by Liz Johnston
This was taken on October 19th, 2017. The evening Jordan passed away.
Photo Credit: Roberta Esposito
Sade’s album, Love Deluxe, was chosen to play repeatedly at Jordan’s services. The album was released in 1992 and was a favorite of mine while I was pregnant with him. I played it on repeat in my car and every time the song “No Ordinary Love” came on, Jordan would kick away in my belly. I don’t know if it was the heavy baseline or just a coincidence, but he always kicked when that song was played.
Fast forward 20 something years to Jordan and I sitting in another car together after a URI football loss. He was extra upset on this particular day as the losses were beginning to weigh heavily on him. After games we would grab a meal together before I’d head for home, but on this day, he needed to sit for a bit first.
He turned to me and said, “Mom, I’m going to play something for you,” as he connected his phone to the bluetooth. “It helps me to relax or feel better when I’m down.” To my amazement he played the same Sade album. I don’t think he ever knew how special it was to me. Jordan definitely had a thing for 90’s music--but this seemed serendipitous. It was such a beautiful moment. A reminder that we were so connected--by love, by music, by distant memories of both. Who knows.
Sometimes God gives you signs. This moment was one of those signs for us, and this album continues to be a sign, a memory and a message for me. There are the obvious messages within, like “Cherish the Day.” I am trying. On the days that life seems pointless without him, I remind myself that I need to cherish the life that he can’t live. Cherish my days here on earth until I can see him again.
And there’s “No Ordinary Love” which has become our mantra, the sound track of our life together, if you will. A symbol of our extraordinary relationship. I remember running one day, listening to Sade and hearing the lyrics “When you came my way, you brightened everyday, with your sweet smile....” And I thought, this is so true. My life began, my life made sense and made me smile-- once he was born. I told him about this realization when I got home from my run. He just said “Aw, thanks, Ma.”
Sometimes I see pictures of him that I just have to post and I caption them with the lyrics “I couldn’t love you more, if time was running out,” self-explanatory and true until the end of time. There is no way I could love him more. No way I could love anyone as I do him. Maybe that’s why I never had other kids of my own. I loved him too much to have room. And the song “Kiss of Life” reminds me that “there must have been an angel by my side, something heavenly led me to you.” I believe this. I was chosen to be his mother, we were chosen to be together by something heavenly.
I believe in signs. The significance of this album is one of them. It is the reason I played it on loop for two hours at his memorial service. It is the reason I play it on purpose to feel close to him. And when I am feeling my worst, my saddest, my loneliest, Sade always randomly comes on in the car, store or restaurant--wherever I happen to be in that moment. It is a sign. I know it. And I am reminded of his love, reminded of his presence, reminded of our irreplaceable bond. And I am reminded to “look at the sky; it’s the color of love.”