- Associated Press - Sunday, January 4, 2015

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) - What started as an outlet to heal following the death of her son R.J. has turned into a profession and business venture for Yvette Wilkie.

Wilkie and her husband, Robert, opened RJ’s Heavenly Delights, a licensed bakery in Jackson, on Dec. 9 - what would have been their son’s third birthday.

“I started taking classes just to get my mind off of everything and to relieve some stress,” Wilkie said. “Life was bad for a while, but this gave me hope and we turned a tragedy into this.”

R.J. died nine days after his birth in 2011. Cooking classes helped Wilkie feel a connection to her son, the Jackson Citizen Patriot (https://bit.ly/1wwSLMu ) reported.

The couple has a 6-year-old daughter, Jaylah, and she has her named engraved into one of the custom cakes on display at the bakery.

“My daughter truly enjoys helping me bake, which makes R.J.’s Heavenly Delights even more special,” Yvette Wilkie wrote on the company’s website.

Robert Wilkie has taken an active role in the kitchen, finding stress relief in the business.

“I think it helped him by helping me,” Yvette Wilkie said. “He’s my right-hand man, and I couldn’t do this without him and his support.”

Family friend Lenny Oliver said he enjoys teasing Robert Wilkie about his baking - even nicknaming him “Robert Crocker” after seeing him cut fondant icing.

“It really gives us time to connect,” Robert Wilkie said about baking with his wife. “I’m her helper and apprentice, and she’s almost got me feeling like I can do a cake.”

The bakery specializes in custom cakes, gourmet cheesecakes and baked goods for any special occasion.

Yvette Wilkie had been working out of the couple’s home in Jackson but felt they needed more workspace and that it was better for exposure to have a store.

“We’re a good, honest and down to earth family,” she said. “The community has been great to us and we just want to thank them for all of their support.

“Our motto is ‘whatever bakes you happy,’ and if you want something, we’ll find a way to do it.”

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Information from: Jackson Citizen Patriot, https://www.mlive.com/jackson

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