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Peanut Butter Pie for Mikey

I’ve never made a peanut butter cream pie, nor tasted one for that matter.

Until this week.

I became obsessed, compelled, driven to make this pie. It was as if someone dangled a gold pocket watch in front of me, and repeated the words, “You want to make a peanut butter pie,” until finally, almost trance-like, I headed to the store for the ingredients.

This was no ordinary pie.

It was a memorial to a young man who died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving his wife and two young daughters to carry on without him and try to make sense of such a terrible loss.

I don’t know any of them, but I knew I had to make this pie.

And believe me, the last thing my husband and I needed was a pie to consume between the two of us.

It didn’t matter.

Here’s the story:

Jennifer Perillo is a recipe developer, and food writer. She is quite active in the food blogging community, though until recently I hadn’t heard of her. It’s her husband Mike, who died in early August. One Sunday afternoon his heart gave out and he was gone. They had no chance for goodbyes.

He was simply gone.

Jennifer has been sharing (and as a therapist I would have to say processing) her grief on her blog, which to my way of thinking is an amazing act of courage. A week or so later, she put out the call for her fellow friends and bloggers to make Mike’s favorite dessert. You guessed it – Creamy Peanut Butter Pie.

People all over the blogosphere participated in this spontaneous celebration of Mike’s life by making the pie and posting about it.

That alone is quite a remarkable thing!

I didn’t hear about it until almost two weeks later, when I was cruising around my favorite food blogs, catching up after spending a wonderful couple of weeks with friends and family.

It hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks.

I felt sad, empty, and helpless and I wasn’t completely sure why. Sometimes the world seems so randomly cruel. Things happen that I simply cannot understand or explain. And sometimes it gets to be too much for my heart to carry.

So I made this pie as an act of healing. Active grief if you will.

When Jennifer Perillo asked her friends to make the pie, she said it this way:

For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.”

Wow! Ton of bricks moment for me.

And now two weeks later, I’m passing this on to you, with the same request. Make the pie or not, but please, please, please spend some time with the people who matter to you. Tell them how important they are. Hug them if you can or use words if they’re far away.

Life is much shorter than we want to think it is.

And sometimes it’s damned unpredictable.



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