(WJBK) - A man who lost his twin brother in a tragic accident was looking for a way to honor his legacy. He found it in something they both love and you can find it in the grocery store's refrigerated section.
For Peter Spanitz, grilling isn't just about eating. It's about the process. And the ritual behind it. Because for Peter, it's about his twin brother Paul who he was inseparable with.
Peter Spanitz was inseparable with his twin brother, Paul. On July 30, 2011, that changed when fate intervened. The brothers were on a boat when the raft untied from the back. Paul jumped off to retrieve it but had a heart attack and fell in the water.
"We got to the hospital and we went into a little room and within a few minutes the doctor came out and gave us the news. And it was and will be is the most difficult day of my life," Peter said.
It's been seven years but the pain is still palpable. But it's quelled with the ritual he and his brother perfected: making sausages.
"It wasn't just a typical brought worst or a typical kielbasa, it was some unique flavors. Stuff or we would combine spices and add cheese and potatoes and various vegetables and just kind of experiment with things," Peter said.
What came out is a smorgasbord, all in honor of his brother. So it only made sense that he would start Spanitz Brothers Sausage.
"Every time I turn the crank when I make it myself at home or if I making it at one of the places I still make it on site, or when I'm out delivering are doing a demo at the - store I always think about Paul," Peter said.
Paul was a teacher in Lincoln Park and part of the profits from the sausage goes to a scholarship fund in his memory.
Peter is doing everything he can keep his twin brother's memory alive - with help from friends.
"I'm part of the Twinless Twins organization," he said. "It's a group of twins who have lost their twin brother and sister and a variety of ways and we get together once a year. And just grieve and laugh and celebrate your twin’s life. And it's been the most therapeutic, helpful thing I have found."
On a Friday afternoon, the smell of fresh BBQ fills this Huntington Woods backyard creating memories that calm the sadness even for a moment knowing he's doing what his brother would be doing alongside him.
"It's hard to describe what it's like to be a twin and when you lose your twin you realize how much of your own self you lose at the same time. We were identical twins but we also had similar maybe even identical personalities," Peter said.
Personalities as unique as the flavors Peter and Paul created.
Check out Spanitz Bros Sausage HERE.