Behind The Butter

Numb

Oh, friends…….you all have been so wonderful with your comments that have actually brought tears of kindness to my family. I don’t have too much on the food front, less for some pictures at the end, but since this is a blog and I am a writer, I need to write. Part of me is ANGRY that this accident happened, that maybe it could have been prevented somehow, some way. John was over at his friend’s house…his friend has a gun, who knows why. The gun was out, John picked it up to look at it and it accidentally went off in his lap and shot him through the head. There was no chance at self-infliction from the angle at which the gun went off and the nature of the accident. It was stupid, it was freak and now he is gone forever because of it. When I got the call I just screamed. I did not cry, I just screamed and screamed and screamed. I screamed all the way to the hospital, all the way into the emergency room and did not stop screaming until I found my dad there. They say when it rains, it pours, and my mom has just landed in New Mexico for work when she got the call. She did not make it home until 8:30 yesterday morning, eight hours too late to say goodbye to her son.

So I sat with John. I sat with him while he was in intensive care but he was not the brother I knew. His body was there but his spirit had already left. I held his shoulder and then his heart when he finally breathed his last breath and I thought that NO sister should EVER have to watch her little brother leave this world in such a tragic way.

Ryan deserves the award of the year, holding John’s hand in the trauma unit when he had just arrived via ambulance and hadn’t even been cleaned up yet. I was too much a wreck to see John in the ER (maybe I should have?), so Ryan went in my place and held him and told him we loved him. Ryan said he saw a tear come from John’s eye, and because I know he was in zero pain and never felt a thing, I know the tear was because he heard our words to him. Ryan’s mom took the place of my mom and sat with John the entire night until the end and his dad and sister were such a comfort to my dad and I. When it had finally ended I just felt so numb, so cold, so….dead.

I came home and ate a cold turkey sandwich on sourdough bread and tried to sleep, but of course could not. Instead I sat downstairs with my dad as we both cried silent, choking tears and he made arrangements for all of John’s organs to be donated, which is what he would have wanted. John hated for any person or anything to ever feel pain or discomfort. His world was perfect and his goal in life was to just make us laugh.

The rest of yesterday was a blur. My three best friends arrived…Christie drove all night from New Orleans and picked up Peggy in Destin on the way. Helen arrived last night with her mom after her shift as an Orlando police officer had ended. Family poured in and more will come in today. And John’s school has been so amazing. Let me tell you guys, John was SO loved. All night at the hospital, kids were pouring in. They sat all around the emergency wing…huddled around elevators and praying on the cold floor, palms pressed together and eyes squeezed shut. They hugged me and I memorized each and every name to tell John in ICU later on. Yesterday John’s school canceled their annual fund meeting and, instead, brought all the catered food to our house. I HAD to take pictures, yall, because it touched me so much and was so beautiful.

Check it out:

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(those chocolate chip cookies were AMAZING…the best cookie I’ve ever had? I ate two and no creation of sugar and butter has ever crumbled so richly on my tongue)

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Friends, I’ve never lost a loved one. Never even lost a grandparent before. I am in just awe of how the community has reached out to us like this. Of course I didn’t eat very much yesterday…..a peach Chobani and half a Panera bagel for “breakfast”, a piece of sourdough with almond butter for “lunch” and then for dinner I made this plate of food but really did not eat very much of it as delicious as it was!

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I’m finding that I crave sweet foods…..cookies and cakes, as bad as that is. My diet is, obviously, the last thing I’m worried about right now because you know what? Life is way too short. If someone would have told me that yesterday was my brother’s last day on earth I would have looked at them like they had lost their mind. Still, I fight for breathes in gasps and sometimes pinch my arms until a red welt appears just to know that I am truly living. And he is gone.

I’m sorry if reading this post has caused a damper on your Sunday. It was more for me than you, anyways. Writers write, especially when I can do nothing else. Writing has always been my air and right now I feel like it has saved me from drowning. Today I will work with my aunt to figure out funeral arrangements but I hope to escape at some point and swim some laps at the Y. I need to feel the cold water on me and just be alone. Oh, how I wish I could run. But I plan to run my race in San Fran in John’s honor since he wanted so badly to run but never was very good. He would want me to run and would want me to run STRONG.

John loved life so much. His favorite thing ever was surfing and he would wake up at 5 am and race to the beach, just to check the tide. After school he would give out surfing lessons to friends around town. John also loved animals. He was about to do his senior internship at a vet next week and two weeks ago when he came home from his interview he came to my mom and said, “Mom! They have this stray kitten named Mikey. He’s THIS tiny (he holds up his hands to form a small circle), and he doesn’t have a home….I said ‘I have a home’!” Of course we laughed but John was insistent about adopting Mikey and giving him a home just because he didn’t want Mikey to be alone. We still plan to adopt Mikey in John’s honor and hopefully will get him in the next few days. Its what John would have wanted.

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This picture was taken at John’s homecoming his senior year. I love it because it is just so John. He LOVED hats and wore them every where, even though I told him he looked like a dork most of the time. John always said, “Jen, put me on the blog!” and I just laughed him off, telling him it was a food blog as I expertly arranged the lighting and snapped pictures of apples and pasta. Well, I should have put him on the blog more often and now, John, you ARE on the blog. I love you so much and I don’t know I’m going to get on without you.

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349 Comments

  • Reply
    Notes From The Frugal Trenches
    April 26, 2009 at 8:58 am

    Jenna
    You are in my prayers. I’m just so sorry for your loss.

  • Reply
    Fancy
    April 26, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Jenna, I have been thinking about you so much since I heard your news yesterday morning. You and your family are in my prayers.

  • Reply
    Mags
    April 26, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Jenna you are truely amazing.

  • Reply
    polly
    April 26, 2009 at 9:05 am

    I love you, my friend! What a beautiful post. XOXO

  • Reply
    SS
    April 26, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Jenna, I am continuing to pray for you and your family. I’m so, so sorry for your loss.

  • Reply
    girlatastartup
    April 26, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Jenna, I’m reading this from LA and just wanted to say that the Lord works in mysterious ways. Many times when I’ve experienced strife and heartache, I’d ask God, “Why?” But you’ve been blessed with having an amazing, kind brother and its obvious with the way you write about him, how much you loved and cared for him. I truly look up to your positive attitude and how strong you are. John is looking down from above and is probably thinking, “I have the best big sister ever.”

    Peace and Love,
    Kat

  • Reply
    Organic Girl aka AshleyH
    April 26, 2009 at 9:08 am

    I glad you wrote that especially for you. Right now use this blog for your advantage. This is a safe place where many people care for you and will support you in anything.
    This is exactly why I will never have a gun in my home but what can you do when your children go to another home? Hope and Pray with all your heart. Keep writing how you feel Jenna. You need an outlet. I hope you get to go out on your swim today. 🙂 Oh and enjoy those free cookies. Its times like these when your diet is a thing for another time.

  • Reply
    Danielle J
    April 26, 2009 at 9:08 am

    What a beautiful post. You and your family are in my thoughts during this difficult time.

  • Reply
    Jamie
    April 26, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Your brother is a beautiful person! You were lucky to have been touched by such a wonderful spirit! He’ll always be with you! I don’t know your pain and I hope I never do… i know how much brothers mean. You are so strong! Keep it up. That’s what he would want =)

  • Reply
    Shannon
    April 26, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Oh Jenna, I am a total lurker and do not comment much, but have been a faithful reading for months. After I read what happened yesterday I couldn’t stop thinking about you all day, might sound weird but I feel like I know you like I bet most readers do. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes after reading this post, it is so beautiful. I am so sorry for your loss Jenna and I will continue to think of you and your family.

  • Reply
    Lisa
    April 26, 2009 at 9:11 am

    What a beautiful post and touching tribute to your brother. You brought tears to my eyes. I have two younger brothers, and I cannot even imagine…More prayers to you and your family. And what a wonderful thing to donate John’s organs. Out of something so horrible, at least something a little good can come out of it.

  • Reply
    magicanderson
    April 26, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Dear Jenna~
    There are people everywhere wishing they could help you. If only there was something we could do to ease your pain. Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures of John. I have been thinking of you and your family constantly. Many prayers.
    Lisa

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    April 26, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Jenna,
    You and your family continue to be in my prayers. A writing professor once told me that “great writing occurs when the world pushes in on you so much that you have to push back” (through your writing)… Your post shows me how right he was. What an amazing person you are. Peace to all of you.

  • Reply
    monica
    April 26, 2009 at 9:22 am

    jenna, this is a beautiful and touching tribute to your brother. you are such a strong, amazing woman and i wish there was something we could do to ease your pain. i am so sorry for your loss, and please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Kinder
    April 26, 2009 at 9:22 am

    I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. Your brother was obviously very loving and very loved! This is an accident that never should have happened, and I understand your anger. Please know that you and your family are in my prayers.

  • Reply
    Ariel
    April 26, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Jenna,
    Thinking of you and your family, and wishing you strength in this difficult and disheartening time. Posting your brother’s picture and expressing yourself through writing are such wonderful ways to celebrate his memory. I am so sorry for you and your family’s loss; take care.

  • Reply
    Goldie
    April 26, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Oh sweet girl.

    I live in the UK and have been following your blog along with Caitlin’s and Meghann’s for many months as inspiration for my own health and fitness. I’m so sorry for your loss, your post today is absolutely beautiful, so much so that I cried. I have a younger brother of the same age also and I can’t imagine how you must be feeling right now. I may be a stranger but i’m thinking of you. Your strength is incredible.
    All my love to you and your family.

    Goldie.xx

  • Reply
    BethT
    April 26, 2009 at 9:24 am

    DO take care of yourself. Eat cookies if that’s all you want. Take time to swim or run if you feel like it, even if it seems selfish. You need to take care of you so you can take care of others. Hang in there.

  • Reply
    megan
    April 26, 2009 at 9:24 am

    What a smiling beautiful young man your brother was .Thank you for telling us a little about him and his life.
    His life and spirit will be in your heart and soul forever .Please write more about John whenever you want to-it will be cathartic to you and a lesson on life and love and family to us all,through the deepest sorrow to the happiest and silliest memories.
    From losing a young man close to me I know the first stage will be shock…your grief may not even begin to truly reveal itself for quite some time yet.Please take care of yourself.Please only blog about food if you feel like it,or don’t blog at all, or blog one sentence or quote about anything.
    You are a special soul who many of us feel we somehow know through your gift of writing.May your gift comfort you and allow you to release whatever you need,or keep to yourself whatever you need in private.
    We will all be here to support you whether you need a nice long break from the blog or not…because you are right nothing is more important than life and loved ones.
    Bless you and your family ,John’s buddies ,and the precious soul and spirit of your brother.Please take care.

  • Reply
    lainb
    April 26, 2009 at 9:27 am

    What a tragic event. 🙁 Now’s not the time for me to rant, but I have HUGE concerns with guns/gun laws. It’s so clear your brother was a beautiful soul who will be missed on this earth. ((hugs))

  • Reply
    BethT
    April 26, 2009 at 9:27 am

    And can I also say, THANK YOU for donating the gift of life through John. It is the most selfless thing a family can do. As someone with a good friend who recently had a heart lung transplant, I can testify to the importance and beauty of organ donation.

  • Reply
    Justy2003
    April 26, 2009 at 9:28 am

    I can’t imagine what you and your family must be going through right now. There’s no way any of you could have expected this or prepared for it in any way and it’s perfectly understandable for you to be angry. You are a strong woman and will make it thru this, even though right now it probably seems impossible. Continue to take care of yourself thru all of this and know that there are thousands of people thinking about you and your family.

  • Reply
    katie s
    April 26, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Jenna,
    This post literally brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing and I hope writing has helped you. I truly hope and pray for strength for you and your family. John sounds like an amazing young man and it is such a tragedy that he was lost so soon. I still can not begin to fathom how you and your family feel right now. You are handling it so gracefully. And Ryan really is a fantastic person. Good luck and you will stay in my thoughts.

  • Reply
    Mel
    April 26, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Jenna, your post was very moving as you have me in tears right now. You and your family are in my prayers!

  • Reply
    Moran (The Running Addict)
    April 26, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Jenna, dear, you are such an amazing individual! Bless you and your family! I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

  • Reply
    Christine
    April 26, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Jenna,
    Bless you and your family right now. Write your heart out. Don’t worry about food posts. Your a lucky girl to have such a wonderful brother.

  • Reply
    Lauren
    April 26, 2009 at 9:36 am

    I read your blog everyday, and I can’t stop thinking about you and your family. This is so devastating. I cried while I read your post. Keep on sharing your feelings. We are all here for you xo

  • Reply
    Jessica
    April 26, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Jenna,

    Your post brought me to tears, I will pray for you and your family. After hearing your news yesterday I was reminded how fragile we all are and how we must live life to its fullest, and tell those we care about that we love them everyday. Stay strong!

  • Reply
    lisa
    April 26, 2009 at 9:39 am

    jenna,

    a very beautiful memorial to your brother. your strength is demonstrated through the strong emotions you’ve described, and the way you have coped. i hope you eventually find peace in your brother’s memories, and i’m sure your brother got to see this lovely post… heaven HAS to have internet, right?

    i hope you find the strength to take care of yourself at this time.
    may john rest in peace.

