April 6, 2013 by Katia

Jordan April 6th, 1976 - December 10th, 2010

April 6th, 1976 – December 10th, 2010

A lot of people judge a meal’s quality by the portion size and amount of food on their plate. By the same token friendships are often measured by their duration or how often friends get to see one another. I believe that friendship comes in different shapes and sizes. Jordan’s the proof. True, Jordan and I were friends for half of our lives, but we’ve lived in different countries and have only met each other twice. But the depth of our friendship can measure up against any of my strongest relationships. He was one of the most dependable friends I’ve had. Although we’ve never talked about our definition of friendship, I know that we shared the same perception on what friends do for each other. It’s simple. You’re always there. And being there doesn’t necessarily mean sharing the same space.

How do you maintain a friendship with a friend you so rarely get to see? Jordan and I have “met” as teenagers in the 90’s through a British tv show on Super Channel, which was broadcasted Europe wide. I was in Israel, Jordan in Greece. We both wrote in seeking pen pals. Those were the days when New Kids on the Block reigned every arena and if you were called Jordan, you lucked out. And Jordan did. Most deservingly. I think he broke a show record with the amount of letters he got, but quite frankly the lucky ones were us, those who became his pen pals. Jordan and I started corresponding. His warmth and openness flowed through the curvy letters of the black ink. He always signed his letters with “all my love”.

Out of all the pen pals I had, he was the only one who materialized into an actual person first through letters, then through phone calls, text messages, two in person meetings and finally Facebook. I knew who Jordan was as a person and as a friend. Happy Jordan, fun loving, food appreciating Jordan, insightful, empathetic Jordan, philosophical, truth seeking, believer Jordan, endlessly kind, supportive, optimistic Jordan. Artistic, Madonna and Eurovision song contest lover. Tel-Aviv lover. Loving person Jordan.

When someone’s life ends we often choose to focus on one brush stroke in their portrait, magnify it and make it their only trait. Their definer. I am no different. When I think of Jordan I cannot block out the thought about cancer but just as strongly  thoughts of optimism and unconditional support rise. Yes, he was ill in the last few years of his life, but mistake me not, the unconditional support I’m referring to came from him.

Jordan was always optimistic, but it was especially apparent in the last years of his life when he was the epitome of lemonade making in a reality of lemons. When cancer kept striking over and over again and Jordan, determined to stay true to what defined him as a person, called his chemotherapy sessions “my spa day”. But his sentence that shames me most when I dare sweat the small stuff is a sentence he posted on his Facebook wall in the midst of his last battle. It read “life is a playground not a Greek tragedy”. Jordan was an optimist by conviction, and a thinker who questioned everything out of curiosity and a pursuit of truth and learning. And he had the rare gift of empathy. He knew exactly what to tell you and how to make you feel good about a situation, no matter how trivial or how insignificant in the grand scheme of things and in comparison to what he was going through, no matter how bad he was feeling that day. Because walking in the shoes of others did not pose a challenge for him and did not require an effort, he was a soul reader. Jordan reinforced in me what I already knew. It’s much more noble to be happy.

When he died two years ago I initially did not allow myself any negative thoughts. It was my way of honouring him and what he stood for. Gradually my forced optimism faded, but I cling on to happiness, sometimes frustratedly, sometimes academically – reading articles and highlighting paragraphs, sometimes with the assistance of other people, and always through gratefulness and always keeping him in mind. He’s become synonymous with optimism. Optimism teacher Jordan.

My brave optimism teacher, my true friend, Jordan, life is not a Greek tragedy, but some things that happen in life are. Today would have been your thirty seventh birthday.

All my love,



29 thoughts on “Jordan

  1. Katerina says:

    I am breathless….

  2. Katia says:

    I love him. Love you.

  3. Heather O. says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a very special man, Katia. I am glad to know Jordan through your words. I lost a dear friend to cancer 6 years ago, and I miss her all the time.

    • Katia says:

      Thank you so much, Heather. I appreciate the comment, I know it’s not easy to find the words. I’m so sorry about your friend.

  4. MJM says:

    Beautiful blog…thanks for sharing.

