Monday, August 31, 2009

hardest part of day

mornings tend to be the hardest part of the day. i'm not a morning person to begin with. Jarronn and i were opposites in that way. he'd hop up in the mornings and fall asleep watching t.v. by 9:00 p.m. i, on the other hand, tend to find it hard to fall asleep before midnight. and i struggle to get up in the mornings, even sometimes after having a full night's rest. Jarronn would tease me about the fact that even after a shower and getting dressed, i still looked like i wasn't really awake.

mornings these days are even more difficult. i wake up and get smacked with the reality that i have to make it through another day. as opposed to wanting five more minutes, i now want five more hours. the thing that typically gets me out of bed is having to go to the bathroom, or knowing someone will be coming over.

i stare in to space. a lot. i stare at the closet, the floor, the wall. i often imagine what the morning "should" be like.
...cnn american morning on the t.v. making the bed from both sides. taking turns with the iron. Jarronn making me laugh. Jarronn taking care of business on his laptop. Me asking for his thoughts on my outfit. Jarronn reminding me not to put my shoes on upstairs (something i still feel guilty doing). me making oatmeal for us to take to work...

i do push through, though. i make it to work. usually late. but things get better once the day moves on. my work is worthwhile. i talk to friends and family. and at the end, i thank God for getting me through another day.

early morning with Jarronn...

Saturday, August 29, 2009


saturday. i've been staying busy with work, dinner with friends, and guests. it's been good to keep my mind off things. but i couldn't bring myself to make plans for the weekend. the distractions are good, but my fear is locking myself into social interactions and finding myself at a point where i desperately want to exit. plus, i looked forward to the desire i'd been pushing off all week -- crawling into bed, pulling up the covers, and staying there for hours.

saturdays were always my favorite days with Jarronn. he'd usually have something going on in the morning -- basketball or flag football. and then he'd come home, and the day was ours to share. birthday parties, errands, movies on the couch, trips to the mall. it really didn't matter what it was. if i had something to do that prevented us from spending the day together, Jarronn would playfully lay a guilt trip on me for leaving him. i miss him pulling me back to the couch when i insisted that i was going to be late. while i was gone, i'd be looking forward to making it back to him.

Jarronn and i spent lots of time together. and still somehow found time to do lots of things individually. but he always stressed the importance of quality time. he'd make jokes to his boys about how he had to go "spend this quality time" (a la martin lawrence - "you so crazy"). we'd both laugh, because we knew that our relationship never felt like an obligation. and Jarronn constantly thought of ways to keep our relationship new, even after four years together. during our wedding, he vowed to continue to date me throughout our marriage, and i knew he would keep that promise. and i really didn't care what we did. i just loved being together.

saturdays aren't the same.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

breaking the news

it's been four weeks, and i'm still having to break the news to people. yesterday, i spoke to three of Jarronn's friends who hadn't known he died. one was a friend from high school. Jarronn had worked as his realtor and helped him buy his first house a few months ago. before i had broken the news, he was asking if we had already gotten married. another friend was one Jarronn met when he first started working at johnson & johnson. i couldn't find his number to get in touch with him, though i wanted to badly. i thought the friend might have already known what had happened, because he sent a text to Jarronn's phone last week that said, "R U Alive?" it turned out to just be irony. he hadn't heard from Jarronn after expecting to, and he knew that wasn't like him to not do something he said he'd do. both friends answered the phone with excitement, "brother Jackson!" and then i had to break the news. Jarronn's phone has 20 voicemail messages, and i can only imagine who else might be waiting for him to call them back.

and then there's the people who are my acquaintances and haven't seen me in three or four months. they run into me and congratulate me on the wedding. telling me they saw the wedding photos on facebook and how great they looked. i thank them and end the conversation quickly. i can't quite imagine how i'd say, "thanks. yeah, the honeymoon was great. but my husband died four weeks ago." life seems awkward enough without adding those kind of interactions into the mix.

