There are so many sweet memories of Jordan that make me laugh and smile. Memories that always felt precious. I just didn’t know they would have to sustain me because he’d be gone. This morning as I drove my daughters to school, Lindsay broke out in Aerosmith’s song, “Dude looks like a lady.” I smiled as soon as I heard her and chimed in. That song is a part of our soundtrack because of Jordan. None of us know more than the refrain, because it’s the only part we heard Jordan sing. He was notorious for bursting out with a random song, just like his mother. 🙂
Jordan filled my world with his eclectic taste in music. He could come home from school singing Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” and by the time he sat down at the table with a snack he’d segued to Marvin Gaye’s, “Trouble Man,” and then tidbits of hip-hop from artists like Nas or Common. In his sillier moods he would turn whatever you were saying into a song. My music-loving son turned,“We’re having salmon for dinner,” into an operatic refrain. I was also guaranteed to hear him sing, “This Christmas,” by Donny Hathaway, throughout the year. Jordan loved Christmas. Before he left for college the summer of ’08 he asked if our family could see the Joffrey Ballet’s performance of, “The Nutcracker,” when he was home for Winter break. It had been a couple of years since we’d gone and I was excited that he wanted to go. I told him I’d get the tickets early so we would have good seats. I had the Ticketmaster website bookmarked on my computer and planned to buy the tickets the week Jordan died.
As October 12th approaches, memories of Jordan and the gaping wound caused by losing him are colliding. I can barely breathe as I remember the last weekend Jordan was alive. I bragged about him while on the sidelines at the girls’ soccer game the Saturday before he died. The last phone call he and I shared plays on a loop in my mind. My last words to him were,” Be safe.”
I want time back. I want to hear Jordan singing as he moves through the house. I want to continue my debates with him on politics and society’s ills. I need the comfort of his frame seated near me on the couch as he reads or watches TV as I tell him to stop cracking his knuckles and his neck. I want another chance to watch him tease his sisters and brother and hear them yelling, “Stop it,” as they race after him.
Jordan’s love for his family especially his siblings was transparent. In their eyes he was larger than life. He had them convinced that the pound cake their grandmother, Oma, made every Thanksgiving was his and that they had to ask him if they could have a piece. Even after I told them the cake was for everyone, they still formed a rotating sentry to make sure he didn’t eat it all.
Every time the girls peel an orange they say, “remember when Jordan peeled that orange and there was just one long peel?” I tell them I remember, because I do. In the summer of 2008, I know they pestered him to show them one coiled peel one night before they were going to bed. Jordan slightly annoyed kept saying, “No, I don’t want an orange right now.” The girls went off to bed and a little while later so did Mark and I. My night owl son was the last one up. The next morning when I came downstairs I smiled when I saw the orange peel coil on the counter. The girls came downstairs and at seeing the orange peel said, “Jordan did it,” while taking turns holding it up.
At times I can close my eyes and have videos of Jordan come to life in my mind. The memories of time spent with him and of his antics are vivid and comforting. This time of year especially, the traumatic images borne of the horrific loss of him are just as vivid and compete for space in my mind. Flashes of seeing my son lying in a coffin mesh with all the vibrancy and light Jordan brought to me. I’ll never understand why he’s gone. I miss my boy. Having an anniversary that marks time after he was alive hurts so much. I don’t think I’ll ever stop saying when I’m sitting alone, “Jordan please come home.”
Pictures that always make me smile: