This post is part of my “homework” for a grief support group I am in. The assignment is to write a letter to someone who didn’t know William and tell them about our wonderful boy. So I’m writing my dad, Bill Wallmo (William’s namesake) because he died about a year before William was born.

Dear Dad,

I can think of no one who would have loved to know William here on earth more than you.  Named in your honor, he shares so many of your traits that sometimes I wonder if a part of your soul didn’t find it’s way into William. Like you, William was, at his very core, a genuinely happy person. He didn’t ever seem to have to struggle to accept things or to find joy in life around him – it just came naturally. Also like you, he loved most sports, and even though his primary sport was soccer, I think his true love was actually football. He was an explorer, a nature lover, an adventurer, and was as delighted searching for minnows in small Maryland creeks as he was snorkeling at night with giant manta rays in Hawaii.  He liked games, and did not like to lose. He was a good chess player but when he played with me, Sophie, or Jerry he would make up some interesting ‘rules’ when in check, though he legitimately beat me on more than one occasion. He was a master at Monopoly – playing the game as a true real estate mogul and ALWAYS accumulating the most properties. He would spend his last dollar to acquire a property and ultimately force the rest of us into bankruptcy. I don’t think he lost a single Monopoly game against his family. But other than board games, he was an extremely calculated risk taker. When he snowboarded he was never the one to bomb down a black diamond without first deciding he could handle the terrain – adrenaline junkie he was not! Once at Sea World in San Diego we tried to bribe him to go on a roller coaster with us – we got up to a $200 stuffed shark in one of the gift shops before we just gave up - when he wanted to do something he was all in – if he didn’t, forget about it.

William did most things with ease. As a family we hiked the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim when he was 9. He hiked it all with his overloaded – thank you Jerry – backpack until the last few miles up the North Rim, when his dad carried his pack for him. And the boy loved to eat! He could eat and eat and we all wondered where it went. He was most definitely NOT a foodie, but loved good, simple food. Another trait he shared with you Dad.

William always tried to help people if he could, he loved to laugh, and had one of the greatest smiles I will ever see in all my life. He did get sad at times, and he cried. And I think after his brain cancer diagnosis there was a little piece of him that left. But he fought gracefully to stay alive – our friend believed he was the true ‘gentle warrior.’ He loved his family and his friends, and I hope he knows that we loved him and would have done absolutely anything to keep him here on earth with us.  I’m not sure I fully understood the meaning of the word soulmate until William died. I really wish I didn’t know that meaning as I do now.  Every cell in my body misses him every day.

So Dad,  I hope this letter gives you a little look at William’s life on earth. He was like you in so many ways. But I suspect you knew that. And my hope is that you already know how amazing he is because you are with him. Throwing the football, fishing, swimming – maybe he has even taught you how to snowboard. That is one thing I don’t think you ever tried. So you probably don’t even need this letter to know William. But it was good homework for me to do.  Peace to both of you and see you someday soon.