I met Hudson when he was 5 years old, he had just started Kindergarten. I remember to this day how and where I met him. Wes (his dad) and I had just finished attending a Purdue football game in West Lafayette. Hudson was with his Grandma Sue Sue (Wes’ mom). Wes wanted to swing by to check on him before we went and got something to eat. I will never forget pulling up in Wes’ Honda Accord and seeing this beautiful special little boy being held by his Grandma in the driveway. Just a simple “Hudson this is Jenna she is a friend of mine and we are going to go to dinner, do you need anything?” I smiled and said hi, Hudson sort of clung a bit tighter to his Grandma before leaping to his Dad’s arms… and that was it. Simple right? But I remember it like it was yesterday- I can even tell you what I had on and what shoes I was wearing. Come late November and I met one of his mom’s friends in Lafayette so I could drive Hudson to Chicago to visit with Wes. I remember this visit as well- putting the tree up, eating Chinese food, just sitting back and watching this amazing little boy and the way he loved his Dad. It was something I had not seen before, a love that ran deep. A love that even though they only saw each other every other weekend they picked up exactly where they left off.
Fast-forward 2 years and Wes and I were married and living in the Indy area. Over the 9 years I got with Hudson we became really close. Always balancing on the line of parent and friend. I was the type of stepparent that truly tried to stay neutral between mom and dad. I think that because I was the neutral party it deepened Hudson’s respect for me. Now don’t get me wrong I was hard on Hudson, I saw SO much potential. He was an amazing student, athlete and overall amazing human. I wanted the best for him in every situation. My fondest memories are playing with his stuffed animals, crafting, shopping, going to the movies, and just hanging out. I would try to go on monthly dates with him just us.
Through this grief process I have questioned my role with Hudson. I question if I was important to him, if he saw me the same way I saw him. It has taken me several months to come to terms with what I meant to him. It wasn’t until a recent therapy session that I understood the deepness of our relationship. August 2016 Hudson was in a funk- a bad one. Wouldn’t talk to Wes or I, we knew something was wrong but he wouldn’t budge. We tried good cop bad cop, we tried writing it down, we tried texting- you name we tried it. Finally after hours of tears and frustration I said let’s go. We are going on a drive, Hudson and I no one else. We drove North towards the country. I asked Hudson directly if he was gay and I physically watched him change. I watched him think about lying I watched him get nervous. He mutters I don’t know. I won’t go into detail with my exact words as it is a very special moment. I had known or suspected he was since he was around nine years old. After my brief but encouraging words and sharing with him that he wasn’t really telling me anything I didn’t already know. I literally watched him change. He was relaxed, he was smiling, he was glowing, and he was Hudson. FINALLY after all this time I saw the Hudson I met 9 years ago. We drove back to our home to which I took Wes to the garage and said, “Hey Hudson’s unsure if he is gay”. His response- ok, can we go inside now? And that was it. From August to December in our home Hudson was Hudson, he wore make up, we shopped a lot, we had many of fashion shows, he did my makeup. He seemed happy, he played with Kellen again, and he helped us with Nora. Life was good.
Then the hell happened. My monthly chapters started. I truly hope that by following my journey of grief it will allow you to understand, it will allow you to open your mind up, that you will learn something, and that you take what I say and apply it somehow to your life.