moving forward day

Today is 13 weeks since Mikey died. That's 91 days, or more than 2,000 hours. I still keep waiting to wake up, but as I've said before, I don't think that feeling will ever dissipate. I'm pretty sure it will become a dull ache, one day, but the place he holds in my heart will forever have a "reserved" sign engraved in it.

We're finally settled into our new home, just a few blocks from where Mikey and I first planted our roots together. The girls are in the same schools, and our dear friends are still close by. On all accounts, this move was the best of the both worlds. The proximity allows us to maintain our normal schedules and lives. This move was akin to a snake shedding its skin, the walls in which we lived are part of our old life. Those surroundings were holding us back from moving forward.

As I write, the girls are playing in their new sun-filled bedroom. The floors are covered with bright flowered rugs to bring some elements of the outdoors inside. My room has more light than I've had the privilege of enjoying in my home in 13 years. It's hard to not smile when you have this much light flowing through the windows.

As we head into a cold New York City winter, this sunlight will heal us. It will penetrate the heavy feeling in our hearts, and soothe our souls.

Our new space is smaller, but I like that feeling of coziness. I feel comforted being able to glance up from the kitchen counter as I mix pancake batter and see all my ducklings in a row. In this case smaller is better, much better. I've already made conscious decisions to free my life from a lot of the clutter and noise that existed in it before. I think many of us don't recognize how crowded our lives are with physical objects, or how your attention is pulled by this vast technologically driven world. Sometimes it takes a life-changing event to realize less is more—more fulfilling.

So, I've shed cluttered kitchen equipment—no microwave or toaster. I figure the extra few minutes it takes to melt butter on the stovetop for pancakes allows me to take an extra breath and reflect on the meal I'm about to make. Isabella loves toast, but I don't need a special appliance for that—my broiler does the job perfectly. These little things are helping me think more clearly, silly as they may seem.

I've also put myself on a technology diet too. I want to focus on the actual instead of the virtual right now. I'm so thankful for the deep, lasting friendships I've made from my blogging world, and want to spend more time cultivating them. I can only do this by making the deliberate decision to power down more often.

For now, I'm going to spend the rest of this quiet Sunday enjoying the sunshine with the girls. But first, I need to go clean up the dishes from this morning's breakfast you see up above. I hope everyone is finding time to enjoy the little moments, and hug those they love a little tighter, keep them a little closer.


  • Viviane Bauquet Farre / Food and Style

    Jennifer, we’ve only tweeted a couple of times, so you might not remember me, but your journey for the last 91 days has touched me greatly. I think of you often and send good energy and love your way. Your post today is very moving and I admire your courage. May all good things come to you. With love, Viviane.

  • Kristin

    Sunshine, children playing, a good breakfast (and even the dishes to clean), and gratitude – my heart is full with your healing process and for the hope that it sounds like you’re sharing with yourself and your girls.
    Congrats on the new place!

  • Hannah

    Thank you for these words, Jennie. They resonate deeply with me. My best friend died three years ago when she was 40. During the year she was sick, she taught me what truly matters – the little moments, clearing clutter and noise from your life – and I learned so much from her. I’m sorry it took her dying for me to bring life into sharper, more meaningful focus, but what she shared was a gift I carry with me. Wishing you lots of sunlight as you move forward with your daughters.

  • SuzyMcQ

    I find the light therapeutic too, Jenny. Think of you and your girls often and keep you in my prayers.

  • Glenda

    Toasty bacon…yum…my fav!
    So glad that everything is going as well as it possibly can with the move and the girls. Wishing you only the best.
    Peace & strength to you and the girls.

  • Karen

    I just gave Brian a kiss. Thanks for reminding me. Wishing you lovely blessings in your new home and sunshine on even the rainiest days.

  • Lisa @The Cookie Jar

    Simple statement. You sound as if healing is slowly taking hold. I am devastated for the reasons, but so grateful to be a tiny part of your healing process. It is empowering to so many to see that it can actually exist. Does this make sense? Love and strength to you and yours.

  • AmandaonMaui

    I understand trying to shed some stuff, and to decrease time spent with technology. I’m becoming cynical and angry by reading too much online. I’m losing sight of life and the beautiful things I have in it. I’d rather spend time with my lover, my cat, on the phone with my parents, or hanging out with friends. I’d rather be reading a good book, or listening to music. I’m trying so hard to break away from all of this stuff. It’s hard when we become so connected to all of it. But, it can be done.

  • Ness [Six One and Then Some]

    Hi Jennie,
    I was recently recommended your blog by a friend and I’m sorry I didn’t come across it in happier times.
    You’re right, those little moments are definitely worth enjoying, as is hugging your loved ones a little tighter. I’ve been going through something that, whilst nowhere near the magnitude of what you are experiencing, still makes me appreciate the little things a whole lot more.
    Keeping it simple and healing through sunlight and pancakes. Good philosophy 🙂

  • Cheryl Arkison

    People laugh at me because my ice cream maker is on the counter, but this pregnancy aside, I make ice cream more than toast.
    I sense a lightening that goes beyond the physical here. Always thinking of you.

