climb in between Dad and I and wiggle your little body under the covers. I remember how you’d try to be quiet (?), how you’d try to put your little arms around my neck, but because they weren’t long enough they’d dangle uncomfortably in my eyes. I remember how I could feel your breath on my shoulder or my face and how sometimes you’d be so close I could feel your eyelashes brush ever so lightly against my skin. As you grew and as your brothers can attest to, the rule about crawling into bed with Dad and I changed to being able to build a nest beside our bed with no questions asked. We believed that no matter how big you were, if that’s where you needed to be then that’s where you needed to be. I remember so fondly the many early mornings and the many middle of the nights after a bad dream too, I’d hear you coming down the hall… the sound of you carrying and dragging all of your things from your room to our room, to my side of the bed where I’d wake, and in the darkness or early morning light I’d help you make your nest on the floor beside our bed. All the pillows you could find to lie on were carefully placed, then came your fluffy duvet pulled right off your bed, your little blanket (the one so shredded and torn that still gave you comfort into adolescence and that will always have a place in your memory box), sometimes a stuffy or two or ten and voila, the Willy nest was complete. Will, I swear there were times when your nest was more comfortable than our bed. I know this because I also remember as clear as if it were yesterday the many times when I’d snuggle with you in your nest on the floor for a few minutes before I’d crawl back into my bed.

 

I love these memories more than anything I own. But now as tears run down my cheeks I wish there were more. I wish I had memories of you into the next phase of your young life; a life that should have been but couldn’t be. Memories of you as a teenager I will never have. As a young adult and an adult there will be none. The many memories I do have are precious beyond anything I have because they are all I have. I know this to be true of all parents who have lost a child.

 

As I look out of my bedroom window having earlier watched the morning mist turn to rain and now the white fluffy stuff, I know it is you, Will, yet again letting us know you are here. It really is quite enough now, Willy. Please, please stop with the snow! A ray of sunshine, even a raindrop would be most welcome right about now. You know what they say, “it takes both the rain and the sun to make a rainbow” and though I look for you in all forms, a rainbow would be a most welcome Willy sighting right about now!

 

Love you, little blue. More than anything. Even a bus.

 

Momxo

The Little Blue Ball and You

The little blue ball on the hard to reach ledge

The little blue ball on the hard to reach ledge

February 2, 2014

Good morning, my little star,

Each day as I make my way down the stairs to the main floor of our home (more times than not with dirty laundry in my arms) I am taken aback by the little blue ball that still sits way up high on the second story above the front door on the ledge under our front feature window.  How did it get there?  Well, I know that YOU know and I know that it wasn’t deliberately “placed” there as you can only reach that narrow ledge with an extendable ladder.  It “ended up” there as a result of a bad shot in the mini sticks hockey shoot-out that occurred regularly (sometimes, daily) on the landing at the top of the staircase to the second story of our house.  The place where the space opens up to a high ceiling, few walls, and a white wooden railing that was the only stopper to that little blue ball ending up downstairs on the floor… or, less likely, on the ledge above the door where it still sits.  I remember the countless times I asked that you boys take the game downstairs where it didn’t matter where or how the ball was hit; downstairs where I could close the door to the basement so I didn’t have to hear the play by play of each shot and the thunk, thunk, thunk, of feet running up and down the stairs to retrieve that little blue ball.

What I hear in my head now when I see that ball and what I remember more than anything else is the sound of boys giggling with delight at the simple fun of hitting a little blue ball (a ball soft enough that it couldn’t possibly damage anything) with little hockey sticks.  It’s quite remarkable how things that used to drive me crazy back then speak to me in such a different way now.  How I long for those days where listening to you and your friends, or you and your brothers, just simply laugh because you were having fun.  Its true that in between the laughter there were negotiations and arguments on fair play and sometimes stoppage of play because one of you would get hit with the stick and have to rub your hands together while jumping up and down to shake off the pain.  I also remember the same repeated question I’d get when I asked you to move the game downstairs… “awe, Mom.  Why?  We’re not wrecking anything and its “funner” here.  The shots are more fun when they can go further.”  When I’d respond with a more serious and stern voice that what I needed (wanted) was silence, then and only then, was there compliance.

the little blue ball

the little blue ball

Seeing that little blue ball now conjures up a different feeling.  And with it the yearning that if only I could have those days back, relive those precious moments where the sound of boys laughing and giggling was what really mattered, I’d take them back in a heartbeat.  I have no desire to retrieve that little ball from where it now sits because it is a reminder of you and that makes me smile.  It took a long time before my tears turned into smiles upon seeing that little ball but somehow even through the tears I knew that I didn’t want to take it down, that in time it would become another sacred memory of you.  And now that’s what it is.

