When Missing You is Forever

May 10, 2020

 

My dear, sweet boy,

I miss you.

But it’s so much more than that.

I’m not sure there are words to even describe what missing you forever feels like. There is a quote that I frequently refer to that I think sums it up best…

Sometimes one person can be missing and the whole world feels empty.

 

… Yup, “empty” feels like the right word. But again, it’s so much more than that.

 

And, it’s May. The hardest month of the year. Every day a sad reminder of the day our world changed forever. I wonder every May if your angel date won’t sting so much, but almost nine years later, the sting still stings.

 

And, today is Mother’s Day. You and Justin and Ben are the best part of me and I am missing all of you.

The social distancing restrictions due to COVID-19 have not allowed me to see your brothers but, thankfully, that is a “just for now” thing. I will see them soon, but you, Will, are the one I will miss forever. Today I think of my own Mom, your Nana, and how much she means to me — how in this world she is the one person I’ve known the longest (ahem, like my whole life!) and whom I have always been able to count on in good times and in bad. I hope you know that every minute of your 12 ½ years I loved you more than the minute before and that all these days later my big love for you just gets bigger.

 

 

My heart smiles recalling all the beautiful, and sometimes funny, gifts and kind gestures that you and your brothers and Dad did to make Mother’s Day extra special for me. I am lucky to have had all of what you boys could muster when what mattered the most was that we were together. Believe me, Will, I have tucked every special memory and every cold piece of toast into my heart. I have kept every homemade card and gift you boys ever made at school and that big box of love is one of my most treasured possessions. Today I will spend my day touching and reading every one of them remembering the tiny and not-so-tiny hands that created them.

 

I will pause and remember the sound of your infectious giggle and call to mind how you’d sit at the kitchen table with that big tub of Crayola markers and crayons and construction paper and pipe cleaners and stickers and tape. Oh, how you loved tape. With a juice box and a bowl of fishy crackers at your side.

My sweet Will, I miss you so very much. I miss all the yesterdays, I miss you today and I will miss you for all the tomorrows.

And I love you. Yesterday, today, tomorrow, forever… Like a bus from here to forever and then a whole bunch more.

 

Momxo

 

One Love

March 28, 2020

 

 

Dear Willy,

 

It’s crazy down here. And, as you look down on our world I wonder what you must be thinking? It’s hard to even believe that we are where we are. But, my sweet boy, we are. I cannot help but appreciate what heaven must be like right now… where eternal love and beauty are uninterrupted and where there is no wrong, no hurt and no pain. A place where there are no coronaviruses… and perhaps the only place right now where there is no COVID-19!

 

Down here we are praying for the safety of ALL who are on the front line of this crisis – all the healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, grocers, pharmacists, truck drivers… all who are providing essential needs to where we can access them… Our world needs big love right now and the best way to love this world is to heed the advice of the scientists and medical professionals and stay home. And so, we are hunkering down at home. Dad and I are committed to keeping our small bubble safe, as are your brothers in their own little bubbles. And Finn, well, I think he’s never been happier. He’s never left at home alone!

 

Many times throughout the day I find myself looking up to the sky for answers and for hope. I look up there because that is where you are and, well, that other big guy, too… the guy I refer to as God. I trust that he’s got this and that you are helping him share the light and the hope and the love. Send an extra big helping to those on the front line and those fighting for their lives because right now they need it most.

 

I believe that at some point the world will be able to return to some semblance of what we once called normal but, too, I hope that we are all better people for it. I hope that our world can be kinder and more grateful and that we can celebrate every day for the blessed ordinariness of the little things that too many take for granted. Our time here is finite and we can all make a difference. The world needs to unite in this crisis. We are not an “us and them” but one big ole world who needs lots of big ole one love.

 

I’ve unpacked the “ONE LOVE” canvas that you painted when you were 11 years old and I think I will never pack it away again. It needs to be hung in our home where we can love it everyday, not only because your little hands created it, but also because it is a message that we need to practice everyday.

 

I miss you, little blue. And I love you. More than a bus and bigger than our big ole hurting world right now.

 

Keep on shining your little light, Willy. Our world needs it so much.

 

 

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.

