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Letters to Jordan
We buried him on a sunny Wednesday afternoon in June. He rests facing the pond where he can see the swan’s swim and the beautiful pink sunset each evening. Eighteen year-olds don’t belong in a cemetery, especially an eighteen year-old like Jordan. He was a 4A State Championship Wrestler, Captain of the wrestling team, a talented artist, big brother to five siblings who adored him, and was so full of life.
When I first heard the news I had just finished up at my hospital internship and was sitting in my car. Mom had told me to call her as soon as I was done, by the tone in her voice I knew something was wrong. I had no idea how much my life would
change in the next five minutes.
“Mom please just tell me what happened I’m freaking out” I put my car into reverse and backed up then put it into drive.
“Your friends are really going to need you the next few weeks Britt. Especially Kody…you see…Jordan died this morning…” Long pause. “He overdosed this morning, you need to drive to Jessica’s right now…” By the time my mom had said this I was already half way there. Driving about sixty in a thirty-five, I cried the whole way there.
When I reached Marshal Court the whole street was packed with my friends cars. I actually ended up parking in a neighbor’s driveway five houses down. Jessica slammed open the screen door and ran out of the house straight to my car. I couldn’t think of anything to say I just got out of my car and hugged her for a very long time. We cried and held on to each other because there was nothing else we could do. It seemed like an eternity before we finally seperated and time stood still between us. Walking into the house seeing my friends scattered all over the living room and Wendy, Jordan’s Mom sitting on the couch, eyes red and puffy with a Kleenex box beside her, was heart breaking. The living room was tense and quiet, and a sadness hung in the air like a rain cloud in the sky. All the people in that room meant the world to me, people that I would do anything for and seeing them like this made me feel helpless.
Before Jordans death I couldn’t remember the last time Jessica and I had hung out. Once she moved to a different school the year before we kind of went our separate ways. Occassional texts and phone calls are what our best friend realtionship had evolved too. Jessica had always been the tougher, and the more rebellious girl in our circle of friends. She had been the one to suggest getting our nose and belly button pierced, and she was the girl we called if we needed someone to cuss out our stupid boyfriends. I think she had always viewed me as her little sister someone she would have to look out for, but now as I looked at her sitting in the living room stareing at the floor, I knew for once I was going to be her shoulder to cry on.
After giving Wendy a hug I sat on the couch next to my boyfriend Kody. At the time we’d been dating for about two and a half years and I’d only seen him cry one other time. Him and Jordan had been best friends since they were 8, they had grown up on the same street and Jordan had taught Kody how to wrestle. I held his hand and kissed him on the cheek, he stared at the wood floor while tears ran down his cheeks. I knew Kody felt guilty, I knew he was beating himself up on the inside, thinking of all the ways he could of helped Jordan like Jordan had helped him over the years and I knew he was wishing he could take Jordan’s place.
That whole day consisted of people coming and going from the house. People came and gave their condolences, some even brought gifts or food. That evening we sat in the front yard together and cried. Some smoked, and some tried to shoot hoops, but we all talked about things we did with Jordan. Then just when we would start laughing about something that he had said or did then another one of our friends would show up and then we would all start crying again. There was no way to escape it, Jordan was gone, and all we had left were memories.
The next day Wendy had created a shrine to Jordan in the living room. It was a table that had pictures of him wrestling, of him and Jessica, of him and his younger brother Payton, of him and Wendy, of him and his little sisters, of him as a little toddler, some of his medals from wrestling, his varsity letter awards, and his letterman’s jacket. I would sit in the living room and stare at it for hours, looking at all the things he had achieved, all the wonderful people that loved him, and all the things he’d given up. Every time I looked at the table all I could think was, “Drugs, Drugs took all this away from him. That day while I sat in the living room playing with Jordan’s baby sister Bella, Wendy brought home a drawing book just like the one Jordan had used for his sketches. Jordan was an exceptionally talented artist; he had two whole books full of his graffiti. The year before he made a huge sign for our high school, which still hangs in the cafeteria. “BOMBERS” it says in green and gold bubble letters with Jordan’s unique signature bellow it. Every time I glance up at it now, it’s like having a piece of Jordan still here. Wendy told us that all of us could write a letter in the drawing book to Jordan. One at a time we took the book and one of his colorful sharpies and went to sit in a quiet place where we could be alone to say goodbye.
