Little things and their big effect

Written by Jeffrey L Tucker on December 30th, 2009

This Christmas was actually the second we had without my son Jordan’s big grin as he looked at the tree. The ripple effects are still being felt. Life has gone on for us, it has a way of doing that. We’ve done our best to honor his memory. As of today I fully funded his environmental scholarship for the coming year. I don’t remember if I told you about it here, I mentioned it on my Facebook account. I started a scholarship/grant program for students to apply for dollars for either school or for special environmental projects they need help funding. Jordan loved the environment – he loved to hunt and fish and spent a large part of his life playing out in the great outdoors. The fund is for any and all kids – not just the stellar achievers, the athletic kids, the ‘connected’ kids – as President Truman once said “C students run the world” or something along those lines. We also have an athletic scholarship that we started last year. His gravesite is marked by memorabilia friends and family have placed there.

We still haven’t watched “The Santa Clause”. I thought I could this year. He loved that movie, I loved that movie. I held it this year and when I did I saw him sitting in his customary spot on the carpet with his plate in front of him, hard as he’d try he couldn’t help but have a big grin and his eyes sparkled. He didn’t have to be cool here or anything else. Just a kid who loved Christmas. The movie sits in the box with the rest of the Christmas movies. Maybe next year I can watch it.

One of the ripple effects is the things you never expect. I got a Blu-ray DVD player for Christmas. Now I could finally watch the latest Batman movie in true high definition! It’s basically the reason to own a Blu-ray player. Well due to the blizzard our Christmas with the girls had been postponed to Sunday. So we met midway and the girls jumped in the truck and we were talking and laughing and catching up on things. For some reason we talked about movies and the new Blu-ray player and I suggested we now get to watch Batman!…sudden silence…the air grew heavy. I asked what was wrong. That was the last movie Jordan had watched. I guess the ‘fortunate’ thing now is that we’ve sort of learned to breathe after things like that jab us in the heart. Life doesn’t grind to a halt, it trips us up for a moment. We breathe. We start to talk again, sometimes about Jordan. Sometimes about something else.

Christmas has changed. The girls no longer have a list of things on their wish list. I have to threaten them to get the list – this year’s threat was that I would buy them both American Girl dolls if I didn’t get some ideas from them. Their lists are very short, and pretty practical now. And they’re happy, they’re happy with a few presents, they’re happy in this moment. A gift from Jordan I think. Jordan always lived in this moment. I wrote about that before. I’m still learning how to do that. Not spend my time looking at my phone or thinking about where I’ll be next, etc. I listen to the girls, I try to listen to whoever is speaking and hear them. Not plan my next action. We all pretend we live in the moment, we say we do – we lie. One of my life’s goals is to learn for my mind to be where my body is at that moment.

The girls brought presents this year. They think about the gifts they give now. And the joint present they went in on for us was a framed, engraved poem. It reads:

Little I knew that morning,
God was going to call your name.
In life we loved you dearly,
In death we do the same.

It broke our hearts to lose you.
You did not go alone,
For part of me went with you,
The day God called you home.

You left us beautiful memories
Your love is still our guide.
And though we cannot see you,
You are always by our side.

Our family chain is broken,
and nothing seems the same.
But as God calls us one by one,
The chain will link again.

From the plaque hangs a heart, suspended by little chains on each side.

It was another ‘breathe’ moment. It was a beautiful memorial from my girls. They watched me read it. My eyes wanted to rain. They want to rain writing this. But my girls were there, as was Kat, and my dad and his wife, Jean. That made reading it easier. That made breathing easier. It sits now by his urn and his memorial candle.

And sad as it is in those moments, we smiled. Soon we laughed. We enjoyed Christmas in a subdued way. It’s harder for my girls, they sleep in Jordan’s former bedroom. They live in the same house. They had to face the loss square in the face, and continue to do so every day that they wake up. Can you imagine the strength they’ve had to build? Yet they do it – and they smile, they smile a lot now. They remember – Jord comes up in our conversations. Sadly but fondly. I watched them this Christmas and was absolutely amazed at who they have become and what they’ve overcome to get here. I guess Jordan’s ongoing present to each of them is the strength they’ve developed to remember him with a smile. As he was an amazing young man, so they have become truly amazing young ladies.

I was very blessed to have family surround me this Christmas season. For some reason each person had decided to give me way too many gifts. I told them all that. And each said they had decided I deserved it this year because I always give. I don’t know if they coordinated it but it was overwhelming. I like giving presents, I love seeing people’s faces and making them smile, if I were rich, I would be poor… It was actually kind of awkward opening a lot of presents, giving is receiving… but it was a great Christmas.

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jan
    Eilene Wood

    I don’t know if you read the comments people leave, but I just wanted to tell you what a beautiful memorial your girls gave you. It made me cry. Your girls are beautiful and they have beautiful smiles.

    I am so happy you had such a nice Christmas, you deserved to be pampered Jeff, you give so much of yourself to others.

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