Dessert/ Dinner

Like The Ocean

Well, I’ll tell you one true thing. Nights are definitely the hardest. I’ll keep my composure all day long and then as soon as night falls, I’m a mess.

John’s dean and English teacher both came over to the house this afternoon to express their condolences. I was so excited to finally meet John’s English teacher because I knew that John actually TEXT MESSAGED him all the time when he had questions on the homework! I can’t imagine actually texting my professor, so I knew this guy had to be awesome…. and he was. We told stories and talked literature…it was wonderful. We all nibbled on some chips with salsa (I had one cheese cube as well) while we reminisced


And then Mikey arrived


He’s amazing. SO tiny….I can just picture John holding him in his arms and loving him so much. He never would admit that he loved cats because it wasn’t “manly” enough, but he had a soft spot for any little creature and so many times I would catch John just sitting and brushing Dexter over and over.

Mikey and Mikan sniffed each other out and are starting to become a little more comfortable. Mikan is obviously used to being the prince of the house so its going to be a little adjustment to have the new kid around. When we set them down together, Mikan just licked Mikey all over and they just sat and stared at each other. I can’t believe how tiny this little kitty is! You all would love him.

Dinner was obviously leftovers. I made a plate of Spanish yellow rice with chicken topped with black beans, raw onions and hot sauce. A sweet neighbor brought over a sushi roll and I had two pieces of that as well:


After dinner things sort of fell apart again. My grief is like the ocean and uncontrollable at times it seems. I go through stages of sadness, fear and rage and tonight was definitely rage. I was just so angry and it almost scared me because I never get angry like that. Afterwards I just sat in the corner of my brother’s room, shaking, until my dad came up and held me.

After I regained my composure I went to Berryism for some organic chocolate froyo Sometimes when nothing else will do, frozen yogurt heals you


I don’t want to depress anyone here though so with that, I’m going to bed! Tomorrow is the senior’s last day of classes and all the boys are picking up John’s car and taking it to school to decorate. Tomorrow is also TATTOO DAY! My mom, dad and I are all getting tattoos in John’s honor and I know you all don’t know my family, but my parents are pretty much the last people in the entire universe that I would EVER think would get a tattoo. If you could only have seen the look on my mother’s face when I showed up home from college on break with a flower tattooed on my foot. I thought she would die. And now she is getting one! Crazy.

I am getting up and swimming laps in the morning. Going forward is the only option now. I’m so sorry if I haven’t personally responded to all of your sweet, sweet emails. I have read them all….probably each about 50 times. My inbox is full and every time I read your words I feel a little stronger. Thank you!

See you in the morning, friends!

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  • jessnyc
    April 30, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    jenna, i’m so excited to see your tattoo! i think that is such a great idea, and john would love it i’m sure. i can’t imagine the pain and anger you must be feeling, don’t ever worry about depressing anyone here, we are all here for you for anything you are going through. πŸ™‚

    take care of yourself!

  • linds
    April 30, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    What an amazing kitten…So precious and tiny. I hope getting the tattoo tomorrow will bring you and your family some peace. Still keeping you in my thoughts and prayers, stay strong Jenna.

  • Sara
    April 30, 2009 at 7:17 pm


    Don’t worry about us. Write whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s your blog, and even if it weren’t, you could write what you want! We’re here for you.

    Good luck with tattoo day. Cry if you want, laugh if you want, even eat more frozen yogurt if you want!

    Take care,

  • Mara @ What's For Dinner?
    April 30, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    You are right: sometimes fro-yo does heal all… good luck with the tattoo! You’re braver than I… Just know, you’re constantly on my mind, and I’m sending you strength and love (that sounded so cheesy, but its true!)

  • Erin
    April 30, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Jenna, don’t worry about keeping your composure. You’ll work through this, but it will take time and breakdowns and frozen yogurt.
    Mikey is the cutest kitten ever, I know you’ll love and cherish him.

  • Adi ( - repaired!)
    April 30, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Jenna, you don’t have to apologize for not writing. Don’t apologize for being sad, or upset, or angry. You’re allowed to feel whatever you need to feel, and know that the whole blogging community is behind you, supporting you. Hugs from Ottawa.

  • kim
    April 30, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Woohoo! Your mind is so strong…like your abs, πŸ˜›

    Have a great swim! I love swimming too. The serenity of the water just calms me like no other sports can for me.

