Dear Sister,

I guess this is it. It’s been two years since you left this life. To be honest I’ve been feeling like I’ve been drowning. Just trying to survive. Keep it together. But today it seemed like the sun shined a little brighter, and the birds sang just a bit sweeter. It was hard to explain, but it felt like life… Is better.

I still have nightmares of when you left us. I have nightmares of what the end must have been like for you. A lot of people ask about what happened, but I don’t tell them what really happened. I haven’t ever told anyone.  I can’t bring myself to. I wish I was there, and I am sorry I never said goodbye. I’m sorry I never told you I was leaving on a mission. I always wonder if that would have made a difference. I always wonder if that would have changed your path just enough to keep you alive. I remember a very distinct conversation I had with mom. She wanted me to call you to tell you I was going on a mission. I knew in my gut I should… And I knew I wanted to… But I was afraid. I was afraid you would be mad at me. I was afraid you would be mad I didn’t tell you sooner. Which is dumb, I know.  I didn’t want you to feel like I was abandoning you. I promise I will live my life without fear.

Ever since you left I try to remember the last time I saw you. I don’t even remember when it was. What I do remember is all of the times you protected me and believed in me. You made me feel like I could do anything! I’m trying to live like that. I’m trying to become an extraordinary person and do extraordinary things, and it’s scary. It’s scary trying to do these things without you pushing me and cheering me on. I wish you were around the day I graduated college. I don’t think there is a sister on the face of the planet that passionately loved her brothers more than you did.

One of the hardest things is when I have a bad day I can’t go over to your house to watch movies and eat chicken noodle soup. I told you things I never told anyone. My fears… My doubts.. My heartaches.. I’ve never been able to have that kind of relationship with anyone else, but that was just who you were. A safe space. You were a safe space for everyone. The kindest shoulder anyone could lean on.

I’ve had many regrets over these past two years. I’ve had a lot of hard times…. But today, as I sat by your grave, I didn’t cry this time. I felt very strongly like I should let myself shine again. I felt like I should shine like you did to bring a little bit of your love into everyone I cross paths with.  I want to be like that again. I think I’m ready to be happy again.  You should have seen the smiles on everyone’s face today at easter dinner. We’re doing better, Aprildawn. Slowly but surely we are learning to smile again.We are smiling again, but we will never forget you.

I want you to know I love you with everything I have. And if there is anything I know, it’s that I will be able to hug you again someday. Easter is such a beautiful reminder of that. I know you are probably up there with Grandpa watching over us. By the way, do they have crab legs in heaven? I bet God made some just for you. Probably all claws, cuz that’s the dream!

I love you, and I will see you soon.

P.S. I made your favorite treat today for the family, tomatoes and cheese. Not as good as yours but I did my best!

Hey you reading this! I want to change the tone of what I have  experienced, and turn it into something good. If you have ever faced something difficult and are finding it hard to deal with, please reach out to me. I would love to help in any way I can, even if it is just an ear to listen. I also speak for youth groups and would be very interested in speaking to rehab groups.

You can talk to me on Instagram: @jaromrocks

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The second anniversary of my sister’s death is approaching, and I always told myself it would get better. It hasn’t. At least… Not like I thought.

Last month I was driving to the grocery store and listening to some Usher, cuz duh. A song of his came on called, “My Boo.” This song reminds me of my sister. Now, that may sound weird because it’s a romantic song BUT it reminds me of her because she loved Alicia Keys with all her heart and soul and would sing this song at the top of her lungs on repeat when she would drive with me in her car. Well, when it came on… I started crying, like a lot. And then I started BAWLING in the frozen food section trying my hardest to find some Halo Top low calorie ice cream. Then I cried all the way home. And then I went home and prayed.

This happens, little things will set off a trigger which will either make me cry like the above situation, or I will be in a bad mood and everyone will think I’m mad. One time I even cried on a date, with her friend also in the car. Sooooooo that was embarrassing. And she DEF does not talk to me anymore. In fact. if we ever saw each other in public we would probs avoid eye contact at all costs.

