They Come in Twos, Not Threes
People say I do not need to explain my absence since April. I don’t feel obligated to. I want to share this all. I’ve been a lucky person. I haven’t seen death since I was about 13-14 when my paternal grandfather passed away. Now, let me tell you, I don’t remember that much. All I remember is hating my birthday for years afterwards because he died a week after. I didn’t think I could be happy celebrating around such a time of sadness.
My maternal grandfather died when I was a baby, which resulting in our move to Atlanta from San Diego. My paternal grandfather had a stroke earlier on in my life and ended up living for years after that. I don’t remember the pastor and man that my father, aunts, uncles, and grandmother told me about. I was too little, all I remember is the frail man in the bed, peering up at me with an occasional smile when he couldn’t talk to me. That was the last death of a close family member that I had a personal relationship with and that was 7-8 years ago. Until April of 2017.
April 2017 started off like any other month. I was gearing down to the end of the school year, getting ready for my study abroad trip to Rome in May. I was the same person I’ve always been, staying in for weekends on end with no one bothering me so I could get a lot of work done. This was a common thing I do, but it changed the first weekend in April. My maternal grandmother died in her sleep that weekend. All I know is that my brother called me. I was a mess that night. I knew I had to keep it together through that week until the funeral.
Still, I went to class, had lunch, but I felt a deep sadness that I hadn’t known in a long time. I can remember going and spending weekends with my grandmother in Macon and sleeping on her pull out sofa, driving around her neighborhood at Christmas looking at all of the lights, and her slipping me a couple dollars or an Oatmeal Cream Pie on the way out the door as we went home.
I knew her and can remember her from before her dementia set in, when she remembered me without help. After as well, with the smile she would give me when I walked into the room. She was a special woman. Although the last years of her life that I truly knew her were clouded by sickness, I still loved her. Coming to terms with her death wasn’t anything too hard. She had been in and out of the hospital for months with heart arrhythmia. She told me and other members of my family how tired she was all the time. I knew she loved us, but it was her time to go.
Losing one of the two remaining grandparents I have hit me like a rock. I knew that with some love and inner reconciliation, I would be fine and live through it. My family was still here. We held each other up in a way that I can’t even put into words. Even still, I forgot the saying that when one person dies, multiple others come with it (“they come in threes”). Trust me…it wasn’t long before I was able to experience that in full value.
The Sunday after we buried my grandmother, I was at school, working on homework. This was April 16th, or Easter Sunday as some may know it. I had 3 weeks left of school and exams, papers, and presentations were piling up. My day was fine, just busy. It wasn’t until my brother called me again that night and told me to go home that my life changed. He called me and told me that something was wrong with our dad and I should go home.
My heart was racing. I was frantically packing a bag, thinking he’d fallen and broken an arm, leg, hip. That or he needed surgery, but I never imagined that he had left us. Right now as I’m writing this, I’m sitting in the room where he died, in our basement, alone, just as he was. I was dead wrong. I can assure you there are tears streaming down my face, but I need to talk about how this has changed everything.
My dad was my rock. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom. But like some parent-child relationships, my dad took to me, just as my mom took to my brother. He went to London with me the first time I ever went. Despite constructive criticism, he always encouraged my choices for what I thought was best for my life. My father was the person I called when I needed a familiar voice to talk out my issues with friends or had a medical question that I knew needed advice on.
He was a friend, a mentor, and a constant in my life. Having him suddenly ripped from my life is something that I was, and will never be ready for. I had seen him the day before. We had our standard argument over whether or not college football athletes deserve a salary/stipend or not. I had gone on my normal day of working before heading back to school. He was happy and healthy, healthier than 90% of people I know.
He was on the treadmill when he died if that’s any indication of how healthy he was. Having something so quick and unstoppable take him from my life hit me like a ton of bricks. I remember being at the hospital. When they told me, my legs just fell from underneath me. I didn’t have words. But, I couldn’t go into the room and see everything that the doctors had done to try and bring him back. I didn’t have feelings or words due to the shock of it all. I remember sitting in the waiting room and just feeling empty.
