I wish that there was a specified way that this grieving process went. I am a linear person,we go from A-B and so on in my world. But in grieving things don’t work that way, one day I am fine then something little derails me and I am back inside my own head, filled with grief and pain. I am pretty sure I will be like this for a while, just slogging thru this crap and trying to come to terms with this new normal.

Facebook is generally a happy place for me, but logging on this afternoon changed that. I knew sooner or later the Memories Feature would catch up with me. It did today, with all the glory of a ski slope, a Mohawk Football Sweatshirt, dayglo green ski pants and his precious Go-Pro. Looking like he was ready to take on the world 5 years ago. Instantly my heart broke and the tears started, and I was back in that place again. The place where I can’t catch my breath and nothing matters but the hurt and despair.

This evening one of Connor’s friends has created a Dodgeball Tournament in his honor, something he would have loved. The competition, all his friends and the chance to wallop someone in a sensitive place with a hard ball. My guys at S Keyes Electric will be playing in honor of Connor and that in itself makes me smile. He would have said “bring it on”. So I will go and laugh and watch and yup “bring it on for Connor”

The Firsts

Anyone that I have talked to that has lost anyone will unequivocally state that “The Firsts” are the worst. I wholeheartedly agree. The missing plates, presents and normal traditions have got to be the worst. Trying to create new traditions may be the key, but it doesn’t fix what was lost. The person that you loved is gone, there is a huge hole where they used to be. In my heart there is an enormous cavern marked “Connor”. It is now just full of pain, occasionally there is some happy memories that make there way into the dark place. But right now it is a soul sucking black hole.

I have made it through 3 Firsts, using the phrase “made it” is optimistic, but I am still breathing so I made it. Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. None were like years past, but we muddled through. The changes we made don’t fix the hurt or the pain, but they make the day go by, they got me through, but no one said it was pretty.

Next on the horizon is New Years Eve, Kyle’s Birthday, My Birthday and then….Connor’s Birthday. I was looking forward to him turning 18, now I dread it with all my heart and soul. I want to turn back time, and make the wheel stop spinning. Stop so I can go back and make the accident not happen. Then none of these feelings would be necessary and I wouldn’t have to feel like this.

The feeling that someone took off a limb, or hacked out a vital organ. Like a part of me just isn’t functioning anymore. Or maybe it is the feeling that I am slogging through waist deep mud, constantly exhausted from all the emotions that I just can’t control. I told Brad (Jordan’s dad) the other night that I’m more emotional at night cuz I’m tired. He said “if you want to lie to yourself and say it’s cuz you are tired go for it, but the fucking truth is we just miss him, we all do!” He is right, tired, awake, asleep it doesn’t change the fact that I miss him, and having to slog through each and every one of these firsts just suck.

Ebb and Flow

Today was one of those days where if I could have stayed in bed all day I would have. But there was too much to be done, employees to be paid, vendors to be paid, Credit Cards and Bank Accounts to be reconciled. The oh so very exciting life of a small business accountant.

So I slogged through it all today, Kleenex in hand, trying to stay as positive as possible. Focus on the task at hand and try to push the unhappy thoughts to the back.

I wish it was as easy as that. As easy as, “today I will only think of happy things and I will pretend the nightmare doesn’t exist.” It just isn’t possible, at least for me. Every day some memory comes flooding back, they are mostly good ones, but they still trigger such pain.

They trigger the flood of tears, the inability to catch my breath for a bit and the racking sobs. Sometimes I can catch the trigger beforehand and bury my face in the Kleenex, but usually not. If you were to walk into my office today you would have more often than not found me with wet blotchy cheeks and puffy eyes.

My thought is that the holidays are roaring up like a freight train and I can’t stop them, the time when we were all together, and I got to watch my boys be kids even if they were young men. I still get to watch Kyle be a kid, even if that joy is tempered for him this year. It will be tempered for all of us.

It is a new normal, a new way of life that I will have to adjust to, not like but adjust to. I won’t apologize for my tears or my emotions. I will never apologize for the hurt that I have in my heart and my soul.