  • Leila
    April 30, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    that’s amazing that even your mom is getting a tattoo and the bond between John and his professor is amazing, a true nod to the man John was. Just finished up a swim myself a couple of hours ago, enjoy the weightlessness and freedom that the water provides.

    p.s. Mikey is adorable!

  • Matt
    April 30, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Hang in there!

  • Mary Beth
    April 30, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Jenna, I’d like to second (or third) some of the above comments…please do not apologize for writing what is on your mind. Every one who reads this blog is praying for you. Your strength amazes me.

  • Sarah
    April 30, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Hey Jenna, thanks for sharing your days with us. I can’t wait to see those tattoos, I think that is such a cool thing you and your parents are doing. Take care and may God be with you now and in the coming days.

  • Brooke
    April 30, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Nothing heals like chocolate. It’s true! We are all praying for you everyday, Jenna. And I can’t wait to see all the tattoos tomorrow! The fact that your parents would do that is so, so sweet and wonderful.

  • Courtney (The Hungry Yogini)
    April 30, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    I’m so excited to see these tattoos! What a special tribute to John.

    Jenna, these rough patches are whats going to get you through. It’s okay to mourn and be sad and cry and be angry. This grieving will make you stronger in the end. I’m so proud of you for feeling, as sometimes we try to push the sadness away, saving it for another day.

    We are all here with you as you move forward. John is so proud of you and would love that you are living every moment as he did.

    Here for you always,

  • katie s
    April 30, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Jenna, you could never depress us! I read your posts over and over again and am always so inspired by your strength, honesty and beauty as a person. To say your experience has opened my eyes would be an understatement. I hope I can learn to live as John did, he is an inspiration to us all. I can not thank you enough for writing and sharing with us all. Good luck with your tattoo tomorrow!

  • amanda
    April 30, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    I cant wait to see your tattoo! The foot one must have hurt, but a flower sounds cute. I also like your idea of the wave and cross, its unique and meaningful. We are all here for you =)

  • Kudret
    April 30, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    I think tatoos are a great way to commemorate the life that your brother embodied and would be exactly what your brother would want…At least it’s what I would want. I think the rage anger sadness resignation confusion doubt disbelief depression etc are all emotions that you have to tread through to heal and each emotion is like quicksand–the faster you try to pull out of it and the more you struggle, the deeper it pulls you in. YOu just have to let it flow through you and it’s wonderful that you have supportive people like your parents and your boyfriend who can hold you as each of these emotions take hold of your body. Just cry. That’s all I’d do. Cry and cry and cry until I felt like I had no more tears left. And then maybe the tears would slowly diminish just a little bit more each day…I hope that you stay strong during this time and I know that you will make it through this.

  • Brie
    April 30, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    The new addition is precious. Studies have actually shown that a cat’s purr has the incredible power of being able to to help heal wounds (I’m serious, google it) and I hope little Mikey helps to heal your family’s grief.

  • Kristi @ Sweet Cheeks
    April 30, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    I’m so excited to see your tattoo…I’m sure it will look amazing and your brother will really like it. πŸ™‚
    Wishing you a great day tomorrow, girl!

  • Priyanka
    April 30, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Mikey is so cute! I just feel like holding him in my own hands. Jenna, how could the honest writings of someone so inspirational ever depress anyone. This is your medium and blog, let it out. We are here to hear you!

    Good luck with the Tattoo!

  • Lori
    April 30, 2009 at 7:53 pm


    I only know you from your blog but you seem like such a wonderful person. You wrote that writing is your true passion and I just want to let you know that I love your writing style because it is charismatic and captivating at the same time. You truly know how to convey your feelings and thoughts which I think is a rare ability. You will definitely go far with it and I am sure you will help to save the lives of many people and families from sorrow; it has already started!! No one that knows Jonh’s story will ever look at a gun the same way again.

    Everyone that knew your brother is and will always be fortunate because he is an angel but always remember that he was fortunate as well to have had such wonderful parents and big sister like you.

    One of my friends lost her son seven years ago. He was tragically killed by someone with a gun and suffered similar injuries as your brother. This happened only two weeks after she had remarried…. she often says that the only thing that got her through was her husband and calls him her angel. I can’t help but to think of Ryan, what a caring and loving guy he is! He must be the angel that is here to protect you, love you and grow old with you.

    One last thing, when I saw John’s pictures (the ones you posted), I knew it was your brother immediately because of his eyes. Not particularly the color or shape but the *spark* within them.


  • martha ann
    April 30, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    I am praying for you, friend! Can’t wait to see the tattoos. And please don’t worry about over sharing or anything like that. Part of your beauty is in your raw, open emotions. Part of your healing is in them too. Thank you for sharing them.

    Oh my goodness, and that kitten is soooo cute.

  • christy
    April 30, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Hey Jenna~
    Mikey, is like the cat that I grew up with, Piglet, he has a pink nose and it just seemed perfect to name him that. I know you are gonna have a lot of fun with him. I’ve taken you up on the 30 day greensuperfood challenge. I think my body has some adjusting to do with all the GOOD stuff in it. I wanted to tell you that I think you are an amazing Godly woman with incredible strength. I love to read what you write. I think you will do awesome with a future in that! On a last note, I wanted to leave you with some scriptures that help me feel better:
    ” I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:1-2
    ” The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10
    ” And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:5
    ” Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God.”
    2 Corn.1:3-4
    ” But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thess. 3:3

    I hope you find a little peace with these. I am praying still for you and your family.
    Christy πŸ™‚

  • Jenny
    April 30, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Mikey is soooo sweet!! How precious.
    I can’t wait to see your tattoo, that is going to be an amazing experience.

    I remember when my aunt passed away very suddenly from a case of pneumonia my senior year of high school. My grief was much like yours. Sometimes I was fine, and other times I would completely lose it and miss her so much it hurt. Grieving is like that, and you are allowed to feel things fall apart, because, eventually the pieces will come back together. I still miss my aunt all the time, but I know that she is with God now, and it makes me so happy to think of her that way.

  • Run Sarah
    April 30, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Mikey is so sweet…that is so awesome your entire family is getting tattoos…I am sure John is smiling down on you all right now for that. I hope swimming is a release for you tomorrow. Your family is in my thoughts & prayers.

  • jen
    April 30, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    I am NEVER depressed from your blog, in fact even though I am reading about your agony,in turn you have made me reflect and learn so many things by your honesty.
    I hope you continue to write with such brave honesty because I think you are really helping others more than you may realize.
    That is the gift of having a gift for writing like you do.
    We feel for you but are also enlightened by you.
    I hope you never feel you have to perk up your blog in any way.I am growing and learning from you ,which is pretty incredible considering the agony you are going through.
    How beautiful the three tattoo tribute is-what a moving thing for you to think of this so soon after your loss.That is beautiful beyond words. Etching your love for your brother/son on your body when he is already forever part of your souls and hearts-simply beautiful.
    Bless you all.

  • Sarah (lovINmytummy)
    April 30, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Oh, Sweet Girl, I hope each day gets little easier as you remember each and every little memory that crops up. I can’t believe you all are getting tattoos. Can you imagine how much John would love that your mom is getting tattoo?! He is smiling and proud that he’s pulling the strings on that one!

  • allijag
    April 30, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Don’t worry about us! Let your feelings out here! You are going through so much, and write so eloquently, and have such an amazing view of the world, even in unbelievably trying times. I can’t wait to hear how the tattoos went!

  • FitFoodie
    April 30, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    The tattoo is a wonderful idea for your brother’s memory. I’m SO touched by what you wrote about him. ALL of my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  • Angie
    April 30, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Continuing to pray for your and your family for strength and peace.

  • Laura (On the Threshold of Greatness)
    April 30, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    I’m so glad you all have Mikey now!

    It’s so beautiful how John’s friends and teachers have honored his memory. I also think the tattoos are an amazing tribute, one that will last forever.

    I’ll continue to keep you and your family in my prayers!

  • Rachel
    April 30, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Jenna, every day your strength continues to amaze me. I am in awe of how honest and articulate you’ve been in your writing. Please know that we are all behind you and thinking of you often.

  • Ariel
    April 30, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    SHARE your feelings, be it here, in a diary, with a therapist, with a friend, but share- it may not feel like it helps now, but in the long run it does.
    For the first year and half after my brother died there were long stretches of time when all I could do was breathe. In. Out. In. Out. Forget eating, sleeping, working! In. Out. In. Out. And sometimes even that was hard when I felt like all the love in my heart was going to burst my chest wide open.
    Sometimes its the only thing you can do. And that is okay.

