Thursday, May 17, 2012


18x24" oil on canvas

Hello everyone. Again, thank you all for your kindness and patience.  

I'm doing much better, in fact much better than I ever expected... today. I go up and down but I guess that's to be expected. I think the key is that I talk to Tim as if he were here, right next to me, and I feel, most times, as if he still is. There are no words to convey how much I miss seeing him and hearing his velvet voice, but I've decided that we were far too happy together for the last 20 years for me to spend the rest of my days in misery. I need to honor what we had and no matter how hard it gets— that is exactly what I'm going to do. 

Clearly, some days are better than others, but I must focus on who we were together and know that isn't over simply because I can't see or hear him anymore. I remember clearly, each of us looking at the other and wondering aloud if a husband and wife, together for 20 years, should be having so much fun. It is my intention to continue feeling that joy in honor of one of the kindest and most interesting people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. The insurance company stated that "the marriage ended on February 23, 2012." They were wrong. Very wrong.

I had my first regular day of work since it happened today and I must say that I am so grateful that it felt good. I'm getting some much needed work done on the house, thanks to Tim, and the confusion, changes and chaos are helping to keep me distracted and busy. But..and that's But with a capital B, it is heart wrenching to see the plans we had for the house come to fruition, specifically because Tim is no longer here.

I set a time limit for myself and I decided that today will my first day back at work. I've been patient with myself, however I feel it could become too easy for me to just do nothing and feel it's my due...basically a great big raspberry to the Universe for taking my best friend in the world away. But that isn't what it's about. I'm blindfolded and holding the elephants tail. I won't see the big picture until I leave this plane, so I'm choosing

I hated reading books and suggestions that I accept what is but, it is that simple! Living in the past, trying to redo our last night together so I could change the outcome, or making believe he'll be home when I get back from the store doesn't help. There is nothing that will change what happened, I know that now. Believe me, I've tried everything. It happened because it was supposed to and I know that... simply because it did.

The Sunday before, as I got up to go into the kitchen for another glass of wine, I heard him ask..."has anyone ever died in this house?" I thought he was just curious. And in January we'd taken out a loan to catch up on some bills and he insisted that my name be excluded from the loan application and he took life insurance out on it! He'd never done that before. I thought he was just being responsible. On some level he knew. I wish I did. I think. 

Anyway, I'm back. This is my job now and I must do it. Neo was a commission I had on the easel before Tim left. It is the last painting he stood in front of. I had started it about a week before even though the canvas was improperly stretched. I was concerned because the canvas had so much play in it and decided to purchase another one and start over. Tim said, most decidedly, not to. I remember how comforting his words were. Today when I put it on the easel to finish it up, the canvas was as tight as a drum.

This past Monday the contractor working on our house asked me if I wanted to keep the smoker barbeque Tim had created so many incredible meals on. It had seen better days and we were going to replace it this summer but it brought back so many great memories, I was hesitant to let it go. But I thought better of it and told them it was ok to throw out...put it out on the curb. When I took the pups out for their before bedtime mini-walk, I saw it there...lonely, used, discarded. I thought of him working over the hot coals, dripping with sweat, pleased with the marinade he'd created. I thought it would be a relief for it to be gone. The next morning I woke up and put the boys harnesses on for our morning walk. As I opened the front door, there, right behind the dumpster, propped up on a piece of wood, standing at attention and ready to be put back into action, was the smoker, looking refurbished and ready for duty. As the day progressed I found that neither the contractors nor their employees had rescued it from the curb. I didn't. As much as I hated to see it go, I didn't want to save it. It's Thursday and we still don't know how it got there.

This past Sunday, I took my guitar and a nice glass of wine down to the living room. I turned on the digital recorder we used for our jam sessions and sat in my usual spot on the love seat adjacent to the couch where Tim would sit when we played. I turned on the digital recorder, chose a tune and turned my track down and played to Tim's accompanyment. Much to my surprise, it was a liberating and joyful experience! I heard his voice, our interactions and all it made me feel was happy. There was no emptiness. No sadness. I played for about three hours as if he were still here. The only thing missing was our mutal insecurity and doubt about our ability. Another indication that this kind of relationship deserves nothing but celebration and joy, simply because it existed.

Again and again, thank you for your support and thanks so much for stopping by.


  1. I found myself thinking about you the other day, wondering how you've been doing. I wish we all out here in blogland could take away some of the pain. Thanks for sharing your heart. Neo is a beautiful portrait. Hope you can get back into a routine of painting. Prayers continue...

