C’mon Mom

All the Inner Strength and WillPower I will ever need...

All the Inner Strength and WillPower I will ever need…

Dear Will,


Hey sweet one, wanted you to know how necessary you have been to the introduction of my new knees to my old body and the healing that must take place in order for us to get along in the active life I long for and miss so much. Getting these two new knees has not been an easy road and although I knew it would be challenging there have been some days that I had to lean on you more than I thought I’d need to.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret having the surgery and am happy everyday to report that the chronic, achy, “migraine in my knees” kind of pain is gone!  I have no more osteoarthritis and my legs are straight. I’m taller, Will!  Not quite the Jana Hart kind of tall, but for the record — I. Am. Taller.  And, the cowboy boots I wore to Dina’s special dinner looked awesome, not that you’d really care about that.


This month has been one that I’ve had to lean on you so much more than usual. I have felt you near me, have heard you whisper, “C’mon Mom. Climb on my back. I bet I can give you a piggy back?”  Then my reply to you and I’ve even said it out loud, “Uh. No. Climbing on your back is not gonna happen.”  “Why?” you say. “Because that would just be weird and strong and mighty as you are, Will, you don’t need me on your back.”  So instead and just the way I like it, I have your hands in mine — sometimes just one, but at times both of them.  Your hands are warm and a bit wiggly, but I kinda always liked that.  Being still was not really one of your strong attributes. (Nor was being quiet, however, I think that’s one of the things that made you so likeable amongst your peers.)


One of the most difficult parts of this and one that I am a bit surprised has hit me as hard as it has is the depression that is common to the post-surgical healing process. Before surgery the medical team did talk about it and they stressed that there would be resources available to support me through it should I need it. I consider myself “quite” aware of depression and how it can rear itself in my body and in my mind but it goes to show that knowing about and being aware of depression doesn’t mean you don’t experience it. The reality of the weeks and months of healing and the patience and work that it requires isn’t surprising – that wouldn’t be the right word – maybe restrictive is the better way to explain it. And with restriction comes feelings of isolation that in turn affect my self-esteem… then along comes some feelings of worthlessness… and round and round it goes. The days can be too long, Will.


After my surgery, while still in hospital a social worker stopped by my room and we had a chat about how I was feeling post surgery and what kinds of thoughts and feelings could present once I went home. We talked about depression and PTSD and I shared my story of losing you and how I knew first hand what depression and PTSD was. She listened while I shared my belief that as a mother who’d lost a child there would never be anything worse in my life or nothing that I could not handle going forward. My certainty in those words is as strong as it will ever be and that is what gets me through the sometimes dark moments of depression when I wonder just for a moment where I will find the strength to overcome the feelings of “I don’t know if I can”. It felt a little like the table had been turned when it was she who shed a few tears and we even laughed for a moment about it; how it was she who’d been given a takeaway moment instead of she delivering one to me. You see, Will, she was a Mom too. “Your healing road will have bumps and hurdles,” she said, “but you’ll be just fine.” And, I’ve no double that I will be.


You, little blue, are my inner strength. It is you that pulls me up, that gives me the extra uuumph that I need to heal these knees and get on with it. Your whispers, “C’mon Mom” and your hands in mine are the ever-present reminders that my new knees and I will get to know each other and we’ll be just fine.


Love you, Will. Like a bus, of course. With brand, new wheels!










WillPower Graduation 2016

WillPower Graduation 2016

WillPower Graduation 2016

July 6, 2016


Dear Will,


When I think about all the times I thought about you in June, all the times I called your name, prayed to you, the times I cried thinking about you and the times too, that you made me laugh I am dumbfounded that I didn’t write a hundred love letters to you last month. It was by no means a month where there was no communication ~ Gosh, Will, that would just be impossible. Instead it was a month where I hung onto every bit of you so that I could make it through.


June 2016 was a month I expected would be one of the most difficult in our five years without you. Months after your accident when I began to come out of the scary fog called shock I began to think about all the milestones that you’d miss out on and that, as your parents, Dad and I would miss out on too. All these milestone moments that would transport me right back to my own growing up years; things like my 16th birthday, getting my driver’s license, the scary, first day of high school to name a few. For a long, long time I couldn’t talk about the day in June 2016 that would have been your high school graduation. The one day that packs a big punch not only for what you’d have achieved and accomplished in high school, but also the jumping board from man cub to young man.


I’ve had a long time to think about this day, to plan how I might soften the blow, to wonder how I could keep it together when I’d see your friends and if maybe I could run away and hide so that I didn’t have to. And then the most beautiful thing happened, Will.


Forever Friends

Forever Friends

The week of your amazing Ride For Will I received a phone call that I will never forget. One of your classmates (thank you, MT) planted a seed and asked a question of the High School Graduation Committee. Could there be a chair for you amongst them at the Convocation Ceremony where you could be with your classmates? The pride and love that filled every part of me was a feeling I can’t find the words to describe. Maybe its because there isn’t a word to describe that kind of love? These kids that were once your kindergarten pals, and then your grade school classmates thought about you on their day five years later. They had wristbands made that said “WillPower Graduation 2016” and had a Class of 2016 photo in their graduation gowns with their wrists held high in the air. Jordan presented it to us on behalf of your classmates the day before they would celebrate their own milestone day.


So Little Mr. Blue Sky, if you can imagine a machine that makes tears that can fill a tub faster than a faucet then you can imagine what my eyeballs looked like. Your little light is so darn bright and where there is light, there will always be you.


Love you like a bus, Will. A lit up bus as bright as the sun.




Some friends just never ever forget.  Sure do love these man cubs...

Some friends just never ever forget. Sure do love these man cubs…



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.


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.