The thing is, it’s almost been two years, but I still feel this pain as vividly and intensely as the day it happened, and that sucks. It sucks because I want to be happy for people. I will either make my date mad for not being in a perfect mood, or other people around me will think something is wrong with me and I should be in a better mood. But what do I tell them? “Sorry, my sister died two years ago and I am kinda super upset right now. Nothing against you though.” Like, really? Two years ago? Get over it kid.

It also sucks because I find myself avoiding dating because I hate talking about family. “How many siblings do you have? Brothers? Sisters?” Well, I usually just say I have 3 brothers and that’s it, in fear of them digging deeper. And I hate that. And don’t even get me started about the dad question. “Oh you don’t really know where he’s at? Oh you don’t talk to him? Oh okay well you sound unstable so you will never see me again.” I wish I could talk about myself the way I want to. I wish I could tell them that I don’t really feel great today because my sister died and somehow it’s still relevant. But you can’t do that and, well, THAT SUCKS.

Trust me, I act hard. But all I want in this entire world is for someone to look at me and say, “I see something special in you, and I’m not going anywhere.” It will probably happen one day. But it won’t work out that way until the one time it does. It’s sad, but people don’t want to hear your problems. They don’t want to hear about the REAL side of you. They want to know about how adventurous you are, your car, your great job, your talents, and how you have it all figured out. And… I… Just… Don’t. Those things don’t really give the whole picture.

I find myself subconsciously trying to forget about the past and trying to stay in the present. I do that because the past brings me to my knees no matter how much I think I’ve grown. I still cry just as hard. I keep a picture of her by my bed and talk to her every night. But… She doesn’t answer back. In fact, the memory of her voice… Her smile… Has faded over time and I am terrified that I am going to completely forget.

I don’t consider myself very good at my religion. In fact, I am probably pretty bad at it compared to most. I’ve been around people that asked me why I still believe in the church, and the answer is kinda simple. I may be pretty bad at being a good Mormon, but I know that one day I am seeing my sister again and my family will be together forever, and that’s why I stay. That’s why I believe. That’s why I keep trying. I certainly have my doubts, because who can really KNOW something you won’t even experience until after you die, let’s be real. But, I hold onto that one shred of hope that I will. That one day I will be in heaven and my sister will greet me and say, “J-Row wit da big fro! Why did you take so long!?”

It’s not getting better. And I think I am okay with that, because IT MATTERED. Suppressing the past isn’t going to do anything but make other people feel more comfortable around me. So I’m sorry if I am not a solid emotional rock of a man, but DANG IT I AM SAD. It hurts so bad because it mattered. It’s real.

So, if you have felt this kind of pain… I’m sorry.. But.. I don’t think it’s ever going to stop. But that’s kind of special isn’t it? You feel that pain because you experienced a beautiful kind of love in your life, and no one can take that a way. So… That pain is kind of beautiful, and it should be celebrated.

So, everytime you cry, after you dried your tears, remember all the smiles you had along the way too.

If you thought of someone who has experienced something similar, be sure to share this with them. And give them a hug. Even if they are like me (and hate hugs) they will still probably appreciate it.




I have always found myself waiting for things that never happened. Turning down fun things because maybe just MAYBE that one person I like is going to text me back. Or maybe I won’t go hang out with friends because I had hopes of something else happening. Well… ENOUGH. Stop waiting for ghosts. Stop waiting for nothing to come. Make it yourself.

Usually I put off doing fun things because I have had these empty hopes of something else happening. Because of this, I have missed out on a lot of cool experiences. This past weekend I went to Moab, Utah by myself. I could have done what I always do and talk myself out of it because something else MIGHT happen that weekend and I would miss it if I was gone. Sure, someone I like might actually text me back and want to do something for like the first time freaking ever (super bitter hahaha). I might get invited to something cool, but I CHOSE to make something happen.

I chose to make life happen instead life happening to me. I had an incredible weekend! I really needed that reset for my soul. I have been feeling like something was off. Like I didn’t deserve happiness. I kinda lost myself for a bit there. If you actively make things happen in your life, you have less time to fill your mind with thoughts of sadness or loneliness.

