Hey Jude – “You are Real”

(Started December 28, 2014; completed December 29.  This was shared at Jude’s funeral on December 31, 2014 alongside a velveteen rabbit with which he was buried.)

I don’t think it matters when we lose our babies…they’re real, and our love for them and our pain from losing them is so very real no matter how far along we get in thinking we might meet them and hold them and hear them laugh or soothe their tears.


Dear Jude,


Last night, Mommy and Daddy came “home” from the hospital. You didn’t come with us because you were already at home. Instead, Daddy and I brought your very few but very precious Earthly treasures home in a little box.


The first thing I did when I got home was hold your sister. She was very upset; I think somehow, she knew what happened and she was sad that she wouldn’t get to meet you. When you physically lived inside of Mommy, Lillianne would hug you and kiss you. She would lay her head on you and rub her little mouth on you. She loved you so much, sweetheart. We all did, and we all do, and we all always will.


Mommy was very thankful that your GiGi and Grandpa and Uncle Adam were here when she and Daddy came home because she needed to find some things to give you. In two days, Mommy and Daddy will have the only birthday party they will ever be able to have for you. Mommy wants that to be so very special because you are so very special.


When we knew Lillianne was coming, Mommy had what’s called a shower. Your Auntie Becca had a book shower, and everyone who came brought books that they thought would help your sister grow into a beautiful kind-hearted little woman. Auntie Becca, who is Mommy’s special friend, gave Lillianne a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit. Mommy hadn’t read that story in years.


After Lillianne was born, Mommy would nurse her and rock her and read to her. One book Mommy chose to read was The Velveteen Rabbit. Mommy cried as she read about a little stuffed bunny that belonged to a little boy; the bunny so very desperately wanted to be real. The wise skin horse helped the bunny explain that we became real when we are loved.


As the little boy grew close to the bunny, the bunny was filled with feelings of love and joy when the little boy called him “real”; however, the bunny’s heart was broken when the little boy became sick and they would have to be separated. The little velveteen bunny was taken away from the little boy.


It was at this time that a miracle happened; a magical fairy came to the little bunny and fully transformed him from being a little boy’s treasured doll and companion into a real bunny who could live among real bunnies. At the end of the story, the bunny goes to a special place to live with other real bunnies; though, he returns occasionally to watch over the little boy who loved him so dearly and whose love brought him to life.


I am telling you this, my darling Jude, because I feel like it’s a metaphor for all of us. Though we never got to see you blink your eyes or hear you cry or feel you take a breath, you are so very loved, and you are so very real to us.


My Jude. You are so real. Just like the rabbit in the story, you were taken away from the ones who wanted to keep you and shower you with love forever and ever and you were taken to a magical place called heaven with other real little babies; you are all real my darling for you are all so very loved. I pray that just like in the story, you will watch over Daddy, Lillianne, and me. We will need your love, my darling, to somehow be happier that you are in a magical place for real, loved babies and that we cannot be the ones who hold you close every day.


As a little birthday present and so everyone will know how real you are, Mommy and Daddy are giving you a little stuffed velveteen rabbit to keep you company in your magical place. We love you, sweet Jude, and we can’t wait to see you again one day and to be real with you in heaven.

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