  • Reply
    Rachel
    April 26, 2009 at 9:40 am

    My heart goes out to you and your family. Thank God for Ryan and his family…he sounds like an angel. That would be incredibly hard to see him in that way.

    That was such a beautiful post and I hope it helped you feel a little better. I have lost 4 people because of guns…some accidents and some not. It’s incredibly hard and it makes no sense to me.

  • Reply
    Emily M.C.
    April 26, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Dear Jenna,
    I have read your blog for months. My sisters and I have spent countless amounts of time talking about your amazing recipe creations, workout ethic and spiritual journey. This post was incredible. I am sitting here writing this with tears streaming down my face. I may be just a lurker but needed to acknowledge the tremendous writing talent you have… As someone who has experienced a similar loss, I can safely say that your life is changed forever but please take comfort in the knowledge that your brother is in a peaceful place and that you have touched the lives of others with your bravery and incredible ability to write about this experience. Thank you. Comfort and peace, Emily

  • Reply
    Colleen
    April 26, 2009 at 9:42 am

    I’ve thought of you and your family constantly since I read what happened. There are no words to express how incredibly sorry I am for you. I’ve lost a brother in the same way (except unfortunately it wasn’t an accident), and I know the feelings are the same…why? how? WHY WHY WHY? Please know that time does make things better. The pain may always be there, but time does make it easier…and you’ll just feel blessed that this wonderful person was in your life, ever how short it was. I will continue to pray for you and your loved ones, I’m so sorry Jenna.

  • Reply
    Priyanka
    April 26, 2009 at 9:43 am

    This post has really got me in tears! i have a younger brother the same age as yours and I can’t imagine the pain you must be going through! However I really appreciate your strength!! Your posts can never dampen our day, just write your heart out and we are here to listen and support you.

    Take care and you and your family are in my prayers!

  • Reply
    Run Sarah
    April 26, 2009 at 9:44 am

    What an amazing tribute to your brother. I am still praying for you, along with all of your other readers right now.

  • Reply
    Linda
    April 26, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Oh Jenna,
    I loved this post about your brother and wanted to thank you for letting us in to who he was. It’s incredibly brave of you to open up and write on your blog about what you’re going through right now. I’m so glad you have this outlet and feel safe enough to use it. I am in my early thirties and have an 18 year old brother and feel the need to reach out to him even more. I feel like I’ve missed a lot of his life due to the fact that I live 10 hours away etc. . .but I need to call more and text more and write to him more. Life is so short and this is a lesson in living and loving and not letting things go unsaid, or letting grudges go on. You are a beautiful and brave woman and once again you and your family will be in my heart and thoughts.

  • Reply
    Brooke
    April 26, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Jenna… this is such a great post. After I read your post yesterday, I called my 14 year old brother just to hear his voice and tell him that I loved him. Life is too short not appreciate and cherish those around us. Your brother sounds like he lived an amazing, love-filled life. I hope that you and your family become even closer during this hard time and that you take care of yourselves.

  • Reply
    Janet
    April 26, 2009 at 9:45 am

    This was beautiful and I’m sure your brother knows how much you love him! I’m so glad you have so much support around you – both in real life and in the blog world. All our thoughts are with you!

  • Reply
    suzanne
    April 26, 2009 at 9:45 am

    What a beautiful post celebrating your brothers life. And what a wonderful show of love from friends/family/community. If writing is what helps you, write all you want, about anything you want. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    brianna
    April 26, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Jenna once again I’m so utterly sorry for your loss my thoughts are with your family and friends. You definitely brought a tear to my eye with this post.

  • Reply
    Anais
    April 26, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Jenna, I’m glad you shared this with us. It’s times like these that you realize the human goodness in people, and how good your friends are. We’re all thinking of you.

  • Reply
    FoodsThatFit
    April 26, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Jenna girl-

    Beautiful post. I have been thinking of you non-stop and just cried as I read this post. You are an amazing lady and will get through this, I know it. No matter what, remember John can hear your prayers. Pray often and know that we are here to support you and help you in any way we can. Love you sweet girl!

    Abbie

  • Reply
    Help Meghan Run
    April 26, 2009 at 9:51 am

    I keep crying for you, Jenna, so please do whatever you need to do. Don’t worry about us, we’re worrying about you. Just be happy for all the lives John touched.
    Meghan

  • Reply
    Kailey (SnackFace)
    April 26, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Jenna, this is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing the intimate emotions you are feeling, and for making all us realize just how thankful we always need to be. The community there sounds phenomenal, and it is clear your brother is truly loved. He feels it now, more than ever. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Lisa
    April 26, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Oh jenna, your post was amazing. I’m still keeping my thoughts with you and your family, and praying for you all as well. You are so strong for posting after all of this. ::jenna and family::

  • Reply
    Meredith
    April 26, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Jenna-
    I have been thinking about you and your family constantly since reading your post yesterday. I lost my dad 10 years ago and I can tell you, as long as you remember your brother and talk about him and keep him in your heart, he will live on for as long as you are alive. Some days it feels like I haven’t seen my dad in so long that I am forgetting his smile, his laugh. Then other days it hurts so much I can hardly breathe and the pain is so fresh, it feels like it was just yesterday that I held his hand and watched him take his last breath. Your brother was so loved and between your family and the tons of other people that knew him and cared for him, he will be with you forever.

    Take care and God bless,
    Meredith

  • Reply
    Emily
    April 26, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Jenna-
    Your post made me cry. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose my brother. I am so glad you have the support of your friends and family around you, your faith, and the determination to continue your brother’s legacy.

  • Reply
    Leah @ Simply Fabulous
    April 26, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Jenna, again your post has brought tears to my eyes. I’m so glad you are able to write and get these thoughts out. We are all here supporting you. I’ve spoken to my fiancé about your loss, and my family. I just got off the phone with my Mom and we spoke about you and how tragic this is. She also wanted me to send her condolences to you and your family. We don’t even know you, but I feel like I have gotten to know you throughout the last year that I have been reading your blog. I hope that you will use this blog as a release and a way to help your healing. John looked like such a wonderful person. Keep his memory alive xo

  • Reply
    Nicole
    April 26, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Jenna,

    Thank you for letting us know about your brother. I have to say, I must have checked your blog thirty times yesterday for more information. I was so worried. It feels so weird to think that I am so concerned about a girl I’ve never met, family I don’t know…in a different country..(I’m Canadian). But I prayed for you a lot yesterday. My thoughts (and even my friends thoughts/prayers) are with you and your family. I am wishing and praying for strength for you and your family, and sending you all the positive energy I could during my yoga practice this morning.
    I am so grateful that you have your faith, your family, and your community. Thank God they have pulled together during this horrible, awful time.

    Please take very good care of yourself during this time.

  • Reply
    life coach jen
    April 26, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Jenna,
    I’m still crying now and plan on reading the post through a second time. I am so glad you chose to wrote, for yourself, and also for us, your readers, as I know all of us were wondering how you and your family were holding up. I’m so sorry this happened to your family but you have such strength and faith I know you’ll use this experience to live an even richer, fuller life.

  • Reply
    Megan
    April 26, 2009 at 9:57 am

    What a handsome guy! Sounds like he had a wonderful spirit and a big heart. I admire your strength through all of this. Even though we are in the “blogisphere” we are all here to listen when you need us. Still in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Tori
    April 26, 2009 at 9:59 am

    I have never commented on your blog before, but you have been a huge inspiration to me, especially when I was initially struggling to recover from my eating disorder. I feel like now would be a good time to say something though. I am so, sorry for the loss you have had to deal with. I know that it must be very painful, but wherever your brother is in heaven, he is looking down at you and smiling, knowing that you and your family will hold him in your hearts forever. He may not be there with you physically, but he will always be a part of your life, in heaven or on earth. I am glad that so many people were able to offer their love and comfort to you all. It may not make the grief go away, but at least in the company of others, you aren’t alone. I will keep you all in my prayers, and am going to take a flower from my garden to church this afternoon for your brother.
    Take care of yourself.
    ~Tori

  • Reply
    Sarah
    April 26, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Jenna,
    We met briefly in Chicago earlier this year and I knew right away what a bright spot in life you are. Things may not be OK for awhile…but you will get through it. Your family is in our hearts today and I’m sending you a large hug for all of you.

  • Reply
    *Andrea*
    April 26, 2009 at 10:00 am

    jenna we love you! take time to be with your family and remember the best memories you have with john. he was beautiful on the outside and inside from how you’ve described him. again i’m so sorry. you are lucky to have such support with ryan and friends. xoxo

  • Reply
    OrangePop
    April 26, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Jenna- I read the small blurb in the St. Pete Times this morning about John & his accident & I felt for you, because I feel like I know him because I “know” you… I can’t imagine the pain, but isn’t it great to see what John really meant to people?! It’s too bad that it takes a death to show people how much you care… With love & support, Jenna,
    Sloane

  • Reply
    Julie
    April 26, 2009 at 10:03 am

    your brother sounded like an amazing person as you are and I admire your strength through all of this, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers

  • Reply
    Laura Brandon
    April 26, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Jenna, once again I am so sorry. Your brother was obviously very loved, and touched a lot of lives. I’m crying reading this, trying to imagine what you must be going through, and I just can’t even fathom it. Your family remains in my prayers.

  • Reply
    Becca A
    April 26, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Jenna again I am so sorry for your loss. This was a touching post.

  • Reply
    Michelle Hisae
    April 26, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Your words truly touch me. Keep writing – it’s a good outlet for you during this time. We’re all here to listen. Worry about you and your family right now and just know that your friends from the blog are all thinking of you.

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    April 26, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Jenna, thank you for this exquisite post — thank you for letting us be of whatever comfort we can, by listening to your words and helping to remember your gorgeous John. When I was 14, I lost my mom to a car accident, and I, too, turned to my pen and paper for comfort. I truly believe in the therapeutic powers of writing, and I hope that you’ll continue to let it help you cope. You are strong, courageous, and beautiful inside and out… I hope you take whatever comfort you can in the knowledge that John blessed many families yesterday, by giving their loved ones the gift of life.

  • Reply
    kaneil, balanceisbest
    April 26, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Wow – what an amazing post. You are incredible and will get through this. You are still in my constant thoughts and prayers. Take care of yourself, sweet Jenna.

    Kaneil, balanceisbest

  • Reply
    Hannah
    April 26, 2009 at 10:07 am

    This is a beautiful tribute, Jenna. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for reminding me just how fleeting life can be. It is precious and we all need to remember to savor every single moment we have. Once again, I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Reply
    Becky
    April 26, 2009 at 10:08 am

    This post literally made me cry. John was an awesome young man and I’m sure he is watching over you now, happy that you were by his side. Words can’t express how sorry I am for you and your family, and I hope you eat 12000 green-sprinkled cupcakes if that’s what your heart desires <3

  • Reply
    Whitney
    April 26, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Jenna- I am so sorry that you are going through this but I know that you are strong and will get through it. I also understand your anger at this preventable tragedy. I am glad that you can use your blog as an outlet for your grieving process. I will think of you today.

    -Whitney

  • Reply
    Jessica
    April 26, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Jenna,
    What a beautiful post about your brother. I am so, so sorry for your loss. I will pray for you and your family to have strength and peace through this rough time. Take care of yourself.

  • Reply
    megan
    April 26, 2009 at 10:09 am

    jenna this is a beautiful post that brought tears to my eyes. my prayers are with you and your family.

  • Reply
    Susan
    April 26, 2009 at 10:11 am

    I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through. You are very brave and strong to put it in words like this. I hope you can find comfort in the friends and family around you and the memories you have of your brother.

  • Reply
    Bridget
    April 26, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Jenna,
    I’m so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful post about your brother. Know that people everywhere are thinking and praying for you and your family today.

  • Reply
    HeatherBakes
    April 26, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Jenna, I am so sorry about your brother. He sounds like a beautiful person and I can’t imagine what you guys must be going through right now. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Caitlin
    April 26, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Once again, I am so sorry for your loss. I am amazed at your strength and courage to even post about this. This really was a touching post.
    Please take care, get some rest, and eat another one of those fabulous cookies.
    My prayers will continue to be with your family at this time.
    God Bless!

  • Reply
    Anna
    April 26, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Jenna, this post brought tears to my eyes. They are streaming down my face as I type. My heart is aching for you right now. My sister called me yesterday after she read about this tragedy to tell me she loved me, and I will call her again today. Siblings are precious and I cannot even imagine the pain you are going through.

  • Reply
    kilax
    April 26, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Thank you for writing this. I bet you feel better, if only by a bit, in getting this out. I had an uncle pass away unexpectedly and it just shook me to the core, for days. I forgot about food for awhile, but still did think, “Wow, I am surprised I am not binging.” How weird is that?

    I am happy to hear that you have such a supportive community. It really helps.

    Big hugs!

  • Reply
    Michelle
    April 26, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Wow Jenna, that was very beautifully written. I’m SO glad your wrote that, just for you. It’s so important to do things that make YOU feel better during these times. I read the beginning of your post, and was very sad, and as I continued to read, I just starting crying and sobbing for you. I have a younger brother, and it really hit my heart. You don’t deserve this, John didn’t, and your family doesn’t. You just have to believe he was put here for this length of time for a reason. And he’s safe, and at peace now with Our Father. I am sure he is watching you and loving you from Heaven. I continue to pray for you and your family daily Jenna.

