During the time of his illness, Judson met a cat named Oliver who also had a broken body. Ollie was an older cat who had been well-loved throughout his life, but with age, had lost the use of his hind legs. He died not too long before Judson died.
The other day I had the chance to interact again with the couple who owned and loved Oliver. I shared with them that Judson’s story is being published and mentioned how the book includes an entry I wrote about Judson’s interaction with Ollie, along with a picture of Jud Bud and their cat. After noting their excitement, I thought I would give them a sneak peak of that page in the book, seeing as I had just received an electronic copy of the final layout of the manuscript a couple days previously.
Upon seeing the black and white photograph of Jud and Oliver, they described how it brought back all their memories of Judson during that season. They both began to cry. Their emotion was clearly uncontainable. Yet just as quickly as their tears started to flow, so also did the apologies for “blubbering” in front of us. They were bashful about emoting around Drake and me, and unsuccessfully tried abating their tears in what appeared to be an effort to protect us. They just kept saying how sorry they were that they were not being “stronger” in our company.
We have discovered how people are commonly apologetic about their tears over Judson when they are with us. I perceive they fear it will heighten our pain or bring to the surface our difficult emotions that are not currently manifesting at the moment.
The truth is, there is very little that touches us more than when someone is so deeply affected by our little man that they are moved to tears. We see it as a sacrifice for others to engage our loss enough that Jud’s little life impacts them to the degree that their feelings are visible.
Every tear that has been shed on behalf of our boy, in our presence or not, is a gift to our broken hearts.