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

A Marshmallow World

Living in Marshmallow World in Redwood Meadows

Living in Marshmallow World in Redwood Meadows

January 29, 2017

 

Dear Will,

 

Well, true to Alberta (and Fernie form) its now chinooking outside and a melt is underway. When I walked Finn yesterday afternoon careful to avoid the puddles and the ice lurking beneath them I was remembering the marshmallow world that blanketed us just weeks ago. Large tufts of snow on branches and trees, on mailboxes and fence posts and anywhere that allowed a flat space for snow to accumulate I was filled with thoughts of you. The freezing temperatures brought “Christmas card snow” – you know, the kind that falls straight down with no wind to swirl it around or blow it off all the places that marked how deep and substantial that Willy blanket really was. Though cold enough to freeze my fingers and toes I couldn’t help but take in the beauty of the snowfall and how it formed marshmallow sculptures wherever it was possible. All of that snow and the beauty it created is so you.

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Taking in that marshmallow world made me think of how much you loved marshmallows. Your love of those blobs of pure sugar started with the small ones in a cup of hot chocolate and in my weak moments of motherhood how I’d offer them to you in a little bowl with raisins and/or cheerios. When I’d catch you with your little hand in the marshmallow bag I knew it was time to move the bag to a higher shelf in the pantry… sometimes behind cereal boxes so you couldn’t find them. After a bit of a battle with the little ones you finally gave up or perhaps the right way to say it was that you outgrew the little ones and grew into the large ones. And so began the world of making S’mores and roasting marshmallows over a fire on a stick.

 

fullsizerenderLike your brothers and what seems is a right of passage for all kids you learned the art of roasting the perfect marshmallow after many were sacrificed to the fire and if they didn’t fall off the stick into the fire you’d offer the black crispy blobs that you’d have to blow flames off of to Dad or me thinking that adults liked to eat these black ashes that were clearly not marshmallows anymore.

 

OH, and then began the “Marshmallow Science” and where I had to draw a line in the sand and prohibit marshmallows going into the microwave. First Ben and then you. But as the little brother and true to your personality you had to have the last word and so the marshmallow science continued when I wasn’t home. However, I’d find the evidence… You guys seemed to get such pleasure putting a marshmallow on a plate and into the microwave watching the marshmallow puff up to at least 10x its original size. I remember watching your eyeballs grow wider and wider at the sheer joy of watching it grow. Then you guys would take it out of the microwave and put the plate out in the snow or into the freezer depending on the season. It would cool and then you’d try to eat it. Other than all the sugary goo (!) it seemed rather harmless … that is until it came time to wash the plate and that seemed to fall into my pile of things to do.

Marshmallow Science and the mess that ensued...

Marshmallow Science and the mess that ensued…

It was then that I remember clearly having to put a stop to the marshmallow science because it was near impossible to wash the residue off of the plates without a heavy duty scraping tool. To this day I’m not certain that this type of tool falls under the category of a kitchen utensil. It was at this point that I believe your love of marshmallows stopped.

 

Now when I see marshmallow snow I am reminded of your love affair with marshmallows and how much enjoyment they brought you. I smile now remembering what began as a little morsel of sugary goodness in a bowl when you were a toddler to the fiery blob of sugar on a stick that resulted in black, crispy blobs of ash to the perfect marshmallow in a s’more and to the ever popular (aka EVIL) marshmallow science that I had to put an end to. I’ll bet, just to have the last word, you’re up there making marshmallow science where no one can stop you and that when you bestow upon us down here on earth a beautiful marshmallow world of snow that you are laughing your head off up there. Of course, you are.

 

I miss you so much, Will, and love you beyond everything and anything. Bigger than a bus full of marshmallows in a snowy marshmallow world.

 

 

 

Momxo

 

 

 

As November Wanes

Our Will.  When our world was perfect.

Our Will.
When our world was perfect.

November 30, 2016

Dear Willy,

As November wanes I find myself between reflecting on the happy moments of this fall and then trying to wrap myself around how I will find the gumption to face another December and the painful feelings that come with the holiday season.

This October 22 was one of our happiest days as we witnessed your big brother marry the love of his life and the girl we, too, love to bits. I can’t help but wonder, Will, if maybe you had something to do with them marrying on a 2-2 day thinking that a sprinkle of happy was what we needed going forward and that perhaps having a happy measure of time would make it a little easier for us on the 22nd day of every month? It wouldn’t surprise me since all of your short life you were all about spreading smiles and cultivating happiness. I must also tell you, Will, that being the only female in a family of five, for me it was a wish come true that our family has grown to include a daughter-in-law. The only sad part for me was that in a perfect world you’d have been there too and that your Willy shenanigans would have been part of their day. I wish you and Amy would have had the chance to know each other. I do know you’d love her as we do.