Now, one of my favorite quotes is, “Happiness, only real when shared.” from the book, Into the Wild. I completely agree with this. Do whatever you can to create experiences with people. That may even mean getting out of yourself and  creating experiences with complete strangers (safe ones I hope lolz). Do what you can, but sometimes it’s really nice to spend some time alone and sometimes there isn’t anyone around to spend it with. Never let that stop you from enjoying this life.

Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight.” This life was meant to be enjoyed. Be brave and experience it. Squeeze every last drip of happiness from life. Do things that push you to be more and learn more. This life doesn’t last forever. Anyone who has lost someone close to them knows this and carries that thought with them every time they get close to a car accident or anything that reminds them how short and precious life really is.

Enjoy this life. Be braver. Love deeper. Smile bigger.

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Follow Me on Instagram: @jaromrocks

Here’s a little highlight of my trip! Subscribe to my youtube if you like it!



I am incredibly self-conscious about myself. Always have been. People look at me and typically see a seemingly confident person. The truth is, I never think I am doing anything right, especially  when dating. Am I wearing the right clothes? Why is my face breaking out like this? Can she tell that she is way out of my league and should not be with me right now? Should I explain that to her and take her back and thank her for her time? Does she hate guys with tight pants? All I own are tight pants! Is there something in my teeth? Crap, my shoes are squeaking, I really hope she doesn’t think the squeaks are really on-tempo farts. Can she tell I lift when I wear this shirt? Does it hug my arms good enough? Should I overcompensate and talk about how much I love the gym?  I am so scared. Can she tell I’m scared? I need a hug. But wait, is that too forward?

I kind of feel like I am broken at times, like I wasn’t made right or something. I work hard to appear cool and interesting, and then I get ghosted and I am like… “Hi, I am sorry I ruined your life with my presence.” LOLZ…. Sigh…  So then you jump back on Tinder and swipe your life away while watching Netflix…. but not really watching Netflix cuz you gotta find your eternal bae. And oh ya. You bet your bottom I try to strategically organize the photos in which they will be seen. “Okay, so this is a good first picture cuz it shows my smile and that will tell them I am a happy person. But the next one really needs to be me with a dog to add variety and the fact that girls love dogs! All of the memes on the internet tell me so. Oh and something adventurous so they don’t assume I watch Netflix all day! Which I totally do, but I gotta SEEM adventurous!” *one week later “Hmm… Not a lot of matches… There must be something wrong with my picture formula! No chance it is me. It was the order in which I placed them!”

We live in this dating world where you go on a million dates and don’t click with anyone, and the ones you end up really really liking end up destroying your heart, punching it in the face, stomping on it, and then sending it in a spaceship to some unknown planet that then gets blown up by an alien ship. So, eventually you just become jaded and then everyone around you that is in a relationship is telling you that you are single because you are just soooooo picky. Cuz like. It’s your fault duh.”Just pick someone and love them! It’s not hard!” Oh? I am? Okay. Cool. You’re right. But you are taking way too long to decide what to eat at the drive-thru so maybe you should just order a packet of ketchup and we can be on our way? Shut up person. The only reason you are in a relationship is because you got lucky. Not because you have all of the answers. *drops the mic

So, here’s the thing. I have no idea what I am doing. But I am not too convinced that anyone does. Not even you, self-righteous annoying perfect Instagram relationship know-it-all couple *barf (jk I love you and your happiness… I am just super jealous).  I am awkward. I hate dating. It scares the living daylights out of me and gives me anxiety and I just want someone to love me and for me to love them back. But somehow I gotta do it! We all have to do it. I mean… You don’t have to. I’m not making you do anything. Just a suggestion.

So, here’s what I propose. Let’s all be a little more kind to each other. Life is hard. It’s harder for the awkward single people scared of real communication and time away from Netflix. It’s hard to open up. It’s hard to be real. But let’s give it a shot? Let’s be confident in the fact we are awkward. And then let’s try to find more ways to be truly confident and love ourselves!