i sometimes think about what breaking the news will be like three, six, or 12 months from now. will i talk about "my late husband?" how will people react to me and that term? it's hard to imagine that this will one day be something i talk about in a matter-of-fact way. i don't want it to be.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

missing him

the past few days have had their ups and downs. i went to nyc on friday for work. it was good to have another change of surroundings, but being in the city also reminded me of all of the different things Jarronn and i had done there. the 2005 car show at jacob javitts center. seeing his cousin afi perform at b.b. king's. joe and alicia's baby shower. his cousin marisa's sock party. the lion king and the color purple on broadway. the "slavery in new york" exhibit at the ny historical society. i've certainly been grieving over the past few weeks, but friday's trip really made me miss Jarronn.

i was in new jersey on friday and saturday and felt more of the same feelings. we ate at the restaurant where he had his farewell party before moving to maryland. we drove past the hyatt where we used to go shoot pool. i realized that there's few things i can look at that i don't associate with Jarronn. we shared a lot over the past five years. we were best friends that enjoyed life.

it's been hard to write the past few days. in addition to trying to keep up at work, i've been feeling more than i've been able to translate into words. the mix of emotions have left me feeling tired and a bit overwhelmed. missing him so much...

Friday, August 21, 2009


among the many different emails i receive with kind words, messages of encouragement, and well wishes, i was really pleased to receive one from a former co-worker of Jarronn's. i actually worked with her at johnson & johnson as well when i was an intern, but she knew Jarronn much better, because they worked in the same division.

in her email, this co-worker, margarita, shared that she really enjoyed working with Jarronn and said, "he was such a gentleman who had a great attitude and smile!" margarita went on to share that this past sunday, august 16, she ran the nyc half marathon, and did so in honor of Jarronn. she hoped that this "small gesture" would show that he was truly appreciated.

i can't tell you how much something like this would mean to Jarronn. i'm touched to know that someone he worked with five years ago was moved to respond in this way. it certainly is an honor, and is another testament to how special he was/is. and he never would have imagined something like this.

below is a photo of margarita with her sign that read: "i'm running in memory of my friend Jarronn Jackson, Mar. 1, 1980 - Jul 30, 2009" thanks margarita!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

the physical

the physical effects of this are pretty real. within a few days of Jarronn's passing, i lost eight pounds. (i had hoped to lose five pounds of honeymoon/newlywedded bliss weight, but certainly not like this). my digestive system has been unstable for the past three weeks, so that even though i've regained my appetite, it's hard to see eating as something to look forward to. not sure if it's nerves or that my stomach has forgotten how to respond.

there's also the exhaustion. regular things i was used to doing everyday wipe me out. and the exhaustion tends to make me vulnerable to a range unpleasant emotions...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

on being strong

a lot of people tell me i'm strong. i don't feel strong. crying myself to sleep doesn't feel strong. tossing and turning all night doesn't feel strong. wailing in the bathroom doesn't feel strong. feeling like i can't go on 25 times each day does not feel strong.

i guess people try to imagine themselves in my shoes and can't comprehend it. they think of how they'd react. but if you had asked me on july 29 how i would deal with something like this, i wouldn't have been able to comprehend it either. the point is, none of us really know how much we can take until we are confronted with the challenging situations of life. and generally, each of us can handle a lot more than we think.

if people want to draw strength from me, that's good. but being strong/staying strong/standing strong is not my objective right now. right now i'm just trying to keep living. to push myself out of bed in the morning. to make sense of life now that my hopes and dreams have been ripped away. to literally take it one day at a time, if not one moment at a time. because that's really all i have strength for.

now if you want to see strong, check out the big man in the red plaid shirt below.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

plane ride

i’m back at work today after flying home last night. on my way down to jamaica, i boarded the plane and found that my seat was occupied. in the window seat was a teen-aged boy, and next to him in the middle seat was his little sister, who looked about 10 years old. i communicated that 22F was my seat, but as the teenager looked up at me with a dumbfounded look, i told him that i'd take the aisle seat if he wanted the window. he agreed (of course). as i settled in my seat, i realized that the kids' parents were sitting across the aisle from us. the father asked with concern, "is that ok?" i told him it was fine.