  • Emma Oliver

    I’m so glad that you’re focusing on the important things. I was Saddened to read about your loss, through this i’ve realised that i need to work less and focus more on my loved ones. I can’t even imagine the pain of losing my Partner. I sincerely hope that one day you’ll be able to really enjoy your thoughts of Mikey without there being total sadness.
    Thinking of you, Emma.

  • 8383WB

    Sunlight–color–cozy. And a yummy looking meal. You know you are giving your girls much comfort. We continue to care about you:)

  • Terry

    What a sweet photo and a lovely post. The little things you are doing do not seem silly to me, they seem wise and nurturing. I’ve been doing a bit more of old fashioned cooking lately. Autumn is good for soups and breads like my mom and grandmother used to do.

  • von

    yes…less is sooo much more. I’ve been into the minimalist movement (not anything extreme) for the past year and each day I feel lighter and lighter as i let go of clutter and possessions and try to keep only things that I use almost every day. With less things cluttering my life, I see things with much more clarity and appreciate the things I do decide to keep and the people around me more. Whenever I find myself wanting to get things, I try to remind myself of something I once heard which finally makes complete sense to me “the more possessions you have the more they possess you”. Enjoy your new place and take care.

  • Rachel Willen@FoodFix

    They say moving can be as traumatic as a death in the family. Not in this case, where the tragedy of loss inspires the move and actually helps in the healing. Many blessings in your new home.


    powering down, simplifying . . . taking time to just breathe . . . inhale, exhale . . . i so appreciate these words . . . a simple reminder yet one we frequently forget because we’ve got our heads down and plowing thru life instead of being present in the now . . . funny, but we moved our microwave off a main kitchen counter to a less used part of the space and i have to say i don’t miss it . . . got rid of our toaster a year ago and haven’t missed it one morning since . . . simplifying is good
    hugs to you and the girls Jennie, and wishing you everything good and new and happy memories in your new home . . .

  • Kim in MD

    Moving…it is a way to cleanse and purge and a time of renewal. It sounds like it’s just what you and your girls need right now. I wish you all the best, Jennie.

  • Nicki

    The lessons learned by all of us through your beautiful and poignant posts are simply priceless. Much love and sunshine your way, Jennie! And, thank you for opening your heart to us.

  • Kathy

    The one thing about powering down is you leave yourself no place to go but up. What a good way to create a new normal. God bless you all.

  • Hiedi

    Jennie, I have come across your site when I was looking for a recipe on food networks site. I have read many of your posts and just hope I can be half the person you are. I really want to tell you, since reading your posts my heart goes out to you as a married mom to 4 beautiful children (I too have an Isabella)and you may not know what you do for people on a daily basis but I have drawn strength from you. I have always been one to embrace each moment with our family but you really have been a symbol of what true family is to me. I want you to know that I made your Spanakopita for my family and they loved it! I have never made anything with phyllo dough before so I felt a great sense of accomplishment, so for that, thank you. I will be on your site frequently looking for more delicious recipes and reading your posts…have a beautiful day with your little girls.

  • Brenda Boitson

    I have enjoyed following your widow journey (ok, enjoyed is a HORRIBLE word to use for that) on Twitter (I follow you @crazywidow). The widow club is a tough one, and like you, I too moved into a smaller space and am continually working towards de-cluttering my life to enjoy the things that are actual. I hope the move proves even more worthy than it already is!

  • Tracey

    I often don’t know what to say and maybe nothing is necessary. But I feel that since we have something in common, it is helful to me as well. Although time has definately slipped by for me, since Tom has died, I still feel the twinge of sadness,walking along your memory. As you write and move along, you are constantly aware of just that.”I am moving along.” No more, no less.So remember that the light in your room is the light of Mike and others that are shining down their love for you. We are ALL praying for you, your children and your lives. May the strength of that light continue to grow in your hearts. You will never be forgoten…………Love T.

  • SimplyTastyBits

    Beautiful post. Hope you enjoy your first few nights in the new place, savoring the feelings of new and strangeness before it becomes commonplace.
    The breakfast looks delicious too!

  • Diana Yin

    Jennie, I know we only know each other over Twitter and your blog, but my heart really goes out to you and your girls. You’ve always struck me as an incredibly strong person and have always inspired me with your creativity and resourcefulness and the great energy you put out into the world. Sending good vibes your way.
    Warmest thoughts,

  • Ashley

    You are a fantastic writer. I identify with so many of your emotions. Thank you for sharing. Sending you good thoughts and wishes.

  • Hin Man

    I am so happy to see that you and your girls are doing great with the move. What you have shared really bless each one of your readers. May the sunshine keeps you warmth and the bright lighting give you strength and fullness in life. I can’t stop praying for you and your two little girls. Blessings will continue to accompany and surround you as you have lived a life to bless others.

  • Dana B.

    Haven’t had a microwave for a couple of years and love it. On a different note, I thank you for posting everything you have since Mikey passed away. Last night, a dear friend of mine died unexpectedly and now I want to do what I can to help her husband and three young girls. Hopefully everything I’ve read here will help me help/support them.

