Sharing my mourning journey as my family learns to live a new normal after the death of my 19 y.o. son in an auto accident on 10/12/08.

Waiting for the Mail

I will always be the mother of four. When people ask how many children I have I immediately say four and if they look at me with that “go on” look I tell them. I have a 16 year old son who is a junior in high school, I have 10 year old twin daughters who are in 5th grade and I have a son Jordan who was killed in a car crash on October 12, 2008 when he was 19. Since Jordan died I live breath by breath. I am learning that relationships are eternal. Jordan will always be my son and I will always be his mother. Grief is teaching me many things. This first posting is a glimpse into my mourning journey.

Waiting for the Mail

There is only one other time that I wanted to avoid the mail.

It was the day my oldest son, Jordan, was expecting his admissions letter from Amherst College– whether it would be the thick or thin envelope. If I even saw the mailbox I would know. If there was a bulging envelope, he was in. It was news that he should receive first. It was his experience and his news to share with others. I didn’t want to take that surprise or joy from him.

And, if it was the thin envelope I wanted to allow him the time to compose himself if he needed to before he had to tell anyone else that he hadn’t gotten into his first choice school. That day I made sure I didn’t drive by the front of our house. I didn’t want to see the mailbox, bulging or not. When I came home that day I drove through the alley and parked in the garage. It took everything in me not to peek; but I didn’t.

It was Jordan’s news to share and I wasn’t going to steal even a piece of his joy.

I busied myself while watching the clock. He would be home by 3:15. He would see the mail in the mailbox and he would know his future and soon after I would know. I waited in the den where I usually waited for him. I always sat in the same chair and he would sit at the computer. It was our way.

I had learned not to ask too much about his day, when I did the details were few and sketchy. But, somehow when I happened to be sitting in the chair in the den and he came in and sat at the computer checking his email and looking at ITunes, elements of his day flowed naturally and easily. He would talk about crazy things that happened at lunchtime, or something odd or wonderful that one of his teachers said. It was our time and it always felt like a sacred space.

As I waited that day for the Amherst letter, I heard the door open and then I heard him yell,“YES!” It was pure joy. I had the camera ready just in case and as he rounded the corner not having to call out or look for me because he knew where I’d be. I captured the joy as he held up the thick packet from Amherst with the most beautiful smile on his face. He was happy, relieved and on his way. It was a moment I’ll never forget. I told him how I’d come in the back way so he could get the mail. I wanted him to have his moment and he was awed my generosity. He thanked me as he hugged me in our sacred space.

April 6, 2009: I again knew what mail was coming. We knew the accident report detailing all the information of the October 12, 2008 car accident that killed Jordan would be in our mailbox today. I knew it would be here today. I knew I’d be home alone when it came. I promised my husband Mark I wouldn’t open it and I haven’t. But, I did get the mail and I saw the thick envelope from Massachusetts and knew what it was. I could have let the mail sit on the floor in the foyer.

But, I heard it drop through the slot and I knew it was here. We had waited 5 months for this report: the report that would give us all the information of that still unbelievable night that took our child away from us. Our attorney and the State Trooper told us the report would include the interviews of Jordan’s three friends who were also in the car and walked away without being seriously hurt, the interviews with witnesses to the accident and the report of the re-creation of the accident.

These would be the items contained in the big envelope that came today.

All I could think was, when we read it we’ll know what the last moments of our child’s life were like. The accident was a time that I wasn’t there waiting for him. It was the one time I’d give my life to hold him or to tell him to hold on. That night I couldn’t create a sacred space between my child and me. The first time I waited for mail for Jordan I was able to capture joy on his face.

This time I couldn’t be there to even say goodbye.

I’ll always wonder if he needed me. I hope he knew that just like the day he got into his dream school, with my heart I was as close as around the corner; always waiting and wanting to be there for my boy.

Two such different times, one where my heart almost burst with pride and now where my heart is ripped out and must mend in its own time. I have to figure a place to put this new pain. My relationship with Jordan is eternal. And as this pain eases, the sacred space that we shared will be renewed and I’ll find a way to share both the joy and the sorrow in that space.

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Comments on: "Waiting for the Mail" (19)

  1. Andrea Reid said:

    Jackie, I would never ever say I understand what you are going through, because I do not. But your blog posting yesterday helps me to understand. It has left me breathless, teary, with a lump in my throat and with such love for you, someone I have not seen in years, but I met you when you were all of 18 and bursting with the same joy and excitement that Jordan had on that day the thick envelope came. I thank you so much for sharing this intimate and touching portrayal of your son and the relationship you still share with him. Blessings always.
    Andrea Ewing Reid

  2. Thank you for sharing this journey. How can something be so beautiful and so painful at the same time?

  3. Beverly Lyles said:

    Thank you Jackie. Your writing is clear. Your pain is clear. So many things to think through and live through. I know the chronicling of this experience will bring many new experiences for you. Those of us who share the privilege of knowing you as well as others, who will, no doubt, derive so much from your willingness to give all a view into this journey. You are courageous and a bright light. You are finding and fighting your way through this…
    (On another note, So I guess I should stop attempting the bells and whistles and just get going with the blog huh???…du-uuuuhhhhh)

  4. Richard Gray said:

    And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation- Kahlil Gibran

    Your writing proves that the depth of your love for Jordan will continue to bless you even through the pain of his physical separation from you. Thank you for allowing us to be blessed by sharing your journey of love through your words. Know that you do not take this journey alone. You will always have your family, friends and Jordan with you along the way.

  5. Marsha lawson said:

    I send my love to you, this is all that I can say. I know that it may be enough, but I feel I should say more.

  6. Cathie Peterson said:

    Jackie,
    Thanks so much for sharing this journey with us. You will never know how much your words can be a blessing for someone else.