I am nowhere near perfect. But I try so hard to find new reasons to be grateful, and new reasons to love who I am. Hey you reading this, YOU are unique! Maybe you don’t like the way you look in the mirror, but someday someone will! They will love your awkwardness. They will love you for no other reason other than the fact that you are YOU. How wonderful is that? Every single person you date will not work out except the one that does. Okay, that doesn’t sound too great. But hey! I’m in this too!

Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Love yourself, love the process, and grow. You aren’t perfect, no one is. Not even your really hot date that you think is out of your league is perfect. I honestly don’t know why you are still single. Shoot, I have been single for what? 7 years? 8 years? I don’t really remember at this point. But I know loving who I am is important. Growing is important. Helping others is important. There is more to your worth than the person next to you on that square photo on instagram getting all kinds of likes because you are #RelationshipGoals.

As you take on a new year as a single human, maybe make a resolution to be a less miserable single human (I am a super dramatic annoying miserable single human, so I am mostly talking to myself). A single human that accepts their flaws and strives to become better and more loving to themselves! I know, it’s hard. But your happiness depends on it. You either let yourself be miserable, or you try and find the good in life whether you are in a relationship or not!

Be forgiving of yourself. These things take time, and not everyone is on the same timeline. Always look for ways to serve others. Always take the time to spend by yourself in a meaningful way. And next time you are on a date with someone super awkward, maybe give them another shot 😉

Look in the mirror and tell yourself you are a sexy beast because you ARE,  you know you are, I know you are, and everyone knows you are. Now get out there and make it happen in 2017 and always!

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You kind of have expectations for how life will go. If someone in your life is struggling, you just expect them to get better eventually. The worst isn’t what happens. It’s not what is supposed to happen. Well, the worst happened.

My sister struggled with addictions. These addictions eventually caused her to change into a completely different person, and eventually pass away. However, along the path, there is one thing that was always the same about my sister, even when she was prisoner to these addictions–Her insane ability to love.

My sister didn’t really see any characteristic in humans that would deserve this type of kindness other than the simple fact they were just that, HUMAN. You could be a billionaire or the homeless person in the street and she would have treated you the same. She didn’t have much, but what she did have, she gave.  It would never matter to her if your opinions were completely different than hers…. Nothing else mattered. She would take care of you.

My sister was the type of person that would invite a homeless person to stay at her house on a cold night. You may think I am kidding, but I am actually being serious. Like, that happened.  Now, I am not saying to go and do the same, I am just saying that she had so much trust and love for people that she literally would do anything in her ability to help.

I didn’t come from a family of many means. My sister knew this, and although she didn’t have barely anything herself, she still found ways to help. One year when she got her tax return and she spent almost the whole thing on my family. She took me shopping so I could wear “cool kid” clothes and feel a little more normal at school. My sister loved us so much, and one day she knew it would all be better for us.

After she passed, I was shocked. I guess anyone would be. But.. I thought she was supposed to get better. After my intense grieving period ended, I learned just how important it is to love people better. I experienced so much pain.. My family did. It was the kindness and sensitivity of others that helped the most. People tend to get scared of people who are in pain like they are some kind of alien, to no fault of their own. This is just the human condition. This kind of perceived rejection from society is difficult to deal with when you are already in so much pain. This just kicks you while you’re down.

I learned a lot from my sister’s life, and her death. I learned how hard it was when she passed and how it made me feel. I learned that everyone’s problems are important and that everyone deserves love and kindness like my sister would have shown. I am still not very good at it. I do my best to include people like she did. I do my best to treat everyone equally like she did. I try my best to love the homeless person smelling like alcohol, and the business acquaintance I meet in the same way. To not look at their current circumstance, but the light inside.. The fact they are human is reason enough to love them. The fact they both have their own struggles should mean they deserve love all the same.

It’s funny, the one person I wish was with me after she passed… was her. I hope to one day love like she did. Even when she had nothing and was a prisoner to addiction she still managed to give what she had to help others who had their own problems no matter how big or small they seemed.

Tomorrow is Christmas, and 2016 is ending. This year, let’s all try to love like Aprildawn. We deserve it.

