INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT: Murray Family Reflects On Lululemon Store Re-Opening
The family of slain Lululemon employee Jayna Murray sat with Patch for an interview as the store re-opened last week.
Editor's Note: The family of slain Lululemon employee Jayna Murray sat with Patch for an interview last week as the renovated Bethesda store reopened to the public.
Murray, 30, was killed at the store March 11. Her co-worker, Brittany Norwood, has been charged in the murder. Friday, the renovated store re-opened to the public with a stained glass window piece bearing the word "Love" as a tribute to Murray. The community also gathered in a yoga practice Saturday morning to honor Murray.
Murray's sister-in-law, Kate, her father, David, and her mother, Phyllis, spoke with Patch about celebrating Jayna's life, connecting with the Bethesda community, and the emotional experience of re-entering the store where she was killed.
Tuesday, Patch posted an audio and slideshow file featuring a portion of the interview. Following is an interview transcript.
Patch: Can you describe Jayna and how you remember her?
Phyllis Murray: She’s energy. She would always greet you with a smile and a hug. As far as personal, she always set high goals for herself, and she would also set limits. Like, she received her bachelor’s degree in four years. And when she went to Johns Hopkins, her determination was to finish those degrees in three years. It’s sort of like she set a timeline for herself. She loved new experiences. And so therefore she always brought in ideas of, “What if I did this? What if I did that?” and, “I have a friend that…” and it was never enough to let it be her experience, she wanted it for herself. But with every experience, you grow. And usually one experience germinates to another experience…she loved adventure and she was never content. In meeting people, she loved people for who they were. She was not critical. If you asked her for help, she would give you an honest answer as to what she thought. In meeting people, she always looked for their positive sides, and therefore she developed an enormous friend base I don’t think she recognized.
David Murray: Jayna was very high energy, and she really did not fear anything for the fear of that thing. She would always challenge herself physically and mentally. Phyllis referred to the educational aspect – she didn’t fear education, she pursued it with a lot of gusto and a very positive attitude. She did the same thing physically. She decided to bungee jump, no big deal. She went and did that. Skydiving – she went and did that. These are things that, although they’re a little more common in that age group than in my age group, those are still things that would put fear in a person’s heart. She didn’t allow that fear to enter her heart, or her thinking. She just went ahead and did it. And what Phyllis said about, “Mom, what do you think about me doing such and such?” She never approached that in that manner with me. She always announced to me, “Dad, I’m going to do this.” I respected and enjoyed that part of her.
Patch: Tell me a bit more about Jayna and her connection to Lululemon. What did she love about the company so much?
David Murray: I think for Jayna the stock value or the pay scale was secondary to what was more important for her, and that was the camaraderie the company represented within itself. Also the company’s community efforts – she was very big on volunteerism and doing things for the community as a whole. I think those were very influential after she had done her research on the company, that’s what compelled her to become more closely associated.
Patch: I understand that Jayna was planning on sending her resume to the corporate office in Vancouver, so it sounds like this wasn’t just a job for her, this was something she really believed in.
Phyllis Murray: She very much believed in the company. She had experienced enough of the basics in the company that she felt she might have insights as to how to improve it, how to expand it. So she definitely intended to send her resume to corporate and she had talked with someone within the Vancouver office inquiring as to positions that might be available, and would this be a consideration for them. It was definitely a move she intended to do.
Patch: Why did you want to be here today, and what was the experience like for you this morning?
David Murray: We wanted to be here today to celebrate Jayna’s life and honor her association with Lululemon and all of the friends and the co-workers she had developed not just at the store but in the community itself, in Bethesda. A lot of the Bethesda community had befriended her, and that friendship had been returned by her to them. So it was more about her friends and associates than it was about the re-opening of the store. That said, we’re very happy for Lululemon that they not only had the ambition to re-open the store, but the wherewithal to re-open the store. But that was not foremost in our minds – it was a byproduct.
Phyllis Murray: Yes, it was difficult to enter the store. But at the same time, I very much wanted to go to the area where her body was found and have my moment of solitude and prayer. But overall, it’s about her life, not about her death. It’s about moving forward for all these people. And they are suffering just as much as we are.
I think the storefront – I can’t imagine. I had no idea. It was absolutely magnificent. And what a tribute. It was a hard day, but it was a healing day. And just to be around when love is exchanged, you can’t help but to have healing. And that’s so important.
Patch: Mr. Murray, what went through your mind when you first saw the window?
I honestly don’t know, but when I first noticed the window, I can tell you about that. When we first got there this morning, the electricity on the Lululemon store side of the street was all out. So for all practical purposes, we entered a darkened store. About the time that all of the associated gathered, and the corporate representatives gathered, and the three of us were there, the sun came through the stained glass window, and through the plain glass window, and I just kind of thought to myself, “Okay. Jayna’s here. We can start.” It was that quick, it was that forceful. And that’s when they did start.
