to have and to hold {day 68}

This is the last anniversary card Mikey had the chance to give me.

He didn't know it would be the last.


I didn't know it would be the last.

I do know that to have and to hold was supposed to be a lifetime.

Today I board a plane to Long Beach. I leave my girls with a dear friend for 48 hours, but with hesitation. I worry if something happens to me. In fact, I called another friend to tell her where my will and other important papers are just in case.

I know, though, that this weekend will be tough. Sunday is our anniversary. October 16th is a day that used to compare in excitement only to my birthday. Both of those days will be tough this year, next year, and I suspect pretty much everyone hereafter, though the ache might become dull and more manageable.

I knew I couldn't be there for my girls this weekend because I'd barely be able to tend to my own emotions. I needed to be selfish for these next 48 hours.


I know Mikey will always be with me, whether I can see him or not.

It may be a scent or a Seinfeld reference.

It may be running into an old friend of his at unexpected place, like the bar at Gramercy Tavern this past Thursday.

He will most certainly be there every time I look into the chocolate eyes he passed onto Isabella and Virginia.

One day we will meet again. I know this in my heart, more so than I've ever believed in anything. He may not be Mikey, and I may not be Jennie, but there will be a moment. A deja vu, where we both wonder, perhaps aloud, "do I know you".

Our hearts will forever be entwined and betrothed to each other.

Even death is not powerful enough to break the bond of a love this deep and true.


Happy anniversary Mikey. I love you.


  • Jenni

    Sometimes wisdom lies in knowing when to be selfish. Take care of yourself and your heart this weekend. My best to you, Jennie.

  • Jessie

    Happy Anniversary. Your love will keep him alive in your heart forever. It might make you sad at times to be physically without him, but remembering some of the good times will make you smile and laugh too.
    “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”

  • Mimi

    Lovely, just lovely pictures Jennie, you looked stunning dear…I love the last picture of you and Mikey dancing…the waiter (I’m assuming) by the door, his head is slightly bent…watching two people in love…
    this is no doubt going to be a very tough weekend for you, and yes, you will see him again, you’ll see…

  • Janis

    Have a safe trip sweetie. There is nothing else I can really say. So many people really care about you. Sending love your way.

  • Food for Todd

    It’s been amazing to see the love you and your husband shared. I can tell how much you both appreciated each other, and it’s a wonderful reminder to others to do the same.

  • Samantha

    Beautifully written. You brought tears to my eyes! I wish you a peaceful and fully self-indulgent weekend.

  • jennie

    From one Jennie to another, my heart is with you this weekend. I am just one of many offering love and support from afar…

  • Kel

    Do I wish you a Happy Anniversary? I think yes. You had many wonderful years to celebrate; it is an occasion to be remembered and memories to be cherished.
    Your words make me cry, and I am so happy that I am finally in a relationship where I feel what you write.
    I wish you peace this difficult weekend, but know that he will be with you.

  • Ann

    That was beautiful, sad and heart warming all at once. I wish I had the perfect words of comfort, but I can say I’ll be thinking of you on the 16th

  • Jennifer

    On the evening of our 20th anniversary (Oct 12th) my husband was travelling back home from a few days way. He was expected home at 1am. I had gone to bed after tucking our two sons (aged 10 and 8 years old) into bed. I woke a 2am realising that he hadn’t come home yet. I thought of you Jennie. What would I do if he didn’t make it home? Would your nightmare be mine tonight? I waited until 2.30am to call him. He was just turning the corner into our street. He was fine and running late as he had stopped for something to eat and it has taken longer than expected. I thought of you Jennie.

  • Devina

    Although I don’t know you, I read your blog regularly and am amazed by your words. They make me cry (a lot of the time) but also smile at how you describe your love for your husband and the love you shared. The card that has been dealt to you sucks. But you seem to be the type of person not to take this lying down. Your husband wouldn’t want it any other way, I’m sure. Happy Anniversary, Jennie and Mikey. Your love will definitely live on forever. xx

