I have been thinking about you more than usual if that is even possible. This time of year so happy for others is not so happy for me. The memories of Christmases past flood my conscience and at times I feel that I am not even here, but with you instead. Yesterday, a “22” day was especially hard though today doesn’t feel much different. Dad and I and Finn are in Fernie now, awaiting the arrival of your big brothers later this afternoon. I am looking forward to having them here, as the four of us together for Christmas is all that really matters. I’ve put up the tree and decorated it just so – you are all over it as usual and your brothers too (and, well, Dad and I too in the form of our Fernie family ski passes). Your Santa hat is our angel on the top of the tree, the one that you took a sharpie to in grade 3 and wrote your name in large letters so that no one would take it. I love how you printed your name… there really was no difference from when you were a tiny tot to when you were last with us as your name is really just a simple series of sticks when you think about it. So much easier than when Justin and Ben were small and had to learn to maneuver their pencil to form curves. I guess by the third child I’d figured out that there wasn’t a simpler name to print than yours. It is all a non issue other than when you boys were learning to print your name and well, you, little blue, had it the easiest. Our tree is also adorned with some of the ornaments that you made at school that I couldn’t leave in the Christmas box. The paper cut out snowflake that you made and glued to a CD, and the brown felt gingerbread boy that you sewed and stuffed all on your own when you were in grade 2. There’s also a wooden sign that you painted and strung with a very long piece of metallic thread. I love these little masterpieces even more now than when you brought them home all those years ago. They are priceless memories of Christmases that seem now so perfect because all five of us were together.
I have already told you how we’ve adopted some new family traditions since your passing and they are simple and beautiful. Our stocking exchange has become a family highlight and the greenery and baubles that lay so peacefully on your stocking Christmas morning and then grace our Christmas table hugging the snowy white candle that we light in your memory seems so perfect. We look forward to and love the last present under the tree, a neatly wrapped box from you to us that is always a family jigsaw puzzle that keeps us busy on the days and weeks following Christmas. These have become important pieces of Christmas that have allowed us to celebrate in your memory and in a way that I believe you would embrace wholeheartedly. You will always be a part of our Christmases, Willy, just as you are a part of our every day.
Tonight or tomorrow morning I will ice the gingerbread boys. It’s the same recipe that I used to make when you were little but the boys are smaller now. I found a small gingerbread boy cookie cutter and in each little tin or box I enclose a little note that says, “Before they can be men, they must be boys”. I came upon these wise words two years ago and now they seem so apropos to include. Again, they make me think of you.
I miss you, Will. So very much still and I now that I always will. As I sit and stare out of my big Fernie window at the incredible view of “your” ski hill I am reminded that if you were here you’d be up there skiing now. You’d have begun the day with your Dad and I imagine now you’d be hucking flips rippin’ it up with Josh and Calvin.
This season isn’t the happiest time of the year for me… or for anyone that has lost someone so loved. I try to smile and though for you I do, it isn’t without a tear too.
Happy Christmas up there, Will. I know you’re with us, watching me now as I wipe a tear, and find a smile. Rip it up on the ski hill for Dad and your brothers. And then join us here on Christmas morning and watch us laugh and remember and love you forever.
Love you like a bus full of Christmas lights and turkey,