  7. I remember a conversation we had a few years back. You lamented that there were times you wished you could devote more time and space to writing, as it was something you loved to do. It occurs to me in reading this incredibly beautiful, eloquent, and perfectly written piece, that you have always been right where you are supposed to be. You spent your years in your chair. And you now are sharing that amazing brain of yours with words so precisely placed that my heart ached and soared right along side you as you made your way through this piece. Please keep going. Jordan’s gift right here and now may just be surfacing via your writing becoming a permanent part of the literary milieu. I look forward to more honest life on this journey of yours.

  8. MARVA A. MOORE said:

    JACKIE THIS WAS A DYNAMIC STATEMENT THAT WAS WRITTEN. IT MADE MY HEART AND SOUL SHAKE AND CRY FOR THE LOVE FOR YOU AND JORDAN. THANKS FOR ALL THE WORDS AND BLESSINGS. I AM HERE FOR YOU AND PLEASE CONTINUE YOUR WRITINGS. I LOVE AND PRAY DAILY FOR YOU AND FAMILY. MOMMA

  9. Jacquie, reading this is difficult but I’m glad I did. I think of Jordan and all of you often. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Jackie, you are truly a gifted writer. You have expressed your love for Jordan and the pain of his loss so clearly I can almost touch the emotions. I sobbed through the words. As a mom, I know the intensity of love I feel for my children. When they hurt, I hurt. When they are sick, I feel sick. When they celebrate, I celebrate with them. As I read your words, I could not help feeling vulnerable, exposed. I remember the same feeling when I learned about the death of a friend. He died at age 31, leaving behind his wife and three young children. He and his wife were good friends of ours. We were crushed by his death. Our hearts broke for his wife and children. I remember snuggling up closer to my husband at night unable to sleep as I listened to his breathing. For months I had trouble sleeping, fearing that this “blackness” would come to our family as well. How could we stay safe? I began to end every phone call with “I love you” just in case something happened on the way home. These feelings rose up again as I learned of Jordan’s death. As you know, we just sent our son, Alexander, off to school for his freshman year. I find myself questioning if he can possibly be safe away from us. I selfishly want to keep him within reach, within my circle of love. I know this is not possible. We all need to experience the fullness of life. No matter how close I try to keep my loved ones, I know that I cannot protect them fully. That kind of power does not belong to me. What I mean is: we do the best we can to teach our children the skills they need to know how to make it in this world…then we have to let them go. The only way I have been able to “let go” is to give my loved ones into God’s hands, no matter where they are.

    Thank you for your honesty and openness in sharing your journey. I will keep reading, looking forward to getting to know more about all of your family as I do.

  11. Kelli Taylor said:

    Hey My Jackie,
    Wow! I am sitting here at work…it is Thursday evening and this is my first time here…I am so very proud of you. I am writing now through tears but there is joy all at the same time. I read and can see all that you describe…like I was sitting in the sacred space with both you and Jordan. My heart aches but you need to know that you are so very blessed. What a gift you have…that you have shared with us here. Jordan continues to watch over all of you and I know he would want there to be only peace in the Moore-Fields household. That day will come, slowly but surely. I LOVE this, what you are doing here…and I am so proud to be your friend. I can’t wait to read more…I am ready for your journey….I love you honey pot!

  12. Rossana Barnaby said:

    Jackie,

    All I can say is that your writing makes me think of beauty being born out of ashes. As a mother, I have a sense of the shadow hearbreak has cast on you, but I do not have the full sense of your experience.

    My brother died from an unexpected heart attack two years ago. What you have written that has brought a measure of comfort to me in my grief. Your writing has blessed me and I am sure it will bless others.

  13. dawn hackshaw said:

    Dear Jackie,
    I’m very computer illiterate and don’t really know about “blogs”. I was able to open this from an email you sent and I’m so glad and honored that I had the opportunity to read this amazing piece of literature, yet such a deep “peek” into what you are going through. I knew how deeply you loved Jordan but the college letter experience helped me to understand more that “deep connection” the two of you had. Jordan was such an amazingly special young man. He is so deeply loved and so greatly missed.
    Please keep writing!

  14. Shelley Uhler said:

    Jackie, altho I know your sacred space will always include both joy and pain, I am hopeful as I read that the joy will come more & more often for you there. Your description of being overwhelmed by experiencing the Marvin Gaye song out in public was stunning and your connection with Jordan touches me to the depths of my soul. The strength you show by exploring these most overpowering moments & emerging to write about them is humbling. You and Jordan and your family are often in my thoughts, with hope and with awe.

  15. Vanessa wayne said:

    Jackie I think about you and mark and say a prayer everday to grant you strength. Your blog speaks of incredible strength and unbelievable compassion. You are not only trying to find your new normal but are sharing your journey. Thank you.

  16. linda graham chapman said:

    dearest jackie:
    i so often would ask your mom about Jordan…i felt as though i knew him thru the many wonderful stories about Jordan’s growth..time will ease the pain and you will trump the wonderful memories over the pain….i too will celebrate Jordan because i know for sure that he was one of God’s rare Jewels….thanks for sharing your Story…..

  17. […] death. He was executor of Jordan’s estate and given Power of Attorney. While both of us read the accident report, Mark was the only person other than a dear friend, who picked up the death certificates from the […]

  18. […] There are no magic formulas of protection or safety. I’m sitting with that harsh reality and waiting again for a box in the […]

  19. I’m waiting for my daughter who is trying on dresses for her school dinner dance. And I’ve had to stop reading your post because I was about to cry in the shop. Jordan was a lucky young man to have you as his mother. Life is an unknown, I know this much. But love is always and always.

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