  • Reply
    Mary
    April 26, 2009 at 10:19 am

    I am so incredibly sorry for your family. 🙁 I find myself holding my 2 year old son tighter this morning, and the wee 2nd son we are expecting is all the more precious, I feel so incredibly sad for you all. As a parent…I just cannot even imagine. I’ve lost my parents, but, to lose a child, a brother. I just cannot imagine. Please know that I shared this with my husband and his thoughts are with you as well.

  • Reply
    Melissa
    April 26, 2009 at 10:20 am

    I am so very, very sorry for your loss, Jenna. I’ve followed your blog for almost a year and it saddens me that it is under these circumstances that I’m leaving my first comment. You are such an amazing person and the memories you shared of your brother were so touching…they made me cry outright. I am praying that you and your family will have plenty of comfort and peace. Please take care.

  • Reply
    Rebeca
    April 26, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Your tribute to your brother is amazing… You and your family will continue to be in my prayers. As hard as it is, keep remembering that John is with the Father, with no pain, no sadness, just pure joy.

    May God Continue to Bless You,
    Rebeca

  • Reply
    Tara
    April 26, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Jenna, I am so sorry for your loss. I know that you wrote this post for yourself, but it serves as a reminder for all of us to appreciate our loved ones. I will be seeing my little brother today and I’m going to make sure I give him a big hug. My thoughts are with you.

  • Reply
    Kate
    April 26, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss and I wish you peace during these difficult days.

  • Reply
    courtney
    April 26, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Jenna, you and your family continue to be in my thoughts and prayers (and tears!). John sounds like a wonderful and amazing person, and the world was incredibly lucky to have him for as long as it did. I am so sorry you are going through this pain and wish there was something more I could do. Keep writing, we are all here to listen! God bless.

  • Reply
    Monica
    April 26, 2009 at 10:23 am

    sweetie, keep writing all you want. writing will help you heal and we are all hear to listen and help. you are so strong and courageous. this was a beautiful post and wonderful tribute to john.

  • Reply
    Lauren
    April 26, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Jenna, you are such a strong person. I can’t imagine how unbearably painful the past couple of days have been for you and your family. I am glad to hear that so many loved ones gathered to pay their respects and give you support. I will continue to keep you all in my thoughts.

  • Reply
    jessnyc
    April 26, 2009 at 10:25 am

    jenna, your post was beautiful. you are truly an amazing person, i wish somehow, some of this burden could be lifted off of you onto your friends (readers). and we would gladly take it. it looks like your brother had a beautiful life and family, your tribute was perfect.

  • Reply
    Kim
    April 26, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Oh Jenna,

    I am sitting here crying. I looked at your blog 200 times yesterday I told my husband my mother what happened. Please just know the collective hug that comes from everyone. I am so so sorry. What a terrible thing for everyone to have to go through. I don’t even feel like I am making sense.

  • Reply
    Joy
    April 26, 2009 at 10:26 am

    I am so glad your community, family, & friends are being so good to you, as you know all of your readers would do the same if we were there. Just keep going and remember he is with God and that he knows how much you and so so many people love him. Get to the pool if you can! Sometimes in times like this you need a few seconds away. Love you <3

  • Reply
    Updates and 25 Randoms « Balance My Cake
    April 26, 2009 at 10:27 am

    […] the time to show it to her, and keep praying for her and her family.  *EDITED TO ADD* PLEASE read Jenna’s post and leave her love PLEASE.  I cried my eyes out when I read […]

  • Reply
    Cecilia
    April 26, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Jenna, this post is … i don’t even have a word for it, it touches my heart and everyone else’s heart, you’re such an amazing sister. May God be with you and your family. Stay strong, Jenna.

  • Reply
    Alex
    April 26, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Keep fighting and don’t give up

  • Reply
    Kristine
    April 26, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Jenna,
    You are a beautiful writer and your strength shines through in this post. I seriously can’t imagine what you are going through right now. My heart aches for you and your family. John was so handsome and shining down from heaven. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers CONSTANTLY.
    Love, Kristine

  • Reply
    Hannah Hawley
    April 26, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Powerful post, my thoughts are with you!

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    April 26, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Please let us know if there will be a memorial or scholarship fund to which we can donate.

  • Reply
    Alisa - One Frugal Foodie
    April 26, 2009 at 10:35 am

    This is an incredible post and tribute. Your blog has always been so much more than food in my eyes, and your brother fits in perfectly. It sounds like Mikey has a wonderfully loving home ahead.

  • Reply
    Hallie
    April 26, 2009 at 10:35 am

    You are a writer, so you do what you have to do. We read this blog because we care/relate to YOU, more so than because we want to know what you eat. And your readers will be there in whatever way you need us during this time.

    I have a little brother too, and I don’t talk to him that often as he’s away in college, etc etc. I’m going to call him today and tell him I love him. Just because.

  • Reply
    LaughingLindsay
    April 26, 2009 at 10:37 am

    I am blown away by your composure and strength. The power of the Lord is written all over your words, you’re handling this with such grace.
    I will keep praying for you and your family, as well as for Ryan and his family to heal and gain some peace from this.
    Stay strong. Love you girl.

    Huge hugs and love.

    Lindsay

  • Reply
    Steph
    April 26, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Your post touched the hearts of many. I will continue to pray for you and your family.

  • Reply
    Becca
    April 26, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Jenna,
    My heart breaks for you and I’m praying for yout family. I lost my Father this year to a sudden heart attack and while it’s not exactly the same, losing a loved one suddenly is terribly painful. But one of the best pieces of advice I ever received consisted of two words. Just breathe. No matter how sad, confused or angry you are, all you have to do in any moment right now is breathe.

    God Bless.

  • Reply
    lora
    April 26, 2009 at 10:39 am

    jenna, thank you for sharing. Please write and write about your feelings because it is a way to help cope….you are a strong woman and I know you and your family will get through this. John looks like he had a beautiful spirit and now he is with the angels and will continue to shine in Heaven….

    peace and love
    Lo

  • Reply
    Marisa
    April 26, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Jenna,
    This post is beautiful – I lost my friend Pat when we were 16 and turned to writing – it was my release, and running – pounding out my anger was so cathartic. Everyone’s grief process is different, so listen to yourself and know there’s no right or wrong, You and your family are in my prayers.
    Marisa

  • Reply
    Glidingcalm
    April 26, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Jenna, I have been thinking of you all weekend. You are in my prayers and thoughts, and I am so sorry. So so sorry. I can’t imagine….but thank you for writing this. It was beautiful.

  • Reply
    sue
    April 26, 2009 at 10:43 am

    jenna, this as such a beautifully written post. you and your family will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Laura (On the Threshold of Greatness)
    April 26, 2009 at 10:44 am

    This is a beautiful tribute to your brother. He sounds like a truly amazing individual who brought joy to everyone’s lives, as evidenced by the outpouring of support your family has been given these past few days. I think it’s wonderful that you will be running in his honor, and adopting the cat he wanted to save.

  • Reply
    Jana
    April 26, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Jenna,
    write as much as you can. This probably the most perfect outlet for your emotions right now, so by all means, let it all out in your posts. You are such a strong and admirable woman, I wish you all the best.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    April 26, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Dear Jenna, I must have thought of you a hundred times yesterday, and I checked back often to see if you might have written something more. I can see that your brother was an exceptional person – I hear it in your stories and I see it in the photos. I can only imagine the pain. I hope there’s some comfort to you in knowing that there are hundreds of people praying for you and your family, including me in Vancouver, WA. Take care of yourself and God bless you. Stephanie

  • Reply
    Ashley
    April 26, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Jenna-
    I read your blog often, as we have a lot of similar interests and I enjoy reading about your new finding and such. Please know that you’re in my prayers. I lost my dad suddenly almost 3 years ago and it’s so shocking, so riveting, so life changing. Psalm 34 really encouraged me.
    “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” v18.

  • Reply
    Shane
    April 26, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Hi Jenna,

    I am so sorry for your loss. My eyes started tearing when I read your post. It was very touching. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  • Reply
    Gina G
    April 26, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Jenna, i could not express to you more how much sadness i feel for you. your brother sounds like an amazing person, and i know he is from the beautiful words you used to describe him. i am so sorry for your loss, you and your family are in my prayers.
    god bless you =)

  • Reply
    Carly
    April 26, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Jenna,
    What a beautiful post. You are a beautiful writer and an even more beautiful person. Even though I don’t know you, I have been thinking about you, your family, and John constantly since I read your post yesterday. I am so sorry that this happened, but I know you have an amazing spirit, an amazing support system, and an amazing outlook on life to get through this. May the memory of your brother live on forever.

  • Reply
    Bev
    April 26, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Jenna,
    We all love you and are in our thoughts. He was a beautiful person and I know you will miss him. God bless Ryan and his family for being there for you. You are blessed 🙂

  • Reply
    weight and meditate
    April 26, 2009 at 10:55 am

    You are so brave for writing all of this, Jenna, and you are blessed to have such an amazing family, and Ryan and his family too. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you.

  • Reply
    Alyssa
    April 26, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Stay strong Jenna! You’re stronger than you know and feel, don’t lose hope because things WILL get better. We’re all here for you! John looks like such a happy, laid-back guy! 🙂

  • Reply
    Donna
    April 26, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Jenna-

    I am so sorry for your loss. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers! May God be with you and your family through this difficult time.

    XO,
    Donna

  • Reply
    Sarah
    April 26, 2009 at 10:58 am

    What a beautifully written post. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Stay strong.

  • Reply
    Danica
    April 26, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Jenna – that was the most amazing post I’ve ever read. I really hoped it helped ease the pain a little to write about it. Hang in there, be strong, believe in your faith and know you will get through it all. John is always with you in little ways so remember that.

  • Reply
    Becca
    April 26, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Jenna, I’m so sorry for your loss. But I am glad to know that your community is being so supportive of you and your family during this difficult time. I hope you are holding up alright, and will definitely say a prayer for your family, your community, and especially your brother as you all deal with this tragic loss.

  • Reply
    Allison
    April 26, 2009 at 11:02 am

    I have been thinking about you non-stop since yesterday’s news. My heart truly feels for you and your family. You are so strong and seem to have great support of family and friends. I will keep praying for you, hang in there!

  • Reply
    Krista
    April 26, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Jenna, I don’t even know you but I can’t stop thinking about your loss all weekend. You are handling this with such grace and composure. This was a beautiful post, you are such an inspiration. Keep writing and talking with your family, as it will help you with the grieving process. Now you have a guardian angel in heaven watching out for you. Just know that you are so loved by all of us out here. You are in my prayers.

  • Reply
    Gina
    April 26, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Jenna, I know exactly what the “numb feeling” is. I was extremely close to my grandparents and lost both of them within a month. Stay strong, and know that John is in a better place. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts this week in hoping you may find some peace.
    ~Gina

  • Reply
    Melissa
    April 26, 2009 at 11:08 am

    I always enjoy reading your blog and read todays with a heavy heart and it brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry for your loss and am thinking about and praying for your family.

  • Reply
    ari
    April 26, 2009 at 11:13 am

    reading this brought tears to my eyes. we are all here to get you through this tough time, for whatever you need. your family is forever in my thoughts.

  • Reply
    Aimee
    April 26, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Jenna during my 10 mile run this morning I prayed for you and your family. Even though I only know you through reading your blog, I feel so badly that you must feel this pain. You are so happy and cheerful on your blog and seem to really love life. Thank you for sharing your feelings with us and reminding us that life is short. I hope that John is your angel now and can help take away some of your pain.

  • Reply
    Ruby
    April 26, 2009 at 11:14 am

    What beautiful post. I read it all – so moving. It’s so desperately unfair when such vibrant, wonderful people are pulled out of our lives too soon. Incomprehensible. *Hugs*

  • Reply
    Amy
    April 26, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Jenna, your thoughts have really touched me. I know that your brother appreciated the love that you always gave him, through his life and at the end. We will all be here to support you during this difficult time, just to listen if nothing else. I will continue to keep your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Jennie
    April 26, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Jenna, I cannot imagine that I could really have anything to say to comfort you but again, I just wanted to tell you that I am thinking about you. Your post was beautiful… your brother, I’m sure, is so proud of you.

