A lifetime feels like an extremely long time to wait to see Judson again, yet in his absence, I want my heart to grow fonder.
Death brings separation, and separation can weaken a bond as memories become more and more distant, while other things begin to fill those painful places in a broken soul. But if I truly believe that Judson ‘s soul is alive and that we will one day be reunited, then I want to continue to cultivate my love for my Sweet Man. Even though his body is dead, since his soul lives, I desire to do everything in my power to grow my affections for this little child that graced my life for almost 3 years; I want to further develop our bond.
Because this is difficult to do when the one I love is no longer physically present in this world-it requires me to be very deliberate about my remembrance of my Jud Bud, even at the expense of greater pain or lack of understanding from others.
Every day when I get ready in the morning, I intentionally wear something on my body that signifies my love for Jud and induces memories of him. It is most often a necklace with his picture or name, but I have also worn Lightening McQueen “tattoos,” Thomas the Tank Engine stickers, Jud’s Lightening McQueen watch, or a shirt that is a special memento. I want to have some outward symbol of my precious little guy everywhere I go.
I also have a piece of jewelry hanging from the rear view mirror of my car that has the letter “J” with an angel perched upon it and Judson’s December birthstone-it was a gift that has become a very special reminder when I am driving, of the boy I adore.
There are certain pictures of Jud in our home that I pass throughout the day, and as I walk by, I often kiss his little face, or wave, or tell him how much I care about him. I also declare how much I miss him and look forward to seeing him again. Even when his picture is not before me, I talk to him; I am very aware that he cannot hear me, but cultivating my love entails conversation, even if it is one-sided.
Along those lines, I also frequently write Jud letters. Putting my thoughts on paper helps me to sort through all the feelings that race around in my mind and enables me to clearly express my heart to him. Though he will never read these letters, it does not minimize the sentiments expressed therein.
I watch videos and look at pictures of Jud every single day. I want his smile, big brown eyes, mannerisms, cute little voice, funny antics, and great sense of humor to be ever-present in my thoughts.
Next to my pillow, I sleep with one of Jud’s fleece, basketball blankets that I made for him. I keep it unwashed so his scent is still sweetly present on this cherished token of my boy (I made 6 of these blankets when he was still an infant and they later became an essential part of his sleeping routine).
I also continue to buy things that I place throughout our home to serve as keepsakes and memorial décor. In particular, I keep my eyes open for items that symbolize our family of four.
Most of all, I regularly ask the Lord to make Jud aware that our love for him is undying, and we are developing and reinforcing our attachment to our beloved Judson until the day we are reunited.
My decision to grow my love for my boy, after he has passed away, may seem counter-culture in a society that seems to ignore the realities of death and quickly brush the deceased aside. But if I truly believe Jesus died and rose again, and because of this, according to God’s Word, those who receive Him will live together in eternity with Him (1 Thessalonians 4), then my response to his absence needs to be consistent with my hope and expectation for our reunion, even if it means choosing to be regularly reminded of my painful loss.