Tuesday, September 29, 2009

the boys

one thing that makes me feel better is talking to the boys. Jarronn's boys. this is probably because i know how much each of them meant to him. how much he valued their friendship. and how much they all loved him.

like Jarronn, i value the different stages of his life they each represent(ed). i value the way that each of them is unique. and in so many ways, they represent the thing i loved most about Jarronn -- how multi-faceted he was. in his friends i see the engineer, the business man, the God-fearer, the family man, the sports fan, the lover boy, and so on. most importantly, i see a group of men who want to be better. some might be more focused than others, but they all want to be better.

they serve as an awesome reminder of how great of a friend my husband was. as i spoke to each of them in the days after his death, it was amazing to me how all of them told me they had shared long conversations with Jarronn in the days before he died. i always knew this, but i was reminded of how Jarronn was a much better friend than i was. how he was a model for me in that way. he somehow seemed to achieve quality and quantity in his relationships.

in the time that i knew Jarronn, i saw how he often gave his friends sound advice. i know they miss this. he was never judgmental. he just always wanted to see his friends have the best. but i also know that there were many times when these men advised Jarronn too. even on things related to our relationship and our working towards marriage. (i think one of these conversations resulted in us finally 'agreeing' on our bedroom decor - thanks Joe!)

i love that Jarronn's friends became my friends. and i love them, not just for how they've always embraced me, but just based on how much they each meant to Jarronn. so to aaron, nate, lennox, marck, marc, mike, d-mitch, raph, andy, al d., will, and joe -- thank you. Jarronn loved you all deeply, and i'm grateful for everything you added to his life and our life together.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


i like to comfort people. typically not so much with hugs, but more so with words. encouraging words. i like talking with people about what's bothering them. and i try my best to encourage them through it.

at some point, i came to the realization that while i like to comfort people, it's extremely difficult for me to be comforted by someone else. i'm not sure why. i just tend to draw the most comfort from an internal source (Source). and while i may have been mildly aware of this before, i'm acutely aware of it now that Jarronn isn't here. now that the one person who could comfort me isn't here. i'm realizing that this was one of the crucial reasons why i loved him. and why i felt he was "the one." he knew how to talk me down. how to change my perspective. how to make me feel secure.

we probably all know how it feels to be upset about something, and that sometimes, we just don't want to feel better. we'd rather hang on to whatever's bothering us. even at those moments, Jarronn knew how to get through to me. how to make me smile. how to make me see it wasn't as serious or negative as i thought it was. it really was a gift. that he somehow had just the right words. or just the right amount of humor. just the right amount of empathy. or just the right amount of kick in my butt.

that was huge -- a huge deal and a huge relief. i didn't have to do the comforting.

i remember the first time i recognized this gift in Jarronn. it was 2005, and i was driving in my car, talking to Jarronn on the phone. we had plans to see each other, and somehow they didn't work out. i was upset and got snippy. we hung up after some short words. my mind was racing. i was mad. i was thinking about the fact that it was the first time we had had a tense moment like that. i was probably telling myself why i was justified and that i wouldn't be getting over it anytime soon. i was thinking about how i'd still have an attitude the next time i spoke to him. three minutes into the mind-racing, Jarronn called back. he told me he really didn't like the way we had gotten off the phone. he went on to say a few things that i can't remember specifically now, but i do remember how his honesty shocked me. and it, in turn, forced me to be honest. i told him i was sorry for getting short, but that i was really just disappointed i wasn't going to see him. and he responded saying, "i know. but you don't have to go hard on me." and it's like he couldn't have said anything more perfect. he didn't make it into a huge deal (something i can't stand). he said just enough, because he knew just what i was thinking and feeling.

i feel like i'm inadequately describing all of this. so much so that my head is pounding from feeling that i'm not communicating effectively. but the gist is that i miss the nuanced way that my husband was able to comfort me like no one else could. and at a time where so many people want to see me comforted, i'm sorry.

Jarronn bringing the smile out of me...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


things have been really busy with work and school.

days have been really tough, trying to live without Jarronn.

people have been really amazing, still sending cards, gifts, messages my way.



i miss you so much. i wish i could miss you enough to bring you back. i wish i could stop the tears, at least some of them. i love you.


Friday, September 18, 2009

it's not nice to think about. and even when we think we've got a grasp, we probably don't.

but the truth is, we're all going to die. and in the many things that your loved ones will need to deal with after your death, you don't want lots of paper work to be one of them. trust me.

i was thinking about building something like a spreadsheet that would house important passwords, documents, policies, etc. but because this is obviously a common challenge, i just came across this article today, and i want to share it with everyone.

Death-Defying Websites Pass Crucial Info to the Grieving - U.S. News & World Report

Many of us have readied for our physical death by doing such things as getting life insurance and wills in place. Now a number of websites want to prod us into prepping our virtual selves for the afterlife. They're offering digital safekeeping for documents, online passwords, and other data that could prove crucial or comforting to grieving relatives and friends.

