When Jerry Gordon, who owned of J. Gordon Designs in Chicago, Illinois, with his wife Karen, passed away suddenly this past November, Karen was overwhelmed by the huge response she received from the beauty industry after posting the news on Facebook.
“This industry uses Facebook to its best ability to connect and see what everyone is doing—it was designed for us,” she says.
With that in mind, Karen decided to post a Jerry Gordon photo of the day for the next 49 days.
“I have a client who’s a psychologist. She told me to take good care of myself for the 49 days after Jerry died. In Buddhism, it’s the most important time—it’s when a person transitions from life to afterlife.”
Armed with decades’ worth of images and stories to share from their 34 years together, Karen began posting.
“Jerry was my favorite person to photograph—he was so expressive and funny. And I realized how many people loved Jerry, and that I held something precious—these photos,” she says. “So it popped in my head to post a picture of Jerry every day for 49 days. I wanted it to be nice, not maudlin.”
The beautiful tribute prompted many comments and some people told Karen they got up every morning to see what she would post.
“I, for one, am incredibly grateful that you are posting these photos. I had not been able to see Jerry in person for quite some time and these photos are an amazing way for me to reconnect. The shock of his passing is somewhat assuaged by the ability to look at these photos on a daily basis. Thank you so much for sharing.” —Melissa Yamaguchi
“I’d write a few lines about why the photo was special,” she says. “It became a ritual and was very healing—I got to check in and see what people were writing and saying about Jerry.”
“This helped make Jerry’s passing a slower and more extended savoring of the time we shared together over the years. We all seek to make a difference while we are here, and he did that for sure. I believe that all souls are connected, and therefore, we know he’s truly still a part of our life story into the eternity. See you down the road, Jerry.” —Laurence Seybold
The images gave friends and fans of Jerry the chance to reflect on who he was and see other sides of him, whether it was a young Jerry from the 1960s, a picture of him in Horst Rechelbacher’s apartment or a shot of him cuddling a toddler.
“I looked forward to this every day. Jerry was unique, but also of his time. So your images of him were a double delight! I also believe you and Jerry have launched a new kind of memorial, and because it’s not dependent on geography it may become more socially significant than traditional funerals. Jerry would absolutely love that you and he led the way in pioneering a brand-new social convention! And Horst is cheering!” —Sarswati Namaste
“It let everyone else grieve as well and gave them a chance to work through the process. When I posted the last photo, it was hard to let go—it had become a ritual and very healing,” Karen says.
“Keep the photos coming. I heard it takes seven days to get to heaven. Don’t forget he drove a Ferrari.” —Richard Calcasola