  • Reply
    lindsay
    April 26, 2009 at 11:17 am

    The tears definitely came while reading this post. Since you are so open with us every day on this blog, you really do feel like a good friend and your pain is definitely felt, as well as the desire to help, as any good friend would feel. Your composure and strength in this time are unbelievable and inspirational. Be strong for the rest of your family and may your dear brother rest in peace.
    your friend,
    -Lindsay

  • Reply
    MJ
    April 26, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Jenna –
    Thank you for posting and letting us know how you and your family are doing. I am glad to hear that the blessing and generosity of John’s life and spirit, that you also manifest in many ways to people, is being reflected back to you to support you in this time of great pain and confusion. There really are no “should”s for you right now in how to deal with this – you are doing the best you can in a horrible circumstance, and if there are some moments where all you can manage is to keep breathing through the tears, then that’s what you do. Each person has their own way of dealing with something like this, and it’s important to avoid judging yourself against others or some imaginary should in how you handle it – you do what you need to do and what feels right to you. I imagine your taste for cookies and such has gone up because your body is trying to get what it needs to try to “sedate” you through the pain. The numbness is your body and mind’s way of trying to protect you from something that hurts so badly, and it will pass. How wonderful that John and your family chose to give the gift of organ donation – as much pain as you and your family are in, that is how much joy each of those donations will give another family, and they too will always remember John with love and gratitude. I think it’s wonderful that you’re going to adopt the kitten he wanted to help. Carrying on a mission for a loved one, keeping their memory fresh and their spirit known, can be very helpful for those who grieve, in addition to being to a kindness to others. After my mother’s death, my family created an award to give to one 3rd grader (the grade she taught) each year, for the student who, according to the teachers, made the best personal progress (not necessarily best grades, often someone who overcame an obstacle or always tried their hardest) and we made a certificate and gave an award like a family museum membership and awarded it in front of all the 3rd graders plus family members of the child, teachers, school officials, etc. Then we took photos and wrote up a blurb to the local paper. We did this for 10 years. It meant a great deal to the child chosen and often their parents, and it helped my family and the teachers my mom was so close to feel we were carrying on her spirit there somehow. I wasn’t fortunate enough to know John, but it sounds like he might have liked something that helped animals – maybe a run for a shelter or to help a needy vet student, or a charity surfing event (if that makes any sense) or an organ donor awareness campaign. You’ll find some way to honor his life, either through your own good works or directly in his name, and it will help you as well as others. I thought of you often yesterday, and will keep you in my prayers.

  • Reply
    Michelle
    April 26, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Your brother seemed like a beautiful loving person. His memory will live on in the hearts and thoughts of many.

  • Reply
    Abbey
    April 26, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Jenna,

    I’ve always admired the positivity in each of your blog entries, and I know that ray of sunshine in your personality will help you get through this. My heart truly, truly goes out to you and your family. I’ll be praying for you every chance I get.

    I hope this quote will bring you some comfort:

    “Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love. It can’t take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death.”

    Sending You Peace & Love,
    Abbey

  • Reply
    Sarah (lovINmytummy)
    April 26, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Jenna,

    You and your family have consumed my thoughts and prayers. I found myself wondering what you are doing and trying to comprehend your pain and think of SOME WAY I could help.
    I also found myself wanting to know more about John, and planned today to search your archives to find stories you may have shared about him. And then, bless you, I saw this post.
    Please share as many stories, pictures, memories as you feel comfortable, if not with us, with your family and friends. I believe that this will help keep John alive, and I know that you will be glad to have such a wonderful reminder of the joy he has been in your life.
    You are such a strong woman, and though I don’t understand why this would happen to you, one of God’s children, I do know that He doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Clearly, He has a lot of faith in you, and you in Him.
    I will continue to pray for you and your family, and if there is anything that any of us can do, do not hesitate to ask.
    God bless,
    Sarah

  • Reply
    ellie
    April 26, 2009 at 11:21 am

    I cried when reading this… Jenna, I know you don’t know me but I have been thinking about you and your family all day today. My thoughts and prayers are with you xxx

  • Reply
    Akanshka
    April 26, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Jenna
    I am actually so glad you wrote this post. Although, I don’t know you personally, I feel like I have really gotten to know you via this blog. And, I wanted to know how you were doing, and what had happened to John.
    I think you are a brave sister, and this is a tough time for you and your family. I know that John, will find peace in knowing that you love him and will always cherish the memories of the times you had together.

  • Reply
    Sara
    April 26, 2009 at 11:27 am

    What a beautiful post. You truly captured the spirit of your brother and you and your family’s deep love for him. It is so good that you are expressing your grief and anger at this time, it is such a blessing. I know everyone who reads your blog wants to shower you with hugs and care. Continue to take care of yourself and your family and let your wonderful friends take care of you.

  • Reply
    TorontoGirloutWest
    April 26, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Oh Jenna,

    I’m so heartbroken for you and your family. I tried to comment yesterday but my computer was having problems so I couldn’t.

    I wanted so badly to tell you that you were in my thoughts, in my prayers, and in my heart. You and your entire family!

    And I know sometimes things are senseless. And painful. You have a right to be angry. Spend that time being angry and mourning. You deserve that time to grieve.

    And when you’re done with that Jenna – then celebrate life. Celebrate your brother’s life! Because although his time with you was short, he left a beautiful mark on all those that knew him.

    Lots of hugs and blogger love!

    Karen

  • Reply
    Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat)
    April 26, 2009 at 11:36 am

    I am so sorry for your loss. It’s great to see how much your brother was and is still loved by people. I cried almost the entire time I read this post. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts.

  • Reply
    Sara
    April 26, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Jenna,

    What a beautiful tribute to your beautiful brother. Thank you for sharing him with us. You and your family are in my thoughts.

    Sara

  • Reply
    stephanie
    April 26, 2009 at 11:46 am

    I wish I could help somehow. Your words are so heartfelt and bring tears to my eyes. Stay strong. You and your family are in so many people’s thoughts.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    April 26, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Do what you have to do to get through the next few days and weeks. Eat cookies if that’s what it takes to keep your seratonin up.

    I’ll never forget the day we buried my dad… we had a big old fashioned Southern Irish wake. Lots of cobblers and gravy-based dishes, lots of booze, lots of people there to love my family. I had a couple of strawberry daquiris and after my second or third, my cousin made a big batch in the blender, put a straw in the pitcher and handed it to me. I didn’t turn into an alcoholic or anything, but it did help. 🙂

    That was 8 years ago and I still miss my dad every day. It doesn’t hurt the same way it did back then, but the memories don’t fade. I think that’s a good thing.

    God bless you and your family Jenna. We are still praying for you.

  • Reply
    Katie
    April 26, 2009 at 11:50 am

    This had me in tears the whole time I read it. You truly ARE a writer, and you have to (as you know 🙂 ) keep writing to get through this. We’ve never met (although it feels like I, as well as thousands of people, I’m sure! know you so well) but you and your family have been in my thoughts all weekend. I’m so, so sorry for your loss. Love you, Jenna.

  • Reply
    Sheri
    April 26, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Jenna, that was a beautiful post. Again my heart goes out to you for such a great loss. I cannot imagine what you and your family are going though right now but I have you in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Marilyn
    April 26, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Jenna,
    I join everyone else in extending my deepest condolences to you and your family. In the blink of an eye, everything can change; but what cannot change are the wonderful memories you have of your little brother.
    Marilyn

  • Reply
    Melissa
    April 26, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Oh Jenna, I was crying reading your post today. Your brother John seemed like an amazing young man, and his loss is profound. I am just so very sorry for this tragic accident that will forever change your family. You are in my thoughts and prayers … and I am so glad you can turn to writing during your grief; sometimes an outlet like this can help ease your solace and pain … even if it can’t erase the past or take it away. Sending many thoughts and prayers your way.

  • Reply
    Shelby
    April 26, 2009 at 11:53 am

    This is beautiful and I know he is smiling down on you right now.
    We love you Jenna! <3

  • Reply
    Kelly
    April 26, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Aww Jenna, John sounds amazing and a beautiful person. I loved your post dedicated to him, even though he had an angelic life on Earth, he is an angel among us in heaven watching over and listening to your family’s wishes and prayers.
    God bless you Jenna

  • Reply
    grace
    April 26, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Jenna my heart ached reading that. You are being so strong and I am thinking about you and your family in your tough time. I’m so glad that the community has opened up for you.

  • Reply
    Greta
    April 26, 2009 at 11:57 am

    when i read your earlier post, i stopped mid way to call up my entire family, individually, and tell them how much i loved them. i don’t have any other words than that I am so unbelievably saddened by your family’s loss. i wish there was more i could do, you have been such an inspiration to all of your readers, and no one deserves to have a loved one stolen from them. this post made me cry, my heart goes out to you.

  • Reply
    brandi
    April 26, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    what a beautiful post and beautiful tribute. I’m so glad that you have so many close friends and family to surround all of you right now – they truly serve as your strength when going through things like this.

  • Reply
    Leila
    April 26, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    I can only imagine the spirit of your brother. What a blessing that you had each other as siblings. Your strength in this post is amazing as always, my thoughts and prayers are with you, your family and friends.

  • Reply
    Maya
    April 26, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    I’ve read your blog for a while now but never commented.

    What a wonderful tribute to your brother. I have a little brother, too, I couldn’t imagine what it must feel like losing a brother at the prime of his youth. I almost cried by the end of your post. I am thinking of you and your family, and best wishes.

  • Reply
    Christie
    April 26, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    I am glad that you could take some time to yourself and express your feelings through your writing. That was a beatiful tribute to your brother. We are all thinking of and praying for you and your family.

  • Reply
    kirsten
    April 26, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    stay strong jenna. you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Julie
    April 26, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Gosh this gave me goosebumps. Jenna, I am so so so sorry for you. I’m sorry you had to go through that. No one should have to feel pain that bad. I’m sending you a huge hug. Stay stong Jenna.

  • Reply
    Heather
    April 26, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Wow. Reading today is so humbling & it’s in fact amazing when folks come together to support a family in the time of loss. That’s exactly what my experiences have been. I will continue to pray for your family, Jenna. The moments like these really help you see how important life really is & why we should live fully enjoying each day. We never know if tomorrow will grace us.

    God Bless!

  • Reply
    Michelle
    April 26, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Jenna, this is such a beautiful tribute to your brother. Writing is obviously a great outlet for you, and I hope you’ll continue to use the blog to tell us more about your brother if you’re comfortable and also as a way to help yourself heal. You and your family will continue to be in my prayers.

  • Reply
    Nancy
    April 26, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    You have touched so many hearts. Keep loving the ones around you and always remember your brothers love for you and live your life knowing he loves u and wants you to be nothing but happy. You are so admired by many, such a strong and beautiful woman. Your family and your brother are in our prayers! I pray that the love that surrounds you now helps heal the pain you are experiencing. So sorry 🙁

  • Reply
    Sassy Molassy
    April 26, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    I just found you through Iowa Girl Eats and have to say I’m truly sorry for your loss and my thoughts are with your family. Hang in there.

  • Reply
    Kathryn
    April 26, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Jenna – God bless you and your family. I’m so sorry for all that’s happened and for the loss of your brother. I prayed for you and your family a church today, and I know there are many other people across the world praying for you today and always. You already know this, but remember to stay close to God especially during this time. Many blessings to you.

  • Reply
    Courtney (The Hungry Yogini)
    April 26, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Thinking of you. Jenna, don’t hold back your sadness or feel the need to be strong and brave in this time of sadness. Cry, scream, yell, be angry or be still. Whatever you need to feel it, do it and feel it. Grieving is so important to heal, and I know this is such a tremendous loss. You will smile and laugh again, my sweet friend, especially when thinking of your beautiful brother and the memories you have with him. He is smiling down on you, thanking you for being an amazing sister and friend to him when he needed it. Always here with love and support. Many prayers for you any your family.

    All my love,
    Courtney

  • Reply
    meagan
    April 26, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    my family and i are praying and thinking about you. your writing is honest and courageous and graceful and deeply painful. we’ll keep you in our hearts.

  • Reply
    missmolly
    April 26, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Your brother is handsome! May he rest in peace.

  • Reply
    ashley (sweet & natural)
    April 26, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Jenna, this was a beautiful tribute to your brother. It is clear that he loved life and it loved him back. I’m so glad to hear you are surrounded by incredible support. Again, my thoughts and prayers are with you, your family and friends.

  • Reply
    Brooke
    April 26, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Jenna,
    I am so glad you are getting the support and care and love you need right now. I can’t begin to express how sorry I am for your loss. Make sure to take the time to do what you need to do to care for yourself in these upcoming days and weeks and months. Please know that you have a lot of people supporting you.

  • Reply
    Kristin
    April 26, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Jenna – I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family now…and for as long as you need them.

  • Reply
    mel
    April 26, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    jenna, you are such a wonderful person and I know your brother loved you so so much!! from the way you talked about him, he was an amazing man. Hang in there girl, and take all the time you need to. xoxo
    Mel

  • Reply
    meg
    April 26, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Jenna,
    My heart goes out to your family. Hold your memories of your brother close, and know that he is still with you in your heart every step of the way. HUGS!

    Megan

  • Reply
    Kati
    April 26, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Jenna, I have such a huge lump in my throat after reading all of this…I am so sorry. I can’t imagine what you must be going through. I will continue to pray for your family during this time. It is so true that we don’t know what a day will bring…I have 6 brothers and 1 sister and I know I want to tell them much more often how much I love them.

  • Reply
    L
    April 26, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Jenna,
    I can’t stop thinking about you and your family since reading your post yesterday. You are being so brave through all of this. Life will never get any harder for you than it is right now. Thank you for sharing this with us. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to type it all. Your brother was so lucky to have such a loving sister, family and friends. No one can ever take away all the memories you have with him or the love you have for him. We are all here for you! My prayers are always with you and your family through this difficult time.

  • Reply
    erika
    April 26, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    what a lovely tribute and such a sad loss. please keep writing, it will get you through. i’m glad you have such support, he sounds like a great brother.