Some techies understand the death-defying power of the Internet. For years, programmers have coded computers to send E-mails if the user didn't enter a password in a timely fashion—say, every week. The notes originally went to supervisors or colleagues with needed passwords and instructions. They later included E-mails to friends and loved ones and were called "death switches," writes David Eagleman, who turned the concept into Deathswitch.com.

Several sites arose from the personal experiences of entrepreneurs who tried to unwind the Web affairs of loved ones after they died. Jeremy Toeman conceived LegacyLocker.com after struggling unsuccessfully to get access to his grandmother's Hotmail account after she died. "I wanted to contact her friends to let them know of her passing," he says. In pondering his own mortality during a plane flight, he realized nobody would know the passwords to Web domains he owns. Read entire article

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


while walking around, riding on the train, sitting in class -- i often wish i could just jump out of my body. and jump out of my life.

i don't ever seem to get my wish.

it's hard feeling this way after spending an entire life feeling content. everything hasn't always been perfect. but i've been content. i've been in situations where i wasn't happy, but i could always look forward to when things would get better. i knew i could make efforts to change the situation.

this is one situation i can't change. and please don't tell me that God wants to show me that He can change it. i just wish i could leave it behind. i can't envision things being better. i envision me dealing more. accepting more. but i can't see better.

i want to jump out of my body. and i get the urge to scream when i remember that i can't. so instead, i wrote this blog...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

no rush

i had an errand to run after work today. i was hoping to buy one last book that i need for school. and i needed my georgetown t-shirt in a different size. i left the campus around 7 and took my time walking toward the bus routes that run through m street. i debated whether or not i should stop for frozen yogurt at ice berry. (this tart yogurt business is quickly becoming my new obsession. in fact, following the sweet green mobile was my primary motivation for creating a twitter account. Jarronn definitely shook his head at that one.)

with my green tea yogurt in hand, i dashed across the street to hop on the circulator. didn't make a lot of sense, considering that i couldn't eat on the bus! after staring longingly at my yogurt, i hopped off in between metro stops, so i could walk and devour.

i walked slowly, because i wasn't in a rush. my reason for rushing home is no longer there. if Jarronn was still here, i never would have walked so slow. never would have stopped for yogurt. i used to do lots of things after work -- the gym, dinner with friends, errands, etc. but i always looked forward to coming home. a few weeks before Jarronn died, i told a friend that seeing Jarronn at the end of the day was the highlight of my day. it was what i looked forward to from the moment i sat at my desk at work and turned on my computer.

he'd often be home before me. i'd come through the front door, and he'd scurry into view after jumping up from the couch. which would always make me laugh. and i knew that everything in life would be fine. and that i had to be one of the most favored women in the world. that a man i simply adored was so excited to see me come home.

all of that's gone. i'm greeted by darkness and silence (minus the house alarm, of course). people tend to think that would be difficult for me. but i really don't mind it. in fact, i like it. i might not find the feelings i experienced before upon walking through the door, but i do find peace. and a free-ness to deal with new companion -- my thoughts.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

gospel song

i'm still sorting through facebook messages. 125 more to go. not that i don't appreciate hearing from so many people. it's just taking some time to respond.

thanks to tania j. for sending the words of an old time gospel song to me...

One day at a time sweet Jesus
That's all I'm asking from you.
Just give me the strength
To do everyday what I have to do.
Yesterday's gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord help me today, show me the way
One day at a time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

holiday weekend

it's been hard to know where to start. i guess that's why i haven't posted anything in a few days. it's hard to put things into words. i typically try to capture just a sliver of the thoughts and feelings i'm experiencing. but sometimes i can't sort through the clutter.

the holiday weekend kicked off with an early closing at work. i had to head over to georgetown to buy my final text book. i figured i'd also buy a t-shirt. i found myself wandering through the men's section, wishing i could buy one for Jarronn. i walked across campus, wondering if i looked that young when i was in college. figured i probably did. thought about how i never would have imagined this kind of pain for myself back then. i missed how simple of a time that was. realized that the students i walked past probably couldn't appreciate the simplicity.

stopped at georgetown cupcake on my way home. stood behind a tall, blond married couple. thought they looked compatible. missed moments just waiting in line, whispering back and forth to pass the time. i would lean in for kisses, and Jarronn would playfully give me a hard time about being in public and me not being able to resist him.

made it home. talked to my father (-in-law). got into bed by 8 p.m. after looking forward to it all day. ate a cupcake. talked on the phone. slept for 10 hours.

saturday morning i cleaned up. tried to put some things in the places where they belong, as opposed to them being in the places that visitors had put them in. thought about how Jarronn would clean his nj apartment every saturday morning, usually while playing james brown.

i went to the grocery store for the first time in more than five weeks. ran into the mother of one of our groomsmen (aaron). talked to her and shed some tears in front of the store. felt weird to not have to pick up Jarronn's favorite brands. no home pride wheat bread. no monster energy drinks. no thoughts about which cereal to get.

