I just made a pie for a stranger.
Not really. I actually made the pie for myself – it’s a tribute to the life of someone I didn’t know; so really, this pie can only help me feel better.
I’m only tangentially a part of the blooming food blogger community online – primarily on twitter. I tend to lurk on twitter and am shy about injecting myself into people’s ongoing conversations. Charcutepalooza has gotten me more involved, and I follow the blogs of so many funny, talented food writers. It’s inspiring and humbling at the same time. I’ll probably never meet any of them in person, but I appreciate the warmth with which they respond to questions, queries and the occasional off-the-wall declaration.
I’ve been following Jennifer Perillo’s blog, In Jennie’s Kitchen for just a few months. But I was so sad to read of her husband Mike’ sudden death from a heart attack last week; no warning, here one moment, gone the next.
We all know someone who has died this way – and the emotional vacuum that’s left behind. It’s how I lost my dad, and I how could have easily lost one of my best friends a few months ago. Warning signs and a coronary stint saved his life, and spared his wife and two little girls all the pain that Jennie and her daughters are experiencing now.
The story touched my heart and reminded me to be grateful for all the luck I have. And I wanted to tell Jennie how sorry I am for her loss. But what could a stranger do – comment on a blog, send a tweet. I didn’t think that would matter very much, coming from an unknown name.
And I’m leery of trying to co-opt someone else’s story. I’m saddened by the cruelty and arbitrariness of Mike’s death, but what voice should someone who didn’t know him, doesn’t know his family, put to that sentiment. This event isn’t about anyone but those who suffered the loss.
But then something truly extraordinary happened. Jennie put up a post about her husband, and asked that anyone who wanted to help, wanted to do something to express their support make a peanut butter pie for Mikey.
How could I not?
Here’s the thing though. Jennie’s request isn’t a call for support. She’s giving everyone who’s heard her story what they need: something to do, a way to connect and an avenue to say how sorry we are and that we all know that one day, our luck too will run out.
What a generous woman she is to do this for all of us at such a time. I hope every picture, every blog and every tweet about peanut butter pie today helps fill her heart in the months and years to come.
Try the pie. It’s spectacular. It’s no wonder Mikey loved it.