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.

Messages

When the doorbell rang this afternoon, my first thought was, “solicitors” and I was right. Through the door I saw the telltale id tag on the lanyard. I sighed as I opened the door. As the volunteer introduced himself, I looked down at his clipboard and saw, “PIRG” stamped on the front. Tears welled in my eyes as he started his well-rehearsed speech. He of course had no idea that PIRG was the organization where Jordan interned the summer before he died; or that I would start to cry when he mentioned the credit card reform legislation recently passed by Congress. Jordan worked on that legislation. The group he was assigned at PIRG drafted key wording and lobbied Congress for passage of the bill that affected the marketing of credit cards to college students (Think about all of those banks readily handing out credit cards to eager college students.)

Jordan loved working in Washington DC, in particular on Capitol Hill. He would call me during the week to tell me about the “drops” he did of information packets to key lawmakers. He was also very fond of the cafeteria on Capitol Hill. Seeing the PIRG volunteer today brought back some wonderful memories and compelled me to reread emails Jordan sent me that summer. When I have encounters like the one today with the unsuspecting volunteer, I feel Jordan’s presence and get a reminder that he’s not too far away.

Another Reminder

Jordan typically wrote his first name and then instead of writing his hyphenated last name, he would write his initials: M.-F. He always complained about having a hyphenated last name and said that when he got married he would probably take the surname of his wife. I would tease him saying, “No, don’t do that. Be sexist, keep our name(s) going.”

Recently through one of Jordan’s friends, Jordan’s use of his initials took on more meaning. Jordan remained connected until his death to a group of friends that he met the summer before his junior year of high school at a program called Telluride Association of Sophomore Seminars (TASS). Even after that summer, the TASS kids maintained their friendships through texting and FaceBook. They also saw each other at a reunion hosted by TASS before they were off to college.  The program had such an impact on Jordan that he planned to apply to be a counselor. This summer might have been the one where he fulfilled that goal. Jordan’s TASS friends continue to keep in touch with each other and got together in NY this past summer for a reunion. Several of them remain close to my family and check-in with us, always reminding us how Jordan always spoke of his family especially his siblings.

DeAntwann, a friend of Jordan’s from TASS, wasn’t able to attend the “Express Yourself” event. He wanted to be a part of the evening though, and emailed me a poem expressing his memories of Jordan. Through his poem my world of Jordan expanded. I am so gratified to keep learning new things about my son. His friends are a gift.  I am so happy to share what DeAntwann wrote about Jordan:

Monday-Friday…

You were supposed to be the next Black President,

When I met you winds howling outside calmed down to a stand still,

Your demeanor so calm, so collective, so smooth,

I instantly thought to myself “man this guy is cool”,

And cool you were,

Delicately touching our hearts with your words,

You were wise beyond your years,

I picked up pounds of knowledge from you and I thank you,

I knew you for six weeks but it felt like eternity,

It was like we grew up together,

Childhood friends,

That knew everything about each other,

Favorite color,

Favorite song,

Things friends should know about each other,

I remember distinctively you coming to TASS with a knowledge of Hip Hop,

Pure Hip Hop,

Common, Lupe, Talib, and others I haven’t heard of until our encounter,

Easing that Chi-Town State of Mind on us,

You enlightened me without even trying,

You were the mediator,

Counseling any dispute that we had,

We went to you for our problems,

We went to you for answers,

When you passed away, my world started moving in slow motion,

I began to see it unfold,

Life was moving so fast and losing a friend held it to a stand still like rush hour traffic,

I still have a hard time knowing that you are gone,

But I know you are in a better place,

With every breath I know you watch over us,

We use to call you Jordan Monday-Friday,

Because everyday of the week we can count on you for anything,

Monday-Friday your heart was open to us,

Monday-Friday your friendship spoke volumes to us,

We miss Jordan Monday-Friday,

Even on the weekends…

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Comments on: "Messages" (7)

  1. Oh, Jackie– You probably know from reading my blog that I don’t know what I believe about the afterlife, but I’d love to believe that Jordan paid you a visit in the most unexpected way.

  2. You don’t know me – I commented once before but I found your blog from Hudson’s One Good Thing blog. I just wanted to say that reading this made me very happy. While I haven’t experienced the type of immense loss you have, I have found in the grief that I have experienced how appreciative that as time passes I am constatnly, it not just once and a while, reminded in interesting and powerful ways of my loved ones. The visit of the PIRG volunteer is one of those ways where out of no where you are struck with a memory – and moments like that help to keep Jordan present. I hope you can rest comfortably inbetween these serendipitous reminders that another one is inevitably going to visit you soon.

  3. Wow, Jackie. That is really cool to hear that Jordan worked on the credit card reform legislation. I work in state government in the area of consumer protection, and our office had taken legal action against some of the credit card companies soliciting on college campuses back in 2007. But thankfully, now that the reform legislation has passed, that is not an area we need to police quite as much any more, because all of the really bad stuff is just against the law now. It is a really big deal in my field of law; I was just talking about it with someone in my office today. It will be even more meaningful knowing that Jordan played a role in making it happen. Thanks for sharing this story.

  4. I am so very sorry to have had to miss this beautiful celebration. Please know my heart is always with you on this journey. As soon as I have regrouped from this round of film production, we will talk turkey.

  5. Oh, Jackie, it is so wonderful that you have these contacts with Jordan through different avenues. Every day, I am so, so sorry. I wish I could help.

  6. How beautiful! Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. The poem so beautifully says what Jordan was all about. And everything he did, and everyone he loved was touched! And still is!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. This entry especially speaks to me, as someone who met jordan that summer. Everything D wrote is true. Please keep writing, I find myself looking forward to these memories of my best friend whose life was cut way too short. As always love, so much love to you and your family.

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