I look at this picture and my heart is flooded with emotion. I remember every detail about this day. I remember the joy; I remember the sorrow. I remember the hope; I remember the disappointment. I remember wanting to give you the world and a life filled with nothing but happiness and I remember thinking, “How in the world will I be able to do that?”

Seven years ago, on a late Sunday afternoon, I walked into the Labor and Delivery unit of the same hospital where your dad had been admitted just three weeks before. I remember the ache I felt knowing he wouldn’t be there for your birth. I remember the tears that were always just beneath the surface, slipping down my cheeks when I least expected it. I remember praying, “Lord! It’s not time for me to give birth yet; it’s too early! Keith isn’t better! He isn’t here! It’s not time!” But it was. You were bound and determined to enter the world on your exact due date: Memorial Day of 2009. You were perfect. You were healthy. You were loved.

As I look at this picture, seven years later, I feel God speak to my soul. He is saying, “Look. Look at this picture. I knew what you were experiencing and I knew where I would take you. I knew the next year and a half would be brutal and exhausting, but just as you were holding him, I was holding you. You were never alone. I was always there. I knew the plans I had for both of you, plans of hope. Plans of a future.”

When your dad died, I didn’t know if I would ever feel true joy again. I knew I would try, because I wanted that for you, but in the deepest parts of my being I didn’t know if true joy was possible. My early goals were simple: for the bad days to become fewer and the okay days to become more. I didn’t even hope for good days and I was fairly confident that a great day might not ever be in the mix.

But I was so wrong.

I think back to the hopes and dreams I had for you. I knew our situation; I knew what we were up against. And I knew I would do everything in my power to give you the best life possible. And I prayed. Oh how I prayed! I asked the Lord not for what I wanted, but for what He wanted. I told Him that I trusted Him with both of our lives and that I believed He had a plan for us, and that His plan was good.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the life God had in store for you. All of my wants and desires pale in comparison to what He had already mapped out long before you were even born. Since you were in the womb, He has held you; He has carried you and He has provided for you. He has protected your heart and shielded you from heartache.

I pray you always see the blessings in your life and that you always feel how much you are loved. You are one of my greatest gifts.

You are my heart. You are my treasure. You are my son.

To find out more about this story check out Part One – About Keith and Judy meeting, falling in love and tragedy and Part Two – about an amazing sign from Keith and Part Three an amazing story of how love can be brought back in to our lives even in the darkest hour.

Judy Terrell

Judy was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and currently lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband, son and twin girls.