Saturday, October 31, 2009


thursday morning, i woke up and felt like i had been hit by a bus. seems as though my body got tired of waiting for me to give it some rest, and decided to take it instead. i made it to class on thursday night, mainly because i couldn't stand the thought of falling behind. but i spent the rest of thursday and friday in the bed, in the dark. still trying to get my body right. being sick is no fun, but i know that isn't news to anyone.

i don't get sick like this a lot. although there were a couple of days during the middle of my honeymoon when i seemed to experience some similar symptoms. woke up one day and just didn't feel right. had the chills. no appetite. i felt horrible about disrupting our trip by being sick. and i was determined to get better as fast as possible. so i slept in our cabana for the entire day. Jarronn went off and learned to water ski. he came back to check on me. he went off to try wind surfing. and came back to check on me. he played his daily game of volleyball. and came back to check on me.

he bought me the $12 box of tylenol cold from the hotel gift shop. he told me not to push myself too hard if i wasn't feeling well. when i fell asleep one night that we were supposed to go out, and i realized what had happened the next morning, he told me it was more important for me to get my rest.

he was great. not too fussy, which i don't like. reassuring that it was ok for me to take time to get better. adjusting to the circumstances. another example of how he knew how to relate to me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Jarronn was so special. the kind of person you'd notice when he walked into the room. the kind of person that leaves an impression on people. important people. random people. high level executives. the neighbors down the street. the lady at the dry cleaners. the sales team at debeers. the receptionists at his doctors' offices.

i'm constantly running into people who knew Jarronn. last thursday, it was his old co-worker who told me how much Jarronn inspired him to work hard and live a life of faith. he also told me he'd beat up anybody that gave me any trouble (it's funny how support comes in all forms). :-) that same night, i met a girl who went to high school with Jarronn. i guess a lot of people now know my face, even though i can't always remember theirs. she asked me if i was Jarronn's wife. i love when people ask me that. i still feel proud when i get to answer 'yes.'

at church on sunday, there were more people who introduced themselves as friends of Jarronn's. i like meeting all of these people. people who i know got to experience some of the greatness that was Jarronn.

and at the football game last night, as i sat in Jarronn's seat, i heard the season ticket holders in front of us telling my friend how they missed having him around this year. that they used to call him jason campbell (ummm, no comment.). and i got to feel proud again as i introduced myself as his wife.

proud because he was so special. and he loved me. chose me. stretched me. took care of me. and i got to feel and experience his specialness every day.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


i wish it hadn't been so long since my last post. i have more than enough to say for each day. but not nearly enough time. work and school have demanded a lot of time. perhaps it's a blessing in disguise.

wednesday was my birthday. the first birthday without Jarronn in five years. the first birthday he was around for was in 2004. he, myself, and our co-worker tamika (unofficially known as "the caucus") had started the tradition of going out for dinner to celebrate each of our birthdays. we went to outback steakhouse for mine. Jarronn had us laughing as he created commentary for the table next to us. he asked the server about her "flair" -- which later led to a viewing of the movie 'office space' at his apartment a few weeks later.

subsequent celebrations of my birthday brought lots of fun times. dinners out together, thoughtful gifts. in 2006, my first birthday back in maryland, Jarronn threw me a surprise party at lucky strike. i was pretty impressed at how well he had pulled it off. especially considering that he hardly knew my friends back then.

this past year, i suggested that we not exchange gifts, as we were trying to save money for our wedding. i woke up last year to homemade belgian waffles and Jarronn's excitement to celebrate me. i came home to a gift. Jarronn had printed one of my favorite photos of us and framed it with references to some of our favorite phrases, inside jokes, and moments. the perfect gift. it hangs between my dresser mirror and bedroom door, and i stare at it for a few minutes each day. for a few final seconds before i leave the house.

i didn't know how i'd feel on my birthday this year. luckily (i guess), i tend not to make a big deal out of my birthday or have any expectations for it being the best day of the year. but i did think about Jarronn. how this wouldn't be a birthday that started and ended with him. how three years ago, i told him i wanted to be married by this birthday. he found that pretty amusing at the time but later reminded me that he helped me reach my goal.

