The View From Will’s Bench


Greeted by the lovely Joe-Pye Weeds at Lake Elise

It happens every time. That sudden overwhelming sadness. It’s just a sign off the highway that reads “Middlebury”, but it causes my chin to quiver and an ache in my jaw as I try to fight back the feelings. First stop always is Lake Elise to sit on Will’s Bench. It’s been a year.


My heart is racing and I feel like I can’t breathe. My jaw is killing me by the time I step out of the car. I can’t take it one more minute. No one is here except me, so I let it go. It’s just the way it is and I am surprised, after all this time, I still can’t control it. Maybe that is why I have not been here since last summer. A place I used to call home.


There is relief in the hot tears and the shade of the trees. There is a whisper in the wind. I tell him how sorry I am for crying. “I miss you so much and if you can see me from whatever world you are in I hope my obvious grief in this moment doesn’t cause you any pain.” Imagine that. Can our deceased loved ones see us grieving and with that do we cause them to suffer even more than they already have in dying? I quickly change the subject and tell him all about the joy of Annabelle and being a grandmother. A text from Caitlin reminds me that William is her guardian angel. Yes, he absolutely is and just like that I am OK.


left behind by a young boy the bench remains a favorite fishing spot

There is a second bench I must visit. It’s over at the Taft school. As I gaze at the pond I see a handsome young student with a grin a mile wide fading into the water. This time I hold back the tears, but the yearning in my heart to turn back time is very present. No denying it will always be this way year after year after year.

Thanks to everyone who shared some time with me this weekend. I loved seeing each and every one of you. Your simple presence in my life means more than you will ever know. When this oppressive heat lifts I hope you, too, will take in a view from the bench.


24 thoughts on “The View From Will’s Bench

  1. I often wonder how you’re able to find such poetry in words that express the fullness of your grief? Your words reflect the reality of tremendous loss but echo peace and healing at the same time! Beautifully written my friend!

    It’s an honor to share your grief and the sweetness of Will’s memory! Love you bunches!!

    • Yes, you “share” my grief like no one else and I so appreciate that. I was not prepared for how overwhelmed this trip would make me feel. Took me by surprise and I suspect I will cook my brains out this week.

  2. Oh, Lisa. I wish that I could just run down from NJ to embrace you. Thank you for taking your heart and so eloquently putting its real feelings into words. Those words, those real feelings are making a difference in the lives of others…I know they are.

    • Thanks, Kim. I think there is nothing better than presenting the “real life” both the good and the bad. Authenticity is important to me. We all know that not every day for anyone is a smiley face. I really do hope we can meet up some time.

  3. I too have wondered if when our deeased loved ones see us grieve if we are causing more pain but I think that expressions of love come in many forms and what else is grief but an expression of love… So I think that is what is seen… Love.

    • I had a chance to finally meet Doreen (the mom who lost a son and left me a letter on Will’s bench) and we had a whole discussion about this. It certainly makes me think and want to behave a bit better, but I love your thoughts and the more positive notion that our people “see it” as an expression of love. Thank you for that ❤

    • I love you too and for all the smiles you bring. I was a bit of a Food Network celebrity while in town thanks to your caramel sauce

  4. Oh Lisa, your last sentence was spot on. When I got home this morning, Tor and I were discussing the party and he said he had a nice talk with you. The next thing he said was “We haven’t been to The Bench in awhile. We need to go soon.” His suggestion had no ties to your post whatsoever. Those GA’s we have continue to be there in our lives. They create those “coincidences” that you and I know are not coincidences at all. They work their magic in many ways and forms….even a seahorse !!!

    • I loved your seahorse story and especially the chance to visit with you and Tor. Wait until this heat lifts and then enjoy a peaceful walk. The wild flowers and water lilies are in full bloom.

  5. You will always and forever feel loss and pain, but it is comforting to be able to visit you special spot with Will’s bench. He is with you always in spirit and if there is life after death, which we all hope there is, then you will be reunited in that better place. Big hugs to you always Lisa!

  6. Beautiful picture from his bench. Tough one to write but so touching. You are surrounded by love.

  7. Oh Lisa, this was heartbreakingly beautiful and oh so powerful. It only takes a moment in time to bring it all back. Bless you for for your realness and sharing your experience. This looks like such an incredibly gorgeous place to be. Prayers for peace and comfort. Sending hugs! ~Daphne

    • It has been an honor to share our grief together. Only a mom who has been through it really 100 percent understands it.

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