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.

Jordan’s friends are seniors in college. They are at the points in their lives when it is decision-making time, job hunting or grad school applications? One of Jordan’s best friends came out to support Merrick last night as he performed in his high school’s Spoken Word showcase. Merrick told Q about his performance and invited him to come.

After the showcase, I watched Q interacting with Merrick, congratulating him on his performance and reminding Merrick, “Let me know when you’re performing and I’ll be here.” Q is a man now. I hope I didn’t stare but I intently watched him, his maturity exuding from his easy banter with Mark and I and his comfort in his own skin. Where was the shy boy who used to play video games in my basement? Time does not stand still. Even though Jordan only got  to spend 6 heartbreakingly sweet weeks as a sophomore in college, his friends are now making plans for the next stages of their lives.

When I got home later that night I checked my email and saw that another of Jordan’s friends had sent me a message. K excitedly told me that she had been accepted in the Teach for America program and had been assigned to the city she’d requested. I’m so honored that she shared her news with me and that finally she is comfortable enough to call me Jackie although I love when she introduces me as, “Jordan’s mom.”

Reading her email it is clear that I’m on the sidelines. I’ve been left wondering about Jordan and what his next steps would be. What would he look like now? Would the mustache he was earnestly trying to grow be a part of his look now? Would he have shifted from jeans and a hoody to a different style of dress? Would he be applying to law school? Would he be following his love of music and seeking out an internship in the music industry? Would the pull of politics have him travelling back to DC to further his social justice and policy reform interests or would this be the year that he travelled abroad? Jordan what would you be doing now?

Jordan’s amazing friends pull me to the present and future that I otherwise could only imagine my son occupying. At the same time they are a haunting reminder of what Jordan is missing, of what my family is missing. Flashes of pride, envy, anger, and joy strobe inside of me as I wonder, “what if,” and “why,” about my son and stay connected with these children who are now young adults. They give me glimpses, a small enticing taste of what Jordan’s senior year in college may have been like. It is a beautiful, delicate, sometimes burdensome gift, but I would never reject it.

Jordan is forever 19. His friends have futures that are promising and bright. Their love for Jordan and care of my family is a glimpse of God’s grace that I’m embracing. Gratitude, sorrow, tears and respect commingle as I willingly witness the passage of time in the form of Jordan’s friends. As our pastor friend who eulogized Jordan said, “It is living with the roses and the thorns.”

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Comments on: "Glimpses of Senior year and wondering, “What if?”" (5)

  1. Clearly Jordan’s friends love your family, cherish your respect, miss their friend, and want to stay connected to your love and energy. So bittersweet for you, but what a wonderful gift you’re giving them!

  2. I was struck by how these young people, who must be terribly busy with their life plans, feel so connected to you and your family. To me that’s “Jordan.” He may be “forever 19” but his values, his friendship and his life impacted these young folk. What a blessing for you and for them!

  3. Jackie, I am so glad that Jordan’s friends stay connected to you in this way, and so sorry that that connection comes in lieu of your sweet Jordan being here on earth with you. I so understand the mix of feelings that you describe. “The roses and the thorns,” indeed. I have been on hiatus from my fellow grieving mamas’ blogs for a while now– I know that October was a very, very hard month for you, too. Please know that I am always thinking of you even when I am not here commenting. Much love and many hugs as we enter this difficult holiday season.

  4. Hugs and more hugs to you, dear Jackie. Thinking of you always and hoping for increasing peace.

  5. Jordan’s presence and your love are active forces, now and forever. A testament to who you each continue to be.

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