  • Clair

    Dear Jennie,
    Here i am reading one of your posts in the middle of the night as i have just finished feeding my 4 month old. That is what i do lately…check your blog for a new posting or scan through the old postings and read them for a second or third time. Oh, and i have made peanut butter pie 3 times since you blessed us all with your recipe. I guess you could say that i am a bit addicted to your amazing words. Thus far in life I have been extremely fortunate to be surrounded by the loved ones i have arround me. I often say outloud that i am one of the luckiest people in the world. But i think that your blog has elevated my appreciation of my husband, family and kids to a whole new level. I hug them tighter and a little more often, play repetitive games with them more than i used to just to hear their joy, i compliment and encourage and kiss my husband like i never have before. I guess i am trying to say thank you. A deep heartfelt thank you from all of us that are crying with you and trying to hold on to our lives with you. I genuinely wish i could return the favor. Somehow i am hoping this message brings a little smile to your face. I can tell you deserve a lifetime of goodness and i mean it. The couple minutes i take to read yor blog have changed me profoundly. Thank you jennie…

  • Quay PO Cooks

    I see me in you. It is like a replay of me and how i felt after I lost my Mike 21 years ago. Each time I went on a business trip, I write a list of things needed to be done and who to contact if I don’t return and give it to my mum. I make sure she knows where the will and other important documents are kept. She was rather upset when I did that the first few times but then, as time goes by, she understood completely where I was coming from. Even until this day, I practice the same thing when I go on a trip. I guess I am used to it. You are doing the right thing to have sometime alone and it will help you heal. HUGS

  • Tracey

    When you meet again, you will know him. I hope your dreams reveal your favorite moment. I am sending love your way….
    Tracey A.

  • Beth

    Eternal marriage… For Time and All Eternity… Not just “till death do we part”… There is a way. Wishing you a peaceful weekend as you celebrate the love that you share.

  • Rivi

    I’ve been following your story for about a month, but have not yet commented. I’m so sorry to learn of your loss. Like so many others, I admire your strength and your honesty. I wish there was something more I could do, but for now, please know that many strangers who follow your blog admire you and send you love and support.

  • Erin

    You & Mikey really do have that unique bond that transcends time, space and now, heaven. Thinking of you every day and will be doing so especially this weekend. You are an amazing woman, Jennie. The fact you must dig so deeply for daily strength is not lost on any of us. Please know we are always here, listening.

  • Kimmy

    Beautiful, beautiful words. I’m sending strength to you this weekend. Take the time for yourself, remember the love that’s still there… thinking of you!

  • Nina

    Indeed this weekend is another big hurdle for you Jennie. Take courage in knowing that Mikey is with you everywhere you go. Take time for yourself, you need it. I wish you a peaceful weekend and to come back refreshed, renewed. Je vous embrasse.

  • Jeanne

    I’m one of the many people who found your blog just over two months ago. I hope that sometimes you find a bit of comfort in all the love and prayers that surround you.

  • Stephanie

    Sending extra supportive energy to you through the universe this weekend. Beautiful post, gorgeous photos. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

  • Terry Carter

    I can’t imagine what you must be going through. I hope your weekend will give you a chance to be alone with your feelings. Grieving is sometimes very personal. Hugs

  • Kim in MD

    What a beautiful post, Jennie. This will be a tough weekend for you. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, as I have been doing everyday since Mikey passed away.

  • Kristen

    Happy Anniversary Jennie and Mike. I can’t match your eloquence or your gift with words, but I will think of you tomorrow. I hope you can feel all the heartfelt good wishes that will be coming your way this weekend, and I hope that love and comfort surround you like a blanket.

  • Carolee

    Oh Jenny! I don’t know what to say…your hurt is so palpable…I ask God that He ease your pain and help you go on without so much heartache…please know that people care and wish there was something we could do……

  • Elizabeth

    He must be working extra hard to send his love to you this weekend. I’m across the country, but everywhere I turn, I see ‘Dream Big’ messages…lavender-filled pillows to help you sleep, coffee mugs to wipe the sleep from your eyes. So if he can be seen here, I’m confident he will reach you. My thoughts are with you.

  • Kelly

    My 83 year old beloved, brilliant, humble father is coming for dinner tomorrow night. He is forgetful. He is frightened by that. I hate to watch it. I adore him. When planning my dessert I thought what better than “a pie for Mikey”. I made it tonight with the help of my friend and her 10 year old daughter. Neither of us are good cooks, but we all 3 jointly laughed and cried and even though I thought we would drink it instead of eat it, it is now firm and beautiful. – “Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.” Thank you for sharing your sorrow and your joy and your life with us. I will be thinking of you tomorrow, especially as we slice our beautiful “peanut butter pie for Mikey”.

