Wednesday, August 22, 2012


30x30" pencil on heavyweight canvas


This guy’s expression about sums it up. He’s made an appearance in the past, but he was drawn on an 11x14” piece of paper. If size really matters, than my state of mind is rather obvious. And, I was curious to see what pencil would do on 30x30" heavy cotton canvas. Plus, again, I am trying to get back to work on some consistent basis, as clearly there have been more than a few false starts. I was so sure I would continue working when I posted the boys back in June.

But grief will have it's way with you. You think you've come to terms with it one day and the next you realize you haven't even accepted the possibility.

This experience is polarizing on so many levels (gee, suz...ya think?). Painting has clearly not been a priority. I’ve crawled into the pity pot to party far more often than I expected I would (arrogance). I’ve come to see that my pain isn’t special.  Each and every day I hear of some horrific loss or tragedy, both on the news and in my day to day, and it dawns that this is all part of life. And it sucks.

I’ve vacillated between feeling like the most fortunate woman on the planet because I got to spend twenty years with Timothy Francis Berry, to feeling like the victim of a cruel and vicious fate because we only had twenty years. I think I've reached the pissed off stage. I'm really pissed off, but this too shall pass.

When I realized, years ago, that death scared the bejesus outta me, I set out to make friends with it. Not an easy task. I read all manner of life-after-death books, specifically those written by a man named George Anderson. He was very popular at the time and based here on Long Island. I read some of his work while Tim and I were in our first bloom of love. I would relate everything I read to him—I was fascinated, he was sure I was crazy.

So, fast forward some eighteen years and my best friend and husband has had the very bad taste to die and leave me behind. Three months into my journey without him, I found I'd all but abandoned my cosmic muffin ways for the "real" world of grief and loss. It was dark, lonely and terrifying. If there was ever a time to embrace my belief in the metaphysical, this was it, so I thought it might be a good idea to make an appointment with the current popular Long Island medium who has a show on TLC. Logging on to her site I found she was booked for the next two years.

Well dude, I thought to himself, if you wanna chat you're gonna have to take care of how.

The next day I received a lovely email from a fellow artist I'd met online who had just found out about Tim's passing. In the email she shared a link to George Anderson saying I might find it helpful if I went to see him. I was stunned. I'd forgotten all about him! I immediately went to his site and was thrilled to be able to make an appointment on the 3rd month anniversary of Tim's leaving.

So yes, dear followers, there it is...I went to see a medium. Do with it what you will. I hesitated sharing this because as I've told this to some people I know, they blink and their blank unbelieving expression tells me that I've lost them. And they think they've lost me. I understand that reaction. This kind of thing isn't easy to hear no matter what your beliefs, but being in this position makes it very easy to try anything just to have a chance to "hear" from the one you've lost and miss so very, very much.

I won't share what I experienced, it's much too personal for even me, but I will say that when I went to a nearby diner immediately after my session to collect myself, I had no doubt whatsoever that Tim was sitting directly across from me.

This wasn't a desperate attempt on my part to make this marriage work from two different dimensions (although I'm sure it would and is) or to try to hold on to something that clearly isn't physically here any longer. It was more of a... "did I fail you and are you alright," kind of thing. I didn't and he's perfect.

Whatever your judgements about this, it's helped me more than anything I could possibly imagine. The portrait hanging on the bedroom wall is now comforting and inviting. I put the screen saver slide show of us and the pups together back on the computer and I talk to him constantly, even more than before. I have no doubt that, as George said, he's "come home, because this is where he was happiest."

I went ahead with renovations on the house despite feelings of doubt and fear and I can now say, unequivocally, that I did the right thing. Leaving everything like it was when Tim was here would not have been good for me. Now, I feel as if I'm building new memories of us in a different space instead of trying to resurrect the old ones in the same space.

Each day brings new doubts, fears and feelings of loss but at the same time there is the knowledge that something so honest and kind and loving couldn't just evaporate. I'm trying to get out of the house more. I've begun taking Tai Chi which isn't nearly as easy as it looks, but it's helping me to center myself and feel peaceful. I'm also taking guitar lessons and planning to renovate the den to make it an inviting light-filled, efficient studio, so painting is in my future plans.

As for this drawing, I just wanted to post so I did something that wouldn't take a lot of time. If I could put it into Photoshop I'd move the mouth over a tad to the right. Other than that, it was fun to be drawing again. It felt good. There's another painting of the boys on their morning walk on the easel and I have some commissions and a few donations paintings to do so the forced vaycay is definitely over.

I'd like to thank everyone for the emails, cards, gifts, calls and caring. When I say I cannot tell you how much they all mean, I'm not exaggerating one tiny bit.

The boys miss their daddy as much as I do, but they're full of life and are so much company.

I bought a silver box and had his initials engraved on the top. I put his wallet, some guitar pics, some favorite snaps of him, a lock of hair from back in the day, a lock of hair from his last haircut, and some personal things that he loved, along with notes I drop in from time to time.  It sits near this framed photo from one of our jam sessions with our friend Cliff in the living room.

I hope to be posting again soon and so appreciate your patience and kindnesses. Thank you over and over and over again from the bottom of my heart.