Jud is enjoying his 2nd birthday party with his cousins.
As this year comes to a close, it blows my mind that I wasn’t able to spend even a single second of it with you. My greatest desire remained unfulfilled. With all the longing in my heart, with each yearning of my soul, with every ounce of strength I could muster, I was still unable to have even a moment with you.
I ponder 2008 and realize that it quickly vanished and I am left holding a year of pain. Every single memory, whether good or bad, is marked by your absence. It was as though each breath was deficient of oxygen. Much of the year is blurred by agony and my memory is muddy, but the constant sorrow is crystal clear.
I recall the severe ache with every visit to a park, every picture taken, every swimming excursion, every appointment with a doctor, every carousel ride, every trip on the train, every time Jessie was at her class at church, every time passing the helicopter outside the grocery store, every song Jessie sings, every “taster” I get from Trader Joes, every Taco Tuesday, every trip to the mall, every visit to a coffee shop, every trip to Disneyland, every experience at the beach, every time I see your name tattooed on my arm, every visit to the local farm, every experience at a petting zoo, every fountain, every McQueen or Thomas toy, every roly-poly, dragonfly, butterfly, and ladybug, every blonde boy, every newborn baby, every walk around Balboa Island, every song at church, every gift I give or receive, every children’s book I read, every windchime, every balloon, every Matchbox vehicle, every dandelion, every trip to a pet store, every visit to Daddy’s work, every gathering with your cousins, every time Jessie uses the potty, every Saturday morning when your Daddy leaves for coffee with just Jessie, every time your sister wears a piece of your clothing, every visit to your grandparents’ houses, every time I am with other children …
Judson, the list could go on and on because I literally ached for you every single moment this year.
Furthermore, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and one-time events were particularly excruciating; they served as glaring reminders that life goes on without your presence. One such event that specifically stands out to me was when your cousin Abie came home from the hospital for the first time. It was a sweet moment filled with incredible grief as I realized that this beautiful baby girl would never ever meet you, her big cousin Jud, on this side of heaven. Abie is an amazing gift, probably conceived right around the time you died; her little life beginning while yours was ending. And now, adopted into the family, she brings light and life; in many ways she is a symbol of God’s redemption.
And this is one way in which I want to honor your memory this next year…by keeping my eyes wide open to see God’s redemption in and through this pain. Just as I see and feel you with every breath, Jud, while longing to actually see and feel you, I also I want to see and feel God, my Heavenly Father, while longing for Him in much the same way.
Though my desire for you, Judson, will remain unmet in 2009 and for the rest of my earthly life, I know God is at work in your story. I don’t want to miss it – please keep teaching me Buddy Boo!
I love you tons and tons,
Jessie wearing Jud’s jacket at Taco Tuesday.