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.


I just left Lindsay and Kendall at school where I watched a fifteen minute presentation of what they’ve learned in their Monday after-school dance class. After the presentation they are off to another school project that won’t end until five. I have an hour to fill. I always call the time between my driving shifts as limbo time. It’s not enough time to go home and get anything done, and too long to sit and wait for them. I decide to head to Walgreen’s to pick up poster board for Lindsay and the spiral notebooks Merrick requested. I then head to Starbucks, book in hand to kill the rest of my time.

I already know dinner will be takeout. I made peace with myself earlier today about that fact. After traveling last week, it always takes me a few days before the fatigue induced by traveling and the effects of  lupus subsides.

So, here I am sitting at Starbucks drinking a tall skim latte, waiting for Lindsay and Kendall to be done. I try to read, but my mind is too restless. Every attempt to blend in with the patrons who are reading, pounding away on laptops or talking with friends is futile. My mind is racing, taking me to thoughts of loss and what now. Being still too long without distractions pulls me into grief and longing for any day before October 12th, 2008. I pull a piece of folded scrap paper from my purse and start to write. I’m realizing how hard it is on this day to sit still without crying or  screaming.I remember reading the book, “Damage” by Josephine Hart over 20 years ago. In the story the main character upon learning of the death of her son, beats and punches her face and body to still the pain in her heart. Of course she learns self-mutilation does not quell grief.

I think of “Damage” and I want to scream out, “Do you people know how hard it is to sit here, drink coffee and read? My son is gone. He died, he’s gone. I need you all to know his name.”  I want to pummel his name into all of their memories. I don’t take any of these actions. I sit, sip my latte and continue to alternately read and write on my scrap paper. I wait for it to be 4:50 so I can pick up the girls.

I realize as I’m writing and my heart is swamped with sadness, my feet are  tapping along to the beat of the jazz-real jazz(as my father would say) music playing in the background. Here I am writing about my grief, how hard it is to suppress tears and screams, and my feet are on another journey, keeping beat to another tune. I look up from my writing and really listen to the song. I smile and hum along. It is a song from the album, “Black Talk,” by Charles Earland.  I’m swept back to childhood and hearing the cut, “I Love You More Today Than Yesterday” wafting from Daddy’s basement stereo system. I close my eyes and remember him whistling and singing along, “I love you more today than yesterday, but only half as much as tomorrow.”

It’s 4:50 time to go. I let my feet lead me out the door, a new song in my head. “I love you more today than yesterday.” Thanks Daddy.


Comments on: "Soundtrack" (4)

  1. Lucas Ellman said:

    JAZZ MUSIC. Possibly the most beautifully precious distraction available to us. I’ll find myself flooded with thoughts of loss, confusion, and unfairness; then I listen to Dexter Gordon play a ballad. While his pain may not be the same shade as mine, it is still real. I’ll sit there with Dex under these dark clouds and hear him say “Me too man, me too.”
    One thing I try to learn from him: Pain is inevitable and often unavoidable. What we do with our pain however, is completely in our control. Dexter transforms his feelings into wonderful music, as you do yours through these heartfelt posts.
    Thank you for this one, keep them coming.

    “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry” – Dexter Gordon

    • alwaysmomof4 said:

      I learn more and more why you are such a special friend to Jordan and to our family. Sending you much love.

  2. Beverly Lyles said:

    Now Ms Jackie, You did not just refer to Damage, a book I continue to hold onto after 20 years, and that – decided I would read again just a few days ago. The mother’s response to her son’s death… At one ooinr, she is screaming at her husband, that “he (her son) was it for me (her).” That line stuck with me then and has become more profound with each day of my journey as Robert’s mother. What a moment, for a no
    vel, that is rife with moments. Even before we really knew motherhood, we identified with her anguish and carried it forward… So here you are writing about it, and Ive got it on my nightstand, to read, again.

  3. […] looks like a lady.” I smiled as soon as I heard her and chimed in. That song is a part of our soundtrack because of Jordan. None of us know more than the refrain, because it’s the only part we heard […]

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