There was nothing anyone could do to bring me back, I was having such an out-of-body experience, but I remember pulling myself together because I couldn’t be selfish. My brother and mother needed me, now, more than ever before. I eventually went into the room and said my goodbyes, closed his eyes, and took his wedding band for my mom. After that, I was no longer the oldest with no responsibility other than to graduate. I was not the kid who had to be there for her family and act in a way that my dad would want me to act and be there for my family.
Having to say goodbye to my father was the single hardest thing I have ever had to do. I don’t wish it upon my worst enemy. No one should have to lose a parent at the age of 20. I wanted to do many things with my father. We’d talked about going on an Alaskan cruise this year, going skydiving, running a marathon, and so much more. I say that I’ll never marry or have kids, but regardless, I wish he could be with me in those moments if that happened. But at the end of the day, this wasn’t my choice. All of the wanting him to come back was selfish.
It was my dad’s time to go. In all honesty, there was nothing any person, not myself, not my family, not the EMTs, could have done to save him and bring him back to us.
For days, I hated myself for leaving and not staying home when I was at home the day before. I made the conscious decision to leave. There is still time today when I get those same feelings and everything comes in waves. Having barely a week to recover from one death only to have to go and plan the funeral of someone so close to me wrecked me. There were many days where food didn’t go into my mouth, only some water.
I wasn’t tired or hungry, but I constantly felt like curling up in a ball and hiding away from the world. Everything that comes with a major trauma like this still lingers today. When the door chime at my house goes off, I get hopeful that this was all a horrible dream and he’s coming through the door after a long night of call. It will never happen. Every time my mother and brother call my phone, I pick it up in a panic. Even if it is to just to ask me how my exam went or to check in on me. I’m not the same person I was a month ago.
A lot changes in a month and no one could have expected that all of this would happen. While my personality may read the same through a camera, I’ve got this major hole in my chest. It is true that it gets better every day. At the same time, there are things that will never fade. The changes that I will have to make to adapt to this are innumerable. I may get there one day.
He won’t be physically present to walk me down the aisle, hug me after graduation, help me pack to move into my first house, or hold his grandchild’s hand when they play outside. But, he’ll be there with each member of my family that I don’t have in my physical life. This isn’t a religious thing, but I do feel their presence around me everyday in a way that almost calms me down.
It reminds me of the greater things in life. There’s a lot of things I’m going to do in their honor, especially my dad. It’s a bucket list, but it’s not my own. It will be done because it’s that thing I have to do to feel even a step closer to complete again. If there’s one thing I can’t do, I can’t disappoint them now. Living and creating a lasting legacy is important to me. I’m determined to make that a reality.
Death affects us all in different ways. There’s no way to define it and tell people how to respond. But if there’s one thing you can do: just be there for people. You never know what people are going through. So, just be kind and you never know how that may impact people’s lives.
To my Grandma, I love you and I will never forget each of the memories that we had together. You have no idea the impact you had on me and it will be everlasting.
To my dad…First off, thanks for surprising me with all of your accomplishments. With the thousands of people who came to say goodbye to you, I know I’m not alone in saying that you will be missed. We talked about all of my plans. Whether I wanted to be a Shamu trainer or a human rights lawyer or a fashion blogger, you told me to stick to it and do what made me happy.
That’s what you wanted before everything else for everyone you met. Now it’s time for me to make you happy and make you proud. I will miss you so much and you have no idea how much, no one does and ever will. But I love you and I’ll be here for mom and Julian and we’ll be alright. We’ll just miss you a little more than normal xx
Oh Jordan I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing a loved one is so heartbreaking, and nothing anyone says or does can fill that hole in our heart. Only time. I know because I lost my brother when I was in high school and I still think about him every day, but the memory is no longer as painful. I hope you heal in your own way. ?
Really sorry for your loss. I hope by sharing through your blog its a way to get your feelings out. Time heals <3
Ashlee | ashleemoyo.com
I’m so incredibly sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine how difficult this past month has been for you.
