vegetarian matzoh ball soup

I know, my Jewish friends out there will think this picture is torture. Hours away from the start of Passover, and I’m posting a photo of matzoh ball soup with pasta in it. The picture is from last year. The soup was made for the last Passover we celebrated with Mikey. I didn’t use the pasta in my shiksa seder the night his parents came over, but I did add it to the leftovers. A no-no still for observant Jews, but being a recovering Catholic, I was able to play by my own food rules.

A few days ago I had coffee with a new friend, and her words have been echoing in my mind ever since. Then I came across this quote in the December issue of Whole Living magazine—I’m quite behind in my periodicals as you can tell.

“Avoid getting trapped in someone else’s story. Be the author of your own life.”

Michael and I shared a story. It was a beautiful one. It was filled with love, friendship, honesty, trust. Part of his story has ended, not all of it, of course. He will forever live on in our daughters. The love he left me with radiates with my every breath, as unbearable as they feel to take without him here.

But his death is not the end of my story. It may define how I feel at this moment, but it does not decide who I get to be as the days, weeks and years move forward. I am not ready to give up.

I feel lost.

I feel broken.

I feel incredibly sad beginning this holiday weekend as everyone gathers with their families to continue collecting memories for their story.

Like it or not, August 7th began a new story for me. Not a chapter. My life with Mikey was a book in itself. I’m trying to embrace my life as a series, and now this is but another book in it.

This is my life. This is my story to make what I want of it.


  • anthea

    amazing as ever, happy easter to you 3 lovely ladies, I look forward to reading the new book-of-your-life as you write
    anthea x

  • Rose D., Frenchtown, NJ

    Jennifer, the story you shared with Michael and the girls will live on and be told for many, many years to come. I am wishing you peace and strength this holiday weekend. My prayers are with you and your family today and every day…Much love, ~rose

  • anna

    What an awesome quote. I know it’s probably a declaration and realization one would never want to have to make, but I think people have had to experience a loss like yours to understand how *healthy* what you’re saying is in this post. I would hope that, if in your shoes, and Lord knows one day we will all be there (though perhaps at a different stage in our life), that I have the resolve and courage to allow myself over that hurdle of understanding that part about life being a series, and one book ending, etc. I am going through some life changes right now and having to learn to accept that, but every day is a new piece of acceptance.

  • claudia @whats cookin italian cuisine

    Jennifer, I have followed you every horrific moment of your love for Mikey and the events of yours efforts to try and make the best of it for your children. Your strenght is astonishing as I dont know how you keep sane with this unique love you have for him and your children. I just want to say you are unique, unselfish and an incredible woman and I hope someday you will find another deserving man that will make you complete again… blessings to you and your girls.

  • Maria

    life goes on, we put in it what we make of it…I still cry every time I think of him. Our love was that strong…life goes on

  • Diane

    Happy Easter to you and your girls.
    With every post even though you share sad moments and some brighter moments I can see your strength and will to move forward show through.
    My prayers are with your family daily as you start your new book of life.

  • IlinaP

    I can’t wait to read all your stories…and to be a part of them is a privilege. I love you, Jennie P. Look at what a team we make – IlinaP and JennieP.

  • Tricia

    A parent of one of my 16 year old’s classmates asked what I would be doing for Easter and I said, “Oh, we’re heathens” but then I qualified it — I too am a recovering Catholic and it certainly can take a lifetime!
    Just returned from an impromptu neighborhood gathering of shared meals. Over the years – my neighbors/friends – our connected families have shared losses, celebrations, tears, laughter, and always: food. What a beautiful anchor our shared meals are – and you are certainly a master of food. While your family has seen terrible sadness, from here on out, your joy will be only more precious and beautiful.
    (And I’m sure, always delicious!)

  • Devon Cretella

    How poignant that you would feel this on Easter. To me, one of the significant things that I take away from the resurrection story is that when you think all is lost…think again. Blessings to you. Oh, I made matzo ball soup and put the chicken back in from the stock. Probably wrong from a religious standpoint, but very delicious 🙂

  • Denise @ Creative Kitchen

    (((HUGS))) Still saddened at all you’re having to face, but thrilled you have your beautiful girls & purpose to keep you moving. No way around it, live is hard. I feel blessed to call you friend, and glad we were able to meet. 😉

  • Karen

    As another recovering Catholic, this post reminded me of a song that we used to sing in Catholic school. I don’t remember the name of it or the tune but I do remember something about “When I was hungry you gave me some bread” and a whole bunch of lines like that. “I was cold you gave me a coat.” etc. etc.
    I’m not suggesting a spiritual or religious epiphany, I just wanted to acknowledge your wisdom in identifying your emotions right now. Because once you know you are lost, then you can look to be found. And when you are broken, you can seek repair.
    In whatever way works for you. Your friend is so right–your story is your own. And I am not convinced yet that it is a new book. Perhaps a new volume. Or the next in a series. Or maybe it is a new book, made from whole cloth. Regardless, it belongs to you and I admire you for being able to craft your story with such clarity and passion.
    Whether you are celebrating a religious holiday this season or just enjoying a very pretty spring, I hope that this is a season of rebirth for you and your family.

  • Cheryl Arkison

    Jenny, it seems fated that I’m reading this post and the last one today. When I wrote and delivered my Dad’s eulogy last year I spoke of story. How each of us has a story but that none are independent. I shared parts of my Dad’s story. His story became everyone’s that day as they heard it, as they remembered their stories with him. And then I encouraged everyone there to make their own story and ensure those around them know it, live it, and remember it.

  • SK

    Very brave, very honest, and very very true. Continue to be strong for your girls, but most of all, for yourself. You’re never given a burden greater than you can bear.

  • Robynne

    Funny… I was caught off guard the first time you said he died… I am equally caught off guard by you referring to him as Michael. As I watch the stages of grief I wonder about these things… you are amazing btw… not that you are going through it… because well… what choice do we have really… but that you articulate it so passionately that we go through it with you…