this year's birthday was a good one. i worked that day, had class afterwards, and then a two-hour conference call. not exactly relaxing, but the day was filled with lots of love and things i'm thankful for -- flowers on my desk, lunch at a great restaurant, cake and a card at work, and even cupcakes from my group project members when i got to class. i was overflowing with gratitude.

so another year and another birthday. different, but good.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

private pains

in a sense, i'm lucky. i've experienced this incredible loss and the pain that goes along with it. but at the same time, i've had the freedom to deal with it publicly.

a few weeks ago, i realized that this isn't the case for a lot of people. there are people who are facing pain that's just as real, just as deep. but their pain doesn't tend to warrant the kind of support i've received. people can rally around a person who's lost a loved one. and the person who's grieving is expected, and even encouraged, to express their pain. not sure why that is. maybe because death seems more inevitable and is therefore easier to relate to.

but there's lots of people who experience pain, and with it carry so much baggage. a spouse who has left, an addiction that won't go away, mental illness, issues of insecurity, losing a job, suicidal thoughts, falling short, dreams deferred...the list goes on and on. i wish i could hug all of those people. or let them have one day where everyone encourages them to talk about their feelings. to not feel ashamed. to feel a support system and abundant love. to receive dozens of cards that tell them everything will be ok.

sometimes it doesn't seem fair that i've been the recipient of all of that. that i've been kind of lucky.

Friday, October 16, 2009


there are now actually days when i don't cry. sometimes because i'm able to hold back the tears. other times because i'm so focused on my to-do list. and other times when i'm just feeling thankful.

but it seems that when i go a few days without crying, it's like my body wants to make up for lost time. and so i cry for extended periods of time. not usually triggered by anything in particular. but it's like the well has reached capacity, and the overflow begins. the tears rush out. the sobbing ensues. i wonder if there's progress in all of this.

i read somewhere, shortly after Jarronn died, that tears flush out emotional tension and help release endorphins (brain chemicals released from the brain which can cause feelings of relief and euphoria). i remind myself of this every time i cry. it's my way of trying to make myself feel better. it's hard not to feel sorry for yourself when you hear yourself sobbing, sniffing and gasping for air. or at least it's hard for me.

Monday, October 12, 2009


i dreamt of you last night. we were together. i told you stories and anticipated your response. i felt so comfortable. felt like myself. you cracked some jokes. made me laugh in the way that no one else can. you demonstrated that confidence and self-assuredness that i love.

and then i kissed you. you kissed me back. i held you tight, not wanting to let go. kind of like i used to even when you were here. and i knew this was the closest thing we had to being together. i told you that. and you let me relish the moment.

us. together.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


one year ago today, we had our housewarming/engagement party. family and friends who were local and from out of town packed out the house. i'll always remember how Jarronn and i carefully watched the evite list to monitor the number of guests. somehow the number had ballooned to about 75 people, and we had no idea how we would fit all of those people into the house. or how much food we needed to feed them all.

it was a frantic day. Jarronn and i divided the shopping list. there were last minute projects to complete around the house. i planted purple mums in the front yard. Jarronn came home with a new piece of furniture. we rented and borrowed folding chairs. Jarronn made his famous baked ziti and bbq wings. i baked tiramasu cupcakes and pasta. and we hoped for the best as people arrived.

the house was filled with people. on the deck. in the living room. in the dining room. in the basement. kids were running in the yard. spades games were getting intense. pool balls were cracking. cameras were snapping. tours were given. jokes were made. stories were told. people interacted. it was a great example of what made of our lives rich.

Jarronn was so proud and happy about what we'd done with the house. i certainly didn't blame him. buying the house was a huge step and accomplishment. and the renovations we did together made it feel like home. they also represented the first major decisions we'd made as a unit.