  • Patricia

    I lost my husband almost 24 years ago but not a day has gone by that I have not thought of him even though I have moved on and made a new life. There is that part of me that is reserved for him. His death made me truly appreciate those I have in my life because they can be so quickly taken.
    You are right sunlight is healing and I am wishing you an sbundance! Blessings and Love

  • Maria

    ewwww pancakes with the little butter rim…yummy…I am uncluttering my life as well Jennie, I have sold so much of my possessions on e-Bay, I mean how much “stuff” do I actually need. I have been organizing too, getting my ducks in order, like you said.
    The new place sounds wonderful, you always said that you ran on solar energy, so the sunlight is good, I love the sunshine too. Yesterday was our 29th wedding anniversary, I held him tight and kissed him and told him I loved him, when you are with someone for a long time(32years)you take that person for granted, they will always be there. Your situation proves that wrong. Hang in there, keep yourself busy (that helps) and please keep on writing. I see a book coming…

  • Bevi

    I am glad you are having a nice transition to your new home. May you be surrounded with love and friendship with the upcoming holidays.

  • Pam

    I found your blog about a month ago, around the same time I moved to NYC (Brooklyn). I so look forward to reading. And I so agree on decluttering. I’ve recently given up my to-do list because I realized I’d become obsessed with it…focusing on getting things done, quantity vs quality, and not enjoying the actual DOING. The important things will get done.
    Happy housewarming!

  • Kristen

    “So, I’ve shed cluttered kitchen equipment—no microwave or toaster. I figure the extra few minutes it takes to melt butter on the stovetop for pancakes allows me to take an extra breath and reflect on the meal I’m about to make”
    I love that…and think it is such a brilliant idea. I may adopt that here.
    So glad you are finding some sunshine! Think of you often.

  • Mary

    Your new place sounds great, Jennie. Sunshine will help with the healing and hopefully bring many smiles to your faces. Powering down is always an excellent break and a reminder for me to focus more closely on those around me.

  • Rita Juse-Cirkse

    You don’t know me, but your story moved me deeply. I’m so sorry for your loss and happy to hear you’re moving on, however slowly.
    Thank you so much for sharing and happy housewarming for you and your daughters!
    Rita from Latvia/Europe

  • Jessica

    I’ve never met you, and I’ve only found your blog after the tragic loss of your husband. I couldn’t imagine losing my lover and best friend and being able to hold it all together. I’m happy you’ve found something that can help you smile through the darkness, found that simplifying provides opportunities. God Bless you and your sweet girls

  • Kathleen

    I hear you about decluttering the world you live in and appreciating the people around you. I have learned my lesson the hard way and now I can say that you don’t need very much to be happy. The material objects in life are so trivial in the scheme of things. However I have to say I donated our microwave last year and have not missed it one bit. But I did just purchase a new stand mixer this week after our old one burned out so I could start baking again. Although an investment I can fill our home with delicious homemade treats instead of buying them from a store. I’m so happy that you are settling in to your new home.

  • Jennifer

    Dear Jennie,
    You don’t know me but I’ve been following your blog for some time. My mother died when I was nine years old, so I feel a unique kind of resonance with your girls and all children who have lost their parents. I realize this is completely unsolicited, but I wanted to tell you about a book called When Children Grieve and an organization called The Dougy Center. I so wish these resources had been available to me back then. Please excuse the unsolicited interjection into your life. I am inspired by your vulnerability and carry you and your girls in my heart.

  • Kelly

    Dear Jennie,
    I came across your blog and I wanted to share with you someone I know in a situation like you. Her husband passed away this year. She has two small children and it has been hard.
    Maybe you may gain strength from her blog:
    Good luck and God bless. I know there is a God and He loves you and will watch over you and your sweet children.

  • Sacha Irizarry

    Hi my name is sacha i am 22 i lost a baby more then two yrs ago she wasnt even 4 months old premi but i still cry though i do have to admite that the pain is less now that i think of resurrection i think about her everyday i know were never going to forget but the pain does get less intense there are things you say in your blog that catches my attention i as well feel that way.. Thank you for putting it up its nice to know theres ppl that do understand these feelings and dontthink your crazy because they have never gone threw it.. XOXO

  • Bettyloug

    Sometimes people come into our lives and we are uncertain why. Today I am especially thankful that you have come into mine. You are an amazing, beautiful, and loving woman Jennie. Thank you for your willingness to be so transparent and honest in your posts. May you and your girls be graciously blessed as you unwrap this new season in life. Sending you all loving kindness from afar.

  • Michelle

    Jennie, I am so happy for you and the girls. I know what you mean about the sunlight. I felt the healing power sink into my bones today. You have touched so many lives, Jennie and made us think.
    Thank you for that gift.
    The Perillo Girls will be in my prayers (and my heart) 🙂

  • Tracey

    Thank you for sharing your journey Jennie.
    A very dear friend of mine lost her husband of four years this past September. She too, is a young mother of a 3 year old son.
    I cannot tell you how your generosity is helping me to be a better friend to her.
    Thinking of you,