Tuesday, March 30, 2010


you know this whole notion of how society measures and labels time? b.c. and a.d.? before christ and anno domini (in the year of our lord).

my life now comes with a similar structure. before july 30, 2009 and after. pre-Jarronn's death and post.

looking at calendars has taken on a whole new dimension. and everything else that's dated, for that matter. emails in my inbox. receipts on my desk. canned food items in my cupboard. headings on a page of notes.

if the date on something is after july 30, i can usually look at it and move on. unless it happens to be in the july 31 - august 30 timeframe, when everything felt so fresh. so surreal. so overwhelming. dates in that timeframe make me remember my struggle to make sense of everything. to figure out who i was. to take care of so many details. (kind of still sounds like my reality today, but somehow it's different.)

if the date on something is before july 30, it usually causes me to pause. to remember how different life was then. how i thought of life so differently then. how i was a different person then. if the date is in the month of july 2009, my thoughts tend to turn to reflections on how quickly life can change. and to memories of my last everything with Jarronn. our last trip. our last movie. our last dinner. our last phone call. our last disagreement. our last kiss before he walked out the door to go for a ride with his friends.

these dates define my experience. my understanding. my realities. (at least for now). they cause me to stare into space. as if staring long enough would take me right back to those days before july 30, 2009. days that i miss. those days were filled with lots of expectations and dreams. and yet, i know that those days were also filled with false securities.

and sadly, those days weren't meant to last. except in the form of receipts. and cards. movie stubs. photos. emails. memories.

july 22, 2004
june 21, 2005
may 4, 2007
july 6, 2008
may 15, 2009


before. Jarronn. died.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


today is one of my grateful days.

there's always something to be thankful for. always things that could be worse. but on certain days, like today, i feel an abundance of gratefulness in my heart.

grateful for big things, like my health. a place to live. people who love me. my needs being met. grateful for small things. a song on my ipod. my outfit for the day. mcdonalds french fries. a good laugh about an inside joke.

and grateful for five years with Jarronn. that God saw fit to bring us together. that He gifted me with something people only dream about. grateful for the love. and laughter. and excitement. and learning. and passion. and fulfillment.

and grateful for hope.

i love days like these.

Monday, March 22, 2010


spring is here. and the weather was beautiful over the weekend. this means that the bikers were out in full effect. and as Jarronn always pointed out, our area seems to have an extremely high number of riders.

all weekend, the riders were zipping by. and the sound of their revs could be heard from inside the house. i used to be able to hear Jarronn pulling up to the house on his bike, even when he was 200 yards away.

if Jarronn was alive, i'm sure he would have parked the car for the weekend and ridden his bike everywhere. i probably would have been on the back at some point too. every time i got scared while riding, i would close my eyes and pray to God saying, "everything will be ok. i know i have more living to do, so there's no need to worry." and i kind of felt like that went for me and Jarronn. we had more living to do, so God would protect us. life, and our relationship, were full of purpose.

riding was a passion for Jarronn. he got his motorcycle license in 2005 and couldn't have been more excited. he would search for bikes online for hours, trying to find the perfect one. then he found it. an orange and black honda cbr 600. after spending a few days on it, he came and picked me up for my first ride. he gave me instructions about responding to turns. told me not to put my feet on the ground. rode us up the street to cold stone creamery.

being able to ride on the back of the bike showed me how much i trusted Jarronn. trusted his ability and competency. trusted his ability to take care of me. we got me a proper helmet, in my size, so i could ride some more.

a couple months after getting the bike, Jarronn called me one day after work. he sounded so upset. he told me his bike had been stolen from outside of his apartment. we were just friends at the time, but i asked if he wanted me to come over. he did, and we talked through it. he felt like the bike being stolen was a result of karma. that he had done something grimy in the recent past, and it was his payback. i tried to assure him that things would be ok, as best as i could.

though i liked riding on the bike, and i knew Jarronn loved it, part of me was probably relieved that the bike was gone. it put my mind at ease. but the ease was short-lived. wouldn't you know it...the bike was found. in fact, someone dropped it off at a police station. who's ever heard of such a thing? there was some damage to the body -- spray paint and some dents. but it was fundamentally in good shape. and so i celebrated the bike's return with Jarronn.

once he got the bike back, he went to work on fixing it up. he ordered parts online. i had moved into a house with a garage, so he made it his work area. he had moved to maryland, but he'd come up on weekends to work on it. he stripped down the bike completely. (this made for a hilarious night where upon taking everything apart, he freaked out, woke me up, and told me he thought he might have gotten in over his head. that he wouldn't be able to put it back together. but he figured it out by the next morning.) once the bike was fixed up, it was time to get the candy paint. and the helmet to match, which had the letters "jron" stenciled on the side.we took some good rides that summer. our ride to the nj shore was one of my all-time favorites.

after a couple years, i admitted to Jarronn that riding on the bike made me nervous. he wasn't too happy to hear that. he much rather would have liked to think that i loved being on the bike as much as he did. that he could do something he loved so much and have me along for the ride with him. he'd find ways for us to ride the bike to the furniture store. and housewarmings. and baby showers.