  • Reply
    C.
    April 26, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Jenna,
    I am a faithful Canadian reader and lurker but wanted to come out of the shadows to say how very sorry I am to hear about the loss of your brother. I am drawn to your blog daily because of your energy, enthusiasm and zest for living; I have learned so much from you.
    I know your life has been shattered by this terrible tragedy but your faith and amzazing lifestyle will give you all the strength you need to get through this and to come out on the other side even stronger than you were before. You are at the start of a journey that will shape the rest of your life and I just wanted you to know that you are not alone, many of your readers will come along with you, so do what you need to do to take care of yourself in the next little while and use this blog for your needs and don’t worry about anything else right now. Take care of yourself and know that you are in many people’s thoughts and prayers today.

  • Reply
    The Official Sweet & Natural Playlist « Sweet & Natural
    April 26, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    […] a separate note, please keep Jenna and her family in your thoughts and prayers.  And take some time today to tell your family and […]

  • Reply
    MLT
    April 26, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Jenna,

    I’m glad you are taking advantage of this outlet and of your talent for writing. I hope it provides some relief for you, even if it’s very small. I’ve never met you, but I’ve found myself thinking about you and your brother (that chocolate chip cookie post) so much over the last few days. I have three younger brothers, one of them about John’s age and you are so right- life is just too short in so many ways. I hope you know that by sharing your pain with us and telling your brother’s story to the world, you and John are inspiring the rest of us to appreciate our lives in ways we never did. Take care.

    PS. Your brother is beautiful! You can tell what a sweet heart he had just by looking at him.

  • Reply
    Erica
    April 26, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Your love for John shows so much in this post! What a beautiful tribute to him. I know how little brothers are and I know you feel like his protector as his big sister…and I can feel it so much in your writing. You’re right, it’s TOTALLY not fair…I know how you feel on that one. Sometimes life deals us really crappy cards and it is left up to us how to deal with them. I pray that you will stand strong in your faith and hang on to God with all you’ve got. HE ALONE will bring you through. I just pray comfort and strength for your entire family. Love you~

  • Reply
    Kelsey
    April 26, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Amazing post, Jenna. It is wonderful that you are around people who are so very supportive for you, your family, and your brother. So sorry for your loss and I am praying for you and your family.

  • Reply
    KatieF
    April 26, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing with us your brother and giving us a window into who he was. He seems like he was such a special person and that he touched many lives during his time on earth.
    I can’t pretend to understand the pain that you are in right now. It is beyond my imagination. I thought about and prayed for you and your family a lot yesterday and today. Please don’t lose your faith. God has a plan even though it’s not always clear what that plan is. I hope that you can believe that and find comfort in your faith during this difficult time.

  • Reply
    claire
    April 26, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    I have been praying for you since I saw your post yesterday. And you know, as much as some people think it’s strange, leaving some form of routine in the midst of grieving, I think, is good. When my grandmother died, I was driving to the gym…I just kept going and did my exercise, crying as I did it…but it was good for me. So, you do what you need to do, whether it be swim, write, or eat cookies! This is such a touching memory of your brother and it sounds like you have some great support around you. Still praying for you!

  • Reply
    Kath
    April 26, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Beautifully written Jenna. We are all here for you.

  • Reply
    steph
    April 26, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Dear Jenna,
    Thanks you for sharing your beautiful thoughts and feelings, they are truely powerful. I am so sorry for your loss and for the pain you and your family must be feeling. Your family and friends seem to be full of love and I am sure you brother John knows how loved he really is by all. His sprit is alive and he be would be very happy knowing Mikey is going to a loving home!! Have a lovely swim and give yourself a big hug for being a great sister to John. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Reply
    Brooke M
    April 26, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    This post and your writing are beautiful. Your brother sounds like he was such a loving person and essentially, so loved back by his peers and family. I am only 18 years old and it is just so saddening to hear how young your brother was. But through Christ who strengthens us, I can tell his spirit will always be with you and your family and he is there watching over you. I’m from San Francisco and I was so excited to hear that you are running your half-marathon in this city by the bay. You will love SF and I am sure your brother John will running right by your side. God bless. xoxo

    “A blessing I will condense and pass on to you: May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you, and give you peace.” 7:24-26

  • Reply
    Katie
    April 26, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    You STILL manage to take the most beautiful pictures even had a hard time like this-the food you received looks wonderful even though i know you don’t have much of an appetite for it. your brother was SO handsome. hang in there-this too shall pass.

  • Reply
    Andrea
    April 26, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Jenna, You are an amazing person. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Sarah
    April 26, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Although I don’t konw you, I really feel truly sorry for your and your family, but also for John’s friend whose gun killed him. He shouldn’t have had a gun for sure, but he will have to live with this burden all his life.
    I lost my best friend last year in a road accident and although I miss him every day, I know he is at peace and that he can see us and in some way help us. Sometimes I see a bird or a ray of light and I have the feeling it is him.
    I find it is amazing that you gave his organs to save other people’s lives, it is the best gift you can give to somebody.
    I wish you a lot of courage in those teerible times that nobody should ever have to go through.

  • Reply
    Dinah Soar
    April 26, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Jenna..I am so sorry for your tragic loss..my heart goes out to you and yours, and in prayer I lift you up.

  • Reply
    amanda
    April 26, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Hi Jenna, thanks for posting so we can see how you are feeling. And dont feel bad, you always mentioned your brother on this blog all the time, just no pictures, so its all good! I can tell you loved him very much! A similar story happened to a boy at my school (when i was in high school) (google brady waite oceanside,ca if u want) as well, he was at an older friend’s house thought the gun was unloaded (it had been but then the “friend” loaded it), etc. it was very sad, and the friend ended up being prosecuted and got 3 years in jail because of it. I dont know what is going on in your brothers case but I hope justice is served one way or the other. God bless you, and let us know if u need ANYTHING at all.

  • Reply
    Kelly
    April 26, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Jenna,
    I read your post yesterday…and although I don’t know you in “real time”….your blog touched me and made an impact on my day. Your brother was such a cutie….esp with those deep big brown eyes! This will be one of the hardest things that you ever go through, but I can tell that you will make it through. After losing my mother last year, I can say that time is really the only thing that will heal. Nothing anyone says will help. Try and stay strong and please know that we are all thinking of you:) And please remember, it is normal to have a ton of emotions……anger, sadness, guilt, etc.

  • Reply
    Meg
    April 26, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Jenna,
    I am a long-time reader, but have never posted. I truly feel like I have gotten to know you through reading your blog, and let me tell you, from the bottom of my heart, how very sorry I was to read this news. You have written with such honesty and courage, and I am sure your brother is so proud, and so grateful to you for creating such a beautiful post about him. God works in mysterious ways, and though the pain of losing John will always be with you, know that he is always close in your heart. I’ll say a prayer for him and your family tonight. Best wishes.

  • Reply
    Tamara
    April 26, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Oh Jenna, I am so sorry you sweet person. You are such a beautiful soul and eloquent writer, and your post about John is such a heartfelt and beautifully written tribute. I can see that he was as dear a person as you are, and as difficult to comprehend as all of this is, I am certain he is peaceful and happy and in the comfort of God’s arms in Heaven. I have never met you, and yet, I wish I could be there to hug you. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you and your family. I hope that you are all finding comfort in one another’s love and in recollecting all of your happy memories of John. It is obvious that he lived life passionately and purposefully, and he is an inspiration to all of us. Stay strong, sweet Jenna, and know that you are surrounded by the love of family and friends and all those you have touched with your kindness.

  • Reply
    Cassie
    April 26, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you and your family since I read the news yesterday. I too have had a loved one taken by a freak gun accident…and when I read this it all came rushing back to me…you are SO amazing and strong that I envy you. Your spirit is so pure and you will get through this with strength and courage! Your brother is soooo proud of you Im sure and Im pretty sure you’ve put him on the blog before. Just stay strong girlie as hard as it is I know you can do it. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Michelle
    April 26, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Jenna, I have been reading your blog for over a year now, but this is the first time that I have commented. I was so sorry to hear about your tragic loss… you and your family are in my thoughts.

  • Reply
    sonia
    April 26, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Jenna, this post brought tears to my eyes. I am so, so sorry for your loss. I can tell what an impact John had, not only in your life, but those around him. I never knew him but through your beautiful words I know that he’s a person that will be dearly missed in the world.
    “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – abraham lincoln
    Stay strong. my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  • Reply
    elliebelle
    April 26, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Jenna,
    You do not need to apologize for putting a damper on anybody’s day. It is amazing you can be so open, so honest. I think many of us feel honored that you are so willing to share your thoughts and emotions with us and if it is a healing process for you, that is wonderful. We will listen for however long you need. Know that so many of us are thinking of you and your family and hoping that time will help to heal a little. Take care,
    Ellie

  • Reply
    Karen
    April 26, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    I have been thinking about you nonstop since reading your post yesterday; the news remains heartbreaking and unbelievable. For someone to lose their life so young and in such a sudden and freak way is simply horrifying. I am glad to hear that your brother’s friends and school have come together to reach out to your family and support your during this time–he was clearly deeply loved. I will continue to keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers — you should definitely do what you’re feeling a go swimming — the best way to cope is to do as your body tells you you need to do.

  • Reply
    Shellyfish
    April 26, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    So much love to you and your family my sweet.

  • Reply
    Lisa
    April 26, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Jenna- Thank you for sharing stories about your brother. I feel honored to have read about such an amazing person. He seemed to live every second of his life with heart and passion. I really admire that in a person. I’m sure he is living the same way in Heaven. I will continue praying for you and your family.

  • Reply
    Bree
    April 26, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Jenna,
    This was a beautiful post. I thought of you so often yesterday & today. I will continue to keep you & your family in my thoughts. As others have mentioned, eat whatever you want, blog about whatever you want, we are just here to support you. Give extra hugs to your parents & Ryan, life is precious.

    Take care,
    Bree

  • Reply
    Katherine
    April 26, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Jenna you and your family are in my prayers. Even though I don’t know you on a personal level, I feel like I know you and you are a beautiful person inside and out. Life can have huge bumps in the road and I am admired of your strength and faith in God. You will truly be honoring John by running in San Fran. God bless your family during this hard time.

  • Reply
    Adi (oatonomy.com - repaired!)
    April 26, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    We all love and support you, Jenna. Tremendously. I’ve been praying for you and will continue to… sending a huge hug from Ottawa.

  • Reply
    KatieMoo
    April 26, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Jenna,
    That was beautifully written. You brought tears to my eyes. We are all here for you. Lots of hugs!

  • Reply
    Leah
    April 26, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Jenna-
    I tried to write on here yesterday but I think my connection was slow because of all the comments…not a bad thing though, right? I am a faithful reader of your blog and truly look up to you for your lifestyle. I may not know you on a personal level, but your post touched my heart. I send an utmost amount of sympathy and prayers for you and your family. It is nice to see you back on so soon, but please don’t feel obligated. Take the time you need for yourself and to be with your family. Everyone will still be here.

  • Reply
    Melomeals: Vegan For $3.33 a Day
    April 26, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    I am sooo soo sorry for your loss. Your family is in my prayers.

    Thanks for sharing your brother John with us… it sounds like he really loved life and touched so many people and was loves so much by his family. my heart just goes out to you… *HUGE HUGS*

  • Reply
    fitforfree
    April 26, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Jenna, I have tears rolling down my face reading this . . . you’re in all our thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Jen
    April 26, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Oh, Jenna. You’ve got me in tears. We can’t know why things like this happen to anyone. But I believe you were the best sister your brother could ask for, and he was the best brother you could ever ask for. And the fact that John was so loved by his friends and school is breathtaking.

    I haven’t talked to my parents in weeks because we’ve been fighting, but I’m realizing now that I should–I MUST–call them and reconcile our differences.

    You and your family are still in my thoughts and prayers; I wish you all only the best. Be strong, Jenna.

  • Reply
    Amandamoo
    April 26, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    I’m spending the afternoon with my parents, cherishing each moment we have. Thank you for the reminder. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers as well as in my intention on my yoga mat.

  • Reply
    erin
    April 26, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    I think we sometimes have anger because we are the ones left behind. Your brother most certainly is in a better place, free from the trials of this life- what joy he has now and what joy he has brought to those individuals (and the people who love them) who will be recipients of his organs. The universe must balance itself, with great pain also comes great joy, and yet God holds us all in his hands if we trust in him and in his plan for our lives. I agree with what previous commenters have said. Don’t feel like you should have to do anything, be with your feelings and your family and most of all lean on the Lord. Only He can bring you comfort during this time. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you

  • Reply
    elise
    April 26, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    i hardly even know how to comment, or what to say. im in such shock and grief and yet im sure it cant even compare to a fraction of what you and your family are dealing with. im truly so sorry.

  • Reply
    Sarah
    April 26, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    i’m so glad that you popped in with another post–I have been thinking about you and your family all day. You are so strong and this post brought tears to my eyes. Again, I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Reply
    Heather
    April 26, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    I cannot even imagine the pain you and your family are going through. My heart goes out to you all. I’m so sorry. This is a beautiful post. You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Emily
    April 26, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    dear jenna,
    you and your family continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful tribute to your brother. i am so sorry that this happened. please continue to write all that you need. we are all here for you.

  • Reply
    Alison
    April 26, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Jenna, I am a longtime reader although I have never posted before. I do not often pray, but I felt compelled to tell you that tonight I will be saying a special prayer for you and your family.

  • Reply
    Paula
    April 26, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Again, words fail me. Hugs to you, Jenna. The wonderfulness that was John shines through in this post. And it will shine on in your memories.

    Wishing you and your family peace and comfort right now.

