Dear Jud Bud…
I find myself longing for a new photograph of the two of us together. Longing. And longing. And longing. But there are none. Nor will there be. I repeatedly gaze at the same handful of pictures of you and me…I’ve been staring at these same ones for twelve years now. It’s heartbreakingly impossible to create new memories with you, while the memories of the life we shared together are increasingly more distant.
We are moving tomorrow. We’ll have a new home and we’ll be one more home removed from the life we shared with you. It’s another big shift in our life…without you. Our world keeps markedly changing and you’re not part of it. As much as I carry you constantly in my heart, and as much as you are indelibly written on my mind, my memories with you are farther and farther away.
Yet, there are certain memories that overcome me like a flood, fully engulfing me, as if I was right back in the moment again.
The day we lost you is one such memory, Juddy. That sacred day, now twelve years ago, when you were torn from my arms by death, can wash over me like a tsunami with all the emotions as raw as the day itself. I remember your last smile for me; it brings me to my knees with it’s poignancy. Your suffering tears my heart into pieces anew. Your lifeless body leaves me longing for your warmth, the rhythmn of your breath, and the beat of your heart. The moment they carried your small frame away from me leaves me desperate for one last kiss, one last stroke of your hair, and one last chance to gaze upon your beauty. This has been my longing now for twelve years.
But there is another day that is indelibly etched in my heart. Yet it’s not a memory…it’s a yet-to-be realized but imminent picture of our reunion. I see you on a dirt path racing around the bend of a mountain, running as fast as you can toward me. You have an enormous grin on your beautifully sweet, innocent face as giggles of immeasurable joy uncontrollably spill out of you. You leap into my embrace because you’ve been longing for it as much as I have. And I shower you with the billions of kisses I’ve been saving for you.
The best part is that our Savior is lovingly looking on with great delight over our reunion. This is death conquered. This is victory. This is what He gave His life for…that we might live with Him in all the fullness of heaven… fully engaging real life with the ones we love—who love Him too.
And so it is that I am flooded by the memory of the day we lost you as if it were today, but I am also overcome by the picture of our reunion for when it will be tomorrow. I’m enveloped in all the seemingly contradictory emotions at once—immersed in joy and sorrow. These paradoxical emotions continue to learn to live ever more comfortably with each other in my soul.
All that to say, I’m always saving up kisses for you, my little man, and I’m warning you that I may have enough kisses to cover you for all of eternity.
You have my heart in every way,