Saying Goodbye Is the Hardest Part


There’s not much more I can say. It’s all been said. Your sister sang you a lovely song at your funeral. My husband and countless others expressed beautiful and funny sentiments during the service and on social media. My daughter–your Goddaughter–played her violin accompanied by your cousin on the ukulele. You loved the ukulele so much you painted one and gave it to my daughter. She pulled it from the chaos that is her bedroom shortly after we learned of your passing. “Mom, will you restring it for me?” she asked through her tears.

The restaurant in North Carolina, where you loved to eat, gave out your favorite biscuits free in your name.

You were a surfer who claimed the ocean, or at least one small part of it by the old lighthouse in Buxton, for your own. It kept you sane through bouts of epilepsy and depression. And then it claimed you for your final resting place.

There’s not much more I can say or tell. And yet the words come pouring forth this cold January morning just a day after your funeral. Words are my canvas and so Jordan, from the bottom of my heart, these words are for you.

In memory
You were my cousin by marriage, so I didn’t witness your birth and early years. I first met you when you were five years old, running down the family cabin lane in search of salamanders or snakes or some other critter in the woods. Your cousin, a pastor, read a touching letter you wrote your parents once, begging for a snake. You got the snake. Who could resist your natural charm and boyish enthusiasm? Certainly not your parents, whose hearts are full of sorrow and grief.

I remember telling you and your cousins ghost stories in the tent at the cabin, your eyes big and wide. You didn’t sit still for long, though, always moving, searching for adventure.

You must have been eight when we got married. You were thrilled to be the ring bearer in our wedding. You did the job proudly, walking up the aisle intent on your mission and with a big smile on your face.



And then the teenage years hit, and the small mischievous boy I remember grew into a gorgeous heartthrob. The girls came in droves. You seemed to take it all in stride. You didn’t dwell on your looks. Beneath them pumped a kind heart, filled with compassion for the weak and innocent. You went on mission trips and loved the Lord, often speaking with candor and openness about your faith. I loved that about you.


You chose to work with children after college. I was not surprised. You gave them your attention, and they responded in kind. When it came to selecting a Godfather for our daughter, I couldn’t think of a better man for the job. You took the role seriously and soon were bringing our little girl gifts from the ocean, poems you wrote for her, amazing surf photos and drawings or paintings. She reciprocated, baking you cookies, sending you drawings, and searching you out at every family event. You always had a big hug and kind word for her.


Until we meet again
Once when you came back to Ohio for a camping weekend, you and I had a heart-to-heart chat. You shared with me some of your struggles, and we talked about our mutual faith in God. I was touched to relate to you on such a deep level and grateful for the spiritual support. You understood as only another true believer can.

You reminded me of that talk on several occasions afterwards. I found this note in my messages: “You always have been awesome to me,” you wrote. “Do you remember our long talk that one night at the cabin?”

Jordan how could I forget? And now that you are gone so suddenly, I find myself dwelling on that single moment in time, so grateful to have it in my memory banks. Thank you for gifting me with that. I will carry it with me the rest of my days.

Thank you for reaching out to an older cousin and wanting a relationship. Thank you for sharing your love of God through your words and paintings and videos of the ocean. Thank you for being YOU — unique, compassionate, gifted.

I love you and will miss you Jordan, more than you’d probably guess if you were still alive. I’ll think of you often, surfing the friendly skies, laughing at the wind, and giving the hang loose sign to the other angels in heaven.

Saying Goodbye Is the Hardest Part #surfing #remembrance Click To Tweet

10 Comments

  1. An amazing tribute. He’s with the first and best “surfer” of water….

  2. Beautiful. This brought tears to my eyes. Many prayers for you and your family during this difficult time. He was lucky to have you in his life, and I’m sure you’ll always cherish your memories with him until you meet again. God Bless.

  3. What a loving and fitting tribute to your cousin, who has been such an integral part of your life for many years. You will find each other again, on the other side.

  4. Beautiful. I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of such a beautiful, young, and vibrant young person. Jordan most certainly is with you, reading your words with a smile as big as the ocean. You honor his memory in the most powerful way possible. Sending love, sympathy, and prayers to everyone who knew and loved Jordan.

  5. I’ve been following your journey for the last week, and this is one of the most fitting remembrances I’ve ever read. You write so openly of your love, and you were both lucky to have each other. Thinking of you and your family and wishing you peace and healing.

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