    I’ve been planning on getting a tattoo for my brother for quite some time- I’m getting one in 3 weeks because I’m getting married in July, and in a small way I want to feel like Ian’s walking me down the isle. I think it’s a wonderful thing to do πŸ™‚

  • Shannon @ TheDailyBalance
    April 30, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    can’t wait to see the tattoo! Mikey is so adorable, what a great addition.

    Still sending thoughts and prayers… xoxo

  • Help Meghan Run
    April 30, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    You really do have a wonderful way of conveying feelings with your words, Jenna, and it’s obvious that your calling is to become a writer. You write whatever you need to and never, ever feel bad about anything you’re telling us. Go through the grief like you need to and please know we’re all here thinking of you all the time.

  • Kara
    April 30, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    You don’t need to worry about “depressing” us. I am in awe of you and your family and all of the warmth that surrounds you in this difficult time. You do what you need to do. And good luck with the tattoo! I can’t wait to see it πŸ™‚

  • justrun
    April 30, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    I admire you for your ability to share your words and channel your feelings. I am truly learning so much from you at this time. You’re all in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Jen
    April 30, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    I hope the tattooing goes wonderfully! Can’t wait to see how the finished one looks. And Mikey is so adorable!! John would have treasured him, truly.

  • cookienurse
    April 30, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    I am just catching up on your blog and am soooo sorry to hear of your brother’s passing. Your faith makes you strong and it is such a witness for others. My prayers to you and your family; John was part of your family for a reason. The love that surrounds you and your family is so incredible. God bless you all with His peace.

  • Deb
    April 30, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Hi Jenna, I have read your blog on and off for a while and this is the first time posting a reply. I was so shocked of course to hear of your brother- I am so sorry and I know what it is like to a certain degree as I lost my mother a couple of months ago suddenly.

    Just let your mind and body go where they must- if working out helps you then by all means do it. If you want the cookie eat it. You will find your balance when you are ready. Right now they say that you just need to let happen what comes naturally- scream, cry, do nothing, whatever it is at that moment is the RIGHT thing to do.

    I am as diet-conscience as you are and after my mom died, I decided to stop the madness of counting calories and keeping a detailed food diary. Plus we went to all of her favorite restaurants- there were LOTS of them. Well, I gained a good 3 or 4 humongous pounds of pure lard. I finally said enough is enough because I am not happy like this. So now I’m back to the food diary and watching it- it’s what I need to do.

    And the ocean analogy- good one- still happens now to me.

    The little kitty will be the light of your life and I agree that Ryan and his whole family are amazing- AMAZING!! Talk about family! LOVE the way the kitty and doggy are already getting to be siblings! πŸ™‚ Hang in there. You are strong.

  • Amandamoo
    April 30, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    I love the family trip to get tattoo’s, I’m sure your brother is so touched by your love and devotion. The kitten is too adorable and I’m so glad there is comfort there. Also, I am so.frickin’.proud of you for quitting your job. Being true to your mind, your body, and your spirit is all we have in the world. G-d bless you.

  • Katrina (gluten free gidget)
    April 30, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    You are not depressing. You are honest. Never feel like you have to apologize for how you feel. Good luck tomorrow!

  • Beth
    April 30, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    I am honored to be a part of your grieving and so appreciate you opening up to all of us and sharing your emotions with us. I cannot image what you are going through, but so admire your courage and insight. Hang in there.

  • Shannon
    April 30, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    You are so strong Jenna, I really admire that about you. Your family seems like such a great family, and I am sure your little bro is watching down on you all. I love your posts Jenna, it makes me so happy that you are doing all this great stuff to celebrate John’s life. I can’t wait to see your tattoo, what an awesome thing you and your parents are doing.

  • Brittney
    April 30, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Mikey is so adorable! He reminds me of my little kitty πŸ™‚

    Like others have said, don’t worry about being depressing. I cannot imagine going through what you’re going through and I admire the strength you have shown. Everyone who reads this blog is here to support you through this difficult time.

  • Sarah
    April 30, 2009 at 8:55 pm


    Even though I have only just began following the blog by only a few weeks now, I had to write and let you know how your blog has truly touched me. I can’t imagine the heartache and millions of emotions you are experiencing during this horrible time. Although I did not know John, through your posts we all can see what a beautiful person he was. I hope Mikey brings you much joy and a greater sense of knowing your brother is with you still in spirit and by your side always. Thank you for being so strong and sharing your passion of writing with the world even during the hardest of times. Stay positive and inspired always!