  • Reply
    Kate
    April 26, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Jenna,
    I’m so sorry for your loss and I know, from experience, how difficult this time is for you. This post is one of the most touching I’ve ever read. Thinking about you!

  • Reply
    Meredith (Pursuing Balance)
    April 26, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    This post is so touching. I am glad that you have such a good support system in this difficult time. I once read that it’s natural to crave sweets during a tough time because we are seeking emotional sweetness. It is so difficult to continue on after such a tragedy, but turning to your faith definitely helps. John is at peace. This isn’t good-bye, but see you later.
    :hugs:

  • Reply
    greenbean
    April 26, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    what a beautiful tribute to your brother. he sounds awesome. please rest assured that many people all over the are praying for you guys. keep your faith and your mind on God. he will carry you through.

  • Reply
    Meghann
    April 26, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Jenna,
    Reading this has put tears in my eyes. I can not express how much my heart aches for you and and your family. Your brother seems to be my brother’s twin and I think that is what hits home the most. This could have happened to anyone’s brother and I wish it had not been yours. I made sure to give my little brother a big hug this morning and tell him how much I love him.

    Caitlin and I want to be there to support you. Please let us know if you need anything and we will be in Tampa in a second.

    Lots of love to you and your family.

  • Reply
    Beadie
    April 26, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Jenna, I have been thinking of you since I heard your news yesterday from a friend and fellow blogger. I have been out of town without computer access and my heart has been aching for you. This post you have written is a beautiful tribute to your brother. I lost my little brother a little more than 4 years ago and I know that the pain that you feel is heart wrenching. It feels like a piece of you is forever missing.

    Lean on your family and friends and be each others support the best way you know how. Scream, kick, punch, cry or do whatever you have to do to get through this time. My heart goes out to you and your family and you will remain there.

    You are a joy in this community of bloggers and I hope you know that you can lean on us as well. Keep writing, my friend. We will be here to keep reading and supporting you through this terrible time. You are a beautiful spirit and your brother will live on in you.

    Peace and Namaste, my friend.

  • Reply
    Shannon @ TheDailyBalance
    April 26, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    beautiful post. It’s so easy to see just how much John was loved. Still thinking and praying for you and your family…

  • Reply
    Tina
    April 26, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    What a beautiful post, Jenna. It had me in tears. I am so very sorry for your loss.

  • Reply
    Allie
    April 26, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Jenna,
    I haven’t ever posted much on this blog, but have been reading it for about a year. Your food ideas and love for the Lord have been refreshing. I have been thinking of you and your family since I read the post about your beloved brother. The pain of such a tragedy as the loss of a loved one and especially one so young is heart-wrenching. I pray that you and your family are showered with the love, comfort, and peace of God, as well as, those dear to you. And for John, he is with our Savior and now watches over his big sister from the beautiful Heaven up above. Pain and numbness are sure to remain for a good deal of time but the wonderful memories as siblings and friends and the reunion that awaits when you too meet Jesus are what give the people who’ve lost someone hope, faith, and peace.
    Sincerely,
    Allie

  • Reply
    Jessica
    April 26, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Jenna, that was beautiful and so touching. I hope the days get better as they go on and I’m praying you and your family!

  • Reply
    sally
    April 26, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Jenna,
    Strength and courage to you and all who loved your brother.
    I was touched to read about Ryan being there for you and your brother. A true sign of a strong heart and soul is how one acts in the face of tragedy. And his mom doing all she could for your mom.
    My thoughts are with you and your mom and dad , wishing you all the bravery you can muster in the time ahead.Our deepest sympathy.
    I would be honored to read many more writings about your treasured brother.That would mean so much more than anything dealing with food.
    What a senseless tragedy- this kind of tragedy is so incredibly difficult to deal with ,and the fleeting nature of life and death to someone so young is hard to even fathom.
    His life has meaning and will have meaning-John’s big sis will make sure of that.
    Hope you can somehow get a little sleep at night and take care of your health.Treat yourself with tenderness and do whatever your heart tells you to do.

  • Reply
    Rachel
    April 26, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    your family and friends are blessed to call you their own, as it’s quite plain that you are a pillar of strength even in the hardest, most senseless circumstances. i’m sure that your brother is so grateful, and that he will continue to help you act with the grace and love that we all recognize in you. you deserve to take some private time away from all the practical preparations- swimming sounds like the perfect idea.

  • Reply
    Erin
    April 26, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Jenna, as another long time reader, I just want to say you and your family have been on my mind all weekend. I can’t offer you anything to ease the pain, but I am sending thoughts and prayers to you. I hope you do whatever you need to, in order to get through this.

  • Reply
    Kristi @ Sweet Cheeks
    April 26, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Jenna, this was a beautiful post. Your brother would be proud of it.
    I am here for you…blog when you feel like..and about whatever is on your mind.
    Your family will be in my prayers. <3

  • Reply
    Life.Art.MidnightSnacks.
    April 26, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Jenna,
    There really are no words but know that we are all praying for you and your family…

  • Reply
    Heather
    April 26, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Jenna,
    You are a true gem. Continue to surround yourself with peace, love, and happiness. I said a HUGE prayer for you and your family and John’s friends this morning at mass.
    Love,
    Heather

  • Reply
    Rachel
    April 26, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Your post is such a graceful tribute to your brother. I’m adding my prayers to everyone elses’ to get you through this incredibly difficult time.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    April 26, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Jenna,

    I think that it is wonderful that you wrote such beautiful words during such a tough time. Emotions are hard to handle, and just know that anything you need to do – be it swimming by yourself, crying, praying, eating, whatever! – are completely acceptable. Your brother seemed like a wonderful young man, and you both were equally blessed to have the other as a sibling.

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
    God Bless!

  • Reply
    tami
    April 26, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Jenna, I am so sorry. I have been trying to think of something to say. I thought of you and your family a lot today. I went to a new health food store and they had so many of the products you have talked about (they were RAVING about coconut milk!) and my eyes filled with tears thinking of you and the heart ache you and your family are going through.

  • Reply
    Jamie
    April 26, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Jenna…that was beautiful! I didn’t write a comment yesterday when I read your first post on your brother but i immediately told my husband what happened and prayed for you and thought of your family often throughout the weekend. I know that it is a long road ahead without your precious brother, but God’s peace passes all understanding. In no way will your brother be ever forgotten or replaced, but somehow as children of God, He gives us His Spirit that calms fears and in the end gives peace. As Jesus said, “blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” Grace and peace to you and your family during this time.

  • Reply
    Melinda
    April 26, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Jenna,

    Although I never comment on your blog although I read it religiously. I am so sorry for your loss I am sending (((((hugs)))) to you and your family. My thoughts and prays are with you and your family. I always read your blog and smiled when I saw the picture of you and your brother behind whatever food or drink you were taking a picture of at the time. He will always be with you watching over you.

  • Reply
    Runninduff
    April 26, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Jenna,
    Reading this post takes me back to every emotion I had when I first got the call that my Dad was gone. I seriously felt every bit of what you said and can tell you that it will be really rough for six months…but it will get better. There will come a day where you will wake up..and it’s not the first thing that comes to your mind. The first six months whenever I pictured my Dad in my head I felt like I got kicked in the stomach. Literally. It almost took my breath away and in my head I would keep saying “WTF..WTF..”

    You will never really understand why this happened..but eventually will come to peace with it. Planning the arrangements can be grueling..take time to rest and make sure you are eating enough. We threw a HUGE party after the funeral for my Dad and it was absolutely amazing. If thats something your brother would have wanted..I definitely recommend it. It was very therapeutic for all of us.

    If you ever need ANYTHING…..dont hesitate. lilduff02@yahoo.com My blog was very helpful in the grieving process. I got really depressed at one point and just let it all out on my blog and ever since have felt 10000x better. It was really a turning point for me.

    HUGS & KISSES!! We are all praying for your family and thinking about you!

  • Reply
    Angela
    April 26, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Your entry was not a damper, but beautiful. Keep on writing, we are all here to listen.

  • Reply
    Katharine
    April 26, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Jenna,
    There are no words to express how distraught I am over your loss. No one should have to suffer through something like this. Please know that you are so loved and that so many people are praying for you and your family.

  • Reply
    Lauren
    April 26, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Jenna you are an amazing person – what a beautiful tribute to your brother. There isn’t much most of us can do except let you know we’re here to listen, so write as little or as much as you want. We’ll be here for you, supporting and cheering you on all the way.

  • Reply
    Sara B.
    April 26, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Your writing is beautiful. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Samantha
    April 26, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    There are no words that can magically heal the pain and confusion you’re going through. But you are a strong Christian woman that will lean on God and those you love. There IS a reason, and there’s no telling when you’ll know what it is. My heart goes out to you and your family. Take solace in comfort in the ways you can. I ran my 6.2 miles last night for John…he was a lucky guy to have such a solid loving family and extended unit (Ryan and family, his friends and school)

  • Reply
    LT
    April 26, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    You are such a testament to the power of faith. The hopefulness and tenderness of this post just shows how strong you are and the power of God in your life. You have every reason to be pissed off and yet, you choose to express love for your brother, your friends, family, and even us. I’m generally not a religious person, but you are an amazing example of beautiful, wonderful Christian.

  • Reply
    Mara @ What's For Dinner?
    April 26, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    You and your family continue to be in my thoughts and prayers… Your post was beautiful and moving, and I’m amazed at your apparent strength. You have many people sending positive thoughts your way!!

  • Reply
    debra
    April 26, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts.

  • Reply
    Ann
    April 26, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    I’ve lost grandparents, a best friend, multiple aunts & uncles, and assorted other people in my life, but never someone I was as close to as you and your brother. It is horribly difficult, but you are handling it in such a way that is completely inspiring. You are an absolutely wonderful person, and I can only hope that when the time comes, I’ll be able to be as strong and faithful as you continue to be. Take care of yourself during this time. <3

  • Reply
    KZ
    April 26, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I’m so sorry about the loss of your brother. I’m keeping you in my thoughts and sending virtual hugs

  • Reply
    kristen
    April 26, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    You Jenna, are such an inspiration to everyone out there. I only hope if something like this happened to me I could react in such a strong, faithful way. Your brother sounds like he was so full of life and looks so handsome in the pictures. God wouldn’t have taken him if he didn’t have a plan for him and your family. Take care.
    Kristen

  • Reply
    Gena
    April 26, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    A beautiful tribute to your brother, Jenna. Truly. Thinking of you xoxo

  • Reply
    RUnToFinish
    April 26, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    the kindness of friends and co-workers in your life is amazing. you are so blessed in many ways to be surrounded by that love. my thoughts are with you

  • Reply
    Nicole D.
    April 26, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Jenna, this post was amazing, your faith is really inspirational. I feel like I know you through your blog and you are a wonderful person. Your brother looks like such a doll, and I bet he makes a beautiful angel in heaven right now 🙂 Stay strong! Even though we don’t understand it, God has a plan for everyone. Take time for yourself-relax, pray, eat whatever you want, be with your family and friends. I prayed for your family this morning in church and will continue to pray that you all will heal.

    “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

  • Reply
    lizzy
    April 26, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    This post brought tears to my eyes. I have a little brother and can’t imagine losing him. Your brother was such a cute kid and everyone in the blogworld has been touched by this. I am so sorry this happened to you, but you seem very strong and God only hands us the cards that he knows we can deal with. He has faith in you and your brother will always be there in spirit to help guide you through your life. My prayers are with you and your family.

  • Reply
    emily
    April 26, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    This was a beautiful tribute to your brother.

  • Reply
    Kara
    April 26, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. I can tell that John was an amazing person, and there’s no way that he didn’t know what an amazing sister and family he had. I’m sending you all my love and hope that you and your family can find strength in each other.

  • Reply
    caitlin
    April 26, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    My heart breaks for such a spirited and lovable young man to leave you at such a young age. Thank you for sharing a little bit about him – we are all here with open ears for you. Your family remains in my thoughts

  • Reply
    Liz
    April 26, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    I can see John making the angels in heaven giggle right now…keep writing and feeling, it’s ok to be angry, confused, and sad…just keep feeling girl, we’re here for you

  • Reply
    Sandy
    April 26, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Jenna..This was beautiful tribute to your brother John..I’m so sorry this tragedy happend to John, and All of you..as you travel this emotional road,please know that All of you are in our thought’s and Prayers..
    Thank you for sharing part’s of John’s life with us..he obviously touched so many lives..and will continue to to do so..
    You and your family,Ryan and all of John’s friend’s, will continue to be in my Prayers..

  • Reply
    Meghann
    April 26, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Jenna,

    I read this post earlier today and have been thinking of you constantly ever since. I wanted to take a moment to post something that you wrote back at the beginning of Lent that really helped me:

    “The thing that stuck with the most was that God will often use something HUGE to pivot us and turn us back to Him. There is no such thing as “bad timing” because God’s timing is always perfect. If you feel completely overwhelmed and wonder why all of this is on your shoulders and you can’t possibly go on, remember that God’s hand is always at work. There will often be a crisis that God uses to change our direction for what He has planned for us. And, I promise, what He has planned for us if always better than what WE have planned for us. I remind myself of this every single day!”

    I hope these words can be a comfort to you, even though they are your own. I know how special younger brothers are, I have 2 of them, one of which has been suffering from cancer for 3 years. Whether they are taken from us slowly and painfully or quickly and tragic, it feels like more than we can bear. Please know how many people love you and support you now and always!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    April 26, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Jenna,

    You are a beautiful writer and a beautiful person. Keep using the blog as an outlet for your feelings. Even though, we do love all your fab eats, I am sure I speak for most readers when I say that the reason we keep coming back to your blog is because of your bright & sunny personality and spirit, and not just your breads and oatmeal. 🙂

    Ryan,
    Jenna is so lucky to have you! Please continue to take good care of her. 🙂

  • Reply
    Stacey M
    April 26, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Jenna, my enormous condolences. This story hurt my heart. Just know that you are doing the best you can. Take everything at your own pace and live each day as it comes; don’t worry about your own or anyone else’s guilt or expectations. Remember the quote: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” -Winston Churchill. Lots of love.

  • Reply
    coco
    April 26, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    I’m so touched by your words… and so moved by how people responded to this accident… your friends, Ryan, the school, the children in the hospital and most of all, people from the blog, most of us never met you but feel terribly bad because of the accident. I don’t know what to say to make you feel better, maybe you just need to feel the pain and then get back to life with more love to your loved ones and appreciate more life!

  • Reply
    Rache
    April 26, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Jenna. I’m glad that you’re continuing to write and are getting some of your emotions out. You and your family have been (and will continue to be) in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Ansley
    April 26, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Your post brought tears to my eyes, down my cheeks, and to my throat.

    We all love you so very, very much. You have people all over the world who love you and your family, and are praying for you.
    I send to you across the ocean my greatest amount of love to you and your loved ones, my dear.

  • Reply
    Lauren P
    April 26, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing that post with us. Very beautiful and loving. I have not stopped thinking about you or John since. Will continue to hold your family in my heart.
    xo
    Lauren

  • Reply
    Jessie Braun
    April 26, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Jenna,
    You are so brave for sharing your tragic story. God bless you and your family….please know that so many people are praying for you.
    Jessie

  • Reply
    alessa
    April 26, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    jenna,
    my heart breaks for you and your family. i can’t imagine my life without either of my brothers, and your faith in god is amazing. i hope to one day have as much faith as you.. you are truly an inspiration. i am so so sorry and even though i have never met you, i feel like i know you because i have been reading your blog for so long. i havent been able to stop thinking about you and your family.

    xo alessa

  • Reply
    Chrissy
    April 26, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Jenna,

    I’m so sorry for your loss!! You’ve touched so many with your blog, and although it is mostly about food, you also show us your strong faith often. Your strength is so strong both in your will and your faith. I will pray for you and your family as you lay your brother to rest and honor his memory.

  • Reply
    Oh She Glows
    April 26, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Gosh that was so truly beautiful Jenna. I couldn’t help but cry. You are such a strong woman and John was lucky to have you as a sister. You obviously care and love for him so much.
    Love and support to you and your family.

  • Reply
    Mysti
    April 26, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Jenna – Please don’t hold back. You will want these memories preserved down the road when you need to reflect on all that you are feeling and experiencing in this moment. Continue to write, continue to share and most of all, continue to heal.

  • Reply
    yali
    April 26, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss and I deeply admire how strong you are…it is your devoted faith in our lFather that makes you that way and I only hope that from this we can all learn to love him more and have faith in him. You are one of a kind Jenna and I will will continue to pray for you and your loved ones.

  • Reply
    Meagan
    April 26, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing this with us, Jenna, especially the beautiful pictures of John. I have been praying for you and your family, and I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but I can only pray that we can bless you as much as you bless us every day. Seriously, your strong faith and sunny personality are such an encouragement. If there’s anything we as readers can do, please just ask. We love you!

  • Reply
    Trish (girlatgym)
    April 26, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Jenna I am so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you, as well as with your family.

  • Reply
    Shelbney
    April 26, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Hi Jenna,
    Tears rolled down my cheeks as I sat in church today praying and thinking of you and wondering how you were doing. You are so strong and I feel so inspired by you. My heart is so sad for you and your family. John was beautiful like you, inside and out. I’m so sorry.

  • Reply
    Carla
    April 26, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Jenna, even though I hardly ever post, I thought I should share this with you. Since yesterday you and your family have been constantly in my throughts. I admire the way you keep a positive outlook amidst this situation and, as you can see, every single one of your readers is here to support you. Don’t let this situation shake your incredibly strong faith in God; he blessed you by allowing you to meet and learn from a fantastic person, your brother. His time on Earth may be over, but remember he’s directly serving the Lord now and always looking over you.

    You’ll continue to be in my thoughts,
    carla

  • Reply
    Tina
    April 26, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Jenna, I deeply admire you for your honest and compassionate writing. I am so sorry for your loss – I will be praying for you and your family.

  • Reply
    Paige
    April 26, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    I can’t think of a better time to de-lurk than today. I just read your posts about this devastating occurrence and wanted to let you know that one more person (on top of many, MANY others who have you in their thoughts and prayers) is thinking of you in this difficult time.

  • Reply
    Debbie
    April 26, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Hi, I don’t know you but I do read Kath Eats Real Food (KERF) and I was compelled to stop by for a visit from her post today.

    My heart is deeply touched and this was so beautifully written. Your love for your brother poured from you like water from a spout. I love the way you write to get things out ~ I love your expressions through all of this but most of all I’m so sorry. May your faith in God carry you and your precious family through.

    Hugs ~ Debbie

  • Reply
    Jess M
    April 26, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless.

  • Reply
    Christina
    April 26, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Jenna – This post was sweet and brave, wrenching and beautiful. The pictures of your brother are gorgeous and adorable, and I can tell from being a long-time reader the closeness you had with your brother, and only imagine the pain that you all are going through. Stay close to your family and draw comfort from each other, from God, and from knowing that the tears and prayers of your blog family will be lifting you up during this dark time…”In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart, for I have overcome the world!” (Jn.16:33).
    Blessings, Prayers and Love

  • Reply
    Rachel
    April 26, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Jenna, please keep writing. Not only to help yourself, but posts like these, as tragic, and as hard to read as they are, help others. Life is so precious, and having heard about your brother just this morning, has affected the rest of my day and will for days to come. Again, please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Have faith and have courage.
    Rachel

  • Reply
    Tracy
    April 26, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Jenna,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Please know that John is in a good place and is now watching over you. You are such a strong woman to be able to share this with all of us.

    Tracy

  • Reply
    Serena
    April 26, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Jenna, you have a beautiful soul. And lots of love and support. Although I know it will take a while, I hope the days get better for you and your family.

  • Reply
    Nicole
    April 26, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Jenna, this is making me cry… I feel so much for you and your family. I have 3 brothers and would go absolutely insane if I lost any of them. You are really handling yourself well and you will continue to do so. Just know that there are so many people out there to help you if you need it. Again, all of my sympathies! Take Care!! -Nicole

  • Reply
    Allie Katie
    April 26, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Dear Jenna–Your brother sounds amazing. Thank you so much for sharing the pictures of him with us. If ever you need to do that in the future please feel free–I would love to hear as much about your brother as you want to tell. We are all here for you. I prayed for you and John and Ryan and your family this morning in Mass, and it is clear that there were many, many more doing the same thing. May God be with you.

  • Reply
    Sammie
    April 26, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Jenna,
    Since hearing your tragic news, I have been constantly thinking about you and your family. You all are in my prayers. This was a beautiful post. Your brother was obviously a young man filled with joy. If you ever need anything please feel free to drop me a message – I am here for you sweetie.
    lots of love,
    Sammie

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    April 26, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    i am so sorry for your loss, and you are in my thoughts. i love your blog and its so horrible when awful things happen to good people. stay strong.

  • Reply
    Julie
    April 26, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    hey girl my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family tonight and always. Keep writing how you feel, we are ALL here for you through this hard time for you and your family. lots of love!

  • Reply
    Heather McD (Heather Eats Almond Butter)
    April 26, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Oh Jenna,
    Sweet baby girl. My heart is just breaking for you right now. I don’t know what to say – I have never lost someone so close, and I could not imagine having to say good-bye to my little brother so suddenly. Just know that you have been in my thoughts all weekend and will be continue to be throughout these next few weeks as I know they will be the most difficult of your life. Love you Jenna, and please know that although we’ve never met in person, I consider you a true friend. Please email me if you ever need anything!!!!

  • Reply
    Alison
    April 26, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Jenna, your strength is an inspiration to all of us.

  • Reply
    April
    April 26, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Jenna,
    I am so sorry for your loss – I can’t even begin to imagine what you and your family are going through right now, but please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. I have a friend who recently lost her brother also, and she started a blog in which she talks about many things including dealing with this loss: freedomwalksb.blogspot.com
    I know it may be too soon now, but I thought you might want to know about it so maybe you can look to it for help later.

  • Reply
    Tyler (Raspberry Runner)
    April 26, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Jenna, I am so, so sorry. A boy I ran track with in high school died this same way 5 years ago. Your brother is adorable, and I am so sad that you have to experience such a sudden and tragic loss. Your post gave me chills up and down my spine. My heart goes out to you and your family.

  • Reply
    Liz
    April 26, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    I hope you can find comfort in good memories shared with your brother. What a blessing in disguise you moved home recently and had daily time spent together…those daily interactions can be the best “quality time” with family. God works in his own way. Take care of yourself and your parents during this difficult time…and know thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Reply
    Whitney
    April 26, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Jenna- I read this post this morning and cried my eyes out. I too have never lost a close family member, and I can’t even begin to imagine the hell you must be going through. But I do know you are a strong and amazing woman who will one day be okay again. I’ve been thinking of you, your family, and John all day and I’m praying for you guys!

  • Reply
    Rachel S
    April 26, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Jenna-

    Like many who have mentioned before me, I am just a blog reader who hasn’t commented much. I am truly sorry for your loss, and I offer my most sincere condolences to you and your family. Please know that you, your family, and your brother are in my thoughts and prayers.

    “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22

  • Reply
    Crystal
    April 26, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    I’m a total lurker, but between yesterday’s and today’s post I had to say something even if I know it won’t help much. You and your family are in my thoughts during this difficult time. I can’t believe how strong you are.

  • Reply
    Jo
    April 26, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Jenna,
    Thank you for sharing the pictures and memories of your brother. Your post was so moving. It brought me back to when my father passed 8 years ago. Your love for John comes through in your words. Take good care of yourself and your family.

  • Reply
    Amy
    April 26, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    It sounds like you have a wonderful support system around you. Try not to lose your wonderful spirit…hang in there.

  • Reply
    Jen K
    April 26, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Jenna –

    I recently discovered your blog and have been so inspired and interested in all that you have to share with those who read your blog. I am very sad that this had to happen to you, your brother, and your family. I hope that you can find peace with this incident . I was so sorry to hear that your mother was not there, but it sounds like you truly handled the event with grace. God bless you and your family during this difficult time. Many hugs and prayers go out to you and your family!

  • Reply
    ttfn300
    April 26, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    oh my jenna, my heart goes out to you and your family. i am sorry i did not get to send my love on your last post, i have been dog sitting for a friend who just lost someone close to her. i can’t imagine what you must be feeling, but know that we are here for you, whatever you need…

  • Reply
    Kirsten Cederberg
    April 26, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Jenna,
    I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I have read your blog for months and have looked to you for encouragement several times. I hope you know that writing about your feelings is the best thing you can do, and please feel free to do so. I will be praying and thinking of your family. I hope that you can continue to be at peace with each new day and remember that God has brought him home for a reason.
    You are right that life is just so short. You never know when it will be taken from you or a love one. It makes you realize that you should not over analyze the little things, but live life to the fullest.
    God Bless.

  • Reply
    Michelle
    April 26, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    I know I don’t actually know you, but I am a friend of Kath’s and have been reading your blog for a while now. I am SO sorry about what has happened and my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family in this difficult time. Just remember what you believe and know that your brother is in a better place! I wish you and your family my condolences, take care of yourself.

  • Reply
    Danielle
    April 26, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    I can’t express how deeply sorry I am that you have to go through this. I know you have your faith and hopefully that will help you through. I think this was a beautiful post, and I’m sure your brother loves it! Take care of yourself and your family, just know there are many people thinking of you.

  • Reply
    Screamin' Mama
    April 26, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Jenna,
    What a wonderful tribute. I’m so sorry for your loss. No one should ever go through what you and your family has gone through. My thoughts and prayers are with you all and so glad to see that you have so much support around you.

  • Reply
    Jillian
    April 26, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    I wish there were words. There are none. I am so sorry for your loss.

    I am a writer. I get it. Keep writing.

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    April 26, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Jenna, you bring tears to my eyes with your strength. Stay strong…My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and your family.

  • Reply
    laci
    April 26, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Dear Jenna,
    I am so sorry this thragic event occured- I have lost a loved one in the past, though not a sibling, my thoughts and preyers are for your family 🙂 Hope you are Ok hun, take care!
    xoxo
    Laci 😉

  • Reply
    Renee
    April 26, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    My prayers are with you and your family. God bless you all.

  • Reply
    Faith C.
    April 26, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Jenna,
    God has truly graced you with a powerful gift of words – I felt each moment you described as I read it. My heart aches for your and your loss.
    So many people, people you don’t even know, whom you have touched with your blog and your words, are praying for you, your family, and for John. Please take care of yourself and do whatever you need to do to get through this time. I thank God for those around you, especially Ryan, for being strong and loving for you now.
    You are in our thoughts and prayers. God be with you.

