WillPower Graduation 2016

WillPower Graduation 2016

WillPower Graduation 2016

July 6, 2016


Dear Will,


When I think about all the times I thought about you in June, all the times I called your name, prayed to you, the times I cried thinking about you and the times too, that you made me laugh I am dumbfounded that I didn’t write a hundred love letters to you last month. It was by no means a month where there was no communication ~ Gosh, Will, that would just be impossible. Instead it was a month where I hung onto every bit of you so that I could make it through.


June 2016 was a month I expected would be one of the most difficult in our five years without you. Months after your accident when I began to come out of the scary fog called shock I began to think about all the milestones that you’d miss out on and that, as your parents, Dad and I would miss out on too. All these milestone moments that would transport me right back to my own growing up years; things like my 16th birthday, getting my driver’s license, the scary, first day of high school to name a few. For a long, long time I couldn’t talk about the day in June 2016 that would have been your high school graduation. The one day that packs a big punch not only for what you’d have achieved and accomplished in high school, but also the jumping board from man cub to young man.


I’ve had a long time to think about this day, to plan how I might soften the blow, to wonder how I could keep it together when I’d see your friends and if maybe I could run away and hide so that I didn’t have to. And then the most beautiful thing happened, Will.


Forever Friends

Forever Friends

The week of your amazing Ride For Will I received a phone call that I will never forget. One of your classmates (thank you, MT) planted a seed and asked a question of the High School Graduation Committee. Could there be a chair for you amongst them at the Convocation Ceremony where you could be with your classmates? The pride and love that filled every part of me was a feeling I can’t find the words to describe. Maybe its because there isn’t a word to describe that kind of love? These kids that were once your kindergarten pals, and then your grade school classmates thought about you on their day five years later. They had wristbands made that said “WillPower Graduation 2016” and had a Class of 2016 photo in their graduation gowns with their wrists held high in the air. Jordan presented it to us on behalf of your classmates the day before they would celebrate their own milestone day.


So Little Mr. Blue Sky, if you can imagine a machine that makes tears that can fill a tub faster than a faucet then you can imagine what my eyeballs looked like. Your little light is so darn bright and where there is light, there will always be you.


Love you like a bus, Will. A lit up bus as bright as the sun.




Some friends just never ever forget.  Sure do love these man cubs...

Some friends just never ever forget. Sure do love these man cubs…



Sixteen Octobers and a Little Yellow Butterfly


A long gone October day with Brent and Jordan

A long gone unforgettable October day with Brent and Jordan

Tuesday, October 7, 2014



Dear Will,


For seven days now memories of the beautiful day in October when you were born are all I think about. Each year since your tragic passing it has been the same — as soon as September turns to October your birthday consumes me. On the first day of every October you would start by announcing, “14 days till my birthday!” and in the next breath, “What are we gonna do!?” Then the countdown would begin. A week from today you would have reached a milestone birthday – you’d be 16 years old. It is difficult for me to wrap my head around this because 16 seemed so far away when we celebrated your 12th birthday and what would be your last with us here. Like your brothers and most everybody turning 16, I suppose that getting your drivers license would be the first and most important thing on your list and right about now I imagine that you’d be scouring the Alberta Drivers License booklet refreshing yourself of all the facts you’d need to know so you could pass your drivers test. “Mom, can you quiz me?” “Can you ask me some questions after dinner?” “Mom, I think I’ve got it! But please can you ask me some more questions?” “Please, pretty please…?” As October 14th approaches I wish more than anything that you were here driving me crazy with your persistent excitement at turning 16 years old. Gosh, Will, if only it were different…


Instead, the memories of the twelve birthdays we celebrated together hit me like ocean waves rolling up on the beach. One memory after another conjures up endless pictures in my mind, numerous conversations and laughs we shared, and all the angel food cakes, icecream, and pizzas that were part of your special day. I remember all the places we went (bowling, gymnastics, swimming, and movies) and the times, too, when we had your birthday party at home. I think of how our kitchen table was surrounded by your friends, all with orange-dyed lips from the orange pop that you loved so much. Each time I write the word October or hear it in conversation or see it on a calendar or a piece of paper I feel sad; sad for what should be, for what you missed, and for what we missed too. It’ll never be right that you didn’t see sixteen Octobers.


