Perfectly Ordinary

snowman copy 2

January 15, 2016

 

My Sweet Will,

 

2016.  The first thing that comes to my mind is the number five.  The passing of time seems always to be where my mind, without even thinking, drifts first.  For fifteen days now we’re into a new year and I shake my head in disbelief knowing that it will be 5 years this May.  I wonder over and over, also in disbelief, how it could even be possible that yesterday and forever can seem the same?  Time is funny that way.

 

I read a post on Facebook this morning that spoke to me in a profound way.  Instantly, I thought about the words I wrote in my tribute to you – the words that Mary read on my behalf at your Celebration of Life six days after our world changed forever.  I wanted to reprint them here in your letter so you are reminded of what I miss the most about you, Will.

 

Here goes…

 

Last Sunday I experienced every mother’s “unimaginable”.  I lost my WillBilly.  On that evening, a part of me was lost with Will as well; Partly, because I have this overwhelming need to be with him and also because at twelve years of age, quite frankly, he still needs his mom.   Surrounding his passing are emotions beyond words.

 

I recently read (not once, but three times) Katrina Kenison’s book, “The Gift of an Ordinary Day” and many of the words I am sharing with you today were born from hers and some word for word as it seems Moms everywhere convey the same kind of love. 

 

Katrina writes and it couldn’t be more true for me that “One of the hardest lessons I am learning is that the answers to the really big questions, the answers I most hunger for, don’t ever come to us from the outside; rather, they come from a quiet place within.  A place we can reach only when we find within ourselves the courage to pause, to abide for a while in that place of not knowing, to be at peace even with our uncertainties, and then to listen and attend with the ear of our own hearts.”

 

I often find myself thinking back to when Will was really small.  Days that began with cinnamon toast cut into finger size pieces and might end with made-up stories or shadow pictures on a bedroom wall.  In between there were walks to the river, picnic lunches at the park, popsicles, hot wheels and miles and miles of orange track that would meander around our living room furniture.   And then there was lego.  Lots. And. Lots. Of. Lego.  Crayola markers, playdough, puzzles, a plastic wading pool and a lawn sprinkler that could enchant a neighbourhood of kids for hours, a shallow red dish full of dish soap and glycerin, and magic wands that once waved hundreds of wobbly, irridescent bubbles into the air.

 

 As he grew, so did his world.  Sports became a part of Will and as long as he had friends (and he had many) to do them with he was having the time of his life.  A trampoline, a bag of candy, a pair of park skis and powder skis, fancy goggles, snow, sleepovers, bacon, his iPod, bouncy balls, Kathleen, Kale, hoodies, hats, a flannel shirt, his constant singing, his laugh and most of all a family who loved him beyond words were all that mattered.  Simple, ordinary pleasures.  

 

It’s still hard for me to believe that all of this has vanished, that those times are truly gone for good.  Thankfully, what I have now are countless, beautiful memories that scroll endlessly in my mind.  Memories of his constant show of affection, as well as the countless peanut butter and banana sandwiches, bedtime stories, earaches and scraped knees, baking soda volcanoes, snowball fights, trips into Bragg Creek for icecream and how I hauled his baritone sax to and from school every week because it was too big to carry on the bus.  How I harped at him to finish his homework and how I had to remind him to pick up his wet towel off the floor every morning. Yet I am grateful to have had all of those moments, for they are the ones that have turned out, in the end, to be the most precious recollections of all, even though they went unrecorded, unwritten, unremarked on at the time.

 

Our photo albums and computers are full of pictures of birthday cakes and holiday celebrations, vacation trips and family adventures.  But the memories I find myself holding onto the tightest, the ones that I will cherish for the rest of my life are the ones that you couldn’t capture in a photograph.  His giggle, his “I love you, moms”, his little boy arms around my neck and his final words every night, “Mom, can you tuck me in?” followed by, “I love you like a bus.”  Quite simply, a family’s life as it is from one hour, or day, or season, to the next.  The most wonderful gift we had and the gift I will cherish above all else, was the gift of all those perfectly ordinary days.

 

I will always carry Will with me.  Everywhere I go.  Forever.”

(from my Tribute to Will, May 28, 2011)

 

What I want you to always know, Willy, is that I couldn’t miss you more than I did back then or more than I do now.  All of those perfectly ordinary moments have become what I cherish most in life.  They are the movie that plays over and over and over in my heart. 

