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In Honor of James Dowling

A personal campaign sponsored by Marisa Occhiogrosso

July 24, 2020

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There are some days in one's memory that can be such a blur and yet so incredibly vivid. July 24, 2010 is one of those days for me. As are many of the days surrounding it. 

Grief is a funny animal. In my Artist's Statement for my senior thesis, I wrote the phrase "Grief is monotonous". I got a lot of questioning for that statement, but 10 years later, I stand by it. Grief creeps in at the strangest times but it never really leaves. I remember once, several years after James died, I was at one of 'our' restaurants, at 'our' table and I had been there many times before. But on that particular night I happened to glance at the table from a certain angle and immediately burst into tears. I feel my grief every day when I see dragon flies on my evening walks. Grief is there especially in times of joy. Grief is monotonous. 

Anyone who knew James knew his love of adventure. The blue jay tattooed on my foot is on my foot so I could walk with him on all of my life's adventures. Every year for his birthday and anniversary, I try to get outside and hike. My grief is there when I think about how much he would've loved climbing these mountains. This year, I am planning a 10 mile hike on the 10 year anniversary of his death. 

I thought I might use this as an opportunity to raise money for the Histiocytosis Association. It's still such a rare and hard-to-diagnose disease. I know there are so many causes calling for our attention these days, but if you feel so inclined, I'd love to offer the idea to pledge per mile. Whether that's $5 or $1... Set your own rate and know that I will be hiking 10 miles. 

Thank you.