My condolensces.. i know how hard it is to lose the people you love. But I always think that they are in better place and always stay with us wherever we go. Just dont stop praying for them and live a better life.
A heartbreaking post. Yet it made you even stronger.
I am so sorry for your loss. God bless you and your family. I would like to say that you are a wonderful writer!!! I love that way you told this story
L.C. @ A Life of Authenticity
I wish you all the best as you go through this sad time. May you some how find peace.
My mom told me that her grandma said things always happened in threes. She told me that as we were heading to the Children’s hospital with my oldest son when he was a week old as he was having seizures. She said we already lost 3 infants in the family and so my son would be ok. Now the infants passed over like a 20 year span and I could have made all sorts of excuses as it was with her generation and not mine, but I found comfort in it.
I strongly believe that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle as long as we allow Him to help us through it.
You are very strong and wise and have amazing guardian angels watching over you! Nice post. I love seeing people being vulnerable and being real with people. I can feel the connection. Keep up the amazing work!
I can only imagine the hurt, loneliness and the unforgettable shock you all are feeling, but feel you have made the first step in what may seem like an impossible thing to do, begin the healing process. This post was so real and very emotional to read, and can not begin to think of how difficult this task. But you did a phenomenal job of putting your thoughts in words, of what seems like a terrible dream that will not end. It is so unbelievable and so hard to bear of losing 2 immediate family members in less than 14 days. What I can say, is your dad, grandmother and your entire family are so proud of the young lady you have become and the woman you are becoming. Nothing can ever replace or make it right for what this past month has been for you and your family. But, day by day, with God, you will somehow make it through each day.
This was bittersweet Jordan. I love the tribute to your father and the love and support he gave you helped shape you into the wonderful woman you are…much love.
This was tough to read, I’m so sorry for your loss.
Jordan, I am so sorry for your loss. Losing someone you love, especially a parent that early in life, must be very difficult right now…and I again I am sorry. I’ve been blessed to still have both my parents alive and well. However, like you, I have lost my grandparents. In fact, the last one died when I was only 13 years old. I know it’s harder though when you have been through Life with them though. Even though this is a sad piece, it is well written.
Wow… what a beautiful testimony… I know that it sounds cliche, but as time goes on… it will get better. You have to take your time and healing… so take as much time as you need. As a daughter who lost her mother and lost her last maternal grandmother 9 months before my mom died… and Mother’s Day can be trying especially because my mom’s birthday is this month…it took me sometime to heal and I am still healing… I have my days and you will never fully recover… but in time… it will get easier and you will begin to accept the circle of life… lean on your family… right the wrongs… life is too short… say all you need to say before that dreadful day comes… live your life to the fullest and always help the ones that are in need… make your life count for something… Just you writing this post will be inspiring to others! Hecks… You have inspired me to write my own blog in which I will be directing my readers to check out your beautiful testimony!
Baby Girl… with the bad… there is always a some good… find the positive in these situations and build off of that… I know it sounds strange, but if you keep concentrating on the loss and don’t concentrate on the good they brought to your life… you will be prolonging your healing process… Just Saying… Stay blessed Queen… You are in my prayers and May ALLAH bless you ~ejnosillA
Jordan, I’m heartbroken and can’t even imagine what you’re feeling. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your grandma’s smile is so beautiful and your dad looks like a great guy with a beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing such wonderful memories of your family. Keep doing what you love and know that they are very proud of you 🙂
Erica @ Black Bloggers Network
Sorry for your loss. Losing loved ones is tough but take it one day at a time and you’ll be ok. Stay strong!
Jordan, I’ve been sitting here for a good hour or so reading your post. Over and over again. Even typing this tears are blurring my vision and it really hurts inside as I know what loss is. Loss is very personal and there’s no loss like the other, but the pain we go through is indescribable. I am truly sorry for both your losses in such a short period of time. If we’re to think anything good about this is that when they were walking on this earth, your dad and your grandmother couldn’t be with you every single moment. Now they are. They are your strongest guardian angels and will keep you safe. They will be with you on your journey no matter what you undertake in life and the most certainly will be there when you tick off the boxes from the bucket list. There really are no words that can make you feel better. Time heals and all that crap most certainly hasn’t helped me, but it does get easier with time. I know this post was hard for you to write and my prayers are with you as well as my love.
