There are certain days when reading and rereading the thoughts of those who knew Jordan gets me through the day, especially grey, gloomy days that seem endless. Below is an excerpt from an article from the The Amherst Student written after the memorial service they held on campus. It holds the questions, the spirit and the longing all that love Jordan share.
Remembering Jordan Moore-Fields ’11
As the program allowed anyone in attendance to share a few words of remembrance, Andre Gray ’10E told the audience, “To do [Jordan] justice, think of him and smile in his honor.” Professor of Political Science Pavel Machala, Moore-Fields’ teacher and advisor, spoke of Jordan’s “modesty,” his lack of pretension, that “same gentle smile” so characteristic of him, and how he was “so much ready to be here for three more years.” Miguel Gonzalez ’11 called Moore-Fields “everybody’s boy” and said, “You didn’t know what was missing in the room until [Jordan] walked in.”
Jessica Saffold ’09 elaborated on the same evening by the Chicago lakefront Black described. What Black left out from her story was the appearance of a large raccoon “the size of a small dog” that scared almost the whole group. But not Jordan. He was just “chilling,” Saffold said, and told them, “There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
“[Jordan] was not about fear, not about worries,” she explained. “He looked life in the face and wasn’t afraid.” While Saffold regrets not getting to know Moore-Fields better, she acknowledged, “I am thankful I had that night, that raccoon, that lesson.”
While he did not speak at the service, Peter Stein ’09 says he considers Moore-Fields “possibly the nicest and most easy-going person [he has] ever met.”
“He was usually pretty quiet, but when he did talk he usually said something either very funny or meaningful,” Stein said.
“It becomes hard for me to think about a time when Jordan wasn’t at this school hanging out, cracking jokes at what always seemed to be the perfect time,” wrote M.J. Smith ’09 on the College’s online remembrance board. “[Jordan] was one of the coolest, most chill dudes on campus. He had a way about him that was quiet, but he never let you forget he was in the room. He just never said anything that didn’t need to be said. He was real at all times and he was an honorable person that was fair and loyal.”
As the memorial service on Sunday night drew to a close, President Tony Marx expressed how it’s “hard to see the fairness” in Moore-Fields’ death, the taking of a life full of “so much promise.” He continued to explore the “existential question” of “what kind of world, what kind of fate, what kind of god would choose to take innocence.” He posed, “How could we possibly make sense of a design that would take someone like Jordan… unthinkably, randomly, for some purpose that one cannot imagine?” Marx articulated the pain in the “feeling of the best being taken from us unfairly, prematurely and the terribleness of us not knowing” what Moore-Fields would have become.
In Marx’s first phone call to Moore-Fields’ parents, Mr. Fields and Mrs. Moore delivered the Amherst community what Marx called a “simple, powerful and breathtaking message” for parents to give at a moment of such pain: “The best way for us to honor Jordan is to keep strong and carry on.”
In the end, Marx came to a reasoning that might, in some sense, help “heal the pain.” Moore-Fields’ death, he said, “inspires us to live our lives in a way Jordan would have been proud of. He did not leave us instructions. We will have to figure it out ourselves. Perhaps that is the plan.”
And maybe smiling’s the answer.
Today I needed to share Jordan’s smile.