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.


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.




October Days and Little Boy Arms

Little Boy Arms

Little Boy Arms

October 6, 2013

Dear Willy,

Well, here it is again.  October; your birth month and one of the most difficult for me. No month is easy by any means, but October conjures up so many memories of you.  For most of your much-too-short life as soon as I turned the calendar to October the conversations would begin… “Mom, my birthday is in 14 days!”  And in the next breath, “can we plan my birthday party?  How many friends can I invite?  Can they all sleepover?  Ok. Well, can some sleepover?”  Today, remembering these conversations that would begin at the beginning of October every year now make me cry.

I think back to that very special day in October 1998; to the 14th day of the month when you made your debut into this world.  You, my youngest son, were pure joy from the moment Dad and I found out that we were blessed with another son.  An easy pregnancy, an easy delivery (easy to say now!?), and such a happy and beautiful baby boy with your blonde curly hair and blue eyes. It was one of the happiest days in my life, for sure.  Having you felt like everyone in my world was now here and that my kitchen table was supposed to have five people occupy the chairs that were tucked in around it.  For the first time, I could honestly say that it felt like my family was complete. I took much pride, and still do, in being a mother to three boys. Little Nan, (papa’s mom and my grandmother) was also a mother of three boys and I always thought it was so special.  And now I, too, was a proud mama bear to three cubs.  One of the things I loved the most about all three of you, was the feel of your little boy arms around my neck and even at 12 ½ your arms, the smallest of the three of you, gave me such comfort. Right up until your angel date, I loved the tuck-me-in goodnight hugs we still shared regularly.  I don’t ever want to forget those hugs, Will, for there is just nothing quite like them.

Remembering the joy you brought to all of us on the day you were born and the happiness that you brought to our lives as you grew now feels so empty and when October comes around it is especially heartbreaking. It is like you were stolen from me and I am left now with only memories of you as a boy on the cusp of becoming a teenager and a time you were looking forward to so very much.  Watching your two older brothers navigate through the teenage years gave you insight into the freedoms and privileges that were coming your way; learning to drive, girls, girls, girls, summer jobs and spending money of your own, later curfews and later bedtimes.  You certainly didn’t choose to see the “not so fun” parts like more homework, negotiations with Dad and I that wouldn’t always go as you’d hoped, losing privileges, being grounded, etc.  It was just like you to find the fun parts wherever you were.

So, as I watch each of these October days come and go and as your birthday approaches I must continue to find the strength to carry on somehow. I know there will be days when grace will be lost; days where it will take all I have to just get out of bed. And then to my amazement there will be days, too, that I will somehow find a smile, feel you with me, and that I will celebrate having had you for as long as I did, even though it was much, much too short. There is not a day, Will, that I wish the outcome would have been different and that you were here with us saying, “Mom, my birthday is in 14 days!  Can we plan…”

I believe it is you giving us these warm and sunny fall days and I am grateful.  I imagine it is your way of giving me those little boy hugs I miss so very much.  Beautiful October days… and little boy arms.  Thank you, Will.

I miss you to the moon and love you like a bus.