Thankful Thursdays 08.04.2016

Thankful Thursdays 08.04.2016 | In Jennie's Kitchen

I knew it would be hard, just didn’t realize this hard. This week. Sunday is five years since Mikey died, to the day. I’ve been walking in the same steps as I did five years ago, except I know the ending.

I used to refer to it as passed away—died felt so permanent. But that’s really what death is no matter what anyone tries to tell you. Yes, he is in my heart, every single day. But death, make no mistake—it’s an ending of the physical part of your connection to someone. I don’t mean physical in the way you might be thinking, either. I’m talking about the smaller moments that make up a life together.

The glance back when you part ways on a street corner, turning to see if the other person is looking back for one last peek to keep the moment going. Have you ever noticed these kinds of exchanges between people in love? I watch for it all the time, both in my own relationships, and in the ones I’m in.

Life, or rather, my time with C was a crazy one because we never actually lived on the same continent, he being in Morocco and France, and me in Brooklyn. He always looked back. The problem is he just couldn’t see into the future enough to get over the fear of the present. I’ve never really talked about him here, but for some reason that just popped into my mind while writing, and today truth serum seems to be on the menu.

I miss M’s laughter, and the way he used to rub my feet every night after a long day of standing on them in the kitchen. I miss the way he’d roll his eyes at my hair brain DIY kitchen ideas. I miss the way he used to play dress up with our daughters.

Why do we deny this fact? Why do we try to gloss over it with “he’s always with you” sentiments? Perhaps this is why grief is such a mind fuck. To deny the disconnect that happens when the human connection is severed is unfathomable, and yet that is what our culture does.

I don’t know where my mind is this morning, as my thoughts are neither here nor there. They’re somewhere in between, I suppose. I woke up with the idea of making hasselback fingerling potatoes, because you know, that makes all the sense in the world when you have a mile-long To Do list staring at you (recipe coming soon, good gravy they were SO good).

The repetitive slicing motion provided an escape from my thoughts—slice, repeat, slice, repeat. I was so in the moment at one point that everything ceased to exist; it was just me, my fingerlings, and the task at hand. This is what preserves my sanity. The moments I can control. While many retreat from the kitchen, it’s my safety net.

And so here I am now, feeling a little more refreshed and ready to tackle my day. I may spend a lot of time reflecting on the past, but I’m always looking forward, regardless of what other people think. Emotions are the gears of our soul, constantly shifting to get us where we need to be. Sometimes we get stuck in neutral, other times we accidently go in reverse. But eventually, we find drive. It’s just a matter of how many passengers have the patience to keep their seatbelts buckled for the ride.


  • Rose D'Angelo Designs

    I’ve been thinking about you and the girls. I continue to pray for you all and send love and hugs across the river.

  • Jenn

    I know exactly how you feel. I lost my husband almost 17 years ago with 4 little sons to raise alone. He is still missed to this day, but we do not dwell in the past or fear the future. It just takes living one day (or hour) at a time as that is all we really have, yes? Spending time in the kitchen is my therapy, too! Two of my sons are now chefs, so it must have worn off on them! Truly enjoy your blog and words of wisdom. God bless!

  • Nora

    Beautifully and eloquently put, the way you write about Mikey makes it evident what an incredible person he was. I’m so sorry for your loss.
    Our culture is very good at avoidance. I think for the most part if someone has never had to deal with unimaginable grief themselves they feel invincible and untocuchable. In order to really feel someone else’s grief takes a great deal of empathy or experiencing it one’s self. This has become clear to me after the unthinkable death of a very close family member. People would echo sentiments like “it was God’s will,” or “I don’t know how you do it, you’re so strong,” people just don’t have a clue what to say for the most part and are uncomfortable about death.
    Grieving for my lost loved one has taught me that grief doesn’t end it just changes and it leaves an indelible mark on us as a person.
    You write beautifully! Wishing you and your girls peace and light. Sorry for rambling.

  • Carolyn

    Jennie, with my Mom’s death just 2 weeks ago, I can relate to parts of your posts in a way that I couldn’t previously. Before, I could refer to “Mom’s death”, but now “passed away” is all that I can say in reference to her being gone. It truly is the small things that I’m missing the most. And, I was lucky enough to get to say good-bye.

    Nora – I so agree with you about people being uncomfortable and avoiding the topic. It’s becoming very clear to me who has either been through a significant loss or has enough emotional intelligence to recognize that life is forever changed for me and there’s a huge sense of loss. It’s a challenge to not either take offence to or cut out of my life the people that won’t acknowledge what’s taken place.

  • Londa

    I love the way you articulate your feelings, I wish I had that ability. Thank you for sharing so freely, I don’t think you know how much it helps others along their path.

  • mariainnj

    You know what I am going to say…it.never.goes.away. ~ the sadness…I hate when people say time heals, it doesn’t…and now 40 years later when i think of him I get this chill that goes through my body…WHAT THE HECK IS THAT??? Does anyone have an explanation of why my body does that?? Hang in there, until you can be together again…

  • Lynda Agen

    Blessing to you, Jennie. Life goes on, but that doesn’t mean we don’t miss and long for those no longer here. <3

  • Lori

    Jennie, I started reading your blog five years ago. You’ve been an inspiration in the way that you have shared the good and bad times. The anniversaries are always hard. No two ways about it. Keep going where you’re going because you are do an amazing job getting there.

  • Tracey

    I have reading your blog for years now and follow you and snapchat. I really love you and your life and admire you very much. The kitchen is always a good safety net. It is mine also!

  • Trudy Geiger

    Hi Jennifer I have followed you on your journey and you make me very inspired in the kitchen. Keep up the good work!!! Thinking of you today!!!

  • Marie Allen

    I was one of those people who did not understand death, not really. It amazes me that I got to be my age (unscathed, truly fortunate) and not understand the true meaning of loss, but I do now, and do you know what it took…the loss of an animal. This little creature came into our lives and somehow wrapped us up in loving kindness. Of course, we were already kind, but he wrapped us up in something. I think all animals (all) are here to teach human beings to be kind. I have been reading your blog for a number of years and although I felt such a connection to your life and to your family, I never truly understood what that profound empty space means until now. I suppose some are going to say that you can’t compare the loss of an animal to a human being, but it not about that kind of judgement, it is more about what we allowed into the narrow edge of the heart.

  • Jennie

    “what we allowed into the narrow edge of our heart”—that is it exactly, Marie. It doesn’t matter if that bond developed between a human or an animal (and aren’t we humans just a different kind of animal?). It’s about letting your guard down, loving, and being loved unconditionally. So, don’t let anyone tell you it’s not significant. Every kind of loss is different, but it is still loss, and the gravity with which it affects us is not one size fits all. Much love to you, Marie. Thanks for being here with me. xo-Jennie