  2. Now there's a dog with soul! What a handsome lad. I know the owners of this painting must adore it. You know it was a dog painting that first introduced me to your work. Dachshunds they were, virtually gleaming in the light you painted.

    I was thinking of you today and was going to drop a line tonight just to say hi and see how you're doing. I'm glad the water's surface is a little smoother for you. You deserve it.

    It seems like the smoker wants to stay. Better get out the marinade recipe book...

  3. You are a gift. I'm glad you are back to work... we'll be here when you are done the next painting. XO XO XO

  4. Oh Suze you are one of the most amazing individuals I've ever met, so needless to say I know that Tim is too. He IS not was because like you I believe he is there with you. With all you shared, all that happiness where else could he be? Glad you are in good spirits today. The painting is lovely, such soul in those eyes! Take care my good friend. :)

  5. I'm so happy visualizing you sitting and singing with your Tim. You know who put the smoker back, and I do, too. Give yourself a smile over that one, and enjoy another glass of excellent wine. You deserve it...

  6. Oh Suzanne, I'm so happy you're back..we all think about you every day wondering how you are. It will be a slow process, and its okay to talk about Tim as long as you want..he'll always be part of you. Neo is absolutely beautiful and I will be looking forward to your next piece. I'm sending you many hugs.

  7. I had wondered about you, and I'm glad you're painting and having moments of joy. You write a beautiful story of love and friendship.

  8. So glad it's been going a little better lately Suz, I've been thinking about you often and wondering how you are. Neo is a beautiful painting, and I love hearing these stories about how it has all been going, so beautifully told. Thank you for sharing them.

  9. Hi Suz
    I had a feeling all day, that you were inside my computer. You were just waiting for me to turn it on and read your words, and so here I am! And here is a hug!
    Gosh, this Portrait of Neo is beyond amazing! My moms and me are looking at his fur, and we can feel the softness as we stroke his head. His eyes portray a deep soul- deeper than the deepest ocean.
    How does your magic paintbrush capture this magical spirit?
    I know its more than just a magic paint brush- its YOU. Your gift is displaying the feeling in a way- that it becomes a gift for all of us to feel.
    We are seeing that your wings are healing, and we are thankful for that.
    As you talked about picking up your guitar and playing- like you used to with Tim's accompanyment- we wish we could hear you.
    Oh we wish we could hear you play!
    Your words are so heart felt in your post today- just as they always are. We felt like your words were like a welcomed letter from home. You have been so missed. Let your wings continue to heal.
    We send you, Raz and Blu -love and hugs.

  10. Although I have never met you, reading the words of this blog, it is not hard for me to close my eyes and imagine you leaning on the chair and playing the guitar. It had touched me at the softest spot... I love this new painting of yours -- his eyes have such depth, it's soulful. There is a light sweet sadness in the air... It's almost like a love poem. Suzanne, I'm happy that you are feeling better today. I hope tomorrow will be a little better than today...

  11. Your writings are as beautiful as your paintings. I am so glad that you are healing and you have found ways to lighten the physical loss of your Tim, feeling that he is there with you. How lucky you are to have such a wonderful husband and friend.
    Your painting of Neo is so full of his lovely personality not just a portrait but much more.

  12. You never cease to amaze me, Suz, both as a painter and as a person. Hugs!


  13. Neo's portrait is just beautiful, Suz. I thought it was a photograph. What lucky owners!!

    I love hearing you talk about Tim and your life together. I love that you still talk to Tim and I suspect in those super quiet times, you might hear him talk back to you.

    Three hours of playing music? That must be amazing. I don't know that I ever get that lost in anything, sadly.

  14. Suzanne you are extremely good at articulating your feelings in words. My heart aches for you in your loss and I feel that you are so brave and celebrating your relationship is absolutely the best thing you can do. Having been through this myself I can dare to tell you that you will get through, it will eventually be better. By the way, I adore your animal portraits - I have looked at many on the internet and yours are my favourite - you are a real inspiration to me. x

  15. Hi Suz,

    So good to hear from you again. Your work, of this beautiful animal, is remarkable. He looks ready to come up and put is magnificent head in my lap, begging to be petted.

    Suz, Tim will be there as long as you need him. He is helping you to heal. I know he is so proud of the progress you have made and is waiting for the day when you are whole again. I can say this because I lost my mother 3 weeks ago and I can feel it happening with her.



