A year after his wife, Carolyn, died of cancer, Leroy Nunery and his two children, daughter Jackie and son Leroy III, are continuing Carolyns cookie-baking tradition.
Nunery, vice president of Business Services, said keeping alive Carolyns love of baking has helped the family through the grieving process.
Talking also helped. Nunery said that while speaking about the subject is painful, he continues to do so because of the potential good that could come out of it.
I continue to talk to people from the moment I found out she was terminally ill to this day because if I bottle it all in, its not going to do me any good, and I also dont know who else I can help, said Nunery. That desire to share with those who need help is why Nunery and his children appeared on CN8s Real Life on March 6 to demonstrate their family ritual of remembrance.
Every Oct. 8 on Carolyns birthday, Nunery and his kids choose a recipe from a binder, 50 pages long, full of ideas for baking chocolate chip cookies.
The TV show was a way to tell others about Mommys Light, a nonprofit group which serves local children, ages 3 to 18, whose mothers are in a life threatening situation or deceased.
The recipe book the Nunerys use comes from Mommys Light.
Dads not a bad cook, said Nunery. Hes nothing like Carolyn but I think the biggest thing for the kids was that it
wasnt a scary thing. When those cookies were being baked, something special was happening.
But welcoming Mommys Light, which had heard of Nunerys situation through his church, Paoli Presbyterian, was not easy. Nunery said he felt a little apprehensive about bringing in an outside organization.
In the end, though, he felt comfortable with Mommys Lights non-intrusive approach.
For them its mostly helping you create in your mind what you want the event to be.
Whatever the activity, whether baking or planting moms favorite flowers, Nunery said its important to take time out to build on a loved-ones memory.
Just because this is something thats bad that has happened, doesnt mean we shouldnt celebrate it, Nunery said. We should bring forth that which is good and let the world see that youre proud of it.
This past October, Nunery and his kids toasted Carolyns life over a plate of warm cookies.
More about Mommys Light at www.mommyslight.org.
Originally published on March 28, 2002