but it wasn't fine. i was upset that i had lost my seat that i had requested, all to accommodate someone else. i was upset that i couldn't press up against my window seat and cry in peace. instead, i dealt with the kids constantly looking over me to their parents across the aisle. i could hear the little girl next to me whispering about me to her big brother, "she's crying." i'm sure she was confused and terrified. it got worse as i was completely exhausted but had to get up multiple times to let them go to the bathroom. i was reminded to take a lesson from Jarronn: be polite, but be sure to also speak up for the things you want (or possibly need).

on the return flight home, i boarded and once again found someone sitting in my window seat, this time a grown woman. the middle seat beside her was empty, and a woman in the aisle seat asked, "do you think you could sit in the middle seat across the aisle, so that this woman in the window seat can move her daughter over into this open middle seat??" ummmmmm.... "if you can make that happen, and i still end up in a window seat, that's fine. but i'm going through a lot, and i need a window seat," i responded. the women moved out of the aisle so that i could file into my seat. the woman who had been in my seat grumbled about air jamaica not seating her with her daughter and vowing to never fly with them again.

i stared out the window and reassured myself that i had done what i needed to do for me. but i'd be lying if i said i didn't feel bad. accommodating others is something i'm used to doing. make everybody happy. be everybody's friend. what i'm not used to is being in a position where i need to accommodate myself for my sanity and emotional stability. and realizing all of this made me sad. sad that i'm not the person i was two weeks ago. not really sure who i am.

Monday, August 17, 2009

our special spot

a few days before Jarronn and i came to jamaica in july 2008, he suggested that we check out the sunset from our favorite "look out" on our first night there. he had checked the weather and thought it would be the clearest night and our best chance of seeing the kind of beautiful sunset we'd seen on the last night of our 2007 visit. that sunset in 2007 had been the most amazing sunset either of us had seen. and because in 2005 we'd seen the most amazing full moon over montego bay from the same spot, we thought this look out spot had to have some kind of magical power.

what i didn't realize was that Jarronn was hoping to have a beautiful sunset as the backdrop to his proposal. he had an engagement ring inside of his backpack and was waiting for just "the perfect moment." our first night there, the sunset was less than exciting. the sky was full of clouds, so Jarronn postponed and waited for "the perfect moment." we went up to the look out again on the following day, in the afternoon, and as we snapped some photos, Jarronn said to me, "this is our special spot, don't you think?" i responded, "yeah, it is." i think he was hoping that this would lead into "the perfect moment," but my response wasn't reflective/deep enough to take us there, lol. so he postponed again.

Jarronn carried his backpack with him everywhere that week. he told me that it had his camera tripod inside, and i didn't give it much thought. on our last night, we went to the beach with my mom. the sunset was pretty, but still not like the one we'd seen in 2007. while i was lying on the beach, i started thinking about how much i wanted Jarronn to propose. how much i wanted us to get married. but after a few minutes, i remember saying to myself that i wasn't going to worry or obsess over when it was going to happen. i trusted God that it would happen when the time was "right," so i'd continue to enjoy everything i had in the meantime.

we went back to my mom's house that evening and uploaded the photos we'd taken over the week to her computer. we also told her about the amazing sunset we'd seen in 2007. we went to my facebook page to show her photos, and when she saw the photo of Jarronn kissing me on the cheek in front of the sunset, she said, "what a perfect moment." Jarronn started talking about creating another perfect moment, and while on one knee presented a ring and asked me to marry him. i, of course, said yes. he was thrilled that i was surprised. and you would have thought my mom had been proposed to.