 

And just like we ended each of our days all those days ago,

 

… I love you like a bus, Willy.  A big, ole ordinary bus with perfectly ordinary wheels.

 

 

Momxo

 

Inhale… Exhale…

Will's Grade 7 School Photo copy 3

Will’s Grade 7 Photo

December 6, 2015

 

 

Dear Willy,

 

A month has passed since I’ve put my words to you in a letter, however, that certainly doesn’t mean that you haven’t been in my thoughts… its quite the contrary as you are on my mind every minute of every day. Like my breath, I inhale thoughts of you, hold them for a moment, and then exhale wishing that things were different. Inhale. Exhale. In. Out. Every breath.

 

It is early Sunday morning, the sun is still sleeping and there’s still a hush throughout the house and the neighbourhood. I am full to the brim of thoughts of you. So full that I couldn’t create more room without telling you how much I love you and how much I miss you. For a few weeks now there is a white blanket of Willy covering the ground and I’m thinking this blanket of Willy is here to stay for the winter. Each time you blanket us with more snow I imagine how happy you must be up there stirring up a big dump of beautiful, white crystals and how excited you must be when you dump them on us and on the mountains so that Dad and your brothers can do what they love to do and what you loved so much too. The mountains are beckoning them…. It’s early season and they are hopeful that you’re up there trying to figure out how to send more of the white stuff to the mountains.

 

With December comes Christmas and the hustle and bustle of the season has begun. Yesterday I spent the day shopping and it hit me numerous times how difficult it was when we had to somehow find a way to get through Christmas without you that first year. Gosh, those were sad days and I remember how hard it was to even step foot into a shopping mall. I attempted twice and both times abandoned the stores and ran out to the car to catch my breath and to cry. It makes me think that we’ve come a long way from that first Christmas without you and though it’s still difficult and still sad we’ve a whole new way of celebrating the holidays, having adopted new traditions with you in the centre of all of them.

 

For now, I’ve pushed my Christmas list aside and am basking in thoughts of my morning with you. Early this morning I felt you so close to me.  I lay there quietly for a long time with my eyes closed, imagining myself calling your name and watching you run towards to me. A wise and beautiful friend has told me that the veil is thin between you and I and I hold ever so tightly to that belief. One day, Will, at the end of my breaths here on Earth you really will come for me and I will see you, and I’ll hear you. You’ll be running, as will I, with arms open wide and once again I will be full and not broken. Until then I’ll take these moments with you and I’ll breathe. Inhale. Exhale. In. Out. And I’ll hold onto each and every beautiful memory that I have.

 

I miss you sweet boy and I love you so very much. Bigger than a bus times a million.

 

Momxo

Inside Out Wishes

Wish copy

November 1, 2015

Dear Will,

There is a sense of calm this morning as I visualize flipping the calendar to November. Since 2011, October has become a long and sad month and each year it continues to beat me up emotionally. We honored your birthday on the 14th in our own beautiful way and found ourselves busy both physically and mentally while we hoped and prayed for a positive outcome for Pa after he suffered a heart attack. He was airlifted to the Foothills Hospital in Calgary where he spent most of the last three weeks of October. It was a stressful time for all of us and I prayed extra hard that my Dad would make it through the open-heart surgery that was the only option to repair his heart. The unspoken and underlying possibility that Pa might join you in heaven weighed heavily on me, Will, and though there were moments where I wished I could trade places with him I was grateful and relieved when he was able to return home and begin his road to recovery and his second chance at life. October became a double whammy month of emotions and today I finally feel like I can breathe again.

After spending weeks “hoping” I’m now back to spending my days “wishing”. Wishing that the outcome of the 22nd day of May 2011 were different. I wish that you were here sitting on the couch beside me right now with a pillowcase full of Halloween candy and a mouth full of chocolate. I wish your shoes were at the front door with mismatched socks “sort of in the vicinity” and that your jacket was draped/thrown over the stair banister with the arms pulled inside out. Yes. Inside out. The inside out thing was definitely a Will thing.

