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.


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.