  • Kiersten
    April 30, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    I think it’s really awesome that you’re getting a tattoo in honor of your brother. I can’t wait to see it. Your new kitty is adorable! Maybe he will be able to help you heal. When I was going through a very hard time in my life I got a puppy (which was definitely not planned) and I can’t begin to tell you how much he helped me get through everything.

    Good luck tomorrow

  • Rebecca Hoover
    April 30, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    You’re such a wonderful person, and personally, I’m glad to hear that you’re angry and sobbing, that’s a pretty normal response if you ask me. And I’m so proud of you for quitting your job, life’s too short not to be doing something you care about. I will continue to pray for you and your family, you all seem very strong in your faith and I’m sure God will see you through this.

  • Jessica
    April 30, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    I’m so sorry about the rough nights Jenna, enjoy getting the tattoos with your family….i’m sure it will be a beautiful, beautiful day that your brother would definitely appreciate! You and your family are in my prayers every single night!

  • Sarah W.
    April 30, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    mikey is super cute

    I can’t wait to see the tattoos your family is getting – be sure to post pics – that is CRAZY that your MOM is getting one!!! so loving

  • Laura Brandon
    April 30, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    I know it’s ridiculous to cry so much over someone you don’t know, but every time I read your blog or even just think of the pain you are feeling, I do cry for you, and for your brother. I saw your brothers obituary today, and I joined the Facebook group in his honor, and I just feel so much for you and your family. I wish I could just give you a hug. That little cat is adorable, and I think it’s so wonderful that you adopted him in John’s honor, I know you will love him as much as John would have. Have fun getting the tattoos, and keep remembering all of us here praying for you!

  • Brooke M
    April 30, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Amazing amazing amazing is what you are! You are such a strong woman for keeping yourself together so well through all of this. I keep thinking about you and your family everyday and prayed for you in my religion class (during prayer right when class starts, we have special intentions and I said “For Jenna and her family!”). So much love is still all around you and your brother is right by your side. xoxo Have a good swim!!

  • Allison
    April 30, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    I’m excited to see your tattoo Jenna! It sounds like beautiful way to symbolize your brother. I’m so glad you have Mikey as well – I’m sure John’s spirit shine through in him. Stay strong – LITB

  • Kris
    April 30, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Jenna, Each day I read your posts and I share in your grief. While I cannot even begin to imagine what you must be going through, I know how painful it is to experience unexpected and tragic loss. I am so incredibly sorry for what you are going through. It’s more than anyone should have to bare. It’s ok to do whatever it is you need to do to take care of yourself. I see all of the comments and I just know that through human connection, empathy and compassion there is a community of people out here who are caring for you and your family in this unbearably difficult time. Lean on us in spirit if and when you need to.

  • Rachel
    April 30, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Let me chime in and say – please don’t worry about depressing anyone here. Write as openly and freely and truly as you possibly can. I am also a writer and I have felt deep grief and I know how much it is helpful and sometimes necessary to write. In the days and weeks to come, I imagine you will want to write about John all the time. Even if you have to post his name 100 times in a row, please do it. We will all support you.

  • Kailey (SnackFace)
    April 30, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Jenna, thank you for sharing your emotions with us. Whatever you are sharing is giving strength to others.

    I absolutely cannot wait to see the tattoos! It’s awesome your parents are getting one as well. Mikey is so teeny and adorable!

    I hope your days become a little bit better every day. You are probably right in that from now you just have to keep pushing forward. Again, you are courageous beyond belief. I hope sleep comes to you tonight.

  • Kelly
    April 30, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    I know you are very spiritual, and it may be hard to find closeness with God right now.

    Try Psalm 62, 1-2;5-6 or Romans 8:28

  • carrie
    April 30, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Has anyone recommended the book “How To Survive The Loss Of A Love”? You might find this book helpful during this difficult time. The book has helped me through some difficult times.
    You and your family continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Your brother John must have been a very special person given the outpouring of love over the past week. I hope they bring you some comfort during this time.

  • Vaala
    April 30, 2009 at 11:08 pm


    I’ve never commented before but I have so wanted to especially in the last few days. You are doing so incredibly well and the strength you display in your writing (even if you do not feel it) is so inspiring.

    It is nothing like losing a brother but I have had to watch my elder brother fall apart in the last couple of weeks after his wife left him. Through your posts I have felt such a need to hold him and protect him for fear that I might lose him as you have lost your dear brother.