When I’d do laundry I’d cuss and swear while sorting the clothes, annoyed that all of your t-shirts were inside out. And so I’d either turn them right side in before I’d toss them into the washing machine or before I folded them when they came out of the dryer… the extra time it took kind of drove me crazy. I remember the day I decided to leave them inside out and folded them that way thinking I was so clever and that giving you a taste of your own medicine would surely teach you a lesson, that it’d drive you crazy — but not only did you appear to not care even one bit I think you were completely oblivious to the whole inside out thing. That day, Will, changed the way I did laundry and to this day if there are t-shirts (or socks) that are inside out I leave them like that. Ha! I think. Ha! And like you, no one really seems to care that they are inside out. Oh my, the stuff that drives a mother crazy…

I wish you were here with us every single day. Before your passing I used to consciously think about what I’d wish for if I was given a wish and now all I wish for is you. You with your tousled hair and your big feet. Maybe with socks, maybe without. You singing out LOUD to the music on your iPod with your ear buds in and me reminding you to remove them from your ears. You, Willy, loving Halloween because of all the candy and the chance to dress up and be silly with your friends. I would be the happiest human being on earth if the one wish I wished more than anything could come true. And even though I know it’s not possible I continue to wish that it were different.

Love you, Willy. Like an inside out bus and a big wish.

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

Easy Like a Sunday Morning

Our Sweet Will

Our Sweet Will

September 13, 2015

Dear Will,

I woke this morning to a grey sky and a steady drizzle. I stayed in bed a little longer than I usually do thinking about what I “had” to do today and realized that my to-do list was secondary and that the laundry could wait another day. It seems there is always something that needs to get done or should get done, but I decided that today would be a gift. An “easy like a Sunday morning” day instead.

As I sit in my comfy spot on the couch with a cup of tea and my MacBook I find myself content that it is raining today. It means that all the outside tasks like emptying flowerpots, trimming branches and putting away sprinklers, etc. would not beckon me outside. Instead I am thinking about how quiet it is and how lucky I am to be able to just “be in the moment”. The only thing I hear is the plunking of my keys on the keyboard and Finn’s intermittent sighs – contentment written all over his stretched out body on his dog bed beside the fireplace.

I make a mental note to enjoy this solitude, as I know it will diminish once Murray makes his way downstairs and turns on the television to watch golf and football (his to-do list also not a priority today). I look around and think about what I might “want” to do instead; a plethora of creative play stuff dancing around in my head. So many possibilities… maybe I’ll paint… or read my book, perhaps doodle in my art journal or maybe paint a rock or two or three. And then my eyes are drawn to the table in the corner where a ball of ivory yarn with a half knitted project attached to it with knitting needles is beckoning me; a project I’d abandoned before summer began as knitting seemed a world away in the summer months. Maybe I’ll figure out where I’m at in my project and settle into the repetitive, clickety clack of my knitting needles. It is a perfect day to sit and knit.

But… before I get into that knitting project I’ll reminisce about you and what you might have been doing on this rainy day if you were here. There’s no question that you’d still be sleeping as it’s still early and I remember well the days of Justin and Ben sleeping till late morning on the weekends. Like your brothers on a lazy Sunday I imagine that grazing would be a given – scouring the fridge and the pantry for a little of this and little of that – leaving a path of granola bar wrappers and almost empty bowls of cereal in your wake would take up a big part of your day. Some hanging time with your buddies or maybe a girlfriend followed by the predictable wait for our Sunday family dinner. “What are we having, Mom?” “When will it be ready?” “Did you make lots?” All the usual questions.

I wish more than anything for another Sunday like that. Like I’ve said many times before, it’s all the ordinary things that I miss the most. Today I miss your grey, ripped sweat pants that exposed your boxers and that you begged me to not throw away. I miss your holey, mismatched socks that were never fully on your feet, the red, oversized t-shirt you loved, and your “bedhead” hair sticking up and out in all directions – a sign that you had slept long and well and that you had little interest in fixing until (maybe) you may have later left the house. Your shoes (the two-toned blue vans) that you loved so much would be somewhere near the front door (probably not together but in the same vicinity) and your Rasta colored toque would be on the step or hanging on the stairway railing post. I miss your path of stuff around our house and how it used to drive me crazy. The things I didn’t think I would ever miss… I miss.

Instead I will cherish those memories and remember all of your “Will-isms”. The stuff that made you “you” and the stuff that you’d adopted from your big brothers. The stuff that you thought was just the coolest and that drove them crazy when you wanted to copy them. I’ll remember the way you’d drop your lanky little self on top of Dad when he was lying on the couch watching golf and then how you’d giggle when he’d tousle your hair and give you a noogy.   Of course tears will spill from my eyes as I recall so vividly your place in our family and then I’ll remind myself how much we loved you and how much we miss you. I’ll remind myself how lucky we were to have had those times with you and think about how sad it is that there are too many kids in this world who will never know that kind of love. Today I will walk right past the pile of laundry and say thank YOU for sending the rain today. It’s given me the gift of time to stop and reflect and remember an ordinary Sunday with you.

