“Applesauce I Love You” by Chanel Brenner

Riley loved to make people laugh.

One of his favorite jokes was to kiss the container of applesauce I packed

in his lunch over and over again and declare,

Applesauce, I love you! I love you so much I want to marry you!”

His friends in class would laugh.

He would keep on kissing the applesauce

until he was sure that there was no more laughter.

So when you pick an apple off this tree, think of Riley.

And if you really love a particular fruit or vegetable

don’t be afraid to show it, even unabashedly kiss it

and proclaim your everlasting love and intent to marry it!

Even if people might look at you a little funny and wonder

why is that boy or girl kissing an eggplant?

Think of Riley and just go for it.

Maybe you will make someone laugh.

I know Riley would have.

Chanel Brenner

Dedicated In Loving Memory to

Riley Brenner

July 28th, 2004 – March 7th, 2011

© 2011


  1. lkthayer · April 15, 2011

    Chanel, I wish I would have known Riley, what a gift to make people laugh & give people so much joy. I love this poem, you honor him with so much love, that appletree will bear the best fruit in the whole world because Riley was so full of love. Bless you & Riley & your family. Love Lisa

  2. Roz Levine · April 15, 2011

    My dear Chanel,
    Your beautiful Riley will be imprinted in my memory for all time.
    May the words from the deepest part of the pain any mother could endure help you heal bit by bit. May you and your family find some peace and comfort surrounded by the love of relatives and friends.
    Love and blessings to all of you,

  3. Julie Sharp · April 15, 2011

    I will definitely kiss the summer strawberries …. they are my favorite.
    I will share this poem with my daughter Lily, who will undoubtedly kiss Granny Smith apples.
    We will remember Riley each time we do this.
    May Riley’s tree be fruitful, lucious and enjoyed by many.
    Julie Sharp

  4. Karen Ross · April 15, 2011

    Chanel, I was so very moved by your courage to tell the class about Riley and to read a piece you had written in his memory. I think you felt the love and support in the room and we were all with you every moment.
    I am so sorry about your lose and admire your intuition that writing can be a helpful, healing process for you.
    I wish you and your family well.
    Karen Ross

  5. Matthew Hetznecker · April 15, 2011

    My Dad just passed April 1st, so I’m grieving too. I can’t imagine the loss of child and so young. I’ll think of you in my prayers.
    This is such a beautiful and simple expression of your love with really no sorrow. Wonderful.
    I will be kissing a lot of things in life and think of Riley.

  6. Roz Levine · April 15, 2011

    I just came from Trader Joe’s and stopped at the shelf with the applesauce and thought of Riley, something I’ll do each and every time I’m there buying applesauce.


  7. Amy Garber · April 15, 2011

    What a wonderful poem – I remember you and Riley telling me this story together. You are an amazingly strong women and mother, thank you for sharing this poem with all of us.


  8. Adesh Kaur · April 17, 2011

    ahhhh, chanel, you are such a beautiful, strong, amazing woman. i will never forget the way that you shared your poem for riley with our class. i wanted to hug you with all my might and tell you how much i love you. so, i will tell applesauce “i love you” as well as everything else, for the rest of my earth days. for you and riley, all blessings, adesh

  9. j · April 30, 2011


    I am so sorry for your loss. Your poem for Riley should be an example to all on how we should embrace life and its simplicities with all our love. You should be so proud that it is your son who may be a teacher to those who have lost touch with the world and can now be reminded through your beautiful words in this poem. Thank you.

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