    You are in my thoughts even though I do not know you. Your brother will live on in the spirit of Mikey. He will never leave your heart so you will always carry him close.

  • Danica
    April 30, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    That is too funny about the tatoos! I hope you share pictures…..Have fun swimming laps in the AM. I really find swimming to be such a therapeutic workout.

  • mary
    April 30, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    Please never worry about sharing your emotions during this time. This blog is your space and we are so lucky to be a part of it. You have such an amazing ability to capture moments with your words, so you should definitely continue to share them! You might even consider using your writing talent in working to prevent what happened to John from happening to anybody else. Your words have such an amazing effect on your readers, more people NEED to hear them!
    Have a great swim and good luck on the tattoo!

  • Allie Katie
    April 30, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    We are all here for you Jenna, and for whatever you need from us!! Mikey is adorbs by the way–what a cutie. I’m sure he and Mikan will become fast friends when they get used to each other!! Much love!

  • Stacey M
    May 1, 2009 at 12:09 am

    Life is eternal, and love is immortal,
    and death is only a horizon;
    and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.
    ~Rossiter Worthington Raymond
    * * *
    May you see God’s light on the path ahead
    When the road you walk is dark.
    May you always hear,
    Even in your hour of sorrow,
    The gentle singing of the lark.
    When times are hard may hardness
    Never turn your heart to stone,
    May you always remember
    when the shadows fallβ€”
    You do not walk alone.
    ~Irish Blessing

    Love & prayers to your whole family; if I knew a mailing address I would better express my condolences to you all.

  • Stef
    May 1, 2009 at 2:22 am

    It makes total sense that nights would be hardest for you, but I am so inspired by your strength! It takes a really strong person to make it through what your family is dealing with, you’re amazing. AWWWW Mikey is so cute, and I’m really glad that he and the dog seem to like each other! Have you seen the movie “I Love You, Man?” Your dog looks so much like the one in the movie, funny!

  • green ink
    May 1, 2009 at 2:45 am

    Mmm froyo!! And what a super cool thing to do, to get tattoos as a family. My dad and sister were going to get one together a few years back to celebrate a milestone that was important to them, but it turned out she was pregnant and they couldn’t – I think Dad was relieved πŸ˜›

    Please don’t worry about depressing anyone – this is your blog and no one will begrudge you for venting. If you can’t do it here, where can you do it? Whatever you have to say, you know you have support here.

    As always, I think you’re handling everything so well, and grief is indeed like the ocean – some days it’s rough, and others it’s surprisingly calm. We just have to ride it. You have John’s surfboard too, remember πŸ™‚

    Thinking of you and sending you lots of hugs x

  • Samantha
    May 1, 2009 at 3:17 am

    Surely this goes without saying but no one here faults you for not personally responding! I’m amazed you’re still blogging daily…then again, you said writing is “what you do” and its your therapy.

    That was a bold move to leave your job…how inspirational to follow your true passion. Best of luck down that path!

    Looking forward to seeing the tattoo. Today as I was driving up the island, the ocean just 50 yards to my left, watch heavy churned up surf crash on the black rock and the deep dark blue meeting the gray, stormy skies, I thought of John, and of you.

  • caitlin
    May 1, 2009 at 4:46 am

    yay for tattoo day! i hope you find it to be a healing process πŸ™‚ love you!

  • ari
    May 1, 2009 at 4:50 am

    that is the most adorable kitten! i think it’s so great all these things you and your family are doing in order to keep the memory of your brother alive. they are all such amazing ideas! keep your head high, girl, you are a strong woman.

  • Tara
    May 1, 2009 at 5:15 am

    Jenna, Only someone as kind and loving as you would worry about depressing other people during this time. Please feel free to express yourself however you need on the blog – you’re a gifted writer and it’s obviously therapeutic for you. Take care of yourself πŸ™‚

  • Beadie @ What I Ate Yesterday
    May 1, 2009 at 5:17 am

    I am so glad you guys have Mikey now πŸ™‚

    Hang in there, sweet Jenna. You will get stronger and stronger everyday. You are doing the right thing by just feeling those emotions and letting them out anyway you know how. We are standing by you every step of they way.

  • Lindsey
    May 1, 2009 at 5:24 am

    Hey Jenna,

    I am a total lurker and just wanted to let you know how sorry I am for your loss.

