showers and sunshine

Paris and I have become fast friends. I say that with a bit of a heavy heart knowing I will have to say goodbye to her two weeks from today. Funny how when I arrived two weeks ago, I wondered if this trip was a mistake. It took me a week to find my footing, and understand that even if I was a stranger in a different country, I was still the same person lurking within my own skin.

As I write and watch the rain pour from the sky, the weather mimicks the tears yearning to come out. The dam broke a little this morning as I climbed the stairs to my apartment. I’d just finished a shop at the organic farmers’ market on Boulevard Raspail, and as I turned the corner to my block, the reality that it was yet another Sunday hit me hard. Tears flowed past the rim of my sunglasses, and I couldn’t hold them back.

At this time 49 weeks ago, I was still sleeping in our bed. He was awake with the girls, letting me sleep in as he always did on Sundays. I would wake to make love to him, cook breakfast, and eventually go out and do something I always do—shop for groceries.

I went out to buy groceries and in a flash, he was gone forever. Now I find myself staring into a corner of the ceiling sobbing, with a pit in my stomach. It took coming to Paris to realize the next part of my journey—how do I accept that I never got to say goodbye to him?

He was dead by time I ran the two blocks towards him.

We could have entire conversations with our eyes, though, and the look in his when I got there seemed to say “I’m sorry”. His death took even him by surprise. The doctors said it happened instantly. I wonder, and worry what that moment was like for him. Was it like someone slamming a door shut, and is his soul wandering, in shock trying to still understand what happened? Did his life really flash before his eyes, like a movie montage? Did he remember the day we met, our first kiss, the day our daughters were born—our wedding day, wrapped in each other’s arm dancing to Tupelo Honey?

Today began with such peace. I woke and dressed before anyone else stirred. I walked a few blocks to stroll the market before the rest of Paris woke too. No one shoving me, my confidence stronger after being here for two weeks. When I came across an Italian stand and eyed some Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, it didn’t even occur to me to switch to Italian. French had settled into my vernacular. I stumbled upon a stand selling homemade English Muffins and thought how much he would’ve love them, and then why didn’t I ever make them for him?

And then like a loose thread on a sweater, I slowly unraveled. I thought about this being the halfway mark in our trip, and that in two weeks I’d be packing to head back home. People often say “see you later” instead of goodbye, feeling the latter carries too much permanence—that it’s too final. At least it’s a closure, though. In some cases it’s much better than feeling like someone pushed you from cliff, arms flailing in hopes of a safe landing.

What Paris is teaching me so far is that I have the ability to be my own safety net, even when I don’t know the language or the customs. Once that truth settles into my heart and mind, I know I’ll be okay. Even now Paris and I are in sync. Showers and sunshine have been in a bitter battle for the last hour, wrestling for control of the weather every 15 minutes. Right now, golden rays fill the sky, and my heart feels a little lighter, or perhaps just more capable of facing the rest of this day as I go in search of a baguette on a Sunday afternoon.


Le Penseur at the Rodin Museum.


  • Diane

    “When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen…there will be something solid for us to stand on, or we will be taught how to fly.” ~Patrick Overton
    Thinking of you. ~Diane

  • Catherine Dominguez

    Thank you for this glimpse into your day…into your life. It makes me feel envious and grateful at the same time. Enjoy the rest of your stay and safe travels back to the states.

  • Amelia

    You inspire me. I may not comment much but I devour every word you offer. I send light and love to you and your girls every time I think of you.

  • Lena

    i think it is better to be extremely happy for a short time , even if you lose it, than to be okay the rest of your life. the way you write about him, about loving him and missing him makes me think that you lived what some will never experience and that is a privilege.
    i hope you enjoy the rest of your trip you should try the raspberry tarts at laduree xx

  • Tracey Alvernaz

    Good Morning Jennie,
    You know how to make me cry first thing in the morning.Your adventurous spirit took you far from home and has brought you love and some understanding, yes? Sometimes I feel you are brandishing a protected heart.I hope you are able to reach out to others that may be feeling the same way you are? I often sit here trying to get the words to come out right, but they elude me on most occasions. I wish I could pick up the phone and lend a helping hand, thought or just be able to listen to you and your voice. Your love will never be forgotten by Mikey. He remembers now as well. Look to the heavens, the clouds and whisper his name—he will hear and be there. And He will be there as well. Don’t forget that too. I am STILL praying for you and the girls.
    Wishing you sunshine, love and bright clouds of love and remembrance.
    Tracey A

  • Maria in NJ

    our faith says that if you accepted the Lord Jesus as your Savior that the rewards of Heaven are yours…when my oldest son Chris was 5 years old he had a febrile seizure and stopped breathing. By the time I got to him he was blue. I panicked and ran out of the house screaming, my screams must have been so loud and disheartening that neighbors came out of their houses to see what was wrong. My neighbor Linda is a nurse and revived him. Chris told me that there was a bright light that he was traveling to, and at the end there was a man that told him to go back, it wasn’t his time, he said that it was my dad, that he never meet. I believed that story with all my heart. I know that we will see our family members again. Its my faith and the love of the Lord that says I will.
    Jennie I was thinking of you the other day… I was thinking if I ever lost my husband what my life would be like and you popped into my head. I got considerably sad to think of how hard your journey must be. We survive because we have to. You’ll be fine because you are a strong woman, but I know it is rough for you. I wish you only good things Jennie…

  • Martha T

    Tears and heartache for you from Texas, but a comfort in knowing that you are finding your way along this path. I am so very sorry that you are here, but oh the loving memories that will always be with you. ♥

  • Rio

    Thank you for continuing to share your journey with us. I’m so happy that you have let Paris in and are able to really experience it. Enjoy the next two weeks. And if you haven’t already, take the girl’s to Amoreno for some of the best gelato on the planet. Also, if you are in St. Germaine go to Chez Marcel and Moustache. Best meals I’ve had in Paris.

