Dear @JenniferPerillo

August 8, 2011 by: The Urban Grape

Dear @JenniferPerillo,

I don’t know you, but I do know that you are living my worst possible nightmare. I heard through a retweet, who heard through a retweet, who heard through a retweet, that your husband died suddenly from a massive heart attack. And now, although I’d never before heard your name and never had the chance to know your husband, I am consumed with grief. And fear.

Your Twitter stream has left me shaken. There you were, just days before your family vacation, canning marinara sauce and tweeting. And then, suddenly, “He’s gone. And my heart is shattered into a million pieces.” It’s grief in real time. It’s too much for even a stranger to handle, and all I can think of is how…how could you even find the strength to write those painful words?

Today you posted a video called “The Last Dance.” I clicked and saw a still of your husband holding one of your children. I couldn’t watch. I had to turn away, again consumed with grief on your behalf. And again, fear.

Like you, my husband has given me the three greatest gifts in the world. My two children and the very key to my self. And now, you are living the nightmare that every wife and mother dreads. I always wonder, if it happened to me, would I have seen it coming? Would I have said goodbye? Said I love you? Given one last kiss? Would I even have the strength to get out of bed and start another day? I don’t know. I just don’t know.

But I can see from your Twitter stream that you are a woman of strength and of humor. I see that you have a love of life, family and home. As I sit here crying for you, a woman I have never met, I have to believe that these things will see you through this tragic time.

So, @JenniferPerillo, although I don’t know you, and even though you are technically nothing more than an avatar to me, I send you every good wish I have in my soul. And tonight, in honor of the memory of your husband, I will remember to tell mine that I love him, and I will hold him tighter than ever.




Post to Twitter


  1. I saw the tweet too. It’s something that creeps into my head every once in awhile, like when I watch P.S. I Love You, and I can’t imagine that loss, even when I am 85.
    I join you in sending Jennifer love and strength and appreciating so very much what I have today.

    Comment by Meghan@travelwinedine — August 9, 2011 @ 12:26 am

  2. I saw the tweet too and my heart broke and I didn’t know him either. Sending love.

    Comment by Lauren — August 9, 2011 @ 11:05 am

  3. Beautifully said. I am surprised, pleased and yet a little dismayed at the rise of compassion and empathy that wells up within us for someone we don’t even know. Pleased b/c it brings us together as humans. Dismayed b/c I too feel overwhelming grief and sadness though I’ve never met @jenniferperillo or her husband. Surprised b/c of emotional ties that have been created in this virtual forum.
    I am also thankful. For those emotional ties. For “friends” I have never actually met or seen. And for the ability to feel compassion for another person who is hurting.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. They are mine as well.


    Comment by spiceblogger — August 9, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

  4. This was beautifully written….

    Comment by Kristen — August 9, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

  5. thank you. thank you so very much. please try to find the strength to watch the video. he was a lovely man. a very lovely man who I will miss for the rest of my life. that video captures the essence of him.

    Comment by Jennie — August 9, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

  6. This is beautiful. I agree with every word.

    Comment by Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray — August 9, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

  7. What a beautiful letter! You expressed exactly what I felt, learning about the sudden death of Jennifer’s husband, Mikey. And I don’t know her, either.

    Comment by Kath — August 9, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

  8. beautifully said. there are no words for how I feel either. I’ve never met her either but somehow at a time like this, it doesn’t matter. In a virtual world where sometimes you wonder where your tweets and blogs go, it’s nice to know that there is such a strong sense of compassion out there as well, even for “friends” you don’t yet know…

    Comment by Karen — August 9, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

  9. This is such a heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing.

    Comment by Jamie | My Baking Addiction — August 9, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

  10. I wrote Jennifer an message yesterday… I cannot imagine what she is going through except that my husband and I had a unfortunate experience with heart disease and stroke several years ago – we got through it together, but it is nonetheless something that shakes you to the bone… You write such an amazing letter. You are wonderful for having done so.

    Comment by Lily — August 9, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

  11. [...] yes, the Twitter community – are struggling with grief and sadness for Jennie’s loss. This letter describes so well the feelings that so many of us are [...]