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This isn’t really one of those “I believed in myself and made it” kind of stories. More of the, “I got the living crap kicked out of me but I somehow came out the other end alive!” Kind of stories.  I honestly never thought I would graduate college. I didn’t think I had it in me. I thought I would give up somewhere down the line. Well, as of this week I now have a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and a Minor in Business Management.

Can I first walk you through my failures during this experience? Well, to be frank I didn’t do very well in school right out of the gate.

If you remember an old post I did, you know that I also struggled with suicide. Such a horrible horrible horrible horrible thing. I didn’t want to live anymore. I didn’t love myself. I didn’t think God loved me. I didn’t think I was capable of anything great.

My first semester went pretty well, other than the slight setback mentioned above, and then my grandfather passed away and I completely failed every single class the next semester. After that, I took a semester off debating if I would go back to school. I mustered up enough courage to go back. However, I lost my good standing with the school and had to plea with a board to let me come back. I did it! They let me in! But… I didn’t do very well and lost my good standing AGAIN.

I. Failed. Again.

But…. This is where a miracle happens.

I didn’t think I could graduate college, but I knew I had to. I knew someway I just had to. I wrote my letter for the board again to let me come back. I don’t remember what was in this letter, but they let me come back. They took a risk and believed I could do it, so ever since then I put my head down and just went for it.

We all know I also went on a mission in the middle of my schooling, came back, and had a sister pass away. From that, I experienced such a hell that I would not be able to put into words. My depression was very intense and I went to a therapist weekly (that was actually really nice! I love that guy). And oh ya, I also was laid off 3 too many times from jobs I really needed to survive. If it wasn’t for my brother and his wife taking me in, I would not be where I am now.

There were nights when I would get on my knees and cry because of mistakes I had made, or failures I experienced. There were times I looked at my schedule and thought, “I will never be able to pass that Finance class.” Or “how will I ever work full-time and take this many credits.”

But… I did it. I made it. I am happy, I love myself, I graduated, IT’S MY BIRTHDAY (just a side note), I love my job, I love my passions…. I made it.

The point I am trying to make is, NEVER GIVE UP ON YOURSELF. You are worth so much more than you think and God wants you to succeed. He wants you to be happy, even if you don’t see it now. Had I had an easy college experience, I don’t think I would have the drive that I do now. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know I needed that. I needed to know that I can stick with something and come out the other side a winner (a beaten and bruised winner lol, but nonetheless a winner). After having “failed” in so many areas in life, I needed this.

If you are faced with something you just don’t think you can overcome, I beg you to keep trying. Keep knocking on that door until it opens. CHOOSE to live, CHOOSE to love others more, CHOOSE to follow your passions, CHOOSE to not give up.

After my father left our family, my mother showed me exactly how you push through something even if you don’t know how. Even if you don’t think it’s possible. She accomplished the impossible. She showed me the path to get to where I needed to be. She showed me how to fight. She showed me life is worth living, and at the end of the day, it’s all about being around those you love and sharing experiences.

A friend of mine posted something on facebook that said, “Hustle like it’s all on you. Pray like it’s all on God.” My experiences have given me the tools I needed to know I can be great. I intend on being great. I intend on working my hardest to be the person I was meant to be. If you fail… Get up. Never stop getting up.

If you know someone who is struggling, or has come to a difficult time in their life, please send this message their way and tell them how much you love them. You wouldn’t believe how helpful that can be.




Not Worthy of Marriage

Not Worthy of Marriage

I finally have something to write about. Today I felt very strongly to post something on the subject of marriage. Maybe it’s for someone out there, or maybe it’s just for me to be able to think through my thoughts and process my feelings.

More recently has certainly been one of the most faith challenging moments of my life. Not too long ago, I had a young lady from the Cape Verde Islands reach out to me about some of her struggles, and what a strong soul she was. She said, “I’ve been feeling dejected, no enthusiasm at all in doing things… Even my faith has suffered a huge blow and I feel myself distancing myself from God.” At the time, I didn’t really have anything profound to say, other than just some words of encouragement. The truth is, we all have these times of weakness. Some may experience it longer than others. Something very strongly related to this with young single adults is marriage… The “M” word. We feel weak, like we aren’t worthy of something so great like a temple marriage.

I’ll be the first one to say I have things I have done in my past that I am not proud of. Things that have caused me to have very insecure feelings, and thinking I would never be worthy to a woman who wanted to get married in the temple. On top of that I have also had a VERY difficult past. I have gone through hard things that have made me feel like no one would ever want to take me on in a relationship because it’s just too heavy. I mean, how do you meat someone you really like.. And then tell them all of this stuff hoping they will actually stick around?  We usually don’t, because it’s scary as heck. We usually push away these great people and do something else… Have tons and tons of flings that lead absolutely nowhere productive… But we like it for that reason… And it temporarily fills a gaping void, so maybe we don’t have to feel so completely alone and worthless for that moment in time.

Well, you are not worthless. In fact, as a human being, you have infinite worth to our Heavenly Father. So, if we have so much worth, why do we feel so bad about our mistakes and our trials? Why can’t we let someone close? Why are we so scared that we will be judged upon our past rather than the great person that is right in front of them? This is something I have personally been trying to work very hard at to overcome. I have to really remember the healing power of the atonement. We aren’t not meant to be beaten up, scarred people the rest of our lives. We are meant to grow.. We are meant to mess up.. We are meant to repent and allow the atonement to work within us. And so it goes for our relationships.

To keep things simple, my recent hopes and dreams came to a speeding halt. I was SOOOOO confused about what to do with my life now. So, I got to thinking.. Praying.. you know. That kind of stuff. I realized that ever since I came home from my mission I have not allowed anyone to come close to me because I knew I wanted to move to another state after graduation, and let’s be honest.. Felt completely unworthy of something so great. In no way had I been trying allowing myself to become a better person to be a husband one day. I was completely selfish and just wanted to chase my dreams. I just wanted to do something for myself for once. Don’t get me wrong, doing things for yourself is so important… But I feel like we should also be aligned with something else… The eternal family. So, I came to the conclusion that I really needed to work on dating and preparing myself for the possibility of marriage. Cuz I have completely sucked at it.  I say possibility, because we never really know when that could happen. But rather.. Making the expression of faith and working towards it… I think that’s what’s important. It’s just that this experience really changed my perspective on how I am living my life. We aren’t supposed to be waiting until the perfect circumstances in our life to then decide to start dating with marriage in mind. I wanted to be graduated, have my own place, and have a great job before I ever wanted to take dating seriously. But now I don’t. I can honestly say, for the first time in my life, I actually have a real desire to get married. Dang it I want my freakin’ wife! And have cute babies with cute little socks! And.. I know I want a temple marriage SO bad. And there is a quote from Elder Holland that he quoted from someone else. I believe he said, “Love is the experiences you go through together.” And how beautiful that it! We don’t have to be completely “ready” but rather.. Be willing to work together to create something great and fall deeper and deeper in love along the way as we align our goals with Christ.

You know what, it’s hard.  It sure won’t be easy. There are times when you have to say goodbye to a situation because it is not in line with your goals. It hurts. Because, yes, you could have had  a relationship with them.. But it isn’t the right one to get to where you want to go. Another thing that’s hard is when you actually really like someone.. And it doesn’t work out. That’s  the worst. That’s something you could have easily avoided living your non-commitment life. But there is beauty in that! We all know the saying from The Fault in Our Stars, “Pain demands to be felt.” Yes it does. But so does happiness. You will have to get through that pain of putting yourself out there to get to the happiness. Just as much as pain demands to be felt, so does happiness. So, the next time you are shut down… Have yourself a good cry… Then have yourself a good smile… Cuz somewhere down the road… sometime… That’s what will happen next.

Be brave. We are all sinners. We all have experience trials that have left us hopeless. We have to believe that someone will come along and see through all of that… See through the  into our beautiful light that we all have.. Make us want to be a better person. Make us want to take them to the temple and love the living crap out of them for the rest of your life… You have to believe it… You have to trust in it…. You have to reach for it… Because if not… Then what’s the point?

YOU ARE MEANT TO BE HAPPY. So never stop searching until you find it.

You can catch me on Instagram: @jaromrocks

You can also email me: