Theo skipped towards the bus stop, a rubber diabetes bracelet on one wrist, a Team Willem band on the other.

The blue and white band was acquired in support of a fellow student with a rare disease, who had spent most of the school year in the hospital. Unbenownst to us, our little absent-minded boy bought six of the bracelets at a dollar a piece, which required remembering the money and a willingness to part with it.

On Monday afternoon the email update from the school reported that Willem had been taken home for hospice. I told the kids, explaining that in some cases there's nothing left for the hospital to do. The family took him home to die.

My boys looked down at the table. Theo's pencil moved almost without him, shading over his name on a folder.

On Monday night, just after watching a favorite cartoon, Willem died, surrounded by his family. He was ten. His father is keeping a blog, which is almost unbearable to read.

The funeral is this Friday. I'm helping to cover the phones at the school office so the principal and secretaries can attend. They asked me because ours is the only child in 400 who requires specialized medical attention. He's the one with a band on each hand.


  1. gutting. self-preservation precludes me from clicking the link to willem's dad's blog. i hope things went smoothly for you on the phones and i hope your kids are coping.


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