  16. Suz, what a beautiful post! You've been so strong through this and your attitude is comforting. I like how you've decided to celebrate the great joy you brought to each other. It makes my heart smile to hear it. Neo is awesome. I was going to tell you how velvety his ears look and as I began to read, you used that very word to describe Tim's voice...

    You're an incredible woman. I'm sending you smiles and hugs.

  17. Suzanne this is so heart warming to read. I can't tell you how precious such a relationship is these days. Paul is the love of my life and we have been together for eighteen years. I couldn't imagine being able to function without him. You are absolutely right - Your marriage isn't over at all. He is still your husband and you are still his wife. You still have a relationship with him even though it is on a different level. You still feel the love you have and so it is still there. I am fascinated by the story of the barbeque and also that he took out life assurance for the loan. And how odd that he asked about death in the house... I have always been convinced that we are all part of something so much bigger than we realise. This all just makes that feeling stronger.
    This painting is beautiful and soulful. I can't get over just how alive this dog seems! It is almost like this dog can really see and is really looking out of those eyes. It is quite remarkable. Clearly though you have suffered, your ability to create beauty in paintings has not :0)

  18. Your words make me feel all right because they mean you are going to be all right! Thank you for sharing all this with us today. The portrait of Neo is super; love the colors in the black and his beautiful eyes.

  19. Hello my Dear Friend, It is so nice to see you here and back to work. Somehow I knew that in time you would realize that Time is still with you and will always be. You had a special marriage and friendship and things like that do not disappear because one is not physically present.

    The way you express your feelings is so heart warming. You are such an inspiration to many others that have lost loved ones. You are strong, talented, compassionate and a wonderful person.
    I am so happy that you have such wonderful memories of this great person that you were blessed to have for 20 years. You keep singing and playing that guitar with Tim and continue to make beautiful music with him.

    Kandinsky heard music when he saw colors so he painted what he saw. Maybe you could bless us with a colorful, musical painting that represents the colors that you feel when you sing with Tim?
    I hope your Zen Tim Orchid is still thriving and keeping you company Suz.
    I am here if you need me...any time. Just keep painting. It is who you are and what Time wants you to be.

    Madison xoxo

  20. I've heard people say that portraits are as much about the artist as the sitter. I think that goes for animal portraits, too! Neo has a gentle depth that comes, I think, from you. He's very beautiful.
    I'm glad you're doing better. And it was wonderful of you to share more of Tim with us.
    Thank you.

  21. Suzanne, you're an inspiration ... Thank you. ;-)

  22. Suzanne, the portrait is touching, beautiful, and soulful. This dog is reaching out to us with its eyes, offering unconditional love and loyalty. What a treasure for the new owners of this painting! Your ability to be healing so well is a testament to your relationship with Tim. He is still with you and always will be. I am so glad you are working again!

  23. You are such a have given me hope with your thoughts and your words. You are back to doing what you were meant to do...creating unbelievable art. You are so in touch with Tim's spirit and soul. You WERE like ONE and you continue to be. Your strength is admirable.

  24. My dearest Suz,
    You are such an amazing, strong and brilliant person. I read your words, and vividly see what you are describing. Your accounts of the insurance and the smoker are truly eerie. I am sure Tim is there with you, and always will be. I am over-joyed to see you back, with Tim at your shoulder, creating paintings rich in soul and beauty.

  25. Thank you for sharing your life and this beautiful painting. It is good to know how you are doing.

    I have to tell you I was looking at your blog the other day with my grandgirl who is almost two. She loves the bugs so much and wanted to see more and more.

  26. Suzanne, I am glad to see you are able to pour yourself into painting again even tho I know it must still be hard. Neo is a wonderful dog. Every aspect is outstanding from his silky coat to his expressive eyes. Can't wait to see what is next.

  27. Suzanne-I stopped in to see how you are and reading your beautifully written post gives me such a feeling of gratitude and hope for your wellbeing . How insightful and clear your thoughts are. How positively uplifting the 3 hours of playing guitar 'with' Tim seems to have been.
    Instead of wailing on the floor you were given peace.
    How he looked out for you with the loan and his strange musing about someone dying in the house.
    and the smoker..... Wow
    Love and prayers to you

  28. Dear Suzanne,

    Your work is still brilliant and so is your spirit. You are an inspiration to all of us, your ability to continue.... I call that True Grit, God Bless you, I believe Tim is very proud of you.

    Warmest Regards,

  29. The painting is beautiful and I'm so glad you were able to get back to painting. Glad to hear that there are some good days now for you, too. Tim sounds like an amazing person. and I'm happy that he was able to be with you all those years.


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