May you embrace life like never before and the people in it!
Jordan ChapmanThomas Falkenstedt
Thomas, I’m so happy this post impacted you, it was so therapeutic for me to write, but there has been such an amazing outpouring of love to me through this tough time. I’ve learned just like you that time doesn’t always heal, but I’m already feeling it get easier with each day. It’s been a tough time, but I know I’ll come out of it alright xx
Thank you for sharing. These posts can be difficult to write, but also therapeutic and important for others to hear too. Wishing you all the best.
Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry. When I lost two people who were close to me it was beyond devastating. You almost have to learn how to live again. Sending you love and so many hugs.
Jordan, I am incredibly sorry about your grandmother and father. I can’t imagine what you must be going through. Just know that they’ve put their time in on Earth and they’re both now in a much better place than the rest of us. Try to stay strong, filled with prayer and you and your family will be well taken care of. Your family is in my prayers.
It’s hard to put it all into words, but I do know that life is never forever for anyone, so it just happened to be their times. It’s hard for my entire family, but we are getting through it and will come out strong.
I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot image losing my father. It makes me sad for you to have to experience this at your age or any age.
Death is never easy especially family.
I’m sitting in my bed with tears streaming down my face as I read this post. Dear friend, I cannot even put into words the sorrow and pain I feel for you. There are plenty analogies I could give, and plenty of encouraging phrases I could try to share, but truly all I wish I could do is envelope you in a hug right now and not let go. I’ll be praying for a peace to settle over you and your family members as you continue to press forward in life. Know that if you ever need someone to confide in, that I’m here for you. I know your dad was and will continue to be so proud of you in all you accomplish in this life. Much love.
Very sensitive topic for me I just buried my father in-law this past week2nd and lost my older brother this pas5 October
Jordan, I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope you can find some solace in your grief. My deepest sympathies go to you and your family. Xoxo
I’m so sorry to hear about your lost. Stay strong.
Jordan I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a loved one is a hard pill to swallow, and it seems as if you can never get that pill down. As time passes the pain will be a little easier to bare, but never completely goes away. I lost my kids father 6 years ago, and my best friend not even a year ago yet. I pray that you lean on your loved ones for comfort. Awww I am so sorry.
You’re definitely right and it is one of those things that I will never truly move on from. It will be here everyday, but time makes the big pain fade just a little more. I’m so sorry for the loss of your husband and best friend, it’s such a hard thing to go through no matter who it is.
Jordan, I am so extremely sorry for both of your losses. And especially when you are trying to finish all your schoolwork, exams, and your blogging work… As I was reading this though, it reminded me of my dad and my grandmother too. My dad passed away in a motorcycle accident a year after I moved to Japan, and I when I found out my life literally just shattered. I didn’t have the best relationship with him and I regret not being able to say I love you and goodbye to him even to this day, but time does heal and it makes me appreciate what I have now and the support I had from him when he was still alive. 2 years later my grandmother passed away suddenly too, and she was the rock in our family as well. I’d like to think these things happen for a reason, despite the immense pain. I do believe they are all in a better place with God. Stay strong, I know you can get through this <333 Much love and condolences to you and your family.
Jordan ChapmanSamantha Mariko
Everything truly does happen for a reason, even if I don’t know that reason yet. It was hard getting through the rest of the semester with this all hanging over me, but I ended up finishing in a way that would make both of them proud. It was almost as if the world just stopped in those weeks around both of them dying and I’m still figuring out how to make it work and keep my life working. It does get easier, but I’m hoping that I’ll find some peace.