Patch: And what did they do exactly, I know there was a sun salutation [yoga sequence] that happened?
David Murray: Actually, it started more in a re-introductory or re-meeting phase. It wasn’t until an hour later, after people had exchanged hellos and greetings, that one of the ladies actually started the ceremony with a short speech. And then that was followed by Phyllis and I sharing a few words, which prompted a couple of other people to say a few words, and so with that it sort of flowed back into the social aspect of the whole thing. There was no … the mayor wasn’t there to cut the ribbon or anything like that, it was a very relaxed, downplayed re-opening. Because what they were doing was celebrating Jayna and her memory.
Phyllis Murray: And there were laughter and tears. One minute you’d be crying and the next minute you’d be laughing. But it was very well done.
Kate Murray: I was going to follow up on that, because one of the greatest ways to celebrate Jayna is to tell stories about her, and she has so many funny stories. We could spend hours with these women and men and not get through half of them. Many of them, we had met before at an event right about the time Jayna passed away. So we knew the faces, they were familiar to us. And it was nice to see them, but there were new stories we hadn’t heard that first time we met. And it’s probably one of the greatest healing things the family has done so far. We were all very raw at the time, but it was like, this is her family too. And we just got to share pieces of Jayna. But yeah, there were a lot of tears, and a lot of laughter too.
Patch: If Jayna could have a message for us, for the Bethesda community today, with the re-opening of the store and all her friends and family gathered around, what would she try to tell us today?
Phyllis Murray: She would absolutely want everyone to set goals and do not postpone, do it today. And she would want every day to be a day of smiles and hugs, and doing this for others, and being genuine, and just being loving.
Kate Murray: Try it. Do it, rather.
Phyllis Murray: Get out there and do it. Everyone has a different self concept, and so often our self concepts are misconstrued by negativity. She would want you to get to know yourself and dismiss those things that aren’t true, and set a high goal, and take an inch-by-inch step every day to reach it. As she put timelines on herself, to do the same for yourself, and that way the world is a better place.
David Murray: One of the messages that Jayna always sent to her family and friends was do something that scares you. Give it a try. Because after you do that thing, you won’t be afraid anymore. Not of that thing. And then find something else.
Patch: Can you speak a little bit to the memory book that was given to you this morning? What was in the memory book?
David Murray: Pictures and words from her work colleagues and friends that came into the store and would leave messages. We haven’t had the chance to leaf through each page but from what I have seen of it, it’s very warm and heartfelt and very loving. It contains the memories of her friends and her work colleagues for us to have.
Phyllis: The good stories. The attributes they so much appreciated in Jayna and how it affected their lives. And then, the funny photos that we don’t happen to have, but now we do.
Patch: Can you speak a little about the [Jayna Troxel Murray] foundation – how it got started and where it is now?
Kate Murray: What’s kind of interesting about it is [Jayna’s brothers] Dirk and Hugh had the same idea almost immediately after everything had happened, halfway across the world – Hugh in Iraq and Dirk in Texas. They both felt they needed to do something and have something positive come out of this and promote Jayna’s way of life and keep her spirit alive. The two of them came together with this idea. Right now it has tax-exempt status, and we’re in the process of setting it up. The idea is it’s going to give scholarships to those individuals who are interested in participating in the same activities that Jayna participated in and that enriched her life so thoroughly, and we hope will enrich the lives of other people. Some of those things include semester at sea, study abroad, dance programs, Camp Kanakuk. The details of it need to be refined, it’s a long process, but that’s where it’s going.
Phyllis Murray: To give greater experiences, to broaden individuals, to push them to new thoughts, new ideas. So many people I think get stuck in routine. And we feel everybody needs to get out there and try something new and grow.
Kate Murray: Personal improvement was so important to Jayna, and we just want to keep that alive.
Patch: Do you all have any message or words for the Bethesda community today?
Phyllis Murray: Jayna loved Bethesda. The people that came into the store were people that were out doing things, they were trying new things, and she enjoyed helping people select gifts for others, because she liked to get gifts. Therefore that was one of her favorite things to do. She said there were many times people would come in with stories, and she had the opportunity to say, “Do it again,” or “What about doing…” And she was active enough in athletics and working out that she could offer more than just a line of clothing, she could offer encouragement….She liked Bethesda. She felt the people were so kind to her. She said she knew faces, but didn’t know names, and she felt the same was true of her. There were people that would come in and want to talk to the blond.
I’m so glad for Bethesda that the store has re-opened – and it hasn’t just re-opened, it’s gorgeous. Bethesda needs to get going too, and move on. We’ve received so many cards and donations from people in Bethesda, so we know they’re hurting. We think re-opening is a healing. And the love across the top has to be a reminder to move on with that in their hearts.
For more information about donating to the Jayna Troxel Murray Foundation, visit www.jaynamurrayfoundation.com.