I have a sweet friend, Jen, whom I met through the Costa Mesa MOMS Club when Jud was about 18 months old and I was pregnant with Jess. Jen is incredibly thoughtful, sensitive, generous and kind; I have written about her before on my blog. She has proven to be a gift in my life time and again, but interestingly, we have very contrasting philosphies and perspectives in life. Yet one of the greatest gifts she has given me over the years is the way she continues to love Judson. This week, she posted an open letter to Jud on Facebook that touched my heart in a way that is impossible to express in words and really challenges me to grow in my love for others—her love moves me and stretches me.
Jen gave me permission to share her letter here, despite knowing that most of my readers may have differing viewpoints. I hope Jen touches your heart too…
It has been almost five years since I first saw this street sign and thought of you, the little blonde-haired son of my friend. It’s such an unusual name – how random to find a street sign with the same name! I smiled when I saw it because I immediately thought of you, your brown eyes open wide with excitement about life, your sweet smile seemingly a permanent fixture on your sweet 2 year old face.
The first time I saw this street sign you were my friend’s little boy: sweet, gentle, smiling Judson. You were excited about your newborn sister Jessie and full of joy. You were remarkable in your kindness and intelligence for such a young boy.
The second time I drove by this sign it made me sad. It made my stomach turn. You were no longer just sweet little Jud, you were sick. Very sick. I felt acid in my throat thinking about the sickness that was raging in your tiny body. Your body was being seized by illness, darkness and paralysis.
I thought of you all weekend after I drove by that street sign. Others who knew you were praying. Praying nonstop that you would heal, mend, be well. There were fasting, prayer circles and so many other ways to call out to God to heal your body.
I don’t pray, Judson. I thought of you often, all the time in fact. I wished you would heal, I hoped for your body to recover. But I never prayed. Until that year.
You see, I drive by that sign each September on my way up the San Bernardino Mountains to a yoga retreat. The year you were sick, I stepped out of my comfort zone. I participated in a Reiki healing circle. I meditated. Our circle of people at the retreat all focused our energy into one healing force. I imagined beautiful, healing energies — a ball of fantastic and amazing light — surging forth, through the ground, through the place where my feet touched the Earth, racing through rock, stone, granite, sediment, to you. Racing like a pulse of magical healing power, erupting under the foundation of your home, racing up the stairs to your bedroom floor, coursing through your bed and your skin, into your tiny veins, pumped to your generous heart where it would pump the healing energy to your brain, to the lining of your skull that had deteriorated from the vile, unwelcome disease. I imagined the energy replenishing your cells, your body restoring itself to full health and vitality – miraculous! Healthy! Whole again! WELL!
I am not a deeply spiritual person Judson. But I tried. I tried to focus and ‘help’ you in the only way I could, when science and medicine and even other prayers had failed you.
Love and hope seemed to be the only things that were keeping you alive. I poured as much love and hope into my meditation as I could muster, hoping I would come home at the end of my retreat to happy, miraculous news.
But I didn’t. All the hope and love and prayer and meditation in the Universe (and there was a LOT of your behalf, young man!) could not fight the battle in your body.
You died two months later.
I miss you and I think of you often. I think of you when I look at my own blonde-haired little child. I think of how much you would love spending time on the playground with Sophie and how I wish I could have watched you grow. I think of you all the time, Jud. But especially in September when I pass your name on that street sign.
Because even though my meditation, my hope, my ‘prayer’ if you will, didn’t come to fruition, for those brief hours you lived in my mind, fully healed, walking again, joyous again, singing again, smiling again, whole again.
And you will always live on in my mind and in my heart – joyous, happy, smiling and whole.
Blonde, sweet, gentle, charming, Judson.