I cannot even begin to express my sorrow for your terrible loss. One death in the family is difficult enough but to suffer and experience the pain of two is just unimaginable. No amount of words, hugs or comfort can make you feel better and I thank you for sharing this personal experience with us. Not to take anything away from what you are going through, I also lost my grandmother a week before my own father’s passing almost three years ago. My dad’s death wasn’t sudden like yours was which I think always makes it harder. So unexpected and so much left to say. I love that you were so close to your dad and had such an amazing respect and relationship and I know he is so proud of you. He will always be apart of your life and be there with you through everything. Sending you and your family lots of love during this painful time. xoxo, Christine
This was…wow. I can’t even imagine what you’re going through right now, but those photos show a life full of love. It’ll be almost 3 years since I lost my paternal grandmother. At times I think about how happy she would have been to see my daughter (who’s almost 2). She always wanted me to have another child. At those times when I feel sad that she’s not here to see it, I realize that if I live my life to the fullest, then I’m still honoring her. Peace and comfort to your and your family Jordan.
That’s a very similar method to what I’m doing, especially when it comes to school and finishing out the term. I’m doing what I can to make them proud and living a life they would want me to xx
Neek Neek (KeeNvision)
First, I’d like to extend condolences to you and your family. Secondly, I lost my grandmother, and it’s true that grandmothers are special beings. And, I’m a daddy’s girl. Daddies just get us and generally, they hold a special place in their hearts for their little girls. Keep the memory alive and cherish them.
Jordan ChapmanNeek Neek (KeeNvision)
I’m doing everything in my power to honor them in my life and make an impact on the lives of others around me and I hope that I can accomplish something that would truly make them proud!
I am so sorry for your losses. You are so strong and I really give you kudos for being able to take the time to write this all out – not for us, but for yourself. I can’t even imagine what you’ve been through and continue to go through. Though it may be hard, and completely heart breaking, I know that you will get through this hard time and you will continue to live on, produce content and be happy. It may take time, and you should never feel bad about taking the time you need. Sending tons of love and warmth your way. If you ever need someone to talk to, I’m here.
My heart and best wishes goes to your entire family during this period of mourning xx I hope that you have a loving support system to get you through
Holding you close sis. I have not lost a parent but I’ve lost 2 loved ones in the last 3 weeks. It is hard. So many questions why. Beautiful tribute to your angels.
I’m so sorry for your loss. I must be very hard to loose someone who is close and loving. I think by writing is out here on your post is the first step of recovering your heart. It’s very brave for you to share it here! Hope soon you will be back on your feet again, girl.
Writing about it has definitely helped ease a lot of the pain and questioning I had inside. It will never end, but this is a first step in moving on with my life x
I’m so sorry for your loss. I could never imagine losing someone so close. There are no words to express the sympathy I feel.
Jordan such a beautiful post and memories!! Im very sorry for your lost.
Loosing someone that close is extremely hearth broking but I’m sending you many strengths to you and your family.
Girl .. firstly I’m so sorry for your loss and I’m struggling to see through my tears whilst typing this but I can’t imagine what you would’ve been going through. Losing someone so dear to you would be heart wrenching and your words are just breaking my heart right now. All my love goes out to you and your family and we’re all here to support you!!
Sending you love from the other side of the world xx
I am so sorry for your loss. Sending prayers and hugs.
So sorry for your loss. Losing the ones we love is never easy and definitely changes us forever in some cases. I’m sure your dad and grandparents are smiling down on you and will continue to be proud of you. My prayers and condolences to you and your family.
There’s not really anything I can say that you probably haven’t heard before. What I’d like to say is that it’s clear how much you love your family and your father. His influence seems so strong in your life and in the woman you’re becoming. It’s wonderful that you’ve had 20 loving years with him. I hope that you’re able to heal and experience this type of bond with others in your life. When a sudden and unexpected loss like this happens, there’s usually a lot of shock, anger, bargaining – the whole 5 step grievance process. I hope that you move through it and come out stronger. And that you continue to feel his presence in your life because of the person he helped you become.
This is beautiful Jordan!! We love you and are here for y’all!
This was very heartbreaking to read. Accept my condolences. I pray that God gives you the strength to go through this hard time.