  • Diane

    Your post is beautifully written and heart warming even though it’s somewhat sad.
    I can feel you wanting to move forward even when certain memories are trying to bring you back a few steps.
    You have to go out and make each day a good one !
    You never want to forget what was.

  • Angela

    Thank you for your posts and for sharing your heartache and your hope. You always give me something to think about and to wonder upon. It is sad that we cannot go back and redo moments. Many of us wish it were so. But if you have memories of love and laughter and special times, those are the ones that will carry your heart.

  • Sarah

    Beautiful, Jennie. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Grief is so full of truth and we live in a society that is overly uncomfortable with the process. You are incredibly brave to put it out there. Much more laughter and tears ahead. I know you cherish every moment. Blessings. Enjoy the remainder of your trip. There is nowhere quite like Paris.

  • Dana

    Jennie, like so many of your posts, this one is so evocative and real on a very difficult subject. You express yourself beautifully. I’m so glad we got to meet in that lovely city, albeit briefly, and I look forward to the next time.

  • Patri

    My father had a heart attack while he was sleeping, my mom was calling an ambulance and my brother was trying to get calm.
    He died while I was talking to him at bed, in a desperated way to hear his voice again while I shake his shoulders. The doctor revived him and he still lived six months, but in a mental and physical conditions that I don’t desire that experience even to my worst enemy.
    He died five days before Christmas. We’ve never been the same again.
    So ms Jennie, I can’t imagine how much hurts when you lose the love of your life, I see my mom everyday trying to recuperate her normal life but I’m not able to understand what’s on her mind and I can’t do anything but hug her when she starts to cry. I just know how much hurts to lose a father and it’s a pain that I will have in my heart forever.
    I’ve cried with this entry, and though maybe this comment will never see the light, I will be happy thinking that you’ve read it.
    Lots of love and hope from Spain.

  • Wanda

    Jennie, this is the first time I actually leave you a comment on your blog. Can’t seem to stop crying and my heart feels very heavy right now. You are a very strong woman and most of that strength comes from the girls. I have channeled my strength through my girls many times and it seems to help giving me a big push to continue on my journey. I do wish you the best and even though I know you have plenty of good friends, but if you ever need me just contact me! Hugs and continue with your journey in Paris!

  • Chris

    You have such a beautiful way with words, Jennie! Love your photo of The Thinker – so appropriate. Happy you and Paris are in sync 🙂 Hugs!

  • Peggy Sherry

    I am sitting watching Sunday being born. A beautiful morning with the sun just beginning to make us aware it is here, small shadows below the leaves of the trees and the plants still have a chance for a short nap. I met you last year this time because of pie requests from another blog. It has been a hard year, a learning year, a year of questions. One thing though I have learned from you is that you had love, a love to fill your world, birds fly we know and I know you had love. I hope Paris gave you a couple of miracles, some smiles and memories to build on. Life is always there we just need to know just like the wheels of a bicycle we must move for there to be a trip.

  • Laura/DaPFG

    Jennie…missing your updates. Hope Paris treated you well, and your spirit is retaining some of the goodness you found there. <3

  • April

    You just make me so proud. I don’t know you and I’m entirely proud of you. You are your own safety net and nothing and noone can take that from you. Proud! Enjoy your trip!

  • rakhee

    hi jennifer,its almost a year later after your loss i write to you,i accidently read your blog after i came across another food blog,i am 34 years old and lost my dad 4 yrs ago exactly the way you lost mike …i was expecting my son then …and after that ihave always dreaded sundays,i’m the eldest and have ignored my grief as i took my mother ans sister under my wings…constantly pushing them to be brave…but when i read your blog ,i just let go after 4 years just came pouring are so strong,i pray for your girls and you and may you get all the happiness and strength to get on..the pain does not go away but i hope you get on with life and share the love you have in you again….


    I probably should’ve read this later at home rather than at my desk at work because now I’m sitting here sobbing, tears streaming down my face, and coworkers walking by wondering what on earth is wrong with me.
    But I also took this moment to tell my husband how much I love him, how grateful I am that he is my husband, and that I feel that and think that way EVERY SINGLE DAY.
    I’m so very, very, very sorry for your loss and I will pray for you.

  • AlexandraRS

    As a young woman without a husband or children, I wanted to let you know that the way you write about your husband is an inspiration. I hope to find someone that I can love as much as you have loved your someone. It’s in every word of this blog– whether before his passing or since. Singletons can be jaded about “true love” but every time I read your blog I’m uplifted and hopeful. I hope I can write about a husband and a family I adore as much as you do yours.

  • Jean

    Thinking of you this morning and hoping you are okay. Have you returned from your Paris holiday? Wishing you safe travel and the knowledge that there are many who think of you and hope for your happiness.