by Liz Johnston
One year ago today I made a promise to Jordan. I told him I’d keep breathing without him here. To say that I miss him, or that it hurts, just sounds small and silly. Some days I actually struggle for air--my shallow breathing feels like the pain is alive and gnawing at what’s left of the heart inside my chest. But I have learned some new breathing techniques that help a little.
Other days while breathing quite nicely, unremarkably, a surprise reminder comes along delivering a sucker punch to the gut that knocks the wind right out of me. On those days I look at pictures of Jordan, talk to him, write, meditate, pray. Whatever keeps me breathing through the sneak attack.
And then there are the days I have no choice but to endure breathing through the horrid, wounded animal sounds of crying that belong to a grieving mother--the sounds and the woman both unrecognizable to myself. I usually rock myself through those moments, just feeling, until my breath returns.
How have I managed to keep breathing when the person I love more than air is no longer here? How? I have only one explanation. Love. Love is all. Love is everything. And Jordan’s love is so powerful, it can do anything. Including what I never thought possible--it has allowed me to live without him. That is extraordinary love!
Jordan’s love is far and wide; signs of it are everywhere. I don’t need others to believe in this, but Jordan shows me the number 38 at least a dozen times a day--often when I am sad or worried. Because I asked him to. You can chalk it up to coincidence, or the desperate need of a mother who misses her son. But I know otherwise. Those close to me are in on it as well; they experience the signs. Numbers, birds, sunsets, the sound of whistles, smells, elevator doors, songs, all signs of his big bright love.
Jordan’s love shines through all of the people he cared about. I see it all around me. His family near and far, his friends, the kids he coached, taught and loved, the colleagues he worked alongside. His love has worked its way into the lives of total strangers. Because of Jordan, people are getting healthy. They are forgiving easier. Loving more openly. Appreciating what matters. Doing what scares them. His love will have a ripple effect for all of the kids helped through Dominate the Day Foundation. His love is absolutely unending.
We are all infinitely better for having known Jordan. I am so grateful for these stories people share with me. What mother wouldn’t want to hear about the wonderful ways her son has impacted the lives of others? What mother wouldn’t want to hear about the lessons of love left behind by her child? I sure do. They make me so proud to call myself his mother.
Yes, Jordan’s life was way too short for us. But it was a beautiful, rich life worthy of celebration. A life I will celebrate today, tomorrow and everyday. With love. Because love is all. Love is everything. Love keeps me breathing.