Judson's Legacy

Fourth Birthday

Dear Judson,

Happy Fourth Birthday!

I’d love to take you out for coffee today.  We could go to Peet’s.  Instead of sharing my drink with you, I’d get you your own.  And it would be a nice, sweet, Happy Birthday hot cocoa.  By the end, I’m sure you’d have chocolate all over your mouth-you are, after all, my son.

After that, I’d take you to the fountain or the bookstore, or even to look at toys.  It’s your birthday, so I’d probably get you a new car or train.  You could have picked it out yourself!

This isn’t the first and it won’t be my last wish that doesn’t come true concerning you.

But that’s just the beginning-there’s a whole world of things I’ll never see.  I’ll never know what you would start playing with if your Thomas trains got old.  I’ll never find out whether you’ll like the second Cars movie better than the first.  I’ll never know whether you’d have played a musical instrument or what sport you would like best.  I won’t see you and Jessie carry on a full conversation this side of eternity.

I’m bracing myself for a lifetime of this.

If being a father is one part love it’s also two parts hope.  My hope was propelled by the promises of God and nourished by so many prayers for you.  I looked forward with great anticipation of what you were becoming, wondering what might be in store for an articulate and kind-hearted boy like you!

If hope deferred makes the heart grow sick (Pr. 13:12), what am I to do with hope destroyed?  I don’t know; the wound goes very deep.  But today I’ll be content to hurt and remember you, my precious boy!

And I’ll wait with hope in the One who will soon make everything new-and will rejoice at our reunion.  What a glad day that will be!

With all my love,

12 Responses to "Fourth Birthday"

  1. Allyson Stevenson says:

    May God’s never~ending peace be poured out to you both today…and know His grace is sufficient for all your needs.God Bless you both, we love you, Happy Birthday Judson! Stevenson family

  2. Brandi says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family!

  3. Dawn Mills says:

    Thinking of your family today. Praying for peace as you remember the all too short life of your Judson.

    Angel Makinley’s Mommy

  4. hh says:

    No words. Just tears.

    Praising God for Judson’s life today.

    Love you guys so much and covering you in prayer.

    Heather and Mark

  5. Rebekah says:

    As I’ve been thinking about Jud this Christmas season, I realized again what a gift he has been to me…

    Because of Judson, I place a new value on Jesus.

    Jesus is more precious, more valuable, because He is the only One who give us eternal hope. He is the only One who can take the destruction of hope… heartbreak… and make it, in eternity, into complete restoration and joy.

    Judson’s death left me with a sense of loss, frustration, and many questions. Jesus is all the more precious to me now because He is more real- because our need is more apparent- because He is our HOPE in Jud’s death.

    I know that your grief and heartsickness over Jud will never end until you hold him in your arms again…

    As for me, as I remember your son, my sorrow is also mixed with thankfulness at the gift he’s given me: a glimpse of Jesus and His worth.

    Thank you, sweet Jud, and Happy Birthday!

  6. christina thomas says:

    happy birthday little man? its so sad ur life ended early u would of been 4yrs old? u are a blessing and will be missed so much i never got to met u ? u was a handsome boy and smart as well? merry christmas

  7. 46434 says:

    Dear Drake and Christina, too,

    There is nothing harder in this world than losing a child. Nothing.
    You wonder "why?"

    It occurred to me that if we were asked for volunteers for parents to send their children to heaven, who would step up? Now I. Now you.

    But one Father did. Amazingly, the little baby born on this day was born only for that reason. A volunteer to proceed us, to intercede for us, to cleanse us with His blood.

    Could the pain have been less for His earthly mother and father?

    You are facing both the blessings of Judson’s birth and the tragedy of loss. Judson, too, brought JOY to the world. Judson and the Other Baby are celebrating a New Life. Together.

    Of course you knew that. And the question lingers;

    Just know that you are not alone. I can only give you love and the hope for peace. Prayers ascend to the Other Baby. But my heart is broken, too.

  8. 46434 says:

    oh, my typing fingers are not working!

    Who would step up?

    NOT I
    and certainly NOT you.

    Blessings to your and little Jessie Girl, your shining star. I am so happy that you have her to enjoy.

  9. Jean and Gary Butler says:

    Happy Birthday to you
    Happy Birthday to you
    Happy Birthday dear Judson
    Happy Birthday to you

    Love and eternal hugs sweet boy~
    Jean and Gary

  10. Ryan Lee Sharp says:

    Drake, I just found you guys today and read your story and watched your videos and looked at your pictures. Wow. I doubt you even remember me, but my eyes well up with tears reading your entries.

  11. Patrick Oswald says:

    Dear Drake,

    I learned of your dear little boy Judson from your wife’s article in the recent BIOLA alumni magazine and went immediately to the website. Your family’s story has deeply moved both me and my wife. We have adopted our three nephews after a few years of fostering them from the midst of a drug-addicted family. They are now 4, 7 and 8 years old. Since our youngest boy has cerebral palsy and asthma problems at times, dear Judson’s story feels very close to my heart.

    As a brother in Christ I want to express to you my sincerest hope that in your grief for Judson you continue to be comforted by our Mighty Redeemer. I really do not have words to express to you my thoughts toward you as a fellow father. You must know that the tenderness I experience when I re-visit this website spurs me to greater faith and causes me to re-dedicate myself to my God-given role as a father. I am also reminded to keep you and your family in my prayers.

    I do not think that Judson, or your family, will ever be forgotten by my wife and I. Your story has been on our lips whenever we have met with friends or family since we read of it.

    I’ve often pondered how the wonderful love we have towards our children also opens us up to real potential pain. I believe that such pain is redemptive somehow, but I cannot chart its path. There is no map for such a thing. I hope and pray that you will experience Christ’s love evermore intensely each passing moment.

    God be with you, my dear brother.

    Patrick Oswald
    South Orange County

  12. angie Green says:

    Dear Drake,

    Reading this for the first time today, I am moved to ask if you have considered writing a journal/devotion for dads. As co-founder of Mothers Like Me Grief Care/Support Ministry for moms who have experienced the death of a child here in Northern Colorado, I can tell you that there are many dads (and moms) who would greatly benefit from reading your "dad’s heart" expressions concerning your boy. I know Christina has written a book about Jud (anxious for it to be published) and I hope you will consider writing for dads, as so many cannot write for themselves. The love you articulate so well as you write to Jud could help other dads open their hearts in accepting and expressing their grief, too.

    If you decide to compile some of your letters to Jud and to the Lord, be sure to put me on your pre-publication purchase list!

    Blessings and Love – Angie Green

    P.S. I will be thinking of Jud and singing Happy Birthday on Christmas Eve this year. Jud lives on in the hearts of thousands – – what a blessing to know that such a little one is impacting the world for good! Doesn’t take away the pain, but from personal experience, I know that whenever someone celebrates the life of our beloved son, Kevin, we burst with joy! Today, I’m celebrating the life of Jud Bud!

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