We went to pick Jessie up from childcare at church last week. As it turned out she was one of only two kids that evening. The other child was a girl named Bella, who happens to be just about Jud’s age.
When we walked into the room, Jessie and Bella were playing. Jessie was chasing Bella and then pointing things out to her; they had clearly been having fun together. As we began informing Jessie that it was time to leave, she spontaneously went up and gave Bella a big hug on her way out. My heart melted and stung, all at the same time.
When Drake and I got in the car, the first thing we both noted was Bella’s similarity in age to Jud, and how much Jessie and Bella were enjoying each other. It left us imagining what Jud and Jessie’s relationship might look like, were Jud still alive.
I think about the lost dynamic between Jud and Jessie regularly throughout my days. Jessie will say a new word, and I can picture Jud’s excitement and desire to expand her vocabulary. As Jessie’s enjoyment of books has recently increased, I have envisioned Jud sitting with her, reciting the books he knew as his sister turns the pages. I picture Judson showering Jessie with kisses, and her now returning the affection. I dream of taking walks with the two of them in the double stroller as Judson teaches Jessie and she responds with enthusiasm.
Not only do I sit in grief over the loss of my son, I am overcome with grief over the loss of Jessie’s big brother.