I spent saturday night over at nate's (another groomsman) and quanita's. it was good to see friends. friends who were Jarronn's friends and then became my friends. we laughed a lot. and seeing noah, Jarronn's (our) godson made me smile. i always planned to have children down the line, but seeing noah would make me excited about having children. as you can see, Jarronn used to try to keep noah to himself. :-)

sunday i headed to nj to spend time with my mom and cousins. had a good time hanging out, cooking on the grill, laughing at my cousins' kids. children just seem to make things feel better. went to bed and slept for 12 hours.

mom cooked breakfast on monday morning. we sat in bed and talked and cried. this hurts so many people. i rode the train back to md. went to the mall to return a sweater Jarronn had bought the week before he died. the cashier told me she had gotten engaged that weekend. her fiance told her he'd buy her a real ring once he had the money. i thought that was good that she wasn't materialistic. she went on to say that once he got his house together, they would move into it and she wouldn't have to work. he made $1000 a week. she said she couldn't stand his family, because they were snobs. it's probably bad that i wondered how long this marriage would last. i tried to tell her to focus on the importance of them joining their lives together. she smiled the smile of a person who couldn't imagine anything going wrong. maybe she's better off than me.

i stopped by my godmother's for dinner with her and my godsister. had a good meal and a good time. went home and caught up with one of my best friends from high school over the phone. as i settled in to bed, i realized i had made it through the weekend. if Jarronn was around, it might not have been much different. cleaning the house, errands, visits with family and friends. but if he were here, it would have felt different. life goes on, but the activities of life don't feel the same.

Friday, September 4, 2009

back to school

classes at georgetown started back up yesterday. it's hard to know i'm starting a new semester and don't have Jarronn's support. getting my masters was something that he was excited about. i told him my goal of getting only "A's" throughout my program. he was impressed, told me i could do it, and gave me a high five. we arranged everything so that i was able to pay for school as i go and not worry about loans.

the last time i was in classes, it was three weeks before our wedding. he was patient with me as i tried to juggle everything. my classmates were excited for me and my summer off. one of my classmates and i bonded over our similarities -- we both graduated the same year from umd, we were both named jessica, we were both getting married, and both of us would have the same new married name. "congrats, mrs. jackson =)", she wrote on my facebook wall. "thank you mrs. jackson! :-)", i responded, tickled to death.

...and now our stories are extremely different.

i came into class yesterday and saw a friend from a past class. she asked how my summer had been. "good and bad," i replied. i hated that i had to break the news one more time. it's hard for me, but i also know it puts other people in a tough spot.

sat in class and loved the subject matter. excited to be learning. sad that i can't go home and talk about what i'm learning with Jarronn. i want to hear his thoughts and unique perspective on things.

saw another classmate in the hall during our break. she knew the news and gave me a big hug. told me her uncle had passed and she made sure she got her window seat on the plane. made me smile.

dreaming more

a couple weeks ago, i wrote about dreaming. since then, it seems like i dream about Jarronn almost every night. wednesday night i dreamt that though we thought Jarronn had died, he had actually just been lost and unable to communicate with us. he finally reconnected and made it home. everyone was excited and relieved. i was ecstatic. so much so that i realized it was just a dream and woke myself up. it's another reminder that i'm still grappling with the reality of my life. i spend a portion of most dreams with Jarronn explaining to him that he died on july 30. he's usually surprised or heartbroken by the news. sometimes i explain how it happened. or tell him how his family is taking it.

i got myself back to sleep on wednesday, and Jarronn was in my second dream. this time, he was mad at me for something and wouldn't talk to me. i was trying to get him to forgive me, but i'm not sure what he thought i'd done wrong. not sure what that's about. didn't feel very rested when i woke up.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

text messages

i'm thankful for mobile devices today that let you keep a running conversation of text messages with people. this has allowed me to keep most of my text "conversations" with Jarronn since april when i got my latest phone. can you imagine that even after five years, i still got excited when i saw his name come across my phone?

i miss the midday check-ins to say hello, make me smile, or make plans for the evening. the messages with one more item for the grocery list, inside jokes between us, or telling me he'd pick me up from the metro station.


Me (6/2/09):
Just want you to know I adore you. (and it's ok if you can't respond). Have a good day Boo!

Jarronn (6/2/09):
Haha. I'll make time for my WIFE. I'm madly in love with you too, Boo! We're perfect for each other!

Me (6/2/09):
I couldn't agree more. :-)


Jarronn (6/6/09):
What's the word, Babylove?


Me (7/27/09):
I really love my husband!

Jarronn (7/27/09):
I looove my wife and tell people that as much as they'll listen!


it's hard to think about how much has changed between when those messages were exchanged and now. and yet, some things are still the same. i'm madly in love with Jarronn. i'm perfect for Jarronn. i'm married (kinda, i think) to Jarronn. huh? but Jarronn isn't here.

more text messages later...