My dear Jud Bud,
I regularly find myself staring at your pictures. They are one of the greatest gifts I have in the wake of losing you. These still images that captured a moment in time have proven to be one of the most treasured things in my life.
I have studied your image from every angle: your teeth, your nose, your ears, your hair, your lips, and your cheeks, but most of all I get absorbed in your eyes, the window to your soul.
I always have. When you were a baby, I would hold you in the crook of my arm and stare at your eyes, wondering who you might become. You would stare back at me as if no one else in the world mattered to you (a mother’s gift). And I knew that what appeared to most people to be big brown eyes, were actually filled with deep olive tones and golden streaks—so incredibly beautiful, so full of life, and with such an amazing sparkle.
As you grew, no longer able to fit in the crook of my arm and developing a mind of your own, I would regularly ask you to show me your eyes. You would stop what you were doing with a big bright smile, open them as wide as you could with a silly little look on your face, and walk over to me so I could get an extended view into your incredibly amazing soul.
One of my greatest heartaches in your suffering and affliction came as a result of your blindness. Suddenly, the light went out in your eyes and you were no longer able to stare back at me. Your gaze was empty, causing your eyes to atrophy and rarely open all the way; your eyelids covered your “windows” most of the time. The death of your eyes (and your voice) pierced my heart like nothing else.
I often wonder when you last saw my face. I hope I was smiling back at you. I hope you could see the way you put a twinkle in my eyes. I hope you saw all the pride, warmth, and love I have for you.
And I hope you can see it now from heaven! Though the light went out in your eyes and life left your body, I am eternally grateful that life could not be taken from your soul. As you know, I long for our reunion, and more than anything I am desperate to look into your beautiful eyes again and have you staring back at me. I cannot wait to see your “windows” open and your eyes shining.
In the meantime, as I am captivated by your eyes in photographs, you continue to help me “see”. You give me appropriate perspective on life, open my eyes to God’s character, and give me a vision for my real, eternal home.
Even though you aren’t in my arms, you are not invisible—I see you clearly Judson – I will let nothing obscure my view!
With deep love and longing,