The most beautiful or prettiest house on the block is only as stable and secure as the foundation that it is built on. I have the best foundation, my Mom and Dad. They know what true love and even heartbreak is about. My Mom and Dad have been married for over 50 years.

They raised 2 great kids (my brother and I) and taught me how to be a Mom. They stood next to me through thick and thin. Through the hardest thing that I have ever done. Holding me while I cried, wailed and screamed.

They have shown me that love will see you through the highs and the lows. That there is nothing that you can’t conquer if you stick together. My family, all of us are a little crazy, a tad dysfunctional, but I wouldn’t have us any other way.

To my Mom and Dad, there are not enough Thank You’s or I Love You’s to tell you how I feel. So these will just have to do!!!

Love you to the moon and back forever and ever❤️❤️🌙⭐️🌍


Today I met a milestone, not a big one, but a milestone nonetheless. I made it a whole month. So now we go on to month 2. This is how I will measure things from now on. Slowly, but surely, one little step at a time.

Originally when Connor first was involved in his accident I found the mantra to live by. “It is a Marathon, not a Sprint”. That mantra still holds true. This heartbreak will not change in one month, or two or even six. It will be long and arduous, but I will run this marathon. One foot in front of the other.

One day my heart will not ache like an elephant is parked on it, smothering all the feeling out of it. That day is not now, but I am the eternal optimist, call me Positive Polly. I don’t know what the positive is in this, but I will search until I find it.

I will find the joy in my life again, little by little it will come back. There will be more smiles than tears. Someday there will be actual laughter on a regular basis. That day is in the future, most likely far in the future, but it is there. Just call me Positive Polly. I will find the happy again, I am sure of it.


Time does not heal all wounds, it may make them easier to deal with, but it does not heal them. There is a hole in my heart that hasn’t even begun to heal. I realize it has only been a month since this large hole was punched in my heart, but it feels fresh and raw.

30 days into this awful heartbreak and I still have the intense desire to turn the clock back every day. I have tried, and tried but I am having no luck. I open my eyes and the reality remains the same.

Connor is still gone, my family is shattered, my life will never be the same again. He left behind a set of parents, a brother Kyle and his girlfriend Holly. Jordan, Connors Girlfriend who he adored and the feeling was totally mutual. A set of maternal grandparents who can’t figure out why this has happened, and a paternal grandfather who at 90 was sure he would be the next one to vacate this earth.

Add to that the members of his Electrical Shop who I am learning are a truly awesome group of kids. I have met so many of his friends that I am sure I never would have met, and learned so much about a side of my son that amazes me.

Today, 30 days after Connor left this earth I went to his gravesite. The first time since the funeral. It was hard, but cathartic in a way. It was covered in wreaths and baskets, a battery powered lantern so he wouldn’t be in the dark, and a hat left by a classmate. What struck me most was the overwhelming tracks on the snow to his grave. From everyone that had come to visit him

He was loved, by his family and friends and that makes the hole in my heart feel not so raw. It will take time, work, community and great friends. I have all of them.


During this entire process I was told that the stronger and deeper the love the more intense and painful the loss is. I believe that to be true, when someone you barely know does, a passing acquaintance or even a huge Hollywood Star that everyone knows. You may feel a slight sadness or be barely effected. But when a family member dies, and even worse when it is sudden. That pain is intense and deep and endless things seem to trigger it.

Seeing Connor’s pictures and his friends I can tolerate, hugs from all of them, that’s ok too. What will send me right off the edge is a video. A video of him being silly and having fun, joking around and just being him. That sets off the torrential waterworks and there seems to be no way to dry them up.

I have the overwhelming urge to reach into the phone and somehow pull him out. To feel him, touch him, listen to his voice in person one more time again, even smell him as odd as that seems. Just get the essence of him out of that phone, and back to real life.

If any of you remember the little boy from the Original Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. That wanted to be on TV so bad? Mike Teavee was the character name, he was dressed completely in white with a funny western accent. He was projected across the room, but his little pieces didn’t line up right!!

