I was five years old when my father died.

It was pancreatic cancer what done the old man in. With a baby on the way, I’ve been thinking a lot about him, about the man he was, the father he was. And naturally, of course, I’m thinking a lot about the man and father I want to be, and about the little boy we’re about to bring into the world. And it makes me miss my father all the more.

We awoke Monday morning to the unexpected and tragic news that our dear friend Jennifer Perillo had lost her husband, Mikey, the father of her two beautiful little girls, to a heart attack on Sunday night.

I was immediately shattered. Knowing what my mother went through in the days and years after his death, and the way it still affects her today–I could immediately empathize with Jennie. And of course I know all too well how it feels to be suddenly bereft of a father.

Jennie posted a video Monday morning of Mikey dancing with his daughter, and I have to be honest: I still can’t watch it.

The next day, Tuesday, while planning Mikey’s memorial service, Jennie posted a simple request of her friends and loved ones. Today, Jennie and her closest friends and relatives are gathering to memorialize Mikey’s life. Her husband’s favorite dessert was her recipe for peanut-butter pie. Jennie kept promising herself that she would make it for him … tomorrow. But there was no tomorrow. So from those who can only be there in spirit, she’s asked just this simple favor:

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.

This one’s for Mikey Perillo …

A Pie for Mikey

For Virgil Dietsch and the grandson he’ll never know …

A Pie for Mikey

And for squeezing out every bit of love you can while you still have time.

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