Earlier this month, 16-year-old Jordan Nordelus faded in and out of consciousness as the bleeding that would kill him filled his lungs. Then a hospital visitor piped up that the University of Miami football team had beaten Pitt.
"He flashed the UM sign," said Jordan's mother, Emma Nordelus, a health specialist. "He just lit up."
The death this week of the Doctors Charter School junior threw the small community of Miami Shores into mourning and gloom. But it also brought people together. Scores contributed to a GoFundMe page that raised about $10,000 in small contributions in two days.
Emma and her husband Wilner, a truck driver, were born in the Bahamas and have two boys. The elder son, 28-year-old Chandler, was "quite deeply affected" by his brother's death, his mom says.
Jordan was a popular and considerate kid who excelled at sports. He joined a flag football team that won two championships, his mom said. And he was part of a four-by-100-yard relay team that won district and regional track meets last year. A coach posted that Jordan's death meant "we have lost a piece of the puzzle," his mother said.
Kids and parents across the North Miami-Dade town poured out grief and reminiscences. Jordan would make sure to speak with parents when visiting friends' homes. At school, he would talk to younger kids whether or not it was cool.
courtesy Emma Nordelus
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"'Juniors don't talk to sixth- and seventh-graders, but he talked to me,'" Emma said a seventh-grader told her. "That showed that he cares about younger kids."
A memorial service is planned for 1 p.m. Saturday at Saint Rose of Lima Church, located at 425 NE 105th St. in Miami Shores.
"We lost a great part of us when this happened," Jordan's mother says. "I know in my heart we did a good job raising him."