    Also, I just wanted to let you know that after you get a tattoo you can’t swim for 2-3 weeks, as it will mess up the healing process. This is not meant to be snarky, I just know that sometimes people don’t think about that kind of stuff, especially when you have so much going on!

    (I did not read every comment, so someone else might have commented with the same thing, and if so, I apologize!).

  • Paige
    May 1, 2009 at 5:34 am

    You will love your tatoo! I have two stars on my wrist, one for each of my grandmothers who have passed away in recent years. Whenever I am running a tough race or just a tough training run, I’ll look at my stars and think about what strong ladies my grandmothers were. Makes me smile and remember to be strong (like them)!

  • Ali
    May 1, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Jenna, you are amazingly strong! I can’t get over it.

  • Heather
    May 1, 2009 at 6:38 am

    Mikey is so precious! Not unlike yourself. [:
    It’s great that your family is making the TATTOO DAY such an event! Something to look forward to. So beautiful. God bless!


  • kathleen
    May 1, 2009 at 6:39 am

    i love tattoos that celebrate the lives of those we love. my aunt passed away about a year ago and i recently tattooed a phrase she always said on my wrist. it calms me down when i look at it and reminds me she is in a heaven, a place we can only dream about.

    she died a year ago and the pain does not go away it changes, much like the ebb and flow of the ocean. some days i am fine, others i am barely coherent. the loss will always be there, but the feelings will morph and change.

  • Red Head, Yellow Dog
    May 1, 2009 at 6:57 am

    never feel like you can’t express yourself fully because it may depress your readers, Jenna. Do what is healing for you and we’ll all be here to support you.

  • MaryBe
    May 1, 2009 at 6:58 am

    Jenna you are so strong! Rage is natural, let yourself feel it. John sounds amazing, as do all his friends and teachers. I am praying for you, and your family

  • Alyssa
    May 1, 2009 at 7:05 am

    Things will get better over time, you’ve got all your family (and us!) for support. Don’t bottle anything up, just let it come, you’re remembering John and the great person he was!

    p.s. I can probably get you and your mom’s “ocean” to you in a few weeks at most πŸ™‚

  • Fitzalan
    May 1, 2009 at 7:13 am

    The waves are normal..and they will continue. Probably for a few months. And in all honesty, you will have things remind you of him in years and you will have a moment of sadness (it won’t always been this painful and tough) but then you almost have to make yourself smile and enjoy that fact you had someone that amazing and wonderful in your life.

    Sleep will be tough for awhile…I think you are already doing this (I think you mentioned it before) but why don’t you just plan to talk to John every night when you lay down. Tell him how sad, angry, upset, etc you are. Talking to him will help and hopefully will ease you into sleep.

    Enjoy the experience of getting the tattoo–the fear, the excitement, the pain, the thrill!!! My tattoo has lower case a, which is what my dad always called me “Little A”, and I still LOVE looking at it all the time to remind me of him.

    You are so strong and wonderful and snuggle up with that little Mikey when it hurts too much.

    Happiness Awaits

  • Cara
    May 1, 2009 at 7:21 am

    This is not time to worry about depressing anyone. If anything, it forces us all to look at our lives and appreciate everyone around us. You words are the most touching words I have read in a long time. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Take this time to focus on healing yourself. πŸ™‚

  • Melissa (Nibbles and Wiggles)
    May 1, 2009 at 7:29 am

    Such a cute kitty. I’m so glad Mikan doesn’t want to eat the little fellow ;).

  • weight and meditate
    May 1, 2009 at 7:40 am

    Can’t wait to see your tattoo! Your stages of grief are totally normal, just keep going through them! Mikey is adorable πŸ™‚

  • Still Life in South America
    May 1, 2009 at 7:45 am

    I’m glad that you have some time now away from work where you can decompress, exercise, talk with family, and just “BE.”

    My thoughts are with you and your family. Give Mikey a kiss for me.

  • Abbey
    May 1, 2009 at 7:58 am

    Hey Jenna,

    That is seriously awesome that you guys are all getting tattoos together!! You have got a really great family. All the different things you’re doing for your brother–adopting Mikey, the tattoos, the fund–are such a graceful way to handle the situation. You amaze me Jenna!


  • Shelbney
    May 1, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Hi Jenna,
    I don’t know how you are doing it. I’m just so amazed every time I read a new entry. You have done so incredibly well through this whole thing so you have to stop apologizing. You aren’t depressing anyone, we come to read cause we feel so deeply for you and want you to be ok. Your moments of anger and sadness are so normal. I’d be worried if you didn’t have those. Please don’t write what you think other people want to read, it is SO ok to be real, good or bad.