I want Connor to come out of that little box with all his little pieces lined up correctly. Laughing and joking and smiling. Just being my same Connor. I know intellectually it can’t happen, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting the impossible!

I want a lot of impossible things now, for this never ending bad dream I’m in to just stop. To wake up and have none of it be true. To have Groudhog Day stop replaying over and over. To have a holiday full of sparkle and joy, to not snivel and tear up when anyone hugs me or tells me how excited they are that all their kids are home for Christmas.

I know (or I am told) it will start to get easier someday. I just have to get to that day. The first step is getting through this holiday season. That being said, please don’t treat me with kid gloves, or not tell me things that you think will make me sad, as much as I want to live in a bubble I can’t, nor will it help me heal. I can want for things to be different to the moon and back, but it won’t change the reality of the situation.

So check on me, hug me, send me well wishes. Just be prepared for the waterworks, and know they are ok, because I do.


There is a reason that there is no word for a parent that loses a child. It is not a natural phenomenon, you are not supposed to outlive your child. Much less a vibrant 17 year old son who has the world laid out in front of him on a silver platter. A young man who thought the world was his for the taking. Baseball, football, girls, one special girl in particular, Jordan. The love of his life, the young lady for whom his world spun and spun only. They were each other’s other half. They were happy doing the mundane things together. The mall, Ulta, Tractor Supply, doing their homework together, even just walks together or drives to just nowhere. They were just happy together.❤️

I never knew my 17 year was such a romantic, dropping little notes for Jordan to find. Buying her little gifts to make her happy.

I knew he was a crazy rough and tumble guy. I knew he was Chippewa Boots full of dirt, a baseball bag full of sweaty clothes, and grass stained baseball pants. A glove that literally smelled like an old horse, it was damp and sticky and sweaty, but it was molded to his hand perfectly.

e was size 12 baseball cleats, full of dirt and grass, with insides that smelled like , well a teenage boy. No amount of professional deodorizer could fix them nor could baking soda and a myriad of essential oils. It was the funk of teenage boy feet. He was size Chippewa work boots that were never fully tied, so he always had this kind of clunky walking gait to him, with the laces tucked into the tops of the boots and his jeans tucked into his boots.

The same jeans that were so difficult to buy. Size 32×34, or if truth be told really 30×34. All legs, no waist and even less ass. Tall and skinny, he was long and lean all 6ft tall of him. Blue eyes with the longest eyelashes that u have ever seen, on a man or a woman.

Those beautiful blue eyes that either sparkled when he laughed and smiled, or got all dark and stormy when he was mad. Mad, usually at his Mom, for something he didn't want to do. Like his homework or clean his room, those dark and stormy eyes were reserved for me. Or for his coaches, when he was mad and frustrated, an alternative version of "The Game Face."

The rest of the world got to see the sparkly blue eyes, the flirty, happy, beautiful blue eyes, framed in those long dark lashes that enraptured everyone. I would give anything to see those eyes and eyelashes again in real life. Whether they were smiling or mad at me, I don't care.

ow I am a member of the Crappiest Club that no one wants entry to. The Club reserved for Mother's who have had to bury a child before themselves. Maybe if he was doing something to cause this I would take some comfort, as minimal as it is knowing he was at fault. But there is no blame to be shared. He wasn't speeding, it was raining hard and the slopes guardrails acted like a ramp. All of that conspired to act like a slingshot to send him airborne.

he fact that my heart is torn to shreds, a huge part is missing and I am not sure it will ever be replaced. I want him back, instead of the 200+ sympathy cards that line my mantle. I still want the car, with its loud music to pull in the driveway and the size 12 Chippewa boots to come clomping across my floor leaving mud and dirt in their wake. For now I will have to settle for the empty boots in the breezeway, and the memories I have left. For the car is gone forever, just like my blue eyed long lashed baby, leaving a hole in my shattered heart.

Thank You

This started out as the basic thank you for the local newspaper and took on a life of its own. I am still struggling with the thank you to place in the newspaper but this blog took shape instead.

