Name: Dan and Kelly Anglin
Location: Farmington, New Mexico
Filming Dates: 5th and 6th October 2015
Jordan Anglin was 14 when he picked up his father’s pistol not realising there was a bullet in the chamber. No one is quite sure how or why he had gone to his parents bedroom where the gun was kept, or how he had managed aim the gun so that the bullet went straight through his brain. Jordan died on 8th November last year.
Many American families have guns in their home as a matter of course and many American children grow up having being taught all there is to know about gun safety. Jordan’s Dad Dan Anglin was as conscientious as any American father in showing his son how to make a gun safe after a day out on the range. You empty the magazine of any remaining bullets, and you empty the chamber. But on the day before Jordan picked up that gun Dan had mistakenly left the gun still loaded.
It has been difficult for us to assess the Anglin’s story without pre judging them. This is a project about grief and how families deal with the death of a much loved child, it is not about how or why that child died. But in less than a year Dan, his wife Kelly and their daughter Taylor seemed to have recovered an equilibrium in their lives that would be remarkable even if no one felt any responsibility for the tragedy. The “what if’s”, especially in an ‘accidental’ death are common hauntings for all bereaved parents
Both Dan and Kelly are open with their grief and their tears flow easily, neither parent is yet ready to tidy up his room, photos of their son are on every wall of their home, they are heartbroken and have created their own ritual of leaving painted stones with Jordan’s name on them around their town for others to find and know that their son existed. But we were left with so many questions – how did Kelly learn to forgive her husband for the mistake that led to Jordan’s death, what does Dan mean when he says that God has guided him through his memories of that fateful day, where did he find the strength to go back to work or to manage all the difficult emotions that will have arisen, not just about his son’s death but about the nature of that death.