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.

Everyday I miss Jordan. I wake up missing him, and I go to sleep missing him. Sure there are times when our spiritual connection is strong and I feel his presence, but those times have not served to negate that intense almost feral desire I have to see his life continue to unfold. I still need to talk about Jordan. I want to share both the great and the not so great memories of all the times we had together, times when we laughed together or shared our favorite scenes from movies, times when my voice went hoarse from screaming at him when he’d pushed me too far because my answer of, ”No” wasn’t enough and he had to have the last word.

I need to say his name and know that I’m being heard and that he isn’t being forgotten. And when despair sets in the thing I crave most is to be able to cry the same way I cried in the early days after he died. Crying hot tears of grief, anger, bewilderment and pure sadness without having to explain that even though it’s been 3 ½ years since he died, some days my hurt is like it happened yesterday. Grief surges and pulls at me in physical ways that make me want to scream.

Mark and I were at the car wash a week ago and as we sat in the car being herded through the line watching the sudsy cloths flow across the windshield I said to him, “this is the perfect place to scream. I could scream here and I wouldn’t have to worry about upsetting anyone.” Sometimes when I’m out in the world attending to mundane tasks of running errands or even when I’m engaged in a meeting or having lunch with friends I feel a surge of pain so powerful that I bow my head for a moment hoping that the scream I feel within won’t be released. At these moments I can tell you that all I’m thinking about is how do I keep going when my son is dead and I miss him so much? I want Jordan. I want the actual blood and tissue and heart pumping Jordan. I’m not content to sit knowing his spirit is with me. These are times that border on insanity and I wonder how long they’ll last.

I have to miss watching what so many of the parents of his friends are allowed to witness. I don’t get to see him get his first apartment, fall in love, find a career that thrills him, butt into his business and have him say, “Mom, I’ve got this, don’t worry.”  I don’t get to see him grow older. As a parent there are days when not being able to call him or touch him make me wail out in pain. Grief has not left the building.

My heart was shattered when I heard the words that Jordan was dead. Even now there are days when the improbability of me outliving my child makes me shake my head in disbelief. I know that part of my longing to see him and be with him is because March is here, the month of my birthday. I’ll grow another year older and have to accept that it is a gift my son will never know again. There’s always the whisper from inside me as my birthday approaches, “Jordan, you take my birthdays I want you here.” Even birthday wishes can’t bring my son back. As much as I know that life goes on and that I want mine to be meaningful, oh there are days when the hurt takes over. It is on these days that I wonder how to let the world know I’m not doing as well as you may think. My heart is mending but it carries a scar that feels like it may never heal. The calls and cards and all the communication I received in the first year have dwindled but not completely gone away. I guess the only way people know how you feel is if you tell them. The problem is I’m not always sure that the notion that I’m still mourning and have days where the tears won’t stop falling may be hard for others to understand. The trouble is I don’t always want to be alone as I mourn. I still need to cry and say out loud how much it hurts that Jordan is gone. I’m not looking for answers just the understanding that it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since the death of a loved one. I need to know that those that care about me can call, email, send a card, be here for me in whatever way feels right, without undue discomfort.

I’m pleading for understanding. I’m better than I was a year ago but my mourning journey still takes me to the depths of heartache and longing. Most of us seem to accept that there is no time limit on grief but be aware, that as the string of days grows longer and functioning in this world grows easier it takes a long time for a shattered soul to be fixed back into something that resembles a functioning heart. Please, think of me, pray for me and ask me how I’m doing if you can. Just be patient in my halted reply.


Comments on: "Please Keep In Touch: The Grief Does Not Stop Here" (6)

  1. Laura Jordahl said:

    Jackie, I don’t spend much time on Facebook but for some mysterious reason I opened the page and found your post. Thank you– for letting out your sadness in such a powerful plea. My ears are ready to hear whatever you want to share about Jordan, whenever you are available. Though the grief you experience I am unable to fully understand, your loss has often been a reminder never to take the love of my children for granted, to cherish even the petty annoyances. It has softened my heart to appreciate what is here and now, and so whenever you would like I offer my heart to hear what you have to share.

  2. My heart breaks for you. I know the pain, the journey you are on. I will pray for you.

  3. Although we do not know each other, my eyes fill with tears as I know how hard this is for you and I wish so much I could ease it so much more. I do think of you and send you warm thoughts and hopes for peace in your heart as much as possible. God bless…

  4. It’s definitely not the same as losing a child, but after my Mom died at age 58 (I was 27), it took seven years before holidays and anniversaries didn’t plunge me back into grief. Three and a half years seems like a long time to someone who hasn’t lost a key person, but to those of us who have been there, it’s still early days. As you said, you just want to be able to tell stories about the person, remember them and be held as you miss them.

    My heart hurts for you. Having a new 5-month old it’s already terrifying to me to think of him dying before me. After 18 years of getting to know him it would be that many times worse, and knowing how much I’d be cheated out of continuing to know him would be brutal.

    Places to scream or break things are VERY helpful. I remember buying dishes at a thrift store just so I could throw them against a brick wall near our house. (I cleaned up, but it felt SO good to do something on the outside that reflected my inside emotions)

    Thank you again for your honesty. It’s heart-rending, beautiful and worthwhile.

  5. Much love from a distant pal,

  6. Jan Gilpin said:

    Prayers for you. You have said this so well. My 18 year old son died on September 5, 2007. Some days the pain is unbearable.

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