The Five or So People You Meet in Heaven

Will – Grade 7 Basketball

March 16, 2017

 

Dear Will,

 

As I’m sure you already know, your Grade 7 teacher (Mrs. Harford) has joined you on the other side and I wonder if you may have been one of the five or so people that met her in heaven? She was so lovely in so many ways and was a teacher that had begun to make a real difference in your learning of important life skills.

 

She had some real “mom like” qualities and was determined to teach you that amongst the obvious academics, you needed to know the importance of good organizational and strong time management skills. Stuff that I, as your mom, tried to teach you and your brothers over and over and over… A few things that Mrs. Harford had over me were 1) she wasn’t your mom, 2) she didn’t see how well you could dig in your heels, and 3) she was so lovely all of the time.

 

One thing you did super well was to present what you thought most important to a 12 year old boy and as I look back, YOUR grade 7 real world perspective was important. Well, most of it…

 

Friends and sleepovers and the importance of a bike and a pair of skis… A voice that always mattered and a warm bed… Help with homework and a ride to all those early morning practices… Age appropriate freedom like biking to school and ripping down to the park on your skateboard…Eating cookie dough and choosing your own new shoes, icecream and marshmallow science (when I wasn’t home), sitting ON Dad and a before bed tuck-in.

 

All these things were so important to you and though I didn’t buy in to candy before dinner and chocolate before bed you didn’t seem hungry when an apple or banana was the option, nor were you receptive to the word “no” even when “yes” was out of the question. (This is where Mrs. Harford didn’t see how well you could dig in your heels.) Grade 7 — a time when you were really coming into your own.

 

On Wednesday afternoon Mrs. Fisher sat beside me on the couch in front of our big living room window and as we shared tears and talked about Mrs. Harford’s battle with cancer she exclaimed mid-sentence, “look, it’s snowing? It’s Will!” The uncanny thing about this scenario is that it was +8 C and it should have been impossible for it to snow, but it did. You have taught me that nothing is impossible in heaven and so it was at that moment we agreed that you and Mrs. Harford had just met each other on the other side. Crazy? I think not. Why? Because you have taught me so much about the other side and what it’s like there. How else can one even try to explain snowflakes on a warm, sunny, spring day?

 

I hope that you were on your best behavior on Wednesday and that weren’t talking out of turn. Were you tidy and organized and on time? I know you may not have had matching socks or combed your hair (really, I can’t even remember a time when that actually happened down here, but you had that kind of hair!). All this aside, I do imagine that you had the biggest smile and that your bright, blue eyes and zest for fun showed her that you’d make it feel like some of the best parts of her life up there — in heaven where the skies are always blue and there is no such thing as cancer.

 

Love you sweet Will. Like a bus carrying the five or so people that met Mrs. Harford in heaven. Stay close to her, Will. She still had so much to teach you.

 

 

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