    Pingback by hurting | The Merry Gourmet — August 9, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

  12. Thanks for this. I feel the exact same way but didn’t know how to put it into words.

    Comment by Karla — August 9, 2011 @ 6:56 pm

  13. Beautiful… and said so much better than I could ever put together.

    Comment by Kimmy @ Lighter and Local — August 9, 2011 @ 7:12 pm

  14. so well said. ♥

    Comment by bridget {bake at 350} — August 9, 2011 @ 7:14 pm

  15. Hi everyone, Thank you so much for all of your kind words about my blog post. I never thought so many would see it, at the time it was just a catharsis as I listened to my husband put my kids down to bed. At this point, thousands have read it, which is just amazing. Jennie’s story is striking a chord with all of us. This on-line community is so strong. It’s good to know that in good times and bad, we can reach out and someone is listening. – Hadley

    Comment by urbanadmin — August 9, 2011 @ 7:45 pm

  16. Wow, incredible… made me cry all over again…

    Comment by Lisa — August 9, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

  17. I watched the video and teared up. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her children today.

    Comment by Karen (SubMommy) — August 9, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

  18. I’m so glad that you put into words what my heart has been thinking. I don’t know Jennie either, but my heart is breaking for her. I have lost many of those dear to me in my life…it’s never easy, but when it’s unexpected it’s a real sucker punch. Thank you for your post!

    Comment by susie@ReturntoSundaySupper — August 9, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

  19. Like so many, I feel the need to add my voice to the conversation, not because I have anything new or profound to say, but because I want to thank you for having put all these conflicting feelings about someone many of us don’t even know into words. I think as wives, mothers, women, it is part of our make-up to reach out and connect with each other. At one time, we did it in the village square, then at the playgroup and now, through our blogs. It’s a wonderful thing, and despite the tremendous grief Jenny and her family are experiencing – and we are in some way sharing – it seems to me that if this kind of connection can happen, there is hope for the world.

    Comment by Susan Sherrill Axelrod — August 9, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

  20. That was beautifully written, and painful to read. I can’t imagine what she’s going through. I know what you mean how odd it feels to be so devastated by someone’s pain that you don’t even know. But that’s what makes being human so beautiful our ability to empathize and care. So very well said.

    Comment by Marta — August 9, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

  21. I also saw the news through a retweet, early on Sunday morning, checking twitter while still in bed. I rolled over and held the man laying beside me very, very tightly, for an especially long time. She’s in my thoughts constantly right now.

    Comment by Amy — August 9, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

  22. This letter perfectly spoke what I have been feeling- to the letter. Thank you for being so beautifully eloquent for the rest if us~

    Comment by Kimberly — August 9, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

  23. My goodness you letter just echoes everything within my mind and soul. I admire you taking the next step to write that letter “in real time”. Fear is absolutely what went through me as well. Such a wonderful voice coming from you. Thank you.

    Comment by Snippets of Thyme — August 9, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

  24. I also only “know” her through her Twitter feed and blog, have never met her in person. But I know she is close to my age and shares a passion for food. And I also have two daughters. My heart broke yesterday when I found out and I haven’t been the same since. Watching her video was so beautiful and devastating at the same time. I cried for hours. She and her family are in my prayers. Thank you for putting these thoughts into words for us.

    Comment by Caneel — August 9, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

  25. that is exactly how I feel. I happened to see the tweet and then suddenly I was just like oh my gosh..what has happened? this is just right.

    Comment by pom. — August 9, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

  26. I’m so glad you wrote this post. Like you, I just happened to see a tweet and without knowing Jennifer, my heart just broke for her. I guess because she’s living a nightmare we all shudder to think about.

    Like you, I am honoring her and her family by reminding my husband just how thankful I am to have him by my side.

    Bless you, and many blessings to Jennifer.