Jarronn and i hardly saw each other that day. i was sorry to find that in the dozens of photos left on our camera, none of them were of the two of us together. but at the end of it all, we felt so good. accomplished. thankful. that we were a great team, and we threw a good party. that all of our family members commented on how nice our friends were, which was something we knew and appreciated. we shared a hi-five. we crashed. we opened presents the next day.

here's two of my favorite photos from the next day. Jarronn's reaction to a book he received from his mom. :-) i miss him so much.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


football season is well under way. for most of my life, basketball was my favorite sport. i knew the basic rules of football, which i learned from playing video games with kids i baby-sat and then attending the games of my linebacker boyfriend in high school. but i wouldn't say i was really into the game. when i graduated from college, i found myself living away from my friends and with lots of spare time on weekends -- particularly sundays. this was the impetus for my love affair with football. but maybe God also knew that my appreciation for the game would be a major point of bonding for me and my future husband.

on our first date as friends, Jarronn and i talked about football. he was a die-hard redskins fan, but had an affinity for donovan mcnabb as a player. so he was able to root for the eagles (my team), as long as they weren't playing the skins. and though i didn't have any affinities for the skins, i learned to do the same for him.

in 2006, after we had both moved back down to maryland, Jarronn was so excited to get season tickets to the skins' games. i missed the time with him on sundays, but he absolutely loved tailgating and cheering on his team until his voice was gone.

Jarronn bought me my authentic mcnabb jersey for my birthday in 2005. in 2006, he bought us lower-level seats for the skins-eagles game (his season tix were in the 400 level section). i know there's probably lots of ladies thinking, "what's up with all of the football themed birthday gifts?" but i loved it. i was thrilled that i got to go to my first nfl game with him, and was even more happy when the eagles beat the skins. those photos of me in the "comfort" post were before that game. afterwards, it was me trying to get him to smile.

over the years, i've found myself cheering on the redskins. the eagles are still my #1 team, but because Jarronn loved the skins so much and would be disappointed when they lost -- if for nothing else i cheered them on because i wanted him to be happy.

Jarronn isn't getting the chance to use his season tickets this year. that feels really strange. i went to sunday's game hoping to represent him in some way. Lord knows i can't be nearly as loud or funny or heckle with the skill that he had. but it felt great to be out there. to be in his seat. to see his family and friends at the tailgate. to hi-five the other season ticket holders around us. to pay too much for french fries. to feel the energy, maybe even some of his. to celebrate the win.

i miss Jarronn being here to watch the games on tv with me. to make commentary on the action. he had this crazy way of saying the exact thing the commentators would say, but just 30 seconds sooner. i missed not having him here to discuss how awkward tony dungy looked on his first night of monday night football.

in a sense, football is just a sport. but in so many ways it's been a lot more. football brought me and Jarronn closer together. it was a reason to connect with friends. it consistently entertained us. it served as a way for us to establish traditions. it helped my dad and Jarronn bond. it probably even made my own relationship with my father stronger. so i truly love football. a love affair that led to so much more love in life.

Friday, October 2, 2009

beverly hills

i spent half of last week in l.a. for work. the daily variety magazine hosted an event called "power of women" to honor seven women in entertainment who have engaged in philanthropic activity. one of the honorees was actress maria bello (coyote ugly, history of violence, the cool), who highlighted her work with the organization i work for.

this was a great opportunity for our organization. lots of exposure and networking. and we got to go to beverly hills. when i got the call about it, i couldn't help but feel that Jarronn had had something to do with it. like it was him working in cohoots with God and trying to make me smile. in the weeks leading up to the trip, it served to be a great thing to look forward to.

but then as it got closer, my excitement faded. i didn't want to go. i felt nervous about being away from home. i realized how hard it was to be excited about things. to experience new things and know that i wouldn't be able to call Jarronn and tell him about them. i wouldn't be able to reenact situations from the trip once i got home. it's crazy how just having someone to share things with can make life so much richer.

though i didn't want to go, the trip was really good. "four seasons good" -- as i came to say. the parts of the trip for work were a success. and being away turned out to be a really good thing for me. to get the sunshine. to have some great conversations with my co-workers. to eat lots of pinkberry (pomegranate flavor!). to walk up rodeo drive and know that i understand what's most important in life.

below are photos of the staff with maria bello and anne hathaway...