The family of Connor Powers would like to thank everyone for their continued support after his accident and subsequent passing. (That part I have down without a problem, it is after that things go haywire)

The medical team at Baystate Health, in the PICU, the Trauma Team, The Neuro Team and the Pediatric Team (headed by Dr. Christine McTiernan). The PICU nurses who became extended family for 12 days, coaching us to eat and sleep as well. My special nurse angel Hillary Duda. Without her Starbucks would not have appeared with her morning shift. Her hugs were amazing, they didn’t medically fix anything but they made me feel like my world wasn’t shattered.

Connor’s girlfriend and his everything Jordan Hurlbert. She slept in a chair for 4 days next to his his hospital bed. Holding his hand and talking to him. She was wrapped in a blanket because it was under 50* in that hospital room, because Connor needed to stay cold. Jordan you are the strongest young lady I know!!! Bar none❤️❤️

Jordan’s family: Brad, Shelly & Jared lost Connor too. He was just as much a part of their family as Jordan is a part of ours. We will heal with time, that’s what everyone tells me, right now we are all clinging to each other like life raft survivors.

Mark’s boss John Lamoureux, who was there from the beginning, he was at the hospital before we were. Telling the staff he was Connor’s uncle to get the ball rolling. Staying with us for 12 days, taking us to dinner. Getting us a hotel room in Springfield. Making us go and nap in the “Parent Sleep Room”. His wife Danielle who brought me real Kleenex because Baystate ones made my eyelashes fall out!! They seriously need to invest in better paper products there😝

My boss Steve Keyes who sent my amazing coworker Rachel with a gift basket that was so big I don’t know how she carried it. It had slippers to keep my feet warm and a blanket that I dragged around the hospital like Linus.

Steve himself who came and sat in the waiting room with me and held me while I cried. Connor was my son, but he was also one of Steve’s employees too.

Revered Douglas Belanger who made me see that 12 days of prayer may not have medically fixed the problem. But it made my heart feel better.

Reverend Bob Szafran who performed the hardest service anyone has ever had to. Saying goodbye to a 17 year old whirlwind of a young man. He did it with grace, love and as much humor as allowed. There was no one better to do Connor’s service.

To all the young men who where Connor’s pallbearers:

Steve Keyes & Curtis Warren

Cam Chase & Jared Taylor

Brady & Zack McCloud

Adam Hallenbeck

You all went above and beyond to carry Connor to his final resting place. I know that was the hardest thing that many of you have done and I thank you from the bottom of my shattered heart.

To Bonnie Sullivan & Nichole Gancarz who became #3connorstrong💙. They created basket raffles, brought dinner and even facilitated the students at FCTS to work with Manny’s Appliances to donate a washing machine to us.

To Krystal Finn and her mom Missy who came to the hospital one of the last nights. Connor n Krystal where boyfriend and girlfriend in preschool till 7th grade. Krystal earned the right to say goodbye to him, and Missy held me up and let me cry. I love both of you to the moon and back. My life with Connor in elementary school is intertwined with yours and you will always be part of my heart and my family.

To the students at FCTS, we may have lost a son but you lost a classmate and and a friend. That hurt will be with you for a while. I love hearing all of your stories about him, and all of your adventures together.

To Nancy Purington and her family who has been there for me from the beginning. Who came to the hospital and dragged the boys. Just so she could hug me. I don’t have enough words to thank you. She also brought dinner knowing that cooking was not on the list of what I would do.

To Joni Sessions who held my hand after the funeral and gave me permission to fall apart finally. And I did, like a house of cards.

To the students at MTRHS, he was one of you too, and your grief touches me in ways that both hurts and heals. Connor Strong stickers everywhere, a Dodgeball Tournament organized by Brady McCloud in Connor’s memory.

The love that this community feels for us is outstanding, amazing and overwhelming. I may have lost a son, but you all lost a community member, a student, an employee, a friend, a boyfriend and on and on. The way that you have surrounded us to show us your love. I wish I had words other than Thank You. Thank you to each and every one of you. I love you.