Saturday, March 19, 2011

Jayna T. Murray: May she REST in PEACE (part 2)

Ephesians 3:20-21

 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  
Kelly, Katie and I from Semester at Sea Fall '01 voyage in NYC reunited in Jayna's honor
Photo by: Stephen Shames (

When I first heard this from my pastor almost a year ago, it hit me like a Mack truck, maybe even a ton of bricks..all at the same time. Being raised Catholic has taught me that I had to pray to specific saints in order to have my prayer requests answered. I couldn't really take it up directly to the dude upstairs. My relationship with God was nullified by the fact that he was WAY up there and I was a mere speck WAY down here. As you read this, I don't want you think I am getting all Christianese on you but my faith has been tested over the last week. I have been referring to the bible more than in all my 30 years combined to find the right words to make whatever I was feeling towards God become sensible. And frankly, I lost it a couple of times. I would throw my fists up in the air and blame him for the death of my dear friend. The old adage of, "Why do bad things happen to good people" crossed my mind more than I can type in a minute, and I can type real fast. 

I am really at a point where I feel I could avenge her death by doing X, Y, and Z but that's not what God would've done if faced with this situation. I am learning that God has a plan for everyone. Our bodies are on loan until we meet him face to face and live in his glory. Yes. Hold on, I know what you're thinking. "LIVE in his GLORY?"'re treading on Christianese talk there Mar. Whatevs. Call it what you like, but I believe that once we are done in this lifetime, the next one will be SO much more joyful and worth fighting for when it is our time to go home. To the upstairs where the 'dude' is. Call it heaven or the after life with the pearly gates but I have learned that God has our backs. Yes, Jayna arrived at the pearly gates on March 11, 2001. She has gone home and I will join her there when MY time is up here. 

*Let me reiterate verse 20: "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.." 

I have asked the aforementioned dude upstairs to strengthen me throughout this difficult time and I definitely felt THAT prayer request answered. Some lay witness to it last night when I was reading through Ecclesiastes at her vigil where I fought through my tears to finish the verse. I have emailed and called lululemon athletica headquarters and various store managers and PR people along with Jayna's brother, the Mindfulness Center, Safe Horizon , NYC Victims of Crime unit and countless friends who knew Jayna to help sort through my feelings.

For the past 8 days, I have run a gamut of emotions that would rival a menopausal woman or a newly minted mother. Now, I don't mean to undermine those types of people but by being around them in those times in their life mimics the kind of feelings I've been having; Extreme hot flashes from learning about what took place inside the lululemon in Bethesda, fatigue and memory loss from sleep deprivation to get to the bottom of things, worriedness about the future etc. I know. I shouldn't compare my feelings with any one else's but to put things in context and to find a reference point gives me a sense of normalcy when I can't determine which way is up anymore. My idea of a candle light vigil for Jayna grew from Union Square, NYC to Walnut Creek, CA; Beverly HIlls, CA; Washington D.C.; Bethesda, MD; Minneapolis, MN; Cottage Grove, MN; Baraboo, WI; Stavanger, Norway; Warsaw, Poland; Tokyo, Japan. Medellin, Columbia; Frankfurt, Germany; and more are trickling in.

Mother and Son who stopped by the vigil to honor Jayna
Photo by: Stephen Shames (

My goal was to light a candle in her honor and help raise awareness about violent crimes against women, as well as men and I hope that somehow we did that. A lot of people were curious about the brown paper bag lanterns that spelled out J-A-Y-N-A and we got some ears perked and attentions caught. One lady from Japan thought it spelled Japan and I told her that if she wanted, I would help her with a vigil commemorating those affected by the 9.0 earthquake. She signed the guest book and left her email with me. I asked for a way to help me get through the loss of a good friend, and in turn, gaining new ones and raising MORE awareness out there.

I have been touched by some of the stories that are reaching my inbox in the last week. I asked Yoko for permission about including hers on here and she graciously obliged. 

Yoko with Danny

Yoko's message to me:
Hi. Thank you so much for organizing this project. I'm a friend of
Jayna from Johns Hopkins and am the biggest fun of her in Japan.

not sure if I am following your idea right. I lit a candle thinking
about our beautiful friend and took a pic at night in EST, which was
bright daytime in JPN. If you want another pic taken at night, let me

I'm sorry for not being able to get a nice appropriate candle. I just
had to dig out my old aroma candle as all candles are currently gone
out of shelf cause people are preparing for the blackouts.

The last week has been really rough for me as it has benn to all other
Japanese but personally, Jayna brought me the biggest shock which was
much greater than the magnitude 9.0 quack... With or without a good
candle, Jayna should know I miss her so much....

Yoko with Danny

I am amazed at your tenacity to take this photo with your adorable Danny amidst the chaos in Japan at the moment. I will pray for your safety and hope that whatever God has planned for Japan will be strategic and with the best intentions.
There was a Japanese woman who came by the vigil today in NY and asked if I can organize one for Japan. We exchanged contact information and are now planning an event to commemorate those affected in Japan.
Thanks again for taking the time to do this. I am sure Jayna is looking down at us and smiling her signature infectious smile.
Take care.
In peace, love, and light~


Thank you for your comfort. I evacuated from Tokyo taking my baby
Danny with but leaving my husband behind. Since then things are
turning better for me.  Now we are at my parent's home in Hiroshima
and should be safe around here. We are planning to stay here in
Hiroshima till things get settled, maybe a month or so depending on
how the nuke plant situation goes. I may not be able to attend but
please let me know when and where you would be organizing things in
Japan. Also, if there's anything I can do, let me know.  It's amazing
how Jayna is bringing all of us together. Once she told me that she
believes everything happens for reason. I need to find out the reason
of this tragedy.

 Like Yoko, finding out a reason for the recent tragedy has been an innate feeling to the likeness of a baby's heart beating in conjunction with it's mother's. I haven't stopped my quest to find the truth about what happened last Friday night and even after the arrest of Ms. Norwood I am still searching. For every person touched by Jayna's story, may others come forward to share this as we collectively find ways to support one another. God CAN and DOES things immeasurably more than I can ever ask or imagine. I am laying all my worries at his feet as I maneuver around in my borrowed body. Seeing friends last night who had the pleasure of knowing Jayna was enough for me to be okay for that one moment. Our candles blowing out at the same time during the vigil gave me horripilations (google it) reminding me that spirits are all around us. Jayna's will be felt for years to come, even now as I write this. Your presence was  always markedly known when you were in the room. I love you my dear girl. May we meet again at the pearly gates and bungee jump way up in those big cumulus clouds and give people horripilations. About that SUPERMOON, did YOU have anything to do with that? I don't doubt that you did. I love you and that infectious smile.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave bereft
I am not there. I have not left.
Photo by: Stephen Shames (


  1. Thinking of you Vic. I've followed the news reports on Jayna, I cannot imagine how you feel. You are a GOOD person & good friend to this beautiful young lady. Love you lots.

  2. You are AWESOME Marivic for connecting all the people that care about Jayna and helping us honor and remember her for the goodness that she brought to this world.


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  4. Wonderful post. I think everyone in Houston is still in shock too. I read about the "aggravating factors" clause in Maryland law this week and I almost become ill. :(