day 518

I was all prepared to ignore the obvious, and simply talk about artichokes today. Figuring out how to go back to life as usual on this blog has been a struggle. I have moments when I think I’ll pretend he never died and share the best biscuit recipe ever with all of you.

The sun is streaming through my office windows right now, and that usually perks me up like a morning glory. Not happening right now, folks. Since I woke this morning at 5:15am, I’ve gone through no less than four mood swings, from happy to sad, to frustrated and overwhelmed.

Today is 18 months.

518 days.

At moments, my heart feels so full and loved I can hardly stop smiling. And then fear strikes because I know the outcome. It’s as though I skipped to the last page and read the ending of a gripping novel, and have spoiled the joy in the journey because now I know where it all leads to.  The box of ashes sitting in my office is a reminder that forever is more myth than reality.

Then I do my best Cher a la Moonstruck impression, and tell myself to snap out of it. And here I am, ready to finally discuss artichokes. I’m leaving this post “as-is”, here in this spot of the blog. You can read all about my artichoke follies here. When I worked on the redesign, the idea was to have a place where I could simply write about family and life, and keep the food separate. The lines often blur. I’m not saying there will be a neat separation of grief and everything else in future posts. Just for this moment, these feelings—they needed to be a in place all to themselves. There is nothing neat or perfect about grief, but at least I can try to get a reign on it for this one second in time.

It is time to really start moving forward. Time to start living my life to its fullest. Time to start being more happy than sad. Time to start forgiving myself for wanting to be happy. Time to accept that it is okay to be loved, and love, again.

Music Pairing: Here, There and Everywhere by Paul McCartney


  • Carol

    I just want to reach through the screen and hold you. Please don’t be hard yourself for all the emotions, ups and downs, and everything else you go through because from where I stand you are incredible. I can’t ever imagine being as strong as you. Maybe I could be, but I can’t imagine it being possible. Be happy, choose happy, seek happy — but if you find yourself sad, that’s ok too. xoxo

  • Kristen

    I was just having a similar conversation with my sister-in-law this weekend… about how she is suddenly realizing things will never be better but she is starting to see that things can still be good (if that makes sense).
    I love that you merge your recipes and life… that, to me, is what makes your blog special. I hope you’ll continue.

  • Gina

    Jennie, just keep being YOU. There is no separation between the two, if you read your posts from BEFORE 518 days ago you didn’t try to separate it all out nice and neat and compartmentalized. Just be you. Let the writing and the cooking and the love all be the answer.

    Hugs and love and support to you.

  • Beth Gallagher

    Ah crap, Jennifer. I’m so sorry, because you so deserve to be with your love. Forever IS forever, but you just happen to be in different locations right now. He is watching and loving you just as much as always. He’s in the soft rain on your window, the breeze that flips up your hair, the sound of your beloved children laughing, and all the things that make you love your life. We’re all loving you too. xoxoxo

  • Amanda

    Can I just say, from a purely objective standpoint that your writing voice manages tragedy well. I mean, your voice carries the tragedy beautifully. Not that this matters to you, especially today, but it takes talent and poise to pull off deep emotion. So thanks.

  • Tracey A

    Good Morning Jennie,
    How I look forward to your posts!
    I admit I too would like to don my coat, tuck in from the San Diego cold (ha ha, real cold…34 degrees at night) stay in my jammies all day and NOT face the world. Sometimes you just feel like that, but you put on your morning glory face and go on. Well, I guess it is what it is and you feel what you feel. Nothing wrong with that.
    I hope I don’t sound too polly anna. I have been a bit funky too, lately and have no reason for it. I am back to the store, at work, in which Tom and I met. It is a odd feeling for me, it often makes me switch back in forth, from present to 12 years ago. When we worked together, but did not date, he sent beautiful roses to the store, anonymously. He did that several times before I figured out who did it! Very romantic, very special. A lot of history at that store. He received that 4rth transplant at that store. My friend, a girlfriend who passed away, was at that store.
    Ok, let me put on my exercise clothes and snap out of it. I am in a morning glory place, with a man that loves me. Work calls at 6 am and I will don my smiley face and greet the day, for it is good.
    Love your food,
    Wishing you rainbows, smiles and hugs and some morning glories thrown in for good measure!
    Tracey A.

  • Mary

    Smiles and hugs to you. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) life goes on whether we wish to spend longer at one spot on the life trail or not. As the poster above said, your beloved is there in the soft patter of rain… The thoughts of good times will hopefully soon be more frequent than the bad. Love seeing you heal, and especially love your recipes/cooking tales.

  • Diane

    I hope you choose to move forward and to love and be loved again you and your girls deserve it, it doesn’t mean you forget or love him less because you move on it’s just life it’s what we have to do.
    I love this post and the way it captures your life,feelings, love and food all together to me that’s comfort.
    The best in 2013….

  • Julie

    I don’t think it’s possible or desirable to separate grief from food and love and life. Missing is an important part of your life, so is happy and laughter. Your honesty, love and humanness that you so articulately express is special.

  • Laura

    Jennie, you remain amazing. Food is love and food is comfort. Food is hope and food is healing. It brings memories of heartbreak or recent wounds, but with it comes the memories of celebrations and joy. Thanks for posting the link to this private space.

  • Liz

    Sometimes when I feel how happy I am I feel guilt that I met my current husband after my first husband died (young like Mike.) But then I realize how lucky I am to have loved and been loved by two such wonderful men. Live in the moment and know you deserve to be happy.