December 21, 2013
Christmas is almost here and though I am trying to focus on the good things that will be part of our Christmas this year, memories of you and our Christmases past are the only things that occupy my mind. I go through the motions but just past my eyelids are tears that I have been trying so hard to suppress. This morning is different. It is quiet in the house; I’m the only one up, I’ve made myself a cup of tea, turned on the lights on the Christmas tree and now I can let my tears fall. I sit here wanting only to spend some time with you.
As daylight is beginning to show its face, I stare at our tree and all the memories of you that adorn it. Since your angel date our Christmas tree has become a Memory Tree. Instead of the angel that we used to put on top, we have placed your Santa hat. I smiled while putting it up there looking at the way you printed your name with a sharpie on the inside when you were in kindergarten. The bigger the space, the bigger you printed. Your name is really just a bunch of sticks and being the third child we chose a name that, of course, we loved and was meaningful, but at the same time was going to be easy for you to print when you were little and beginning school. Will (not William) was perfect for so many reasons!
There are tiny white twinkly lights from top to bottom and on each branch is a Fernie family ski pass; all five of us from all the years we were Fernie pass holders. You and your brothers have been Fernie pass holders all of your lives and as I look at the photos on each pass I remember so many fun times. The photos on these (expensive) little pieces of plastic are a chronological record of how each of you have grown and changed from year to year; from tots to big boys and Justin and Ben, now young men. There is one of you that is all bent and I smile remembering it was the one that you didn’t remove from your ski pants before throwing them in the dryer (one of those wet snow days!) and it had begun to melt from the high heat. When I look closely, Will, I notice you weren’t the only one that forgot…
For the last two Christmases I have added three ornaments each year to signify you and your brothers. The first year I found three white sparkly stars. I wrote your names on each of the stars and hung them in the same order as your star on Orion’s belt in the Orion Constellation. Sandy and Don Bietz (your kindergarten teacher and her husband) dedicated this star to you after your angel date so it made perfect sense that I put three stars on our tree.
You are in the middle and Justin and Ben are on each side protecting you. I have to tell you (and I’m pretty sure you’ll find this funnier than I did !*?#) that when I came home from work a couple of weeks ago, the three stars were on the ground. The string of tree lights was askew and had been pulled across the carpet. The cord was chewed through and a couple of the bulbs were missing (we have new lights now). Finn! I panicked while Finn skulked out of the living room with his head down low and his tail between his legs. Little bugger… he knew he’d done wrong. What I was worried about most were the three stars. When I picked them up both of your brother’s stars were chewed on the ends but yours was perfect. They are all back on the tree in the order I’d originally put them. Perhaps next Christmas I’ll smile remembering that story but it’s a very small smile now. Last year I hung three snowflakes and this year three glittery peace signs.
Here and there I hung the Christmas ornaments that you made in school and up high (where Finn could not possibly reach or see) I placed amongst the branches the brown felt gingerbread boy that you had hand-sewn and stuffed when you were in grade 2. All are Priceless handmade memories that I value more than anything.
Nana and Pa will come and spend Christmas with us this year and that will be special. That makes me smile but I wish more than anything that you were here, too; that you’d be with us in your pajamas on Christmas morning. Like the last two Christmases, Willy, under the tree will be the last gift that we unwrap — a new jigsaw puzzle from you to us. A gift that will give us hours and hours of family time while we remember you and how much we miss you and love you.
Happy Heavenly Christmas to you up there, Will. I know you’ll be looking down on us and that in many ways you’ll be with us on this favorite holiday of yours.
Missing you so much… and love you like a bus.