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.

With Friends Like These

There are so many people in my life who have shown me what true compassion and grace look like. Yesterday my family and I received so many communications of love and support and we are forever grateful.

I have one friend from college who showed me I could laugh again in the months after Jordan died. We had been out of touch over 15 years, even though mutual friends kept us updated on each other’s lives. I saved every email she sent and reread them finding wisdom, comfort and laughter in her words. I’ve already told her that she will have her own chapter in the book I’m writing.

The emails I received from her started 2 weeks after Jordan died. I would hear from her at least weekly. She offered comfort, “remember when” stories from our college days and so much understanding. Some days I would look out the window after receiving an email from her wondering if she’d been watching me. How else could she know exactly the comforting words I needed to hear? Laughter and tears accompanied my reading of most of her emails. It got to the point that as I sat with my laptop and would randomly start to laugh aloud or at times cry, Mark would simply say, “Bev?” and I’d read to him what she’d written and he’d share in my emotion.

Today I wanted you all to get a glimpse of my friend Bev. Here are condensed versions of emails she sent to me after learning of Jordan’s death and the one she sent on the 2nd anniversary.

What Bev Said

October 27, 2008 4:02:52 PM CDT

My  Dearest Jackie,

Beautiful, kind,  Jackie….Girl with  a smile and a kind word for everyone. I miss you dear friend and I am so  very very sorry.   All words seem inadequate. Because they are.  I won’t speak of religion, or espouse lay philosophy  in an attempt to comfort  or bring sense to your loss.   I know, there is not much that anyone can say  or do…there is only time.  We have been out of touch for far too long. But I want you to know, that you are loved.   I and so many of  our classmates  are thinking of you, hurting   for you, sending out prayers and love,   and lifting you up.  We are all with you right now.   I  want you to know that you are Sunflower- with a life force and a spirit full of light- outshining all the other flowers in the garden. I see pictures of Jordan , and I know who gave him that smile and that same bright, blinding life  force.   Consider this communique, my arms and heart,  extended across these many years and miles, to you.   Please know that I will do whatever I can to help you –  [  ]The only thing that  has changed with  me is that my figure is no  longer an hourglass, it is now a beer glass.

I  was laid off in June and (I have been throwing confetti ever since). …..and pretending I have a husband, a house and an income. I get my nails done, drink coffee at the local coffee shop, and  am in the middle of reading Anna Karenina. Sure, I am about to be evicted but.. ..could someone pass the  half and half?  Anyway, I say all of this to say, I have some free time on my hands.  And I want to see you. Let me help you in any way that I  can. [ ]I am calling you. Feel no obligation to talk if you are not up to it, or are busy. We go back too far to be worried about being polite.

I will be calling.
(If my phone ain’t disconnected)

Please be patient with yourself …. know that you are loved.


October 12, 2010 7:38:34 PM CDT


I want you to know that today and everyday, you are in my thoughts, my prayers, hopes and wishes.  I am simply wishing for a measure of relief for your weary heart.   I don’t think I can ever tell you enough times how very, very sorry I am. Life proves itself to be so very unfair sometimes.  All references we make to karma,  and reaping what you sow,  can so quickly prove false and fall away when the unimaginable happens – leaving our point of reference, our guide for an ever changing, unpredictable world, shattered.  What karmic adage can make sense of the chain of events that took your precious Jordan away?    I know your world and everything you believe has been turned upside down by Jordan’s accident.  You follow the rules of life. You give the love. You nurture, raise, and shape this beautiful boy. You give him to the world, shiny, polished and perfect, and the world does what it will, as it will. as it has, making no sense and undoing  everything we have ever believed about how to be, how to do, right and wrong, good and bad.
Jackie, everyday, I imagine your mind still asks and wants to know why. Everyday, you  seek answers to a question that cannot be answered in a way that makes sense, and will give you peace. No because in this universe can explain and justify the loss of Jordan. My prayer for you today is that this unanswerable question, one day, will cease to gnaw at every level of your conscious and unconscious mind.  I wish peace inside your mind for you.  Fight on for the sake of your children, your parents, your husband, your friends. Fight on, because Jordan is right beside you, and wants you to know that he loves you, he has changed forms but he has never left you.  Beautiful mother, he is okay.  You will see him again.  Feel him now. Reach out and just hold him quietly.
Keep going Jackie. Sometimes the universe is cruel and senseless, yet it continues to require that we make our way through it sensibly and with sensitivity.   I’ve said this before, and I know, Jordan would not want his mother to be so sad forever.  The  depth of your love is greater than your tears, and your sorrow.  You will overcome. Everything is going to be alright. It may not be today. It probably won’t be tomorrow. It may not be any time soon. But Jackie, I promise, it will be. It will be . Keep going.
Love you much,

Comments on: "With Friends Like These" (5)

  1. There are some things that should not be read while working. This was just such a post. I am so happy you have Beverly in your life. She is so wise and so loving. What wonderful communications. Thank you so much for sharing these.

  2. jackie,
    I am always torn between reading and not! Between expressing and ignoring! Between purposeful ignorance and deep sorrow! But I always come to the same place – reading and feeling are mandatory!
    We were in the same school but knew each other passingly! Never enemies but never “true” friends! This situation and reading your words and others’ words makes me know you! I could never be as eloquent as Bev but do understand this – I love you and you are one of the strongest women I know (and I know a few)!

    Love John!

  3. The tears are flowing for your Jordan as well as my Lizzy….Bad week for me. You know how that goes. My oldest went to homecoming and I am thinking ” Lizzy should be with her!, She would be a freshman in high school now!” She was 10 when she died in 2007, just so hard to imagine and the dance was a major trigger for me, one of those “milestones” I loved the letters, thank you for posting the them, I do wish I received letters like that, the first one did make me laugh a bit. Hope you are well Jackie.

  4. Each time I visit your blog, your writing pulls me in and I can’t stop reading. Your post about your aunts was beautiful. I had to hold a tissue the entire time I read (and wept). Thank you for writing and letting us be witnesses to your journey.

    Anniversaries are excruciating. The first three years were the worst, they began to be less overwhelming after that (very cold comfort), but it reminds me of Bev’s advice to keep going. She sounds amazing (“if my phone ain’t disconnected” made me laugh).

  5. I understand why you spoke so highly of Bev this past weekend. Her words made me cry, and made me laugh, but most importantly brought me comfort. What a great friend.

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