From time to time  (ok, once) I had to maneuver the long, awkward (and scary) extendible ladder into the house and get my butt up there to dust that ledge.  That was a while ago and I’ll need to do it again soon, as the dust seemingly multiplies faster in the places where you can’t reach easily.  Once up there I put the little blue ball in the pocket of my sweatshirt while I “swiffered” the dust onto the floor below.  Before I carefully placed the ball in the exact same spot where it landed on that mini sticks game day, I cupped both my hands around it and brought it to my face.  I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and planted a kiss on it as if it were your cheek.  That place is now home to that little blue ball.  And I’m pretty sure it always will be.

Love you, little blue (hah!).  More than a bus on top of a tall, hard to reach ledge.

Momxo

A New Year. And, I Am Here.

My boys.  My everything.

My boys. My everything. December 2004

January 11, 2014

Dear Will,

This is my first letter to you in 2014, and though you may be wondering why it took eleven days to finally put my words here…  well, Willy, it was just really hard for me.  I know what you’re thinking.  “Geez, Mom.  You were never at a loss for words.  Gosh, there were days when I wished it were so, but c’mon, Mom, this never happens to you!”  Truth is, I have thought about you every minute of every day; I have talked to you out loud, whispered your name, looked for you in the sky, in the snow, and in every nook and cranny of life.  Most times, Will, thankfully I found you staring right back at me.  I have taken you with me to Fernie and Montana and back, tucked you safely in my heart where you occupy an indelible space; a space every mother creates for her children when they go to heaven without their moms, no matter how old they are.  These past 11 days and the days over Christmas have been especially difficult.  I woke each day wondering if this might be the day that I could find the strength to put some happy words here… but day after day (even though I tried and tried) it just never worked.  As soon as I would open my laptop and type your name, my tears would fall and I would find myself paralyzed, staring at an empty screen.

This holiday season was our third without you and though I know that grief never follows a straight line from unbearably sad to sad, to a little bit sad, to a little less sad… I somehow wanted to believe, to hope, that maybe this year it would be a little easier.  Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong.  For me, Christmas without you was again unbearably sad.  Was it because I expected/hoped it would be a bit easier?  Maybe.  But then, how could it be?  I know in my heart of hearts that it will never be easier, never be less painful, or less empty.  What we’ve been told is that it will always be sad, but that we will get better at learning to live with the pain, the loss, the emptiness of not having you here.  Oh, like that makes it better?  Of course it doesn’t.

What I will focus on and remember is the wonderful things that we do in honor of you around the holidays.  How our tree is adorned with memories of you and of us spending our winters skiing in Fernie.  How your Christmas stocking, instead of being filled with gifts and goodies, sits underneath the most beautiful spray that is the centre of our Christmas dinner table.  The florist at the Farmers Market incorporated some of the blue and silver balls from the last two Christmas centrepieces into some cedar and evergreen boughs that hugged the same frosted hurricane vase with the white candle that is your light in the middle of all of us at Christmas.  Will, it was really beautiful.  (Thank you, Sandy).  How under the tree is a gift for each of us from you, our Santa now.  And how the last gift we open is a special family gift from you — always a jigsaw puzzle for us to work on together.  I’ve yet to open the box, but think I might just do that today.  Somehow seeing 1000 puzzle pieces spread out all over the dining room table and knowing that it’ll take us a month or two to complete finds me smiling.

There were some extra-special gifts under our tree this year and all were in honor of you, Will.  I’d chosen two of your t-shirts, one each that held special memories for your brothers.  For Ben, your black and gold LINE t-shirt, the one you’d won the summer you both went to Windell’s.  I remember Ben always saying that you’d win everything and that he was never that lucky.  For Justin, I chose your purple Fernie Freestyle Ski Club t-shirt.  You know the one… you had a few because you’d worn out the first one.  There are many pictures of you wearing this t-shirt under your flannel shirts.  It was part of the classic “Will uniform”.  Annette kindly sewed them into pillow covers (Thanks, Annette) and now your brothers have them on their beds.

