I don’t need an anniversary date to remind me of what I’ve lost. And I don’t need an anniversary date to commemorate my son’s life. Recognizing an anniversary is just a way to mark the passage of time, and what is time but an illusion of control? After controlling so many aspects of Jordan’s life, in the end, I had no control in saving it.
Still, I wanted to spend my time very intentionally on October 19th. I planned a small gathering for the evening: share a meal together, look at hundreds of pictures of Jordan, remember him and tell stories before sending lit lanterns into the night sky at the beach. It would be perfect. And it was. But not as I expected.
At the beach, the warm wind and the moon shadows swirled around us in anticipation as I read a short poem I’d just written for the occasion. Each of us unwrapped our paper lanterns-- eager to send our messages of love up into the heavens, messages temporarily thwarted by the warm winds that made it almost impossible to light the lanterns. We needed a new plan and so we strategized. Everyone huddled around the one lantern that took to fire, blocking the wind so that the lantern could fill with hot air and rise as we’d hoped.
We waited, wished, and then giddy with anticipation, we let it go! It rose for seconds before being ripped dramatically away by the wind, then bounced across the beach like flaming tumbleweed. We howled with laughter at our botched attempt. But determined, we started again. This time, post huddle, we managed to get one lantern into the moonlit sky...we had high hopes and cheered for it as it soared. But together we cringed in fear as it too was ripped away and headed for a nearby tree. Once it was clear there was no danger of a forest fire, we again erupted in laughter. It was at this moment the police came and we scattered back to our cars.
It was not the celebration I had planned for Jordan. I had absolutely no control over the elements, but despite the elements, I know that Jordan received our messages of love. The levity and laughter on such a heavy day proved to be the perfect celebration of Jordan’s life. One I am sure he wanted for us all.
I don’t need an anniversary date to remind me of what I’ve lost. And I don’t need an anniversary date to commemorate my son’s life. But apparently we all needed to celebrate Jordan’s life together, on that beach, at that time, as a reminder to be grateful for laughter-- especially when the wind whisks away your plans.