while i believe there's a divine order to everything, when the birthdays roll around, it's hard not to wonder what he might have been like at this age. in fact, the wondering about the "what ifs" is probably one of the most debilitating things we can do when we're grieving. it's all very natural. but unfortunately, it also tends to be a ride on a road that leads to nowhere.
Jarronn had a special enthusiasm for life, and he wanted to experience all it had to offer. he loved to travel and he'd even create detailed spreadsheets with an itinerary of activities when we were planning to visit a new place.
after he passed away, i immediately thought of the many places he'd never see. the trips we wouldn't get to take. chicago. the grand canyon. the annual cruise planned by a friend. egypt. brazil. it all seemed so sad. it all seemed to remind me of what i saw as time cut way too short. and with each birthday that came after he passed, it seemed to be a reminder of what wasn't done. and what wouldn't be.
i remember being on a boat tour of the sydney harbor in 2012. the weather was beautiful. the sights were unforgettable. and as i took it all in, i started to cry thinking about how Jarronn never got to see any of it. and there were other moments like that, in different places. for so long, the new experiences that were helping me heal also had the sting of reminding me what Jarronn wouldn't get to do.
but then, eight months later in that same year, and more than three years after he had passed, something interesting happened.
i was on a different boat.
this time in the cayman islands. the weather was beautiful. the sights were unforgettable. and as i took it all in, i had this moment of renewed perspective.
it might sound kind of strange, but i recognized that as i continued to live and travel to new places, Jarronn would be there too. not in the physical. not even as some spooky ghost. but his memory, his love, his legacy goes where i go. i didn't have to feel sadness over him not seeing a beautiful place, because i carry him with me, based on the love and bond we shared.
and in a big way, that was f r e e i n g.
because it opened up space for me to let in more gratitude and more hope.
|cayman islands, august 2012|
happy 34th birthday to my late husband, Jarronn Jackson. knowing you the way I did was one of my greatest joys, and carrying on your legacy is one of my greatest honors. (March 1, 2014)