Dear family and friends…
Jud has been gone 10 months. Time is passing. Life continues. But the gaping hole in our hearts remains.
As we are only two months away from the anniversary of our little man’s death, I am reminded of an experience I had at “Judson’s Park” back in October 2006 (several months before the onset of Krabbe disease). I began to chat with a woman who, a couple minutes into our conversation, shared that she had lost her 5 year old son just a year prior. I was so taken back by her story and unable to even begin to imagine the depth of her loss, but I also specifically recall thinking that her grief had likely diminished significantly at that point—a year seemed like a long time to me. I realize now how unfamiliar I was with severe loss and how it’s very likely my assumptions about her sorrow were completely wrong.
The other day I was at a local coffee shop and ended up chatting with a man, and as our conversation unfolded, he asked me how many kids I have. After informing him that my almost 3 year old son died last November, he kindly asked me if I still get emotional sometimes. The question surprised me….still get emotional?!!!??! Does he not see my bloodshot eyes from the tears I just cried this morning? Does he think it doesn’t hurt very often anymore? And then I remembered my conversation in the park back in 2006; unless you’ve been through it, it’s so hard to understand the enveloping nature of severe loss.
We are on a very long journey of grief.
This last month has been one of my hardest since Jud died. My grief certainly looks and feels different than it did in the beginning months, but it has actually been just as searing as of late. And Drake had a season where he was feeling pretty good, but he has hit another low too. This is simply a natural part of grief—the ebb and flow. But when the sorrow hits severely, it is hard to see much else.
That being said, I have begun to notice changes in my heart that seem indicative of progress toward healing too. I have observed myself responding differently in some areas than I initially did after Jud died – changes that seem more healthy and whole (a future blog post in the making). It is strange to notice progress, but encouraging as well.
I was sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office this week when a stranger suddenly turned to me and said, “Are you Christina?” Perplexed and surprised, I responded in the affirmative and then she proceeded to tell me that she has been praying for our family for almost a year. She said, “You probably have no idea who God has raised up to pray for your family, but there are many.” Right at that moment she was called into the doctor’s office, and I was left standing there with tears pooling in my eyes and an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Who are we that anyone should be mindful of us? We are astounded when people mention that they continue to cover us in prayer. And may I be so bold as to say that we still desperately need it…we have discovered that the doldrums and challenges of life seem to hit hard while we are weak and weary under this heavy blanket of sorrow, making us easy targets for the enemy to attack and try to take root in our sin-prone souls. “Thank you!” does not adequately express how grateful we are for each and every prayer that is offered on our behalf.
Along with the love expressed through prayers, we have had some other blessings arise this month .
Angels Charity, a non-profit organization in Costa Mesa, kindly included Judson’s name on a new sign at a local playground. This was a huge honor and we are so touched! You can read more about it and see pictures on Judson’s In Memoriam page.
We had the chance to finally meet and catch lunch with a family that significantly co-labored with us in prayer throughout Judson’s illness and has since continued to love and support us. They happened to be in our area for a family wedding and it was a gift to finally connect face-to-face.
Lastly, Jessie turned two this last month. She continues to be a saving grace, a symbol of hope, a tremendous joy, and an incredible blessing just like her big brother. We are regularly in awe over our little “Ladybug” and grateful for each moment we have with her. Just like Jud, we recognize that she is not ours; she is simply a precious gift entrusted to our care. We pray for God’s grace as we seek to honor Him in our parenting of her, asking that He protect her from any ill-effects of our grief and pain.
As we move into the Fall which is filled with a whole host of emotional triggers for us, we want to continue to lean into the Lord and trust. God help us to that end!
Much love and gratitude,
Christina (on behalf of Drake too)