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.





Stung Again

Will with Jamie and Lauren, at the precious age of 12

Will at twelve, with Jamie and Lauren

Friday, November 22, 2013 (2 ½ years)

Hey Will,

It’s late and I can’t sleep.  The clock on my bedside table marks the last few minutes of another 22nd day of the month and it stings like all the others.  I felt it when I woke this morning.  There was a sluggishness about getting out of bed, about having to go through the motions of this day; another day where it would take a little more effort to put one foot in front of the other. And so after a few minutes of staring out of the window at the sun just beginning to give light to the day I got up and dawdled to the shower. It’s always so easy to cry there; the tears run to the tips of my toes not just down my cheeks to be wiped away with a tissue or my sleeve. Today these tears were as necessary and natural as washing my face and brushing my teeth; tears that have become a routine part of the 22nd day of every month.

When I pulled into the parking lot at school this morning I whispered your name and asked you to help me hold it together today and it worked, Will!  I worked through my day with a smile, but it did sting a little each time I saw the date written on a student’s paper, each time I saw it on a computer screen, each time I saw it written on the whiteboard in every classroom I walked into today, but I’ve come to expect it and so its a little easier when I know its going to sting instead of being taken aback or surprised. That feels more like a punch to the stomach and though that still happens from time to time it is a little less now.  Sadly, to me that can only mean that more time has passed and that I’ve gotten used to what it feels like to be punched in the stomach.  I was working with a grade seven boy who was celebrating his twelfth birthday today and that stung too.  Looking at him took me back to your grade seven year and to you being twelve and how it stopped there.  “Twelve” is yet another word that stings.

The next 22nd day of the month will be 3 days before Christmas and that one will sting more; more like one of those punches to the stomach.  As Christmas approaches the tears will multiply and getting out bed will become more difficult. This I know now and there is no stopping the wave of sadness that lasts throughout the holiday season.  It’ll never be right, never be ok that you’re not physically here with us.  It just is what it is and sadly nothing can change it.  I do feel your presence with us spiritually but oh how I miss seeing you, touching you, smelling you.

Thanks for helping me get through the day, Will.  And thanks for letting me know that you are with me on this new day, the 23rd day of November.  I woke this morning and the first thing I did before getting out of bed was reach for my iPad on the bedside table to re-read my letter. I opened the Songza app and the first song that played was “Mr. Blue Sky”.  I’ll take that as a sign that you are here with me and it made me smile.  It’s no secret that you are my little Mr. Blue Sky; you always will be.

Love you like a bus,