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.


Relationships are eternal

Relationships are eternal

Some days, courage is needed to leave my house. When you’re grieving the loss of a child, minefields are everywhere. I never know if I’ll run into an acquaintance I haven’t seen since Jordan died who needs to express their condolences on a day when I am doing okay and am not prepared to help them mourn my child. Other times it is memory triggers- one of Jordan’s favorite songs being played in a store or listening to talk radio and hearing a discussion of a movie he and I watched together and loved. I was in a bookstore a few months ago and Marvin Gaye’s \”Trouble Man\” came through the sound system. I stopped in my tracks and stood there remembering the first time Jordan came to me after listening to that song. You would have thought he was the first in the world to hear it. That became his anthem as he worked hard senior year and plowed his way through AP classes and college applications. There I was in this store listening, remembering Jordan singing and trying to remember to breathe. On that day I consciously decided that this song represented joyful memories of my boy. I kept walking into the store determined that I could bear to listen to the song and replay Jordan’s antics as he mimicked Marvin Gaye. It was a wonderful memory and the store was providing the soundtrack.

Other occasions the shock of how an image or a sound will hurtle me into grief feels like a punch. The wind is knocked out of me and I stop and again have to remember to breathe. On one occasion a few months after Jordan died I was in a stationery store determined to get thank you notes. I had not written a single one and people had been so generous with food for our family, their cards detailing memories of Jordan and donations to Jordan’s fund that guilt was why I’d left my house. As an aside, my guilt on the matter of thank you notes has eased but not been erased. Thanks to the help of my friends, sister and Emily Post I cut myself some slack and hope people know how grateful our family is for all that is done for us. I’ve written five thank you notes so far and still am determined to give a proper thank you to all.

As I perused the shelves in a stationery store I had been in dozens of times I happened to look up and see a family tree poster for sale. Just looking at it made me back away. My family history which I researched going all the way back to my great, great, great -grandfather and reported on at my 50th annual family reunion that prior summer now mocked me. My family tree was broken. A branch, Jordan’s branch that should have multiplied and spread had been cut short. I can never imagine filling a family tree out again. When I come to Jordan’s branch I can’t write date of birth and date of death for my child, it is too unnatural. Looking at a poster of a family tree was the minefield for that day. That poster sent me stumbling to my car to sit and weep.

There is no way to be prepared for all of the things out in the world that will come my way. I’m learning to steel myself against possible minefields but at the same time trying not to harden myself against new experiences. I’m determined for me, and the example I am to my family to remember the joy I know the world still has to give. For that day however I knew I was done. I went home to my grieving place to sit and be still and simply feel what I was feeling.


Comments on: "Minefields" (6)

  1. My heart is especially heavy today. When the moon sits high in the sunlit sky on these nearly fall days, it reminds me of Jordan’s passing. Every single day I wish his branch was still growing strong and reaching for the sun. I love you, my sister.

  2. Jackie, i have read each of your entries, and am amazed at how you are able to articulate the indescribable, so very well, and so honestly. This writing is important – for you and for others.

    I loved the photo of you and Jordan together. I had not seen that one before. There is so much love in both faces.

  3. Beverly Lyles said:

    Keep going my friend. Keep writing. And keep going. The strength of your bond with Jordan is in every word you write and every experience you relay. Jackie, I can’t even find the words to express what I am feeling after I read your entries. You are bringing the moment by moment of this experience to life in a way that just leaves me full of admiration, respect, sorrow, worry and faith…. for you, in you. Minute by minute by minute, you are holding on and keeping on. You may not feel it is so, but you are growing stronger each day. The day will come when breathing will, onc eagain, come without thought….

  4. Jackie, I have always admired your strength, warmth and humanity. I’m grateful that you found the courage to share your thoughts and your grief so openly. I deeply hope this will be part of the ongoing healing and coping journey. And I hope that you feel the love that so many people have for you and your family.

  5. […] grief. My experience to date lets me know otherwise. Grief does not follow a linear path. There are minefields that bring me to my knees no matter how functional and at peace I felt before. If I try to deny […]

  6. […] would have been okay if you came home. Talk about a minefields. You could have come home if you wanted […]

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