Love you little blue — tousled hair, holey socks and all. And like a bus, of course.

Momxo

Mother Nature and YOU!

Your Forever Friends

Your Forever Friends Riding For You

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Dear Will,

It’s been a bit since I’ve written but that is no reflection of how much I’ve been thinking about you. There is no part of any day that you are not on my mind. Your memory lives there and is part of my every breath. And I’ve certainly not stopped talking to you in my quiet moments, most times out loud.

Will in the middle of it all

Will in the middle of it all

Last weekend we held your annual Ride For Will and one thing I want to know is how much you had to do with that chaotic weather?? I know the large snowflakes that fell on Friday morning were you, always the teaser, the taunter, the boy who loved snow so much that given the choice of a warm sunny day, you’d take the snow every time. You got me as I looked out the window to see the white stuff falling and before I got my iPad and hit record video I swear I could hear your mischievous giggle… you know the one – the one right before the panic that got you running to my side for protection from your brothers when you’d pushed their buttons one time too many.

Saturday started out so promising, so nice with the sun waking us that morning. You, little Mr. Blue Sky shining down on us as we set up for registration and put the tents up in the sports field to house the bake sale and the medics, the face painting and the PA system. “Just in case” is always our reasoning and because we all know that June in Southern Alberta can deal all kinds of weather my fingers and toes were crossed that you’d be the boss of the weather. This time, maybe that weather task was too big for you and next year, maybe you could ask the big guy up there for some help? I wonder, does the big guy trump Mother Nature?

The good news is that nothing could dampen the spirit that surrounds your Ride. I am in awe at those that continue to support us through this event. The young and old, your school friends and ski buddies, family and friends, all those that gather in your memory and remember and those that didn’t know you, but feel like they do through your story and the good that we are doing in your name and your memory. It is a big bittersweet day for us; a day so full of love and missing you that no harsh weather could diminish. I couldn’t help but smile at all the muddy grins on faces dotted with mud and all the muddy stripes on the backs of the riders as they finished. For you, a bike and a mud puddle meant fun and it was evident that those that rode saw it that way too (or had no choice but to!).

I love you little Mr. Blue Sky. Even when Mother Nature overrules you. I guess when it comes to the weather she really is the boss. Stay on her good side, Will, as she can be quite unpredictable! And that’s one mother that you don’t want to make angry!

Love you like a bus rippin’ through the mud.

Momxo

Those Little, Blue Butterflies Get Me Every Time

The Little Blue Butterfly

May 18, 2015

 

 

Dear Will,

 

While walking Finn down by the river this afternoon I noticed the little, blue butterflies were visiting again. I’ve missed seeing these little beauties, as these were the first I’ve seen since last summer. First there was one, then two… then three, all fluttering about in the sunshine, stopping here and there, up and down and all around — going nowhere it seemed, or certainly not in a hurry if they were. I smiled wondering if they were you… and in the same breath, of course, they were you. I slowed my pace and began to talk to them, extending my hand and then stopping to just take it all in. I asked them, “is that you, Willy? Is it you? Is it?” They continued to flutter about always coming back to where I could almost reach out and touch them. They stayed close, stopping and starting in unison as if I was leading some sort of dance.

 

For quite some time I was oblivious to anything else. Their delicate, little, blue wings so perfect and the way they’d stop and rest on a dandelion or a leaf or a blade of grass while their little wings moved as if that is how they breathed. Little ins and little outs. And then off they’d go, their wings moving so effortlessly and so quietly amongst us.

 

I needed to see those little, blue butterflies today, Will. A sign from you that you are here, that you see us and hear us and love us still. These past few days have weighed heavily on my heart and to see the weightlessness of love in the wings of a little blue butterfly instantly picked me up. I hadn’t realized until that moment just how fragile I was feeling today. For a few days, I didn’t want to open my eyes and instead closed them tight for fear that the river of tears inside of me would spill. I’d been walking with my head down instead of up, not seeing the beauty in little things…until I saw the little, blue butterflies this afternoon.

