Recipes from Heaven: A Celebration of Life for Janice on Julia Child’s Birthday

~In Memory of Janice's Joy of Cooking~

A Girlfriend Dies But Her Spirit Lives On Through Her Love: How Will You and I Be Remembered?

I am just now able to write to you after the loss of one of my very dearest, long-time friends. For the last many weeks, life as usual just wasn’t. Rather than extend myself outward to the world, I honored the need to be inward, to be still, to reflect, to really be present with 20+ years of memories of Janice–and to contemplate life and death—hers and my own.

My training¬† in the science of happiness and positive psychology have given me a gift. I have been able to access deep joy alongside my deep sadness—by the process of “savoring” happy memories of Janice. I close my eyes, conjure up a memory of a¬† ballet we attended in San Francisco, of our travels and adventures throughout Mexico, of¬† planning the menu for a women’s retreat in Sayulita, Mexico, of her thoughtful cards, newspaper clippings, emails, check-in calls, etc.

But what is most remarkable and memorable about Janice is the way she expressed her love to so many—humans and animals alike—by “feeding” us beautiful food. Not only did she delight her family and friends with magnificent international gourmet meals, she always carried doggie treats in her car and purse. After one of my retreats in Mexico, we fell in love with Pedro, a black lab who followed us everywhere. Janice made a beeline for the carniceria (meat market), bought all kinds of innards (yuck), hauled them home and cooked up a feast for our friend! (No wonder Pedro found us on many subsequent visits!) Another time in Mexico, she cooked for days in preparation for an unforgettable banquet for my 60th birthday.

This is one of Janice’s¬† favorite quotes: “One of the negatives I see in life today is that some people feel like they’re wasting time shopping and cooking. But I don’t think so. The time you devote to your meals is time attending to your spirit. You’re putting yourself in communion with the earth, with your origins, with something much deeper. I believe this is one of the most important things we need to recover in our lives.” ~ Laura Esquivel, author of Like Water for Chocolate

How will you and I be remembered? I believe we will be remembered most of all for how well we loved. In our fast-paced lives we must pause and ask ourselves, what will really matter at the end of my life? What can I do today, to ensure that I will be remembered for how I expressed my love?

How has someone you cared about left you a legacy of love? How do you make time to express your love? Please offer your comments below.

With love and joyful wishes,


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