I went home today. I was there for just 6 hours. But in that very short time, I attended Jarrett’s memorial, where I met his son, baby Jordan, hugged his mom and sisters. Saw a bunch of our former teachers and friends’ parents. Met John’s patents. Had dinner with my brother. Ran into an old friend, randomly. Went to visit my Jordan.
And between it all, my mom talked to me. She talked, and talked, and talked. She told me all of the things that she’s kept to herself for the past 14 years. About watching Jordan’s siblings, my brother and myself carry death’s heavy burden from our youth into adulthood. She talked about watching my dad die. About the night John died. And all of the plans and amazing things they were putting into action through their not-for-profit corporation. She talked about the near simultaneous deaths of Jordan and my dad 14 years ago. Then John and Jarrett this week.
She spoke with such openness, and honesty. I wish she’d been brave enough to do that from the start. I think, even with so much new loss and sadness, we are all finding strength and healing within each other.
Today, when their mom saw me, she shouted my name across the room and pushed through the crowd to reach me. She burst into tears before getting my whole name out, then grabbed me and held on tight for a long time.
“I want you to meet the baby.” She said and started to let go. “This is Jo…” She started, but her voice caught, the name got stuck in her throat and she pulled me back in and clung to me. “It’s Jarrett’s son. He named his son Jordan. This is baby Jordan.” She cried into my hair. I cried against her chest. And we held onto each other as we watched my mom sit down on the floor, reach out to him and say “Hi. Jordan. I’ve loved your family for a very long time, can I get some fist?” He looked away. “Jordan. Jordan.” My mom whispered. “Jordan. Jordan. Jordan.” His grandma whispered more to me, than him. And we cried some more, forever, powerfully connected through the loss of her son 14 years ago.
On my way back towards home, I stopped here, to sit for a bit under Jordan’s tree, bend down and press my hands against that sidewalk where he died, and look out at the athletic field named in his memory.
It was a difficult but healing day. Tomorrow I will release all if the emotion in the hot room.