 

For the rest of my walk I longed to touch you, to see your face, to hear your voice and in the quiet of my afternoon walk I did try, but the only sight and sound was in my memory. I sighed. But I will never give up on my belief that you are here. Just a blink away. Somewhere over the rainbow. On the other side of the veil. I’ll be out again tomorrow Will, on the same river path as today. And I’ll look for you again… because those little, blue butterflies get me every time.

 

Love you, little blue. Like a bus full of those little flutterbies.

 

Momxo

 

WillPower Forever

CherishWednesday, April 22, 2015

Hey Willy,

I am overwhelmed at the kindness that the little people that I work with continue to send my way. They can turn my day around in an instant with their open innocence and the heartfelt way they express that they care. It comes in hugs and handmade cards, in drawn pictures and in handmade bracelets to name just a few.

Last week one of the kids was moving out of province with her family and I was able to spend a few minutes with her on Thursday to say goodbye, as I’d miss her farewell class party on Friday. I gave her a WillPower band and shared a little about you and the meaning of WillPower. She smiled and held out her arm and I slipped it on her wrist. I’ve grown fond of this little girl over the course of this school year and was feeling sad knowing that our class would be without her come this week. When I got to my work Monday morning, I wasn’t prepared for what she’d left for me on my desk. My breath caught as I looked at the rock that she’d painted. Little painted flowers surrounded the word that has become so important to us because it is YOU — WillPower. I almost cried, Will, as I read the little note that she’d written and taped to the rock. Her gift couldn’t be more perfect and I couldn’t love it more than I do.

These unexpected gifts are very uplifting. I can’t put to words how they can make a sad day a little less sad, a sunny day sunnier. At 9 and 10 years of age they remind me of you at that carefree age. The honest and curious innocence they embody and the way they giggle from their toes and want still to tell you everything is beautiful – it’s the stuff that you were all about at that age, too, and I remember it as if it were yesterday. It makes my heart smile and cry at the same time.

WillPower… We all need it, Will. And I will always need you.

Love you like a bus, sweet boy.

Momxo

Because We’re A Forever Thing

DSC00069 copyWednesday, February 25, 2015

Dear Will,

I’ve been thinking that in the last little bit you’ve been a lot of places looking out for many that need a little more WillPower than usual. Gosh, the ones that I know about are many and the ones that you are watching over that I will never know must be countless. Maybe they beckoned you, maybe you were at the right place at the right time, and maybe you’ll never leave those who will need you always. That would be me, Will, because you and I are a forever thing.

I believe that you are on the mountains in Andorra and Japan with one of the bravest and most beautiful girls we know who has skied her way into competing on the world stage in junior freeskiing. Then there’s your cousin who needs you to help heal his badly broken leg (not to mention he’ll need you to help him eat all of the candy that Pa’s been giving him 1) to keep his spirits up, and 2) to keep him anchored ON the couch). I know you’re hanging around your special childhood friend who carries you always in her heart as she works through decisions on what comes after high school and the big question, “what the heck am I gonna do now?” Wait till you see her in her grad gown, Will… she’ll be the most beautiful girl in that big room. There’s also the freestyle twins who are never without their WillPower bands, your ski racing pal who takes you to all of his races, and your ski buddy who is nursing an injury he suffered while training.

I’m beginning to believe that the ski community that knew you and those who sadly didn’t but know about you now, take you with them each time they put on their skis. Be it freestyle comps or downhill races or just for the fun of it the WillPower you bring to each of them is a common thread. I am grateful too that you are sending a little extra WillPower to my dear friend who is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders as she moves through one of life’s biggest challenges. With you on one side and me on the other we can help her, Will. We can.

As busy as you are spreading about WillPower and watching over those that you care about I am ever grateful that you watch over me too. It is you who whispers in my ear “Mom, you can do this” when I’m not sure that I can. When I’m full of fraught you help me find perspective, you encourage me to look for the silver lining in life’s struggles and sometimes you tell me to crawl back under the covers for a little while. I know you’re behind my smile these days and that you’re never far away. Your footsteps are all over my heart and when I need you I just whisper your name and in you come with open arms and twinkling blue eyes, sometimes dancing or jumping and flipping, and always, always with a WillBilly smile.

I love you like a bus, Little Blue, and because you and I are a forever thing, I always will.

Momxo

When Its Not The Happiest Time of the Year

IMG_1783December 23, 2014

Dear Will,

Will's Santa Hat is our angel on the top of our tree

Will’s Santa Hat is our angel on the top of our tree

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,

Momxo