Friday, August 12, 2011
Loss and Cooking and Peanut Butter Pie
I don't really know Jennifer Perillo, though I met her briefly during Eat, Write Retreat, and there heard her speak from the heart about blogging. But, I feel I know her much more intimately than that limited contact, as I've read her blog for years and she's a person who shares herself on her blog, much more than I tend to do. I've made her recipes (she cooks everything from scratch) and I've read her posts about her family: her challenging relationship with her now deceased father, her two sweet little girls, and her husband, Mikey, and how his love has helped heal her childhood wounds.
I feel all the more involved in her life since Monday morning when I learned via Twitter, that her husband had died the night before, of a sudden heart attack. It was, as she put it on Twitter, a "sucker punch." I felt for her, for the loss of the man who helped her so, whom she loved so deeply and with whom she had every expectation of spending the next 30 or 40 years.
I haven't inserted my story into any notes that I've sent her or posted on food52 or Twitter as this is her pain and it's not about me. I don't presume to know how she feels as everyone's grief is different and every unique person handles grief differently. And I haven't lost a husband, in my thirties, with two little girls who've lost their very special dad. What I do know is the kick-in-the-gut shock of an unexpected loss that changes your life. Sitting on a kitchen stool eating lunch on a sunny afternoon, still in the no longer sweaty exercise clothes from earlier in the morning, when a phone call comes and it's like the Towers fell right in your house. Worrying how other loved ones will react, cope, worrying how your children will react.
And Jennie's loss brought me right back there, to a place I remember with a physicality that surprised me. The teary eyes, the constant weight on the chest, the effort it requires to take each breath. And yet, amid her grief, Jennie paused to write on her blog, a tribute to her husband and a regret that she had not yet had time to make his favorite, peanut butter cream pie. She asked that others make this pie today, Friday, the day of his memorial service, in support of her and her girls, and as a symbolic gesture of carpe diem love and appreciation for loved ones.
Though I didn't make that pie, I did cook for my family, as I do each day, with the same love and as mindfully as I ever have. Hundreds of other bloggers made, photographed and blogged about that pie. There are links to posts on CNN, food52, Food Network and all over Twitter and Facebook. Jennie's post was a reminder to show our love and live fully every day, the blogging community has shown that it heard her and that for most of us, we show our love through sharing our food.
How Jennie was able to write, let alone think up such a lovely tribute to her husband and a reflection of her love is astonishing and a testament to her strength. I can only thank her for her most meaningful message and hope that this community outpouring helps buoy her through this time.