i went back to our special spot on friday. this time to place a part of Jarronn's remains there. it had rained earlier, so i didn't know what to expect in terms of the sunset. but what i saw was absolutely beautiful. in fact, i learned that the best sunsets happen after it has rained. and just like my relationship with Jarronn, the sunset just kept getting better and better with time. i thanked God and Jarronn for the beauty. i cried. i missed him. and without realizing, my mom used the same phrase she'd used last year. it was "the perfect moment." photos of this year's sunset are below.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


since Jarronn died, i've only dreamt of him three times. the first was the night he died. i had come downstairs into the living room and saw him sitting on the couch -- a familiar sight on any given morning. i asked him what he was doing there, alive, and he explained that they had given him food at the hospital, and the more he ate, the more strength he got. so there he was. i was so happy that the night before had all been "a bad dream." we talked, and as more people ended up in our living room, i realized that i was the only person who could see or talk to him. it was a good dream.

in subsequent nights, as i've cried myself to sleep, i've asked Jarronn to visit me in my dreams. but he doesn't always show up.

i dreamt of him again last night. we talked about his death and how he was doing. he said he was fine. that nothing was bothering him. i woke up and felt devastated. devastated that it was just a dream. even devastated that he's experiencing peace, and i'm here suffering. talking to him felt so real, but in reality, i can't talk to him anymore like i used to. right now, i'd do anything to be able to ask him question after question until he starts to get frustrated with me. i want so badly to see his face, to hear his voice.

now i'm not so sure about the whole dreaming thing. don't think i'll be asking for more appearances any time soon.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

so amazing

my mom took me to dinner by the water last night. we ate with some of her friends and shared some good conversation, although it can be hard to be in social settings for long periods of time.

a musician on the deck sang pop songs over keyboard music. at one point, he started singing luther vandross's song "so amazing." it reminded me of a time i went to dinner with a few female friends a couple years ago. we were eating at indeblue in d.c., and i asked the ladies how their relationships were going. two of them responded with a lukewarm "ok." i was less than satisfied with this response! from everything i knew about both of their boyfriends, i expected much more enthusiasm. i inquired about why their responses lacked luster and neither seemed to really have an explanation. they then asked me how things were with Jarronn, and after lacking the proper words to explain how great things were, i broke into my rendition of "so amazing" -- doing luther's song little justice.

"love has truly been good to me
not even one sad day
or minute have i had since you've come my way
i hope you know i'd gladly go
anywhere you'd take me
it's so amazing to be loved
i'd follow you to the moon in the sky above...

"and it's so amazing, amazing
i could stay forever, forever
here in love and no, leave you never
'cause we've got amazing love"

i think my friends were stunned and perhaps embarrassed for me, lol. they also made fun of me for the next two years. did jessica really just bust into song over her man?! but the truth is that it really was that good. and one thing that has brought me some peace in this situation is knowing that i fully appreciated what i had with Jarronn -- while i had it. i didn't take any phone call, kiss, or gesture for granted. and i let him know how much it all meant to me. if your relationship is really 'just ok', that's one thing. but if it's wonderful, you should say so and do so, while you have the opportunity.

Friday, August 14, 2009

on the catamaran

i arrived in monetgo bay, jamaica yesterday. i'm hoping to get some sun, sand, and silence. it's hard though, because Jarronn has been with me the last three times i've been here. and we always had such a good time here. one of our favorite things to do has been taking a catamaran tour. we've done it every year we've come.

i went out on the boat this morning. it was really a beautiful day. but it was tough. staring at the water reminded me of how we used to talk about its amazing color. (he took the photo of his foot in front of it so he could remember the color). we were here last year when Jarronn proposed. it's mind-boggling to see how much things can change in a year. i thought about the hobie cat we rode on during our honeymoon in st. lucia. we called it our mini-catamaran, and he considered himself a trained sailor. :-)

i cried on the boat today. but i also jumped off the side and swam with pretty blue and yellow fish. and i drove the boat -- something i wish i could brag about to Jarronn right now.

one day at a time

on july 30, 2009, the love of my life--my husband Jarronn--died. there's so much that i'm feeling and experiencing, and i thought this might be a way for me to deal with those things.