Justin's gift to all of us.  Amazing!

Justin’s gift to all of us. Amazing!

The other was a gift for each of us from Justin.  He insisted that his gift be the first one we opened on Christmas morning.  Inside his beautiful wrapping (he might need a little work on this?) each of us received a mug that Amy had made and the two of them had designed.  On each mug was the wolf that you’d drawn in kindergarten.  I was unaware that transposing a real image was even possible on a handmade piece of pottery and am still in awe that he would know how precious this gift would be to all of us.  They are priceless and I know I will treasure them forever.

The careful thought and love that we put into our Christmases without you is a beautiful testament to you and how much we miss you and love you.  As your mom, I am so proud.  You and Dad and your brothers are my everything and I couldn’t love any of you more than I already do.  Nana and Pa shared Christmas with us this year and that was really special, too.  It was quiet and had its share of laughter and tears like every Christmas going forward undoubtedly will.

New Years was again sad all over again.  Though I tried to be more social this year, I found myself alone in my bed before the stroke of midnight wishing more than anything that the pillow I was holding was you.  As midnight approached I could see the fireworks light up the darkness, hear them explode with loud bangs.  I could hear the music and the laughter and the words “happy new year” being shared from one to another outside the window.  Where I found comfort was snuggling with Dad and my pillow under the covers with my eyes closed remembering how much you loved staying up till all hours on this magical night to ring in a new year.  I’ll try again next year and maybe it will be different.  Or maybe it won’t.  It will only be what it will be.  But for now, the holiday has passed and I’ve settled once again into my routine.  I am back at school, back in my community, back amongst friends and family where I can be me; where it feels safe to shed a tear or two, even when asked one of the questions I dread most this time of year, “How was your Christmas?”

So now, here I am 11 days in to 2014 and I am here.  I know you are here with me, too, Will.  There are gobs and gobs of snow outside; the biggest blanket of Willy we’ve had in a long time!  Is it a coincidence that Mr. Blue Sky has just played on the radio?  Maybe.  But I know it’s you.  And earlier this morning, I found a loonie and two quarters in the couch cushions while looking for my knitting needle.  Another coincidence?  Maybe.  But again, I know it’s you.  I think I will open that jigsaw puzzle today.  Help me, Will, I think this one’s gonna be a doozy.

Love you, little blue.  Like a bus and the beauty of every single, magical snowflake.

Momxo

Thanks, Willy

Thanks, Willy

Baby Steps and Back Home

Will, Murray, and Ben at Cannon Beach, Oregon (July 2010)

Will, Murray, and Ben at Cannon Beach, Oregon
(end of July 2010)

August 16, 2013 (818 days)

 

Dear Willy,

Dad and I and Finn didn’t make it to Cannon Beach, Oregon as we’d planned because your brother became quite ill and ended up in the hospital with viral myocarditis.  The last day of our vacation in Hood River was full of telephone calls and texts from Ben and Justin keeping us abreast of what was taking place back home.  When Ben ended up being admitted to hospital, Dad and I knew we needed to come home.  I know you get this and I’m even thinking that you already know the whole story… as I am quite certain that in some special Willy Angel way you were watching over Ben whilst keeping us safe on our long drive home.

Once home and when we learned that Ben was going to be fine, I was trying to make sense of all that had happened and I think maybe I wasn’t yet ready to visit Cannon Beach again.  All summer, I was guardedly looking forward to that part of our holiday but as the day crept closer I found myself welling up with tears at the thought of being there without you.  It is a beautiful and special place as it was where you saw the ocean for the first time and seeing the ocean was something that you always wanted to see.  Just thinking about it made my stomach feel shaky and my heart feel heavier than usual.

Knowing that we needed to go North back to Canada instead of West felt right as I knew that home was where I needed and wanted to be.  Next summer we will try again to get back to that special place on the ocean; and maybe in another year it’ll be easier.  We still take baby steps, Will, trying so hard to move forward when all we want is to go back to when you were with us here.  If only we could… you know we would.

Miss you little one.  More than a bus.

Momxo