First Anniversary

Today is an anniversary that I wish didn’t exist.  I must write about it because it feels wrong to let this day pass by without reminding everyone that something awful and earth shattering happened a year ago today.  But, it’s snowing in Ohio.  (On March 21st!  What is going on with this weather??) Currently, my ability to pick a snowflake and watch it fall until it hits the sidewalk greatly exceeds my ability to figure out what I want to communicate today.


On this snowy Friday, I’m remembering Chon, who I loved so much and who was killed a year ago today.

(El Era Guapo.)

This morning has been spent journaling through the day that it happened.  Getting the text, then call from Laura.  Scouring the Teleprogreso website for proof that it had(n’t) happened.  Talking to his brothers and trying to figure out how I could get myself on the very next plane to Honduras.  Crying.

The journaling ended with remembering the last time I saw him.  A low security juvenile jail near Teguc.  IHNFA was on strike so I technically wasn’t allowed to visit.  But we had come all that way.  I chatted and cajoled the guard at the gate until he went to talk to the Director who agreed to let him come see us, as long as he didn’t come out and I didn’t go in.  A few minutes later, there he was.  New haircut.  In a dark green polo, the uniform for the workshop he was attending.  Gigantic smile on his face.  He looked so good.  We awkwardly hugged over the gate.  (Turns out it’s really hard to hug someone when you’re simultaneously worried about the rusty and jagged pieces of metal sticking out of said gate.)   The visit was this odd blend of rapid and excited chatter from both of us.  This detention center was a fairly good place.  He was in school.  Learning how to make belts.  He had a side job with cellphones.  (I didn’t ask too many questions about this as I’m sure that it was less than above board.) The Director liked him and was trying to get him out early.  He may even be in Progreso while I was still in the country!  But he still talked vehemently about taking revenge on the boy whose accusations landed him in jail in the first place.  I left him feeling like I always felt after times with Chon.  Thinking about how much I enjoyed and loved this child.  And overcome with feeling like he’s the most stubborn person I know who refuses to loosen his grip on his pride.

But what do I want to communicate to you today?  I know that I want to spare you any more excerpts from today’s journaling as I suspect that this is largely interesting only to me.

Last night I was talking to Lauren about what this day might look like.  She said:

“Take time out to think through the good and the bad and how his life has impacted today and what might happen with the future he created. You can have a mostly normal day.

Just don’t let him be forgotten.”

Right there is my goal in what I’m writing.  It’s not the most profound post I’ve ever written.  (Embarrassingly so.)  But I want to put him before you today.  I want you to remember him and maybe miss him a little as well.  He was a whole mess of good mixed with bad.


And gosh do I miss him.

So, today is an interactive blog day.  It’s your turn to do a little bit of writing.  I would love to hear stories about him today.  Did you know him?   Please tell me about him either in these comments or by emailing me (  This is actually a selfish plea as your stories would so make my day.

And together we’ll make sure that Jose Concepcion Murrillo will not be forgotten.



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2 responses to “First Anniversary

  1. Leionne McCulley

    Jenny, I am so sorry for your and the world’s loss. I know what it is like to care deeply about the people you work with hoping to make a difference in their lives, and then lose them. Know that you did touch him in a special way, and who knows what fruit will grow because of the love seeds you planted through him; only God knows. God bless you and the work you do.
    Aunt Leionne

  2. Where to even begin. I remember when I first started teaching him to take pictures. It was before I designed the course I taught later that year, but his interest and excitement was contagious. Naturally, he was talented – he was the kind of kid who would be good at anything he tried. I remember my disbelief (and dismay!) when I found how he climbed to the top of the cross with that camera, as well as the feeling I had as I looked through those photos. I’ll always remember his charisma, sense of humor, and especially that smile. I think about him often.

    Thanks for writing today Jenny, and thanks, as always, for doing what you do.

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