Your goodness inspires me to be a better person each day.
It’s hard to believe I can miss someone I never met before.
Look at the sky above. Our angels are watching over us.
The notes were released Thursday into a cloudless blue sky, each affixed to purple balloons — the boy’s favorite color.
The notes — dozens of them — expressed sentiments that remain strong and deep among prosecutors and investigators who work on the sixth floor of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, as well as cops from Fullerton, Santa Ana and other law enforcement and related partners.
“Sometimes we don’t talk about it,” Assistant District Attorney Tracy Miller told the assembled gathered on a patio of the D.A.’s office in Santa Ana on Nov. 19, “but we’re always thinking of him.”
“Him” would be Jordan Christopher Williams, who lost his battle with leukemia on Nov. 27, 2013 — the day before Thanksgiving two years ago.
Jordan was 10.
Jordan’s mother, Tamika Williams, is a well-regarded prosecutor with the D.A.’s Orange County Gang Reduction and Intervention Partnership (OC GRIP), a program that involves elementary schools, parents, faith-based organizations and corporate sponsors who work together to keep at-risk kids out of gangs.
When Jordan fell ill, first when he was 6 and again when he was 9, hundreds of Williams’ wide circle of law enforcement-related colleagues in O.C. — fellow prosecutors, social workers, cops and the like — donated more than 3,200 hours in sick time so she and her husband, Robbie, a sergeant with the Hawthorne PD, could focus on Jordan and his twin sister, Lauren.
Jordan’s death still reverberates in these circles, whose members work in a world filled by sadness: kids slipping into gangs, kids dying because of gang activity, broken homes.
Thursday was all about brightness — a quality Jordan embodied.
A bright sun hovered high about Tamika Williams and a couple of dozen of colleagues she considers family.
Officially, the gathering was the annual Thanksgiving luncheon for those who work on the sixth floor of the D.A.’s office, as well as for their outside GRIP-related partners.
But the lunch also served as a chance to remember Jordan at a time of year that has become very difficult for the Williams family, who live in Fullerton.
Last year, to mark the one-year anniversary of Jordan’s death, a lavender tree was planted at Maple Elementary, a Fullerton OC GRIP school. Jordan was a fifth-grader at Sierra Vista Elementary.
This year, Miller and two of her colleagues — DA investigator Kira Baker and Deputy DA Susan Eckermann — came up with the idea of releasing notes in memory of Jordan.
“We want you to know how much we love you and miss Jordan,” Miller told and emotional Williams. “These are all notes me made for Jordan in heaven.”
Williams released the first balloon.
Another 74 purple balloons followed.
“We love you, Tamika,” Miller said as colleagues presented her with a purple orchid.
“I just want to thank you all,” Williams said. “Every day is a struggle, and you guys help me to have a smile on my face…it gives me strength to come to work and not be sad.”
Prosecutors and D.A. investigators wrote the notes, as well as GRIP officers from the Fullerton and Santa Ana PD and members of the non-profit Community Service Programs, which at Thursday’s luncheon was represented by Kristen Gaborno, program director for GRIP for CSP.
“The good thing about our team is we’re not just about work,” Gaborno said. “Because of the nature of the work we do, we’re able to connect on levels other than just the legal and law enforcement perspectives.”
In addition to the orchid, Williams was given copies of the notes attached to strings in a frame:
Jordan: Finding comfort in your soul and memory.
You are never far from my heart and my thoughts.
“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” (John 16:22)
After the balloons sailed away, Williams warmly embraced her friends and colleagues and thanked them for remembering her son.
“I work with some of the most amazing people,” she said. “We feel so loved. Our family feels so loved.”
She added: “I appreciate you not forgetting (Jordan), and I love you all. You’re my family.
“Yes,” Miller said. “We’re all family.”