  • Reply
    April3720
    April 26, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Jenna,
    What a beautiful post and tribute to your brother. This post literally brought tears to my eyes, Thank you so much for sharing.
    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Laura
    April 26, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    just wanted to pass along a walt whitman poem that i’ve turned to in the best and worst times in my life. hope you find solace today.

    “On the Beach at Night, Alone” -Walt Whitman
    http://budurl.com/x7xv

  • Reply
    Angie
    April 26, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    I’ve never commented before, but I have enjoyed your blog for a while. I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  • Reply
    Angelea
    April 26, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    I was so glad to see your post. You and your family have been in my thoughts and prayers constantly. This was such a beautiful tribute to him. You write, we’ll read. Big hugs.

  • Reply
    Brittany
    April 26, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Jenna, this post brought tears to my eyes. Even though I only know you through blogging, I feel as though are you a friend and it hurts to see to a friend going through such an emotional experience. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers!

  • Reply
    Talia
    April 26, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Jenna, I am so so sorry for your loss. You will be in my prayers. Your post is extremly touching, and your love shines through. He will always live in your memories, and will never truly leave you.

  • Reply
    Juli
    April 26, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    Love love love.

    Nothing for you to worry about except taking care ofyou. Whether it’s cookies, cake, nothing, hugs, tears, or sleep– listen to your heart and body. Honor yourself.

    Your brother will be remembered and honored- your passion and love for him comes through in every word you write. He will not be forgotten.

  • Reply
    Erin
    April 26, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    What a touching and heartfelt post. Your brother seemed a cool dude. I love his hat.
    Keep writing if you can. Let it help you.
    Many many thoughts, prayers, and love are being directed to you and your family.

  • Reply
    Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food)
    April 26, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Jenna,
    What a beautiful tribute to your brother. Thank you for sharing it with us.
    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Ashley C.
    April 26, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Jenna, I am so sorry for you and your family, but I am glad that you have an outlet of great supporters and family and are keeping in mind what your brother would have wanted. You and your family are in all of our thoughts & prayers

  • Reply
    ann
    April 26, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    i wish i could be there and hug you. there’s many of us who care for you. be strong dear girl and God will be kind to you.

  • Reply
    Emmy
    April 26, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    I’m speechless. My heart goes out to you and your entire family. I know there are no words that can ultimately comfort you after such an accident, but your brother, your family, and you are in my thoughts.

    Take care.
    Emmy

  • Reply
    Lindsey
    April 26, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Jenna, I’ve been thinking about you and your family all weekend. I think you all are amazing. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but it will get easier with time, I promise. You will continue be in my prayers.

  • Reply
    Ruby Red Vegan
    April 26, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Jenna, I am so touched by what you have written. My heart goes out to you and your family… I will continue to pray for you.

  • Reply
    Michele (aka Raw Juice Girl)
    April 26, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Wow, what a beautiful way to share your pain. I love the photos. In the top one, I can so see the passion in John’s eyes. It’s very evident how much he loved the water….

    I wish I could rewind life and make it to where this hadn’t happened. 🙁

    *hugs and prayers*
    Michele

  • Reply
    Stef
    April 26, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    You and your family have been on my mind pretty much nonstop since I heard about your brother. I’m so glad that there has been an outpouring of support to get you through this…it does sound like your brother was quite a popular guy, and for good reason! What a caring person. I bet every time you go to the beach you’ll be able to feel his presence…I truly believe that surfers have a unique connection to the ocean, and just because he’s no longer with you on earth doesn’t mean you won’t be able to feel him!

  • Reply
    Lyn
    April 27, 2009 at 12:21 am

    What a beautiful tribute of love for your brother. It made me cry. Thank you for sharing his spirit with us, and the pictures. Again I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Reply
    Lara
    April 27, 2009 at 3:58 am

    This tragedy has been on my mind all weekend. You are in my thoughts and prayers. May all your loving memories of your brother sustain you and your family during this sad time. Hugs, hugs, hugs, Jenna.

  • Reply
    Hangry Pants
    April 27, 2009 at 6:19 am

    Jenna, This is a beautiful way to remember your brother. I have a little brother too and was just so overwhelmed reading your post. You are right that it is something no sister should have to go though. I know there are people in your life who will take care of you right now, but remember that we are also here for you to listen as well.

    xoxo
    Heather

  • Reply
    AlliJag
    April 27, 2009 at 6:48 am

    Oh Jenna! There are no words I could say that could change the situation, but please know I am praying and thinking of your family every day. You are amazingly strong and loving, and I know your brother is smiling down on you from heaven. Thank you for sharing this post with us, it was nice to hear about what a fabulous young man your brother was. I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Reply
    MaryBe
    April 27, 2009 at 6:58 am

    May our thoughts and prayers continue to give you strength
    We are thinking of you

  • Reply
    Anne Marie
    April 27, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Jenna,
    I’ve been a long time follower of your blog and don’t think I have ever commented. This post was enough to bring me out of the woodwork just to tell you that I’m so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your family during this time.

  • Reply
    Dana
    April 27, 2009 at 7:58 am

    what a beautiful post. you are amazing. i am so sorry jenna….keep being strong.

  • Reply
    Lauren
    April 27, 2009 at 8:25 am

    This was such a touching testament to your brother’s very full and inspiring life. Know that you, your family, and of course, your brother, are in all our thoughts and prayers. Words cannot adequately capture the magnitude of such a loss, but just as you said, writing is an important way to make sense of your emotions. I wish you all the best right now.

  • Reply
    lee
    April 27, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Jenna, you, your family and friends are in my thoughts and prayers all day. The power of prayer is a very strong thing which I am sure you know-and I my heart goes out to you. I too am 19 years old and this post is very heart felt and really made me feel for you and what you are going through. I cannot imagine how you must be feeling but John seems like an amazing little brother and he will never be forgotten.

    Sincerely, Lee.

  • Reply
    Christin S
    April 27, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Hi Jenna,

    Kath’s blog mentioned the terrible accident, and in reading about it, I have tears in my eyes. I want you to know that you and your family are in my prayers, and I pray that the Lord will bring you His peace in this time of great sorrow. May God bless you,

    sincerely,

    Christin S

  • Reply
    Karen
    April 27, 2009 at 9:14 am

    I am thinking of you and your family constantly. Your brother seems like an amazing young man and is lucky to have an amazing sister like you. You are all still in my prayers…

  • Reply
    Jasmine (Sweet and Fit)
    April 27, 2009 at 9:17 am

    this was such an incredible post, and although I don’t “know” you, this post has brought me to tears because of sweet and loving you are – you and your family are in my prayers – I hope you are well!

  • Reply
    Jess
    April 27, 2009 at 9:29 am

    I thank God that you are surrounded by good people in this terrible time.

  • Reply
    jenn.y.
    April 27, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Jenna,
    I’m so sorry that you’ve experienced such heartache. I’ve been a longtime reader and lurker, always appreciative that you let us in to share your life with us. When i read this it seemed unreal and so strange that it would bring so many tears and sadness from a person i’ve never met. But i just wanted to let you know that you’re in our thoughts and prayers. You’re an amazingly strong individual and will get through this. I wish we could ease the pain somehow. I’m so sorry for your loss. Stay strong. Your beliefs will carry you through.

  • Reply
    Erin
    April 27, 2009 at 10:39 am

    how wonderful to see the AWESOME blogging support!
    be strong and know that you are loved and you have soooo many people behind you!

  • Reply
    Mindy
    April 27, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Jenna,
    I just caught up on the blog from the weekend, and reading this post and the post before it brought tears to my eyes. I lost a very good friend to a car accident about 2 years ago and it was the most painful thing to have to go through.. There are no words I can say to make you feel better, of course.. the best advice I can give you is to cry when you need to cry, and talk to the people who loved him as much as you did. Take some time off from work and mourn him… I am so very, very sorry for your loss, Jenna. No one should ever have to go through losing a loved one.

    It seems unfair that life should go on after losing someone, but I promise you.. it does. It will take time.. a lot of time.. and you will never be the same after this. But I believe everything happens for a reason, and with time.. you’ll know why this happened and hopefully it brings you peace. I’m so very sorry, and you and your family are in my thoughts. Much love, Jenna.

  • Reply
    JJ
    April 27, 2009 at 11:07 am

    I am so very sorry Jenna and you and yours are in my thoughts.

  • Reply
    Danielle
    April 27, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Jenna, words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss. I only wish that you could feel the love, pride and support beaming from all of your readers. You and your lovely family are in all of our thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Katlyn
    April 27, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Jenna,
    I know you don’t know me; I was lurking blogs and came to yours. I just lost my dad, six months ago today. I was there when he took his last breaths. I’m so sorry for your lost.

    I’m not going to tell you that time will ease your pain, because it won’t, you will just learn to deal with it better. I know everything is so dark and busy right now, with the planning of everything.

    I know I’m just a stranger, but grieve is a dark hole, so if you ever need a friendly hand to help you out, feel free to wander my way!

    I am so sorry you have to go through this! Just remember at first to just take it moment by moment. Remeber to breath.
    SinGal AKA
    Katlyn

  • Reply
    gabby
    April 27, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    I have recently started reading your blog and i am sitting here tearing up, what you have written about your brother is painfully touching.
    wishing you ,your brother and your family peace.

  • Reply
    Brooke
    April 27, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Jenna,
    My heart goes out to you and your family.
    Much love and support,
    Brooke

  • Reply
    Meg C.
    April 27, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    This absolutely made me cry. Ryan sounds amazing. Marry him.

  • Reply
    Amber
    April 27, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    I can’t imagine the pain you are feeling now, i’m so sorry. Praying for you and your family.

  • Reply
    TraciJ
    April 27, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Jenna,

    I have been following your blog for some time now and usually read it daily, but haven’t been on since some time last week and just read the news about the loss of your brother – I am so so sorry. Your posts brought tears to my eyes…. Take good care of one another during this very difficult time.

    God bless…….

  • Reply
    Sara
    April 27, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Jenna,

    What a beautiful post. I am so so incredibly sorry for your loss and I hope you are able to find comfort and peace in this time of tremendous grief. I can’t imagine what you are going through right now. I, like you, have never had a death in my family, and today I had to go to a funeral of the husband of a colleague who also died because of a terrible tradgedy…and it just broke me to pieces. So I will give my little brother an extra big hug the next time I see him. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Dori
    April 27, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    This made me cry. You are a beautiful writer and I am so, so sorry this happened to you and your family.

  • Reply
    Cara
    April 27, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    There are no words to comfort you right now, I am sure. But I wanted to let you know that you and your family are in my prayers. I am confident that your community of friends, family and your relationship with God can help you through this. <3

  • Reply
    Andrea
    April 28, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    What a beautiful post. I will keep both you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    leslie
    April 28, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    uhh.. jenna.. i never post but this gave me chills. My sister died at 19 as well in a freak accident (running herself over with her own car in our driveway). I hate when people say the “know” how you feel, but I have been there. This took me right back. I am so incredibly sorry and sad for you and your family.

  • Reply
    Ashley
    April 28, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    This is touching and so moving Jenna. I’m praying for you.

  • Reply
    Lauren C
    April 29, 2009 at 11:46 am

    You and your family are in my prayers. So sorry for your loss.

  • Reply
    Jamie
    May 2, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Oh Jenna. I am praying for you and your family. I know the pain of losing a loved one and coping is a long process. I am so glad you have good people around you to love and support you. Blessings and love to all of you.

  • Reply
    Paula
    June 23, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    My sister passed away in 2003 and I know what you must have gone through initially, and what you are going through now. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    January 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Hi Jenna,

    My name is Amanda. I have been following you for a while now but just recently I have been reading more of your entries. I found your blog because my mother mentioned about 3 years ago that John’s sister was an amazing blogger and I should check it out. I went to school with John and will never forget the feeling I felt when I heard the news. My heart dropped, I was speechless and in shock. How could this happen to someone my age, at my school, and in such an unfortunate way. I am truly sorry and I wanted to let you know how much I loved getting to know your brother. He was an amazing young man who always knew how to make me laugh.

    Anyway the reason I am writing you is because another accident occurred this Sunday. I attend Florida State and early Sunday morning a girl was accidentally shot when her twin sister’s boyfriend was showing a new piece to his shotgun. Once again I had the same feelings rush to my body. I was scared, worried, upset, and speechless. I wanted to tell you that because right when I heard the news about Ashley Cowie’s death I thought of John. I thought of how supportive the Tampa community was and how everyone celebrated his life. Hours after the shooting became publicized, facebook became flooded with support and prayers. It was truly beautiful. The next day everyone wore purple and changed their facebook profiles to show support to not only her immediate family but also her Chi Omega family.

    Thank you for touching me in such a way that I felt not alone and comforted.

    -Amanda

    • Reply
      jenna
      January 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm

      thank you so much for this comment, Amanda! I heard about the tragedy at FSU last night and have been praying for everyone involved…it’s just so awful. It made me so happy to know that you knew John! Thank you for making my day 🙂

  • Reply
    Mugechi
    April 10, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Losing a loved one is truly numbing. God be with your family, and comfort you. Amen.

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