Two weeks ago today most of the food blogging community received some devastating news about one of its own. That particular day was a busy one for me….I was celebrating my mom’s 60th birthday with her, so I didn’t receive the news until Tuesday, August 9th. I grew concerned when I saw a post titled Hurting on my friend Merry Jennifer’s blog. You may remember that she and I met at Food Blog Forum last April.
As much as I love Twitter I’m surprised I didn’t catch the news there, but over the summer I haven’t been as active on twitter as I normally am. So I began reading Merry Jennifer’s post with baited breath and an anxious heart. It seemed cryptic at first and I was trying to figure out who she was talking about. And then there it was…..Jennie’s tweet referenced in a linked blog
“He’s gone. And my heart is shattered into a million pieces.”
…..“Oh no….it can’t be,” flitted through my mind. Not her. Jennifer Perillo of In Jennie’s Kitchen is a Twitter friend, a very gifted writer and though we’ve never met in person I feel like I know her….we have so much in common.
Jennie’s blog is one of my very favorite blogs to read. Just a few weeks ago after returning from my vacation, I settled in with a cup of tea and Jennie’s blog to catch up on what she’s been up to. I settled in to relax since every word of hers soothes and inspires the soul at the same time. Jennie and I have very similar food philosophies, and my two youngest daughters are the same age as her two girls. By the end of that marathon session at Jennie’s blog, I had made notes to myself to feature her blog on Creative Kitchen, and that I wanted to try her 1 minute mayonnaise. And since it uses an immersion stick blender…I put that on my wish list.
It was at that moment that I wished I could travel back in time….back to that day of sipping my tea and relaxing In Jennie’s Kitchen…..because then her husband and best friend Mikey would still be alive. I wish we could take it back. And as much as the news of Mikey’s death shook me to the core, I know it’s a small drop in the bucket compared to Jennie’s grief. No matter how many prayers I pray or how often I think of her, it will be a long time before that grief starts to lessen. And that just makes me cry again….for her and for her precious girls. I hope you will keep them in your prayers too.
As the story unfolded, I learned that Mikey suffered a sudden massive heart attack when out helping his daughter ride her bike. One minute he was helping her, and the next he said he needed to sit….and that was it. He was gone. If you watch the video Jennie posted on her blog One Last Dance of Mikey dancing with their daughter, you’ll notice how fit he looks. He seems the picture of health. It’s just not fair…..so heartbreaking.
Jennie has begun the process of trying to understand what’s happened to her the only way she knows how….writing. In this time of great turmoil and reeling from her loss, she’s managed to share her heart over at her blog and give us a small glimpse of her reality. And because we all love her, we want to know what we can do….we want to help. Jennie I think surprised us all when she said,
“For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.”
And there it was….do what we do best. Do what we know. Get in the kitchen and cook for those we love. Make something special for them. Make this pie in remembrance of Mikey and for Jennie and her girls, and hug those we love close.
I’m really not surprised how the food blogging community has rallied behind Jennie in this time of her grief. I’ve mentioned time and time again how supportive and incredible this group of writers are. But I was still overwhelmed as I saw all these peanut butter pies popping up all over the internet. So many in fact, that many popular websites have devoted entire pages to feature them. A collection of some of the first ones made are featured at Food Network. You simply must stop over and see for yourself. It’s amazing!
I’m a little late in the game with my pie for Mikey….but I know Jennie will understand. That Friday August 12th when they gathered to celebrate Mikey’s life….the day most made their pies for Mikey….I was unable to get in the kitchen. I put the pie on my list because I was busy with the other part of Jennie’s wish…..spending time with those we love.
My brother had flown down to spend some time with my family. My mom, brother and I are in the process of learning our new normal. My father at the young age 59 was diagnosed with early onset dementia last year. My brother flew down to spend some quality time with my dad while my dad still knows who he is. We shared a wonderful 4 days, family meals and took family pictures of the four of us. We made memories together.
Last Thursday night my hubby, girls and I went out to buy the ingredients for this pie.I decided on a peanut butter butterfinger pie since Butterfinger is my husband’s favorite candy bar. It just so happens that peanut butter and chocolate is his favorite combination. I don’t make treats for him nearly enough because we really try to focus on healthy eating. But you know I’ve been thinking….if he wants a treat, he buys a treat….and how much better is a homemade treat?
I’ve been hugging my husband tighter these past 2 weeks. I can’t even begin to comprehend what Jennie’s going through, because I’ve never walked in her shoes. But I did almost lose my husband before we were married. Not quite 5 years after meeting, and just 22 months after we’d found each other again, he almost died in a near fatal car accident. It’s a story I’ll save for another time, but it was serious. He lost over half his blood, spent 3 hours in exploratory surgery, 3 days in ICU and 8 days in the hospital. It was the worst 8 days of my life wondering if he was going to make it.
I got “the phone call” that he’d been in an accident, and for almost an hour I pleaded with God to spare his life while waiting on a ride to the hospital. We were in college, and I was stranded babysitting someone’s kids. He had just dropped me off, and then it happened. The day before cell phones were in everyone’s hands….December 13th, 1994.….a day I’ve never forgotten, remember every year….and every year I thank God that he spared his life. I thank God for my 3 precious girls, and the family we have that would have never been.
But as traumatic as that day was, it also a gift. From that day forward I’ve never taken a minute with my husband or my girls for granted. And though I’ve had to battle certain fears that it instilled (namely I‘m very strict about who drives my kids since I fear that phone call again), I’m more thankful since it’s given me the gift of always living in the moment….making every moment count….grateful for the day we’ve been given and very aware of the words Jennie uttered,
|A peanut butter butterfinger pie for Mikey||
- Graham cracker crust or make own
- 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup organic peanut butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup chocolate chips, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1½ cups whipped cream, homemade
- 3 butterfinger candy bars, crushed
- Melt chocolate. Pour ½ of melted chocolate onto crust and refrigerate. Set other half aside.
- In mixing bowl, mix together cream cheese and peanut butter till fluffy. On low add in powdered sugar and mix till blended. Add in rest of melted chocolate and vanilla.
- Fold in whipped cream and 2½ bars of crushed butterfinger gently. Reserve ½ candy bar.
- Spread mixture into crust and top with ½ crushed candy bar. Freeze for 2 hours and then serve. Can store in refrigerator or freezer.
This recipe linked up with What’s Cooking Wednesday, Let’s Do Brunch, What I’m Loving Wednesday, Women Living Well, What I ate Wednesday, Show and Tell, What’s on the Menu Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, It’s a Keeper Thursday, Delightfully Inspiring Thursday, Food Trip Friday, Friday Favorites, Friday Potluck, Finer Things Friday, Mouthwatering Monday, Mangia Mondays, Homemaker Monday, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, My Meatless Monday, Made by You Monday, Tuesday at the Table, Tasty Tuesday, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday & Tasty Tuesdays.