Thursday, August 11, 2011

for love. and peanut butter pie.

peanut butter pie
over six years ago,
we were visiting colleen and christian
when i got the kind of call you
never want to get. not ever.
and not in the house of your
friend's boyfriend, no matter how wonderful
they are. it was my mother,
telling me that my ex-boyfriend - the
ex-boyfriend, who i dated for six years,
starting one month into our freshman
year of college - had died. we hadn't
spoken since one month after our
break up. to me - to everyone - the horrible
accident came out of nowhere.
had we still been a couple, i'm not
sure how i would have managed. if i'm being
honest, i still don't think i've fully recovered.
from that phone call.
from his accident.
from knowing that even though we would never have
been remembering together anymore,
i am now the only one who can know our memories.

to say that i was an immense worrier before
his death, would be fair. i have always been
fearful of things large and small.
but after that, everything was elevated.
i dream about him, about trying to stop him from
stepping into an elevator or leaving the room.
when i wake up, i panic for my family.
when i haven't heard from or can't reach
my mom,
my dad,
my sisters,
my grandmother,
i hate myself for it, but i obsess over the worst.
i hate myself for allowing myself to think things
that are not doing anyone any good.
my mind is set to catastrophe.

on monday morning,
the first thing that i saw were three
tweets, in a row, with the message that
a food blogger had lost her husband
unexpectedly to a heart attack the day before.
i follow jennifer perillo on twitter.
i read her blog.
i've known her as an active member of food52.
the closest i've ever been to her, was making
her homemade manicotti for larry last winter.
but, when i saw the tweet, i was unable to focus
on anything else. i drove to work shaken and
all day my mind wandered back to jennie and
her two daughters. when larry got home from work,
i tried to tell him what happened
and shocked both of us
when i started crying uncontrollably.

when i calmed, i hugged him. hard.
then, i told him about jennie and her
two young daughters and how we really don't
know each other, but through her tweets,
i knew about her date nights and that i've
been meaning to try her lentil-ricotta meatballs
and that the hardest thing for me - and i've come
to find out, others - to see, was that her last tweet
before she lost her husband, was about canning
marinara and getting ready for their vacation
to cape cod in 13 days. i felt for jennie in a way
that i did not know i could feel for someone
who i did not personally know.

jennie posted last week,
talking about her husband in a way i believe
few of us would have the courage to do. and,
in a time when i think many of us who know
her peripherally, felt helpless, jennie asked for
us to make her husband, mikey's, favorite dessert,
a peanut butter pie, on friday, to honor
him and those who we love the most in our lives.

and, so i did.
i made the recipe exactly as it was
written. i tried not to sweat it when my crust
crumbled a little into the melted chocolate
layer, knowing that was not the point. the point
was that even on friday, five days later, jennie, her
husband and her daughters were still on the forefront
of my mind and, because, my family was even closer. i
made it for the people who i love and have loved.

and, i served it to my family tonight.
i told them the story of our dessert and
about the hundreds of food bloggers who came together
to make peanut butter pies for our families, and in
our hearts, for a family who many of us do not know.
as we ate, i showed them this video
that has brought me to tears each
time i've watched it. and, we talked about showing
the people that you love, that you love them, always.

for the pie recipe, to see more about the
amazing food community that rallied or
to learn more about jennifer's strength,

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