With you ever present in my mind and while walking Finn down by the river this afternoon, a little yellow butterfly appeared. In an instant I knew it was you and as I walked and Finn chased his ball I talked to you. It felt nice to say your name and so I said it over and over. When I’d stop to pick up the ball with the chucker the little yellow butterfly would stop too. And then start. And then stop. This went on for quite some time and while tears rolled down my cheeks I noticed I was smiling too. You have this way, Will, of showing up when I need you, of validating my belief that you really are here and that you are never far away. As I struggle with what would have been your sixteenth October I applaud that little yellow butterfly that so profoundly visited Finn and me this afternoon. Thank you for finding me.


I love you, Willy. More than a bus and sixteen million Octobers.




Our Empty Nest


September 2, 2013 (836 days)

Dear Will,

Today is another first day of school. Your first day in what would have been your grade 10 year of high school. All around me are moms who are saying the same words, “where has the time gone?” Though for me, it is different. I miss you more and more every day and in my world it never feels like time flies. It is a repeat of another day without you. Like last year at this time I have purposely stayed away from the stores; watching moms shopping with their kids for back to school is still too painful. Oh, what I’d give to be complaining and negotiating and frustrated with the whole list… Trying to talk you out of your perceived need for another backpack when the one you have is perfectly fine, trying to convince you that while the new shoes you want so badly are terribly over-priced (because of where they rank on the “cool factor scale”) I agree to meet you in the middle by paying for half of them….all the while feeling that maybe I was too hard on you because I do understand how important it is to want and need to fit in and that I remember as a school aged girl the excitement over a new pair of shoes at the beginning of each school year. New t-shirts and a couple of pairs of jeans, brand new whiter-than-white socks, the necessary new hoodie and last on the list, of course, the binders and notebooks that were a back to school requirement but not near as much fun to shop for as the other stuff. And then the haircut negotiations would begin… You wanting to keep it long while I was on the other end of the spectrum wishing I could talk you into a shorter style… In the end, you’d have won that battle because I did learn (finally) by having gone through it year after year with your older brothers that really, it’s only hair and not worth a battle. Once home you’d empty the bags onto your bed and want to wear it all right now — not wanting to wait until school started…and yet another round of negotiations would begin. Oh, how I miss all of it. Instead, I stay away knowing that hearing the banter and negotiating between moms and their kids would send me into another tailspin of tears.

I wonder a lot these past few days what you’d look like now; how handsome you’d be? Its not a surprise that part of what I miss most is the physicality of you. I miss seeing you, I miss your smell, your voice, your laugh. I miss being able to hug you and to touch you. I miss what it feels like to hold your hand, to pat you on the back. Gosh, Will, I even miss making your school lunches and arguing with you. What I imagine to be true is that you’d have been a stunningly handsome, almost 15 year old boy, with the most beautiful blue eyes and that because of that you’d have been a distraction amongst the girls! Then here we’d go again with another round of negotiations about the importance of your school work with less attention on the girls… Oh boy, Will, I know there’d have been some trying times between us at this stage but they’d never be as hard as not having them at all.

I am writing you this letter in the wee hours of the morning. It is still dark outside and the only sound I hear is the steady, rhythmic shrill of crickets outside the open window. Dad and I are leaving for home mid morning, having spent the long weekend here in Kelowna helping Ben move into residence and his first year of university. I am grateful that he has chosen to go to university here, close to Uncle Jim. Kelowna is a beautiful place as you know. Spending some of our time in past summers at Uncle Jim’s was full of fun times and for that reason there are good memories here for sure.

The difficult part of today will be our arrival back home and the bittersweet of walking into “clean and quiet”. Our nest is empty now and that makes me sad. These next few years were supposed to be ours with just you at home. No sharing you with your brothers. While Justin begins his last year at U of C and Ben is just beginning his university life here, Dad and I feel like we’ve been robbed of this special time with you. All of us have reached another milestone in our lives… Only dad and I aren’t ready. It’s not supposed to be our empty nest time but sadly we weren’t part of that decision. Having Finn, our big, brown dog, will help and I am grateful that we have him as he helps fill up the house a little, but, oh what I’d give to have you at home. The nest would be perfect then.

Though I believe in my heart that you are near me, I continue to search for signs of you daily. That’s what makes me smile these days. Stay close to the nest, little blue. We need you there.

Love you like a bus… parked in the nest.