Saturday, 29 June 2013

A shining star

It has taken me a long time to write this ... and I am still not sure if I am ready, or if I will ever be ready, or able to say what I want to say, or pay tribute in a way I will feel contented with, but I really feel it is time to try.

This winter, a true tragedy happened in my family, something that we will never recover from.  As I was getting ready to put my little fellow to bed after his evening bath on January 23rd, I got the phone call that no one ever wants to get - "There has been an accident, we think you should come now."  I still can't believe it happened and that we will never see my beautiful, funny, wise-beyond-his-young-age nephew ever again, and that it all happened so fast.  I still can't think about it without breaking down.

It doesn't seem fair to lose a five year old child ... and it is hard to believe how much impact Owen made in his brief time with us.  I wish I could write something that captures how much he meant to us, or what he was like, but I can't ... it's all in my heart, but sounds hollow when I write it.  Owie was a bigger than life, full steam ahead or nothing, shoot from the hip, tell it like it is, little old man in a child's body sort of character ... he shone in every situation, and everyone who ever met him, remembered him afterward because he was such a little character, and wasn't one little bit shy. 

Owen loved to tell you why his way was the right way, and why your way was NOT.  Whenever he came for a visit, he'd wrestle and rough house with his brother and my husband until someoen ended up in trouble ... usually my husband!   He was a free spirit who thought nothing of dropping his pants to pee anywhere outside ... even in the garden centre at Walmart.  He loved his family deeply, and thankfully was not embarrassed to show it -- he would give big bear hugs, always with an "I LOVE you!" before parting. 

He was "all boy" and was happiest helping his dad with yard work, or his grandfather with wood.  Workgloves and a wheelbarrow were trademark looks for Owen.  He enjoyed being outdoors, and loved everything about being outside - he was an avid mini quad driver, accomplished at make believe on the playground, and had just learned to ride a two wheeler.  Batman was his idol ... and I love that one of my final memories of time spent with Owen was at Christmas when he got a Batman costume, and insisted on wearing it an entire evening (he was so proud of his costume). 

Being a social butterfly, Owen liked the social aspects of school despite the fact that he wasn't big on the educational pieces of school ... he told his mom that he wanted to go to work at a local tavern to support himself, his 'girlfriend' (who his mom was not even aware he had) and their kids when he turned 16. 

He was an awesome hat model and a great inspiration for knitting hats (and he and his brother were always so appreciative of their knitted hats, that I loved knitting for them).  I had started their hats for this Christmas past, and had run out of time to finish them ... his older brother's needs about 20 minutes work to complete, and Owen's is still just a project bag with wool and a pattern in it ... I wish now I had found the time to finish the two hats and give them. The boys would have loved their Star Wars hats.  This coming Christmas, I had planned to knit an Angry Birds hat for Owen, and hadn't decided on what Jack's wouldbe ... little things like this will always be hard to think about.  All the would have, could have, should have's and all the things we aren'g going to get to do with Owen or for Owen.  Those are the things that bring the reality of what has happened crashing down. 

Owen was a super star in our family, and to those who knew him.  Ironically, the week we lost Owen, he was "Star of the Week" at school, so he and his family had been spending time thinking about all the things that make him special, so he could do his "Star" at school and tell the other kids about himself.  For all of us, after his passing, the "star" came to be our symbol for Owen, and we all now have a star necklace to remember him by.  I wear mine when I am having a rough day to help me feel closer to him.

The outpouring of support that my sister and her family have received from the community they live in and the people sahe and her husband work for, have worked for or have relationships through their jobs with has been phenominal.  Owen touched a lot of people's lives, and his loss and what my sister, Owen's older brother and my brother in law are going through has touched a lot of people as well.  The outpouring of sympathy and support has been phenominal, and it really affirms that there is good in the world.  My sister came home from work about 3 weeks ago to a phone call from the local pizza place, asking what time and what flavor pizza she would like for their supper, as a neighbor who did not want to be identified had bought them supper (this is 4 months after his death!).  The local Habitat for Humanity has dedicated their build this year to Owen's memory, complete with signage.  His school brought in  magician for the kids for an end of the year show in Owen's memory.  My sister came home the day of his birthday to find flowers and balloons waiting for her, with a beautiful note from her employer and coworkers.  On his birthday, the manager at their local Tim Hortons saw the three of them come in for their customary Saturday morning coffee, and brought over a 40 pack of chocolate Tim Bits, because she remembered it was Owen's birthday and that they were his favorite.

I could go on and on, people have been so kind and so thoughtful to my sister, my nephew and my brother in law, and have done so much to honor the memory of our special little star, Owen.  It is hard to think about him, because it is painful to think that such an amazing little person lost their life, and we will never see him, hold him or laugh with him again,  but all the memories I have of Owen leave me smiling, because he was such a funny, fun loving, and vibrant little person.  It is so hard to believe that he is really gone.  I have never been a spirual person, but I really hope that there is a heaven, because I have a strong need to see our Little Owie one more time.


Wanderingcatstudio said...

I'm so sorry for your loss - sometimes the brightest stars burn out the fastest - and from what you said - he was definitely a bright star. My condolences.

Donna M said...

A wonderful tribute to a wonderful little boy! Lovely post H!

lexa said...

You're making me cry already this morning! My nephew would have been 25 years old on June 23. Lovely post. -- And I loved the fish hats they had! Sometimes I go on your Rav page to look at them. :)

Knit and Purl Mama said...

So sorry for your loss. What a beautiful post and tribute to your nephew.

Yvette said...

Big internet hug.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing tribute to Owen & his family! You certainly covered it all!
Big HUGS to you!
With Love
GreatAuntie Regina

Heddy said...

Thanks everyone ... he was a sweet little boy who lived every moment to the fullest. There will always be a piece of my heart that is broken because of losing him. We are less than 3 weeks away from the 1 year anniversary of Owen's death ... and it is still as fresh as when it happened.

Maureen Lawrence said...

Heather that was truly well said. He was such a presence in all our lives. Our beautiful candle lantern we were given by Tracy in memory of Owen has been flickering since the middle of Dec. (24hrs. a day). It is truly a sign from Owen.