in 2008, Jarronn decided to sell the honda. in the back of my mind, i was relieved again. and i thought that maybe he'd use the money to buy me an engagement ring (ha!). but, again, the relief was brief. he came home with a new bike two days later. this time a red and black yamaha r1. better. bigger. faster. he posted a photo on facebook with the words, "let's get it."

and he had a lot of fun. and i said a lot of prayers for him. and us when i was on it. and as much as part of me hated every time spring rolled around, because i knew it meant the bike was coming out, i also loved seeing him love something so much.

but did he love it this much? i ask myself that a lot. i know there were a lot of things he loved more. i remind myself that he didn't ride the bike in the months leading up to our wedding, because he didn't want to take any chances. i pointed out how that was a bit silly, since something happening to him after the wedding would be just as devastating. but it all made sense in his mind.

and so i still say prayers. now, they're for every rider that goes past me. and for every person out there that loves them.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


it's a late night. got homework to do. but facebook "notified" me that someone likes one of my photos. one of my wedding photos. and so after looking at that one photo, i proceeded to look through the rest in the album. all 157. i know the moments by heart. but i get so caught up in looking at them. caught up in the smiles. and the love. love for each other and love from friends and family around us. and caught up in the joy. pure, unadulterated joy. Jarronn was so happy that day. i was so happy that day. he insisted that our wedding was "perfect," and didn't want to hear me say otherwise.

most times, looking at photos of Jarronn makes me smile. i remember the trips, the jokes, the special moments. but every so often, there's a photo of him looking the camera lense square in the "eye." and i stare back. feeling like he's looking directly at me. on the other side of the screen. on the other side of life. sometimes this makes me feel silly or a little crazy. sometimes it makes me want to reach out and touch his face and feel his smiling cheeks in my hands.

sometimes, like tonight, it makes me cry.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

seeing in the dark

1 How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?

2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts

and every d
ay have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.

Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;

4 my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"

and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

5 But I trust in your unfailing love;

my heart rejoices in your salvation.

6 I will sing to the LORD,

for he has been good to me.

psalm 13: 1-6

for church this past sunday, i went to hear one of my best friends, mike, preach in virginia. i had made the decision to go last week after he sent out a message to some of our friends with the service times and a quick prayer request. i decided not to tell him i was coming, and instead would just surprise him after the service. on saturday night, he sent me a text message asking if it was ok for him to reference me and Jarronn in his sermon. i told him i didn't mind. and i didn't say anything about my plans to be there for the sermon.

the message was titled, "how to see in the dark." and it's focus was on how to maintain in times of deep sadness or trial. the text for the message was psalm 13 -- a short psalm with just six verses. in the psalm, david calls out to God, in the midst of his affliction. and i can't tell you how easily i can look at those words and take them as my own.

there are so many times when i ask God, "how long?" how long do i have to endure this? to feel this way? there are so many nights when i ask God to remove the "sorrow from my heart." to lift the weight. to give me understanding. or "light to my eyes." to give me some kind of sign that He's with me. an assurance that i'm where i'm supposed to be.

these are my words and wishes. they were also the words and wishes of david. a man of tremendous faith. like david, i struggle with the paradox of feeling abandoned by God and, at the same time, knowing that He's in control of my life. in knowing that His love is "unfailing." in knowing that this pain and sorrow is a part of that love. in knowing that as much as it all hurts, i can't deny that God has been "good to me" in so many ways.

feelings vs. faith.

i've only made it because the faith has proven to be a bit stronger than the feelings. that's proven to be just enough on tough days. and maybe even on some days, it's a lot stronger.

either way, i know how Jarronn and i lived our lives. with faith. faith that what happened to us was for a reason. that God was in control. that He brought us together. and if i trusted God through all of the happiness, what does it mean if i lose all trust when that happiness goes away?

mike did an amazing job with his sermon. i cried through a lot of it. as he retold the story of his wife (also my dear friend), ashley, singing at my wedding. about my phone call to him from the hospital. about him not wanting to believe the news. about me losing the husband i adored, after just 2 months. i cried as mike talked about being honest with God, like david was. he talked about crying out in desperation. about feeling separated from God. but also about reminding yourself of who God is. of what He's capable of. and the thanks He's worthy of.

you can watch the sermon online.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

good enough for dad

if you ask my dad about his dreams, he'll tell you that he doesn't have them. or at least, when he wakes up, he doesn't remember them.

so we thought it was pretty significant that he had a dream he remembered. a dream about Jarronn. and on the night before Jarronn's birthday (and dad didn't know when Jarronn's birthday was). there wasn't a whole lot to the dream. it was just him and Jarronn playing golf. my dad's favorite activity.

my dad talked about how special it was that he dreamt about Jarronn on that night of all nights. and how playing golf with Jarronn was one of the things he had really looked forward to doing. he told me how ever since he saw Jarronn's golf clubs in the basement, he couldn't wait to get him on the course and "whoop up on him." he looked forward to Jarronn coming home to me and saying, "i used to think your dad was a nice guy, but i'm not so sure anymore." i laughed pretty hard thinking about this scenario my dad had created in his mind. dad really likes to talk trash. and i know where my trash talking comes from.