  5. Trish says:

    What such beautiful words for your friend. I have a few friends that have helped make me who I am and I would be lost without them. Hugs to you in honor of your Jordan.

  6. Stephanie Sprenger says:

    Oh my, how did I miss this last week? Wow. I’m crying. That was so beautiful, so unbelievably beautiful. I just need to go sit down and cry somewhere.

    (Also wanted to make sure you got my last email about the guest post edits, since we seem to be having communication glitches!)


    • Katia says:

      Hi dear! Thanks so much, he was incredible. Really.

      I think I did get it, if you’re referring to the one where you said you can’t run something prev. published. I’m sorry if I didn’t respond, I’m a bit of a mess this week, Daniel (8 month old) has been running a fever and I am all over the place. I already have an idea in mind for the series, I just have to sit down and write it. 🙂

      • Stephanie Sprenger says:

        Yes, that one, and also I wanted to make sure you knew you could edit my post for you! No hurry on ours! So sorry you have a sick kiddo- that is the worst!

      • Katia says:

        Yes, I’ll make the change and then send it over so you can approve. Thanks so much, Stephanie!

  7. Katia says:

    Reblogged this on iamthemilk and commented:

    I once had a great memory for phone numbers, significant dates and other details of that nature. Then came mommy brain. I will never forget returning from the hospital with 4 Year Old (19 months old then) to this news on December 10th, 2010.

  8. What a true gem. His “life is a playground not a Greek tragedy” is the corker for me. You were indeed blessed to have Jordan in your life. I can see that December 10 is a special day to you for many reasons. Sending you wishes for a good and warm hearted day Katia.

    • Katia says:

      I know. I was completely blown away by this sentence when I read it. It was so him and so funny even considering he was Greek. It was not only the sentence that was him, but him being funny and light about this. He never wanted to burden anyone with his details of his condition. What an amazing person. And thank you so much, my friend, your comment means a lot.

  9. kylerbullock says:

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with us. This phrase struck me: “Jordan was an optimist by conviction…” What a rare thing that is, and yet a powerful thing. I pray I become an optimist by conviction as well, instead of a “pessimist by trade!”

    • Katia says:

      Thank you so much, Kyle! I’m so glad that some of this resonated with you. Much like yourself I’m a devout pessimist but I really respect optimism, especially of the ‘optimism despite circumstances’ type. I aspire for a more positive outlook and rereading that post originally published on Jordan’s birthday reminded me once again how much I loved and respected him 🙂

  10. I always love reading your blog and today is an especially beautiful reminder of why. A lovely and heartfelt tribute. Thank you.

  11. rmemommy says:

    What a beautiful tribute to you friend! Cancer has taken so many people far too soon. I’m so sorry you friend was one of them. His beautiful should shines through your words.

  12. I am sorry for the loss of such a treasured friend. Your tribute to him does him justice. And I must remember the wisdom of his advice, about life being a playground…

  13. I’m with Stephanie. How did I miss this? So incredibly beautiful. Sounds like he was lucky to have you as a friend, too. xoxoxo

  14. Aww. He sounds like an awesome friend.

  15. AwesomelyOZ says:

    This brought sincere tears to my eyes.. at least you were both blessed to know one another while he was on this earth. My sincere condolences and may you think of him every time you’re happy and optimistic and may that be all the time 🙂 Have a great one and happy SITS Day Katia! -iva

    • Katia says:

      I dare say it was a blessing for us both, I think we’ve played important roles in each others lives. Thank you so much for this incredibly kind comment, Iva!

  16. JudahFirst says:

    In the middle of watching cancer eat away at the life of my sister (she likely will not live to see 58), these words push me to find other ways to grieve: “Jordan reinforced in me what I already knew. It’s much more noble to be happy.” I want to honor her memory by being happy for the time we had. Thanks for the reminder. A tough ask, though, for a pessimistic realist. 😉

    • Katia says:

      So this is maybe one of the most significant comments I’ve ever gotten on this blog. Thank you so much for sharing this with me.I am too a pessimistic realist, but my prayers are with you and your sister. 🙂

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