Tomorrow will be the first day of December and the heaviness I feel not only typing the word “December”, but also hearing and saying that word conjures up an emptiness that just never goes away. We’ve done this December thing now for five years and one might expect that it should be easier for us but it just isn’t. I do try to find love and light in each of December’s days but there are times when I have to dig real deep and sometimes to no avail. Amongst them, however, we find a jewel here and there – like Justin’s birthday, for one. December 17th always makes us smile but there is no denying that when you were here to celebrate with us the day was just better.

As November wanes and I wake to the first sunrise of December I will take a big, deep breath and before I open my eyes tomorrow morning I will take a moment longer and feel you in the deepest parts of my heart. I couldn’t love you more or miss you more than I already do and you will always be the first person I see before I open my eyes. I will think about all the sparkles that you are waiting to sprinkle upon us and the love and light that you want us to feel so deeply. We will find some smiles in our December days but you must know, Willy, that our smiles were the biggest and the brightest when you were living December with us.

I love you, sweet Will. Bigger than a bus and, as November wanes, brighter than a super moon.

Momxo

When Our World Was Perfect

 

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August 23, 2016

 

Hey Willy,

 

Yesterday was a 2-2 day. Another mark on the “when our world was perfect” scale and like all the days that mark the 22nd day of each month this day just always gets me. The 2-2 days seem to be a little more difficult than all the other days. I’m certain that even without a calendar my body has come to know when it is the dawn of a 2-2 day because as soon as I wake the rhythm of that day changes. It stops. I stop. I spend much of that day preoccupied with thoughts of you. I time travel back to the days and years when our world was perfect because you were in it. We didn’t know it then but we sure know it now.

 

The wishing stone I found

The wishing stone I found

Before the rain yesterday I took Finn out for a walk and as we meandered along our usual path by the river I noticed a wishing stone. I stopped and picked it up (of course I did!) and as I rubbed it between my fingers to clean off the dirt I thought about what I would wish for. It’s always the same wish and even though I know that in my lifetime it cannot ever come true I still wish it. Every time. Why? Because one day, Willy, when my life here is done my wish will come true. And that’s what keeps me keepin’ on.

 

Until then I will ride the wave of the days that mark the 22nd day of each month and I will think of you and time travel back to our days together. I will continue to wish for my one wish and know in my heart that each 2-2 day brings me closer. Until then I will live for you and because of you. I will soldier on remembering when our world was indeed perfect and I will miss you more and more and more.

 

I love you, Willy. Like a bus in a perfect world.

 

 

Momxo

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So Long, May

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My Little Blue

Sunday, May 29, 2016

So Long May

Dear Will,

As I turn the calendar to the last days of May I am relieved that 1) I made it and 2) the overwhelming sadness that I associate with May is behind me again for another year. I am often asked if losing you gets easier with time and the answer to that is no, 100% absolute no. It is not one bit easier. There is still a sting, an emptiness, and an ache deep inside that can make it hard to breathe. Still.

I still wonder every moment how this can happen and why parents sometimes outlive their children when it just should never, ever be. I struggle still with not being able to touch you, to physically see you in your body and believe me, I will miss that forever. Where I do find comfort, and where I seek it is in all of the things and places that I believe you are. I believe it’s you because I can feel you. Sometimes its that feeling of déjà vu and sometimes it’s the way you feel when you think somebody is looking at you from the other side of the room, only there is nobody there… except you.

I believe you are those little blue butterflies in the spring and the heart-shaped rocks that find their way to my pockets and to my home. I believe you are the magnificent rainbows and double rainbows that wow me, and that you are the very sparkliest snowflakes in every blanket of Willy that falls to the ground. I know that you are the effervescent dewdrops in the trees that a friend of mine says stretch up so high that they must hold up heaven. There have been moments when I’ve said your name out loud, asked if it was you, but knew in my heart that it was. Sometimes it’s the way Finn looks seemingly “through me” and not at me. I’ve seen you in the aura that surrounds the sun and in the middle star of Orion’s Belt as it twinkles so brightly in the night sky. I feel your winks and your pokes, your smiles and your gotcha’s and at the end of the day before I sleep I feel your “I love yous”.

I promise you, Will, for as long as I am on this side of heaven I will continue to look for all the signs you send to let me know that you are here. I promise that I will never lose hope, or my faith in the magical power that is you and that we refer to as WillPower.

I love you, little blue. More than ever and anything and a bus.