after Jarronn died, my dad stayed with me for a couple weeks. during one of our many talks, i told him how i couldn't imagine another person being more perfect for me than Jarronn. he shared how he never thought he could have liked someone so much for me. kind of funny that he said this, because in the past when i'd ask him what he'd do if i brought someone home he didn't like, he'd always say, "what could i really do about it?"

but it was obvious that my choice in a man did, in fact, matter. and my dad loved that when he looked at Jarronn, he was reminded of himself at that age. driven. focused. personable. funny.

i loved the relationship they had. every girl wants her dad to like her mate. that's probably especially true for me (Jarronn always called me a 'daddy's girl.') and my dad was right about Jarronn being like him. they were similar in a lot of ways. from the way they thought about things. to both working in sales for j&j. to having the same shoe size. and even down to using some of the same sayings. i'd tell my dad that Jarronn somehow had the best of him, and none of his flaws. (luckily, dad doesn't take himself too seriously, so he was ok with this comment).

the one place my two favorite men deviated was in football teams. Jarronn was a diehard skins fan, and dad is all about the cowboys. there were many a bet made between them, and i'm pretty sure a six-pack of heineken was exchanged at various points. references to this rivalry even made it onto Jarronn's and my wedding video. something about his love for me being so strong that he let my "cowboys fan father" participate in the ceremony. i'm not sure of many people who could pull off a joke like that.

but when it came time to put jokes aside, Jarronn did that too. while even his parents were in the dark about him proposing, he made sure to call my dad before we left for jamaica and ask for his blessing. he told my dad about our pre-marital counseling. about how he felt our values in life were aligned. how we could grow together.

to my dad, Jarronn was "a prince." and seeing how my dad related to him and liked him made Jarronn that more special. made me adore him even more. makes me miss him even more.

Monday, March 1, 2010

happy birthday Jarronn

today is Jarronn's birthday. his 30th.

when he was alive, i had really looked forward to celebrating him and this milestone. i imagined a big party. where lots of people got to tell him how much he meant to them. how special he was. because i didn't think he had a true appreciation of how much the world loved him. and i wanted to surprise him with a trip. because we loved to travel. and i wanted to get him a nice gift, maybe a watch. (gifts was definitely his primary love language). i just couldn't wait to see how happy it would all make him. how thankful he'd be for life. a beautiful, joyful, and love-filled life.

Jarronn and i met when he was 24, so the first birthday i celebrated with him was his 25th. my co-worker tamika and i treated him to dinner (one of our group's rituals) at macaroni grill, one of his favorite restaurants, where he always ordered chicken rustica -- and he'd make sure to pronounce it with his version of an italian accent. (he later learned how to replicate the dish at home -- lucky me!)

he also celebrated by throwing a "quarter-century party" with our friend and fellow j&j-er vincent at ida mae's in nyc. he had a great time. and perhaps a bit too much to drink. when i spoke to him the next day, he asked me if i had made it to the party (he confessed months later that he knew i was there but was playing it cool). i reminded him that he introduced me to one of his friends as "his future wife." it was one of many inside jokes we had. but it's funny how things turned out. he'd later make jokes about being a prophet who claimed me and spoke it into existence.

there are special memories from all of the birthdays that followed. on his 26th, i told him i loved him. on his 27th, i gave him his favorite tie and cuff links. on his 28th, i mailed him a can of cashews while he was away on a ski trip, and he called to say, "girl, you must really love your man!" and on his 29th, we kept it low key as we were saving for our wedding. just church, family and homemade carrot cake with cream cheese icing (his favorite).

today is tough. surprisingly so. tougher than thanksgiving or christmas or valentine's day -- those seemed like any other day. but today is the day to celebrate Jarronn. it's his special day. and i so wish i could see his reaction to all of the amazing emails, cards, messages, wall posts, and calls so many of you have sent in the seven months since he passed.

two weeks before he died, i was working on a birthday celebration for one of my close friends. she was turning 28, and a group of us decided to put together a bunch of things in her honor -- a surprise luncheon, a slideshow with comments from friends, a scrapbook, gifts, a night out, etc. i admittedly remember being tired in the week leading up to the weekend of events and saying to Jarronn, "we're doing a whole lot of stuff, and it's not even a milestone birthday. maybe we should be waiting for her to turn 30." about two hours later, Jarronn was washing dishes, and i was watching tv on the couch. he called out to me and said, "you know, i was thinking about what you said earlier. about it not being a milestone birthday. but really, i think it's good that you guys are doing this now. because even though it's not a milestone, you never know what life might be like when she actually does turn 30. people might be in different places or different stages of life. it might not be possible to do something like this then. so it's good that you're doing it now."

i looked at my wise and amazing husband and said, "you're right, boo."

happy 30th birthday, Jarronn. thank you for changing my life, simply by living yours.