I was just driving on my way to a meeting, and I drove past the water park. Memories of Jordan just came rushing back to me, and I had to pull over.
Jordan loved to swim. John, that boy might have grown gills, given the chance! So, just about every summer, we’d go to his favorite place in the world: Six Flags White Water.
Jordan loved the slides best, and he always wanted to ride the highest ones first - even before he was tall enough to go on his own. So, we’d climb all the way up to the top of the platform. I’d remind him: “Hold onto your shorts,” because he always insisted on wearing swim trunks that were too big for him, and I’d hold him, -- laughing and screaming -- all the way down the slide.
Those lines were always so long, sometimes 45 minutes or more. But, I wish I could wait in that long line with him just one more time. It was so still and calm at the top of that platform. I’d tell Jordan that I love him. That I’m proud of him. Then, I’d hold him tight all the way down.
As you drive down the interstate, you can see the top of that tall platform from the road. Sitting in my car on the shoulder, I shut my eyes and heard Jordan and his friends laughing and splashing so clearly one moment. A second later, I’m hearing the music we played at his funeral.
That’s how grief is: It’s not a linear process. The tiniest thing happens, and it all comes rushing back. With practice, I’ve learned to just let the wave wash over you, let the moment pass, and keep moving forward. So, I took a deep breath, signaled, and got back on the road.
John, these memories of my son are some of the most precious. But, my job now in Congress is to make sure other families can keep making happy memories like the ones I cherish. That means working to end the gun violence epidemic that took my Jordan. It means keeping our kids healthy, getting our economy back on track, and finally ending this pandemic, too.
I don’t have the words right now to share how much your support has meant to me through all of those fights. We thought Jordan might be a community organizer or activist someday. So, everything I do now in Congress is to honor his memory -- and I’ll never forget what you’ve done to help us all keep moving forward together.
Thanks for everything, always.
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