    The tattoo thing is so cool.

  • Nadia
    May 1, 2009 at 8:22 am

    I’ve been meaning to tell you this for a while but you’re seriously a wonderful writer and I’m glad you have this outlet to express how you’re feeling. Will be keeping you and your family in my prayers. P.S. Mikey is SO cute.

  • skinnyrunner
    May 1, 2009 at 8:31 am

    every post you write almost makes me cry but in a good way. it forces me to take a step back from life and food and exercise and all that and think of how precious life is and whats truly important and valuable.
    you’re an amazing writer, please keep up the honestly and vulnerability!

  • Kelly
    May 1, 2009 at 8:31 am

    I apologize because I have been so crazy lately that I have been behind in reading all your posts and have digested them all at once. I think you were very brave to let us know you quit your job, but I think there is so much relief in the truth. Finding what work fits you best is definitely a process. It look me a long time coming out of school to realize that and even though overall I like my job, there are still ups and downs and days I question whether I’m doing the right thing. I am sure that all the family struggles you are going through also put things in a different perspective as well. Hang in there!

  • Kelly
    May 1, 2009 at 8:45 am

    Jenna, I can not speak for everyone, but please dont think you are deppressing us with your posts! I am moved by your words and have decided to not take one moment for granted…My thoughts are with you.

  • Megan (The Runner's Kitchen)
    May 1, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Hi Jenna, I’m glad that you have such supportive friends, family, and neighbors during this time. Plus, the blog world of course! John will always be in your heart and it will get a little easier each day. And I totally agree with you – frozen yogurt and ice cream are good for the soul πŸ™‚

  • Lacey
    May 1, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Hi Jenna,
    I am pretty new to your blog but I really love it. I was born and raised in South Tampa and miss it so much (I moved to England a few years ago because this is where my husband is from). I cant wait for the day we move back! Oh I miss the sun and running on Bayshore Blvd.
    It sounds like your brother was a very loved person. You are strong and though it may not seem like it every day it will get a little easier.
    I can’t wait to see your tattoos its a great way to honor John. I am sure he would definitely appreciate it.
    My thoughts are with you and your family.

  • claire
    May 1, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Hi Jenna,

    I love all of the ways that your family is remembering John. You are such a good big sister to him. I’m praying that God will continue to comfort you and help you to grieve.


  • Kristilyn (The Food Journey)
    May 1, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Hi Jenna! Mikey and Mikan look so cute in that picture! Mikan sounds like one of our dogs … just there to bathe the cats. I’m sure he’ll make a wonderful addition to your household!

    Good luck with the tattoo! I can’t wait to see it. πŸ™‚

  • Denise
    May 1, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Let yourself break down and feel all the emtions. You need to do that so you can begin to heal. I hope the tattoos go well, can’t wait to see them.

  • Debbie
    May 1, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Jenna –
    The words your write to express the love you have for your brother, continually brings tears to my eyes! Your grief is real and so you must feel it to cause “moment in your life” — the days will seem long and the nights like piercing holes, your heart will ache….and yet you will have moved a micro-bit forward!

    I did not know John, however, he seemed like an angel sent from heaven — so sweet, so open and caring, so manly! He has left us all a “lesson” and I am sure we will grow from this as well.

    My blessings to you and your family — may you wear your tatoo’s with adoring love for your brother, your parents son and for the memory he has left us –

  • Debbie
    May 1, 2009 at 9:58 am

    “movement ….in your life”

  • Sarah
    May 1, 2009 at 10:12 am

    hey jenna…
    what a week it has been for you. i’ve been traveling this week, but you and your family have never been far from my thoughts. though we’ve never met…and probably never will…my heart goes out to you. truthfully, there is nothing in the whole world that hurts as bad as the grief you feel when you lose someone you love. just know there are many of us out here keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. i believe and trust that you will be given the strength from moment to moment to live through the pain. hang in there. breathe. you are one smart, beautiful (inside and out), strong young lady. also, please give your mother this message of strength from me as well….as the mother of a teenage son, i grieve so strongly for her. she must be an incredible lady to have raised such wonderful children. peace be with you and your family.

  • Julie
    November 13, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Oh Jenna, I’m so sorry for your loss.