A Letter to My Girl

My Judy Pooty,

Hi my angel girl! I’m writing you a letter to let you know a few different things; the first

thing I want to tell you is that we’re all doing okay. Everyday waking up to remembering

I don’t get to get up to your face snuggled up beside mine, or walk into your room to see

only a ball of Minnie Mouse comforter in the corner of your bed, that somehow you’ve

managed to roll yourself into, or hear you and your sisters teaming up to get the toaster

strudels out of the freezer and fighting over who gets the last chocolate one, is harder than

I know how to explain to your sweet, innocent mind. But I do it anyway.

Norah misses you so much. I know you miss her too. She tries to play with Hannah and

Graves, but they aren’t you. You were her best friend, and you always will be. I know she’s

older than you, but she loves you like a twin. You’re half of her. She’s trying her best. She’s

watching a lot of YouTube lately. I think that’s how she keeps her mind busy. I want to put

her in gymnastics or dance to entertain her, and I probably will soon. But I feel guilty because

I know how much you wanted to do those things too, and I never had the means to afford it.

I always said “I’ll look into it” whenever you would ask. I know you two did softball last year,

and even though you didn’t like it too much, I’m glad you got the chance. Sometimes I’ll look at her when she’s asleep at a certain angle, or when I’m doing her hair, and I see you there.

Hannah is getting better. Her medicine helps her a lot, and her therapists keep her trying new

things she’s too scared to try at home. She’s going through a tough patch right now, where

she’s really sensitive to emotions, and doesn’t want to push herself or do easy things she can

do, on her own. I think it’s just part of her getting better, but it’s hard on all of us. I wish I knew

what to say to motivate her. But you know what, even as foggy as she is a lot of the time, she

texts me from pretty much a room away, almost every single day, to say, “Mom I miss Jude”, and I send her a picture or a video of you, and she says “Thank you. I love you Mom”.

Graves loves you so much. I thought he was too little to really feel much about you dying, but

Sissy, he talks about you more than anyone! He looks at pictures of you and says “Jude Bowlery is a angel! Judy is alive!” And I’m so glad he does. When he sees videos of you, he watches them over and over, and his eyes shine so bright! There’s a lot about his personality

that he got from you; more than anyone else actually. Me and your daddies notice it all the time. He even pronounces words like you. Thank you for teaching him to be so funny. You

live on through him so much.

Kyle is okay too. We’re trying our best to make the life for your brother and sisters, that we always wanted you to have, but never had the chance. Not to mention, we understand now more than ever, life doesn’t wait, and “someday” doesn’t always come. If we had known the things we know now, we would have found whatever way we had to, to give you the world, and all the extra love you deserved.

Your daddy is trying his best to make a whole life he can bring Norah into. He’s been working really hard, so he doesn’t have to stay gone so much. His heart is broken about “someday” never coming too. He’s sad he didn’t get the chance to be with you more. You should give him a Judy Magic surprise too. He never had much love in his life, but he sure had you and Norah.

Another thing I want to tell you, is thank you for all the gifts and signs you keep giving me. I will never agree that you died for a reason, but I know you’ve given us the chances we have now. It’s obvious. Your name is on it. Thanks for not keeping it too subtle. You know your Mommy can be pretty skeptical…I feel like I need to explain what skeptical means bc I can just hear you in my head saying “What?! What’s THAT mean?” But I won’t. You can ask Grandma or Granny or Gingy, Uncle David or Aunt Charlotte.

I also want you to know some other things, these things are the things that break me the most, but you’re my baby, and I need you to know.

From the time you were in my belly, through all the years of your life, I never felt like you would be with me forever. I always brushed it off, thinking I was being silly, and assumed it was something like I just wasn’t spending enough time with you, or whatever I could think up to make sense of it, but it was there always. I didn’t think you would die at 5 years old, I didn’t think you would go anywhere at all! But the feeling was always there, underneath. Anytime I would have a nightmare of something happening to one of my babies, it was always you, and each time after the first few, I would cry when I woke up, because I didn’t understand why I couldn’t protect you in my dreams. And even before those dreams…before I was ever a Mommy, when Norah was only 8 weeks old in my belly, I dreamed of you. I swore at the time it was Norah. I absolutely knew it until you both got bigger and you both developed your own features, and I got to know you and your wild hair. You came to me and showed me you, years before you were ever thought of. You have always been an angel. While I’m not religious, and I don’t believe in any specific thing fully, the one thing I know is real, the one thing I’ve truly experienced is you. You are an angel, and always have been. That’s why I wear a bracelet everyday that says “Lucky to be your Mommy”. That’s why you never asked for more than extra snacks. That’s why you had nothing but patience. That’s why you couldn’t tell one person you loved them without telling everyone else within earshot the same. I have an angel! I miss my angel every moment of my life, but you were with me before you were born, and you keep making sure I know you’re still here after your beautiful, happy, ultra silly life ended. We were never able to place who or what you would be in our ideas of what the future would look like. And everyone always said Jude is Jude and that’s it! You were nothing like anyone, anybody ever knew. You’re an angel. I think you knew it too. Actually I know you did, because one day I was talking to you guys in the car about all the religions, explaining how you’re allowed to believe or not believe whatever you want, as long as you came to your decisions yourselves, and you said “I don’t believe in God, Mom. But I do believe in angels!”

Most of our family would probably lose it if they knew we encouraged you to think for yourself on that turf, but I’m proud of you, and knowing you knew all along is the most surreal, beautiful thing I’ll ever experience. You incredible girl!

I miss your little sticky hands, your squishy nose, your unibrow, your wild hair, your stinky feet, your constantly dry knees and elbows, your outie belly button, your one skin tag, your secret freckle, the birthmark in your eye, the way you said “I love you muh muh!”, and the way you screamed every time you laughed so much, but my baby…your heart is still here. You live on through the love you gave us. And the “Judy Magic” you keep sharing with us, let’s us know you’re still our girl, and you’ll really be waiting when it’s our turns to be with you again.

I love you most, Judy Pooty Valerooty

-Your Mommy

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