Momxo

Robins and Brown Bunnies…

 

Will's Memorial Rock - Fernie, BC

Will’s Memorial Rock – Fernie, BC

Sunday, April 17, 2016

 

Hey Willy,

 

Spring has sprung and with it comes all kinds of new “hellos” from you. The season of robins and brown bunnies, budding trees and tulips, open windows and shoes without socks, raking the grass of remnants of last fall after a winter season of snow and the excitement of putting out the patio furniture… its just gotta be Spring. But, wait… It can’t be spring until I have my picnic lunch with you and Dad up at your memorial rock in Fernie. Then it will be spring.

 

Last weekend your favourite mountain closed for the ski season and on the Friday, Dad and I had our picnic with you under a cloudless sky on the bluest of bluebird days. It was my first visit to the rock since last summer and a day I’d been longing for for some time. Because I’m not able to ski with my hurting knees, Dad made arrangements for one of the ski patrollers to give me a lift up to your magical place on a snowmobile. I believe there’s nothing that the Resort wouldn’t do for you and us; time and time again they’ve gone above and beyond any expectation we could have ever had and we are ever grateful. A “thank you” never seems enough.

 

Each time I meet someone affiliated with the Resort they seem to already know you and, well, it happened again. The patroller who gave me the lift told me that when he was training as a groomer three years ago he was taken to your rock late one night while in the snow cat. It was there that he learned your story and about your passion for skiing and for Fernie. He expressed how sorry he was to hear about your tragic passing and told me that you’re like a legend, Will; a little, blue-eyed legend. It’s not every day that someone gets to be remembered like that!

 

Dad and I sat with you at the base of your rock and had our lunch. We shared some quiet conversation and some “remember whens” and some silence too. During our silence I ran my fingers over the face of your rock feeling the etching of every letter of every word that we so carefully chose to have engraved on it. In my silence came flashbacks of happy times with you and then sadness for what will never be. And then a reminder of why we chose a memorial rock – a rock is forever, Will, and so are you.

Our family message engraved on the back

Our family message engraved on the back

Now it is spring and now I can focus on all the little hellos that you are sending my way; the robins and the brown bunnies, the budding trees and the tulips, open windows and shoes without socks…

 

I miss you, Willy, and I love you. Like a bus full of robins and brown bunnies and a big, beautiful forever rock.

 

Momxo

 

 

Celebrating Every Tiny Moment

TinyHeartRock

Tiny Heart

Sunday, March 13, 2016

 

Hey Little Blue,

 

It has been a week of much reflection. A week of questions with no answers, of traumatic flashbacks and a week of friends having to find their way amidst their own losses. The circle of life is not always an easy one but I know firsthand that when there is deep sadness it means there is deep love. I was reminded over and over of how small we really are and of how little control we have in this big picture we call life.

 

There are two special women who have woven threads into my own life story and who have taught me heaps about life and loss, grief and sadness. They shared their voices with me and spun yet another perspective on life and loss. They invited me to see their loss through their eyes and painted a beautiful picture of not what could have been or should have been, but what is. Their stories are incredibly beautiful and inspiring and I feel so blessed to know them.

 

Come Thursday, I found myself “needing” our weekly drive to the mountains and when Dad and I headed to Fernie that afternoon I felt that I could once again fill my lungs with a big breath and see the beauty that surrounded me with quiet, thoughtful eyes. I had a plan, Will, and for my Type A personality that felt pretty darn good. (Remember how some of my plans would drive you boys crazy? Well, that’s Type A for you and good or bad I must tell you that I still have that). Rather than stay in sadness I was going to search for and celebrate all the tiny beautiful moments I could find. The crazy part though was that, much to my surprise, the tiny moments found me. At first I was dumbfounded? And then I knew. It was you, Will. It had to be you. It was you.

 

Snowflakes that fell while the sun shone? That could only be you. Tiny, new shoots of green poking up through patches of ice and snow? Pretty sure that was you. A lone ladybug crawling across the windowsill in our bedroom? Yup, you again. The tiny glimpse I had of your star in the night sky when everyone claimed that it was cloudy and overcast? Had to be you. And the teeny tiny heart shaped rock that I found while walking Finn on Saturday? Hands down, that was you.

 

With each of those tiny moments comes a smile that begins in my heart and radiates outward. These seemingly little things are what matter most and the impact they carry is huge. They are the necessary reminders that keep me keepin’ on because they are you. You’re a funny one, Will, always the boy who loved to poke and to have the last word (even when it got you into trouble). I will never tire of these tiny, magical moments you sprinkle about my world. Each one a tiny moment worthy of a celebration.

 

Love you, Little Blue. Like a bus… full to the brim with tiny celebrations.

 

 

Momxo