  • Cheryl Arkison

    Happy Anniversary!
    And can I say that I’m jealous of the cards and notes Mikey left you? My husband is not one for words, so I save the notes he writes on scraps of paper telling me to impersonate mould a few days after I had surgery and he went back to work. It’s all true love.
    PS You guys looked gorgeous on your wedding day.

  • lauren

    I am so touched by your strength, Jennie. When I read your posts, I feel tears coming on in the back of my throat and I get those knots in my stomach. I hope you know how many people are sending you warm thoughts. It’s good to take time for yourself. You are not selfish in that decision.

  • Kara

    Thinking of you today. I, a stranger, wish you peace that transcends all understanding as you bravely navigate through all of these firsts. You are such an inspiration!!

  • von

    Yes, love is eternal. I have no doubt that we will one way or another see our love ones again in another life, time, or place. Be good to yourself.

  • lauren

    Thank you, Jennie, for holding your lamp high so I may know the territory of my own heart
    I’m holding you in my heart
    Happy Anniversary

  • SB

    I have no words – every one of your posts since that day has made me cry… and appreciate my family even more so… sending warm and comforting thoughts your way… and I hope you emerged from your moments of solitude feeling stronger and with some peace to continue healing.

  • Beth G.

    What a sweet love story you had and have. I know your anniversary will be hard, but I also know that Mikey will be with you. Sending love your way, and kisses to your girls.

  • will

    Try to remove the thought in your head that leaving is being “selfish” You know in the airplane when they tell parents to put the oxygen mask on FIRST and then help their kids.
    This is the same thing.
    You’ve got to take care of yourself so you can take the best care of your children.

  • Roz@weightingfor50

    Hi Jennie. What a beautiful and poignant post. I’ve only recently started following your blog, so hadn’t seen a photo of you. You look JUST as I imagined you would, lovely on the outside as well as the inside! My best wishes to you on what must be one of the toughest days to endure so far!!! The love between you and Mikey will last forever!!!

  • Beth

    Hi Jennie.
    I recently found your blog & your words have touched me.
    I just wanted to let you know truths that I know:
    You will see your husband again. You will be you & he will be himself. Relationships, experiences, knowledge we take with us beyond the grave so it will be a joyous reunion when you see him again; you will pick up where you left off- just in a different place, a place where everything makes sense. You are in my thoughts & prayers.

  • Deborah Mastio Kuhner

    A friend said I should read your blog. My 47 year old husband, too , died suddenly, 5 months ago. Your past entry made me gasp as I too saw a balloon rising. ..silver..for me…… just after a Reiki treatment made me feel alive again and almost carefree! Our anniversary gloomily approaches this month also. You inspire me to get dressed up with my 8 year old boy and go to Legier, my husband’s favorite restaurant in New Orleans. I think I will….

  • ATR

    I stumbled upon your blog thanks to thekitchn and have felt humbled and honored to read about all that you have been going through since your loss. I am so sorry.
    Thank you for sharing your love story… and all the fantastic recipes that are made with this love. You have been blessed…

  • Teresa K.

    so – The weekend has passed and truthfully, I keep looking for your posts. Think about you and the children often and yes, even though you’ve stated you don’t believe(? – do I have that right?) pray for you all. Hang tough Jennie.

  • Mae Folk

    Thank you for sharing! This is the first blog post of yours that I have stumbled upon, but I just wanted to express how sorry I am for your loss…he will forever be in your heart!!

  • Delia R.

    I don’t know you personally but i read your blog regularly and I find it very inspiring. I can’t even pretend to imagine that i know what your going through, because my heart aches at the thought of having to go through such a great loss. that’s why my heart aches for you and your little girls. I wish you nothing but happiness and peace. I pray that God may give you the strength you need to go on in days that you feel like you can’t.Please remember that the love you and Mikey STILL have is eternal. He is always with you and your girls in spirit. God Bless you and the little princesses today and always!!:)

  • Diane

    I can feel the strong love in this post and the photo of you snuggling up in Mikeys neck brings tears to my eyes!
    Happy Anniversary!