Monday, April 9, 2012


12x36" oil on linen


Hello everyone. Again and again, I need to thank you all for your support and your kindness. This is the most extraordinary thing that has ever happened in my life and to hear from so many friends, many I’ve never met face to face has meant so very much. Again and again, thank you, thank you, thank you.

I think I’m back. It changes drastically from day to day. I still feel as though half of me has been severed and in my mind’s eye, I see myself as one of those digital framework images, clumsily trying to carry on with only one side functioning.

A while back a reporter asked the Dalai Lama a question. Why, he asked, when your country is being overrun, your people imprisoned and you yourself exiled, why are you always smiling?  Because, he said, it feels good. I get that now.

My brother was in Viet Nam and when he came home he related some incredible stories. A Marine would be sent out, beyond the relative safety of the perimeter, to sit in six foot high elephant grass and listen for enemy troop movement. Consequently, that wait also included the possibility of being eaten by a predator, bitten by a snake or being dispatched by the enemy. At times the waiting and silence became too much and against strict orders and commons sense the men would key their handset and say...”What the ______ (insert desired expletive here), over,”  just to hear a familiar voice.

That’s about where I am right now. I’m trying to smile because it feels good but I seem to be continuously keying my handset and saying... “What the ______ , over.” Hoping against all reality that Tim might answer. We’d always use that phrase when perplexed or vexed in any way. Maybe I just can’t hear him.
I understand the logic of  why everyone always says when something like this happens...“this only happens to other people, this doesn’t happen to us!” I get not being able to process the “qualifying event,” as the insurance company calls it, until weeks later and suddenly, one morning, waking up as if it just happened. I totally see the ability of the human mind to shield itself from a shock it cannot possibly process.

What I don’t get is the survey the funeral home sent to be graded on their work so they can better serve the community. How can I possibly answer those questions? This is my Tim we were talking about! Seeing his name on a piece of paper, the name that I’ve loved so much for twenty years...such a great name, such a cool name....on a certificate with the word Death at the top is excruciating. For a while I refused to handle them. I only touched them with tissues.  His ashes sit in a box, clothed in red velvet along with an envelope containing locks of his hair in the studio. I hate going in there. A small box of dust. Really Tim?

All the cliches work. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. He’s in a better place..although I can’t imagine a better place than here with me and the boys. Time will heal. You had a wonderful twenty years the memories will sustain you. Those things are all true...but...

This was an extraordinary man! A kind, generous and compassionate man. Our time together was fun, creative and thrilling. As recently as a month before he left we’d stayed up talking till 3 am on a school night. I love him with every fiber of my being but, I also genuinely liked this man! I never realized how important that was. I liked who he was as a human being. If I were a male, I would choose to be Tim Berry.  I was so proud of him wherever we were, whatever we were doing. He was always polite, always patient and always smiling.  I simply cannot put into words what this man meant to me and what an incredible person he was. He taught me so much, he taught me the value of kindness, patience, compassion, honesty and integrity. He was my very best friend in the world, I trusted him with my every secret and I’ll never be the same without him.

That said, I can’t promise the subject of Tim Berry won’t pop up now and again if I’m able to continue posting. But then again, what else am I going to do? My butt’s sore from sitting in bed. It’s strange, even with the empty side, the stunning silence, bed is the only place I feel safe.

I have some ideas in my head about painting my emotions. I’ve reconnected with an old friend who has promised to pose for me. We’ll see. Right now, this is Frankie. This is the bug I’d planned to paint when I woke up that morning and thought it strange that the bright light shining in from the bathroom skylight hadn’t woken Tim up. Frankie’s not quite finished yet. Still have work to do on his tail and wings but I felt like posting so I felt I should.

Frankie is a senior at Dragonfly High. He’s full of piss and vinegar and has the potential to become either a nice guy or a jerk. It’s fork in the road teen angst time for Frank. Hopefully he’ll come out of it. Although buzzing the girls while they sun themselves in the courtyard is not cool, he has been seen helping elderly ladies across the street, so there’s hope.

Thanks for stopping by.