This morning when I woke up I was thinking about last summer and how Jessica, Kody, you and me used to hang out at your grandparents house right down the street from mine. I remember one night when Kody and I were fighting you came upstairs with the Kitchen stool stuck over your head. It was probably the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. I seriously thought I was going to pee my pants. Of course we completely forgot what we were fighting about because we were laughing at you. I’ve been trying to remember all the good times we’ve had together to keep spirits up. I’ve never seen our friends like this.
I know we were never super close, but I care about Jessica, Maddie, Gracelin, Bella and Payton just like they were my own brothers and sisters. Me and Kody will watch over them and help them through this, I promise. I’m crying now because I never imagined I’d have to write a letter like this. I mean I just saw you like a week ago at Prom. You looked so good, I could tell the rehab was helping and you were becoming you again. I guess it only takes one slip up though. I’m sorry Jordan I’m so sorry. I keep looking at baby Bella and how precious she is and how she will never really get to know her big brother Jordan. She will only know you through pictures. I guess the only good out of this situation is that people are realizing how bad drugs are and I think this horrible situation will save a few lives.
It’s kind of nice to be hanging out with the group again; it’s been awhile since we’ve all been together. We’ve decided every month on the 28th we will get together and do something. It’s important that we keep in touch even though we are all focusing on our own lives right now.
Until we meet again,
June 3, 2009 I woke up, showered, and prepared to do something I never wanted to do again. I don’t remember a whole lot of the service because I saw it through blurry vision. It didn’t matter how many times I patted away the tears they continued to fall. I kept looking back and forth between the pallbearers, all of Jordan’s best friends, Jessica, and the shiny black casket that held Jordan. One part I do remember clearly was towards the end of the service. There was a song playing and Tasha had brought twelve long stem blue roses to give to the family and to us girls. Tasha and I stood up each of us with a few blue roses in our hands and walked over to where the family sat. When I handed Jessica her rose I kissed her forehead then Tasha and I headed back to our pew hand in hand. We gave the rest of the blue roses to the girls.
That day when we buried him it was a beautiful sunny June afternoon. We circled around a tent and watched as one of our friends was slowly lowered into the ground. Standing in the front row I watched as Kody set a yellow flower on his best friends casket and said goodbye for the last time. After he had taken one last look down at the shiny black he walked across the circle straight to me and the rest of the pallbearers took their turn placing their flowers. Kody held me in a tight embrace burying his head into my shoulder. When the guys were done us girls placed our blue long stemmed roses on the casket. When it was my turn I walked up to the casket knowing full well everyone’s gaze was on me. Placing my flower next to Kody’s I put my other hand on top of the casket and closed my eyes. I bent my head down and quietly whispered, “I’m sorry Jordan.”
A few weeks ago I went back to Jordan’s Grave to leave some flowers. I sat in the green grass watching the swan’s swim in the pond and the sun begin to set. When I looked at the paper windmill at the head of his grave it slowly started to spin. I looked at it confused;, there was not even a slight breeze. Then all the sudden it stopped, but I just kept staring at it. A minute later I asked, “Jordan?” The windmill slowly started spinning again but in the opposite direction. I smiled, I knew he was sitting there with me watching the swan’s swim and the sky turn pink as the sun slowly sank. I pulled out some paper and a purple pen from my purse and started writing him a letter. When I was finished I folded up the letter drew a small heart on it and stuck it under his temporary head stone. As soon as I left and was back in my car the windmill stopped spinning.