“Mama, do you remember the time I dropped all of my CD’s?” Jessie asked as I was thumbing through the CDs in our car. “I have a bunch! The music is really beautiful and I have lots of stories. I had to pick up SO many CDs.”
“I remember that. You do have a ton, Sweetie!” I affirmed. “Do you know why you have so many CDs, Jess?” I asked, always embracing an opportunity to share with my girl about the many gifts in our life because of her brother.
“Well, when your brother was sick and had gone blind, many people blessed us with a lot of music and different stories that he could listen to and enjoy even though he couldn’t see. Pretty, thoughtful, huh?”
“Yeah. We have a lot!”
“We do.” I confirmed. “And in many ways they are like a gift to you from your brother flowing out of the love we received from so many people.”
Outside of the soft music filling the car, there was silence.
A few minutes later, as if she had an epiphany, Jessie asserted, “I really wish there was a type of balloon where the top could open up. I would put some of Judson’s favorite CDs in the balloon, close it up, and send them to heaven for him. Then he could open up the balloon, take the CDs out and listen to them again… Oh! And maybe I’d put a toy in there too.”
“What a lovely idea, Jessie! I wish there was a way to do that too,” I affirmed as my heart felt both full and empty all at once.
“Judson must have a ton of balloons up in heaven,” she pondered. “I can’t wait to see all of them when I get to be there with him.”
My mind began to imagine Judson holding a huge bouquet of balloons. And then I pictured him receiving a special flip-top balloon from Jess, opening it with great excitement and bursting with joy when he discovered the treasures sent from his sister.
Though these thoughts are imaginary, Jessie’s genuine love expressed through balloons is the extent of her relationship with her brother; this is her reality. She doesn’t get to play with him. She doesn’t get to hug him. She doesn’t get to go places with him. She doesn’t get to (have to) share with him. She doesn’t even get to bicker with him. The list of her losses is endless. And although Jessie’s very young experience of Jud’s love was short and limited, she yearns for more.
On one level it triggers tremendous grief for me, watching my ladybug live each day in longing for Jud, but on another level, I cannot help but rejoice at the depth of her love, prevailing over death, and her anticipation of their future relationship as siblings in heaven.
Every fiber in my being longs for it too!