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.

Christmas Time Is Here

My sister Julie is one of the most creative people I know. She and her husband couldn’t be with us in Chicago to celebrate Christmas this year, but she sent her presents ahead with our parents.

A few days ago she said to me, “There’s one gift I want you to open before Christmas. It may make you a little emotional. I just wanted you to be prepared.”

“Okay, thanks for helping me get ready.”

I knew her gift would be something connected to Jordan. I wondered what it would be and figured it would be a picture she’d found and framed.

When I woke up this morning before I opened my eyes I said, “It’s Christmas Eve,” and I started to cry. Another Christmas Eve and Jordan isn’t here. I wondered, “How are we going to keep doing this without him?”

I moved closer to Mark and laid my head on his shoulder. In his sleep he made room for me and put his arm around my shoulder. He woke up as he felt my shoulders shake from sobs. No words were needed. He held me until I reached for a tissue.

“Where are you going,” he asked.

“I have to go out and get pastries for breakfast. Mama and Daddy want those carrot cake teacakes from Bleeding Heart Bakery.”

“Can I go with you?”

“Yeah, that would be good.”

“Let’s stick closer together today okay?”

Through tears I nodded and said, “Okay, that sounds good.”

When we came home with the pastries I asked my mom about the gift Julie wanted me to open early. Mom retrieved the gift from a shopping bag and handed it to me. I started to cry as soon as I saw Julie’s customized wrapping paper. Here is the paper:

Jordan and Lego Santa

Paper is emblazoned with a line from, "My Favorite Things."

If you look closely there is a picture of Jordan taken by one of his friends next to a Lego Santa. The paper also has the words, “Brown paper packages tied up in string,” a line from, “My Favorite Things.” Jordan loved listening to Coltrane’s version of this song, especially at Christmas time.

I gazed at the paper taking in every detail and carefully opened it truly feeling that old adage, “It’s too pretty to open,” but I’m so glad I did. Over an orange cranberry teacake and a cup of coffee, I felt Jordan next to me as I opened the beautiful package. Inside the box was an ornament that Julie made for our Jordan section of the tree. She took a small canvas and made a beach scene complete with sand and shells. It has a beach chair beckoning Jordan to come and sit awhile. On the edge of the chair is a miniature version of the book, “Holler If You Hear Me, “ by one of Jordan’s favorite authors Michael Eric Dyson. Every time I look at the ornament I imagine Jordan approaching the beach chair ready to resume his reading and soak up the sun. Thank you Julie for helping me feel Jordan on Christmas Eve.

Jordan's Ornament


Comments on: "Christmas Time Is Here" (9)

  1. Andrea Reid said:

    I love this. Your sister is so incredibly thoughtful. I am sure her journey of grief has caused her to cry many tears as well.It is so poignant that she combined things that she knows that Jordan loved and made them timeless in this ornament. I am so touched. Thank you for sharing this personal tribute.

  2. Your sister is one in a million. So thoughtful and careful with your heart. Sending my hopes for Christmas peace to you, Mark, and the children. May all of you and your extended family feel close and loved.

  3. I loved the visualization! Your writing is so vivid in creating emotions and the detail makes me feel like I’m in the room. Thanks for sharing and may your soul be soothed by Jodan’s presence.

  4. anne palmer said:

    Wow. Julie, you are soooo awesome. I can’t even come close to comforting my brother this Christmas with him missing his son. Jackie, my love to you and Mark and the kids. I know this does not get easier with time. Your line “how are we going to keep doing this without him” is so telling. Love you bunches, Anne

  5. I love that Jordan’s gift to you all this Christmas is to remind you to come closer together and be mindful of each other. I hope that the rest of the day was as lovely as the beginning.

  6. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing, as usual it is emotional and thought provoking. You and your sister are so incredibly creative, I’m sure you both make your parents very proud.

  7. Another loving tribute, Jackie. Keep writing.

  8. I just discovered your blog through a friend of mine and I am so happy I did. My older brother passed away very unexpectedly in October 2009 and my family has been finding our way through our grief as well. We just passed our first anniversary without him and it has been very hard on us. Your sister’s gift was amazing. This christmas, I got my mother a scrap book and put the words of the poem, “If tomorrow starts without me” on every page. We are going to put together a collage of pictures of my brother. I just want you to know you aren’t alone. This kind of grief is immeasurable and its like belonging to a club you never wanted to be a part of. Thanks for having this blog :-). I am sending it to my mom. You have gained two new readers who will learn about Jordan and his meaningful impact on the world.

    • alwaysmomof4 said:

      Tiara I am so sorry for your loss. It is a club no one asks to join. Thank you for your kind words and welcome to my blog.

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