parallel lives

I started out en route to the farmers' market yesterday. The weather forecast was grim, with threats of rain, yet I was blessed with a face full of sunshine as I made my way to the subway. Instead of heading right to Union Square, I took a detour for what Mikey's best friend told me was an amazing cup of coffee.

David didn't disappoint, and I know I'll be going out of my way often to sip an americano at Abraco. They also have some killer pastries—I intend to eat many more of the buckwheat cakes with pistachio cream until I figure out how to make them myself.

While meandering down Second Avenue, I found myself at the corner of St. Mark's Church, and memories of Mikey came flooding back. We spent much of our time in the East Village, and though we walked past that church dozens of times, we never stopped to actually walk up the steps and absorb its history. Perhaps this is something he may have done before we met, but we certainly never did it together.


It's moments like that one where I'm reminded of all the questions still left unanswered. After 16 years, there was still so much more to be said, so much more to ask, to discover.


Right now life feels like a parallel journey. I walk with a heavy heart, but it doesn't weigh me down. I can't afford to let it do so. There is simply too much life left to be lived, and I won't let grief eclipse that fact. People often tell me I'm lucky to have experienced a love so deep. There's no comfort in their words, considering I'm still relatively young.

If Mikey was my once in a lifetime, then what does that mean for the future?

We're all broken at one time or another in our lives. It's what we decide to do with the scattered puzzle pieces that decide the next step, the next story of our lives.

So I face each day with a smile, and take a lesson straight from the very last entry in a journal he wrote 18 months before we met:

I'm still young, fairly healthy and I know love will come my way once more.

Then, I'll remember how to dance again.

I'll see all the colors once more. I'll routinely move mountains again.

If hope ends, all else fails.

Mikey laid those words to paper, sitting on the very couch where we first curled up in each other's arms. He wrote them on October 16, 1993. We were married 11 years later, on that very same day. I chose the date, never having read his journal at the time.

Fate is quite mysterious and devious. It may hold the secrets to my destiny, but I will not give up control of the steering wheel without a fight.


  • tea_austen

    Sending big hugs to you, Jennie. None of us know what the future holds. joys and sorrows both. All we can do is walk the path as best we can, go after our goals, cherishing the sweet moments and the people we are lucky to love.
    I know that you are, as best you can. xox

  • jude jam

    Sometimes dear jenny, life sucks real bad, but still: grab on to it and hold on tight. because deep down, it is precious and full of good things whether they will come or have come already. be brave not only for your kids, but also for yourself.
    a hug from me to you.

  • Sharon

    Your strength and determination to really find meaning in this life, are very inspiring. You are an amazing person and your daughters are very lucky to have you as a mother.

  • Kelly Senyei

    This is such an incredibly moving and inspiring post, Jennie. You are a daily inspiration and I am so thankful to have met you. XOXO
    JP’s Note: Kelly, the feeling is so mutual my dear. xo

  • Diane

    Incredibly inspiring post…
    It just shows you by reading Mikeys last journal post that you are still getting strength from him.
    He will always be with you in some way to help guide and love you.

  • April

    I’m a firm believer in the universe giving back the energy we put out, and if that’s the case, I think wonderful things will be in store for you because you have such a giving spirit. That may seem forward from someone who has never met you, but from your blog that’s what I get. There’s always hope, and you do have a future.

  • Meredith Tuten

    Did you also notice that you posted this (April 25) the same day the picture indicates the corner stone was laid for the church? Interesting.
    Thank you for sharing your story, grief and will to press on with us.
    JP’s Note: Thanks for pointing that out Meredith. Pretty cool.

  • A Facebook User

    It sounds like Mikey was a beautiful and incredible piece of your life time, but that doesn’t mean he will be the only beautiful and incredible piece of your life time. I don’t think there is any reason to believe there aren’t other wonderful and deeply meaningful pieces of your life time to come, when you are ready for them. (((Jennie))) .

  • Susan Link

    Jennie, I was going to point out the date the cornerstone was laid was same as your post date but looks like another beat me to it! Blessings to you as you are looking forward.

  • msg

    i can totally relate to you .. a year ago my hubby was diagnosed with a type of heart disease that anytime he’s heart can just stop. he’s in his mid forties and we have young kids too… reading your posts is a glimpse of what awaits me in the future..preparing me for what lies ahead..the inevitable…your strength gives me comfort…

  • Mark_Gu

    I only know you through your blog and your tweets. I’ve been worried about you since that awful day when Mikey was taken from you. I wanted to help but didn’t know how. Your words scared me, to be honest. The battle you were facing was unimaginable. With this post, I am relieved to read positive thoughts and a determination that shows how strong you are. Plus, you’re a great writer.

  • Marian

    Your words resonate with me so well, almost too well. I lost my husband to cancer twelve years ago. I had just turned 44 and had married half my life.
    Grief must be met head on and dealt with. If not, one never really lifts that veil that I felt covered my eyes for awhile.
    Your posts are inspirational and your words are strong. Thank you for letting me be part of your journey through your writings.

  • Cristie

    This one’s a killer. Not sure how I missed it the first time around. I hate that you hurt so much anyway because you are one of the good ones and good ones should be rewarded. But then. Then! When I am reminded of how he was one of the good ones too and your’s is truly a love story, it’s even worse. Your story is so rare-that beautiful and yes, undying love. It sucks even more that it had to end. I know these are not at all words of encouragement. I just wanted to share that you’re not the only on who thinks it’s all so stupid and unfair.
    Love you lady.

  • Alison (Fueling for Fitness)

    There’s nothing to say that hasn’t already be said… but your post moved me so much that I felt compelled to comment. Your words are so incredibly pure, beautiful. To experience a love so deep is something I know you’ll always be thankful for. It also means you are capable of such a love, and I believe for whatever reason, love always finds us again when we least expect it — if we believe in it, that is.