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.

The Chime Ache

Jackie with thoughts of Jordan always close.

Jackie with thoughts of Jordan always close.

I had coffee this morning with a new friend. It was our second time getting together and already we talk like old friends. We were introduced to each other through a mutual friend who thought we would be good for each other. Her family like mine is part of a fraternity whose members are not there by choice. Jordan was killed at 19 on October 12th 2008, her son died at 21 in December 2008. When we talk we share our mother sorrow and look towards the other knowing that understanding will be reflected back. I told her how hard the last two weeks have been. Watching all of Jordan’s friends returning to college circled me back to sorrow and anguish that I hadn’t felt since last October. Jordan’s birthday was August 9th. He would have been 20 years old. Watching his friends continue with their lives is so bittersweet. I love and applaud them and ache for me all at the same time.

I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes crying, sobbing the words “I want Jordan to be 20. I want him to be a junior. I want him to come home.” All three things are physically impossible but for now the only reality that is acceptable. The sorrow is so physically present in my body that it had to be named-the chime ache. The days when the pain of loss is weighted in my chest the chime ache is present. It’s an ache that acts like the chime of a clock. Each chime says and feels “Jordan’s gone”.

We have a dead son. In the middle of the night that is how the reality of losing Jordan comes out. It is matter of fact, short and to the point. Sometimes I sit straight up in bed and hold my knees and put my head down. “How can this be?” “ Jordan where are you?” “Please come home we need you.” Even after 11 months disbelief is so intertwined with my sorrow that sometimes just looking at his picture will make me think if I wait long enough I can make him come home. Acceptance that Jordan is gone cannot be fully embraced because that means not seeing him anymore, at least on this earth. It means that he is really gone. For those who have never lost a loved one I’m not even sure if I’m making sense.  All I know is that I have days when the force and reality of his death are so powerful that I can’t move from the chaise lounge portion of our sectional. I sit there and stare out the window for hours wondering what I am supposed to do now? The only thing that lifts me from this grief trance is the part of my brain that still knows that I have 3 living children who need me and rely on me. On my grief trance days my body stores my physical and emotional energy for them. I’m determined that they know that they are loved and I make myself present for them. I never want my children to feel that I’ve checked out emotionally to such a degree that they begin to wonder if they matter. I love all of my children. All of them are worthy of my time, love and attention. They know my grief also. They’ve seen me cry, they’ve asked me “what’s wrong” and I’ve been honest in saying to them “I miss Jordan and I’m having a bad day.” They understand because grief sometimes hits them in the same way. Having a “missing Jordan” time is well understood in our home. The chime ache can strike at any hour and needs no explanation beyond the words-“I miss Jordan.”

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Comments on: "The Chime Ache" (4)

  1. Karen Dates Dunmore said:

    Jackie — your words are so real and yet comforting to me, as I have just entered this journey that you have been on for 11 months. I am inspired by your dignity and hope that as time goes on I will be as strong as you seem to have become. Please keep sharing.

  2. what a beautiful, honest tribute to the death of your son. it made me cry and also taught me a great deal. my prayers are with you this day. may God’s peace and comfort surround you this day and all the days of your life. Becky Memmelaar

  3. Beverly Lyles said:

    What a year it has been. Indeed. Again, a beautiful tribute. As I read, ” the lasts of the firsts’, I let out a moan that my son could hear from his bedroom. He emered from his room asking, ‘What’s wrong?” I told him, I was reading your blog and had come to those words… I began to explain what you meant… He looked on and then came around to see what I was reading. I cursored through your entries and he saw the pictures of Jordan and his friends at his tenth birthday party and on the night of their prom. He saw your picture and thought you looked like you were thinking about something – we then saw the caption. I said, Jackie is a person who always has a smile and a kind word for everyone. If you saw Jackie, you saw a smile. The loss of Jordan has alterred her from the inside out. Her smile is less predictable right now because she is hurting too much… but it will return. The bright, honest smile that you see on Jordan’s face…well, that’s Jackie’s smile. With that, he asked if he might read something. I said, “Yes, read about Jordan’s friends. I thought of you and your friends as I read this.” I handed my lap top to him, and he began to read… By the time, I was able to get the computer back, he had read through several entries and was visibly touched and engaged by your expressions. He never reads anything that is worth anything. Twain can’t hold him, but you did…. Your words are a blessing in many ways…

  4. […] kids coming home for Thanksgiving, it doesn’t matter too much because my internal clock still chimes, “Jordan would be home now.” These feelings surge and then ultimately quiet and I work hard to […]

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