    Comment by Tara — August 9, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

  27. Like so many here have already said, I too have been thinking of Jenny and her family since hearing the news yesterday. I do not know her or her family personally. As a matter of fact, I’m relatively new to Twitter altogether but what I love about it is the sense of community. No matter how far apart we may all be physically, we are all brought together through some common bond whether that is food, parenting, motherhood or something else. It is times like these that tend to jerk us out of our day-to-day and help us realize all that we have to be thankful for. I simply cannot imagine the pain Jenny and her family are feeling right now and my heart breaks for them. So I am thanking you also for putting into words what I have had on my mind and didn’t know how to say.

    Comment by Brenda T. — August 10, 2011 @ 2:34 am

  28. My heart aches. Thank you for this beautiful post and for the reminder to cherish those we love, because we don’t know how much time we are being given with them. Many thoughts and prayers go out to Jennie and her family.

    Comment by Mary — August 10, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

  29. You have so beautifully conveyed the sentiments that I believe everyone who heard of Jenny’s devastating loss but do not know her personally are experiencing.

    Comment by Paula — August 10, 2011 @ 1:09 pm

  30. This is incredibly sweet of you to write. Its amazing how people that have never met show compassion and care in times like these.

    Comment by Bobbie — August 10, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

  31. This was so beautifully written, so well worded. So terribly sad. I, too, feel that same raw emotion when reading what happened. So sad. :(

    Comment by Andrea — August 11, 2011 @ 12:25 am

  32. this is such a beautiful letter. you share a sentiment i think many of us in the blogging/food community are feeling right now…when our hearts break for someone we don’t know personally, but who is at the same time, part of our every day lives…through twitter, and the like.
    it’s such a tragedy. one that could happen to any one of us, at any moment. thanks for sharing this.

    Comment by kate — August 11, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

  33. [...] personally, but it’s odd how blogging connects so many of us in ways we never imagined.  This post hits the nail on the head with how I think many of us are [...]

    Pingback by Peanut Butter Pie | TidyMom — August 12, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

  34. [...] shared their sadness for Jennifer and her family. People who knew Jennifer well–and even perfect strangers–felt those waves of heartache collide with their every-day serenity within minutes of [...]

    Pingback by A Love Letter for Jennifer Perillo — August 12, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

  35. [...] life. I can’t imagine going through something like that. Another blogger pointed me towards this post that pretty much says everything I’m [...]

    Pingback by A Peanut Butter Pie for Mikey | — August 12, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

  36. [...] As much as I love Twitter I’m surprised I didn’t catch the news there, but over the summer I haven’t been as active on twitter as I normally am. So I began reading Merry Jennifer’s post with baited breath and an anxious heart. It seemed cryptic at first and I was trying to figure out who she was talking about. And then there it was…..Jennie’s tweet referenced in a linked blog [...]

    Pingback by A peanut butter butterfinger pie for Mikey | Creative Kitchen — August 22, 2011 @ 6:11 pm

  37. I do not know Jennifer either. I saw her blog just yesterday and was also over whelmed with sadness her her and her children. I had to share this with my family over dinner last night, This letter you have wrote is excatly how i felt, Just know all of you wonderful people are out there makes me want to ry with joy knowing we can all pull together whether we know each other or not. Just so much love !!! We love you Jennifer and you and your family are always in our prayers and my soul. My husband and my two children helped to make her Peanut Butter Pie For Mukey after dinner….

    Comment by Cherie — August 31, 2011 @ 12:55 pm

  38. Thank you so much for writing this. I felt the exact same way. I don’t feel as silly now. You are all right when you talk about what a strong community we have. Jennie, I hope and pray that you draw some strength from all of us thinking and praying for you. For those of us who are married (and other long lasting relationships) it is the worst thing that could happen. But, you are showing us how to deal with it with grace and dignity. Speaking for myself, it has opened my eyes and made me appreciate every minute, for I know how quickly things can change.
    God bless you, UG and Jennie.
    Thank you for enriching my life today.

    Comment by Michelle Fox — October 20, 2011 @ 1:30 am

  39. kuhinje…

    [...]Dear @JenniferPerillo « The Urban Grape – 7 Boylston Street Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 – 617.232.4831[...]…

    Trackback by kuhinje — March 30, 2012 @ 5:21 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment