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.


  1. It's good to see you posting again, Suzanne.:) I was worried about you although I understand how grief can interfere with creativity. Sadly(and unfairly)the deeper the love, the deeper the sense of loss. I guess the very best gift you can give to yourself is permission to have bad days, sometimes weeks. It's going to be alright. You're going to be alright. BTW, I don't think any less of you for seeking a medium. We do what we need to do to get through and find some sort of peace. And I love your drawing!

  2. I've shared this quote with many people who have lost loved ones:
    "They whom we love and lose are no longer where they were before. They are now wherever we are." St. John Chrystotom I think that sums it all up. And I'm glad you have gotten to the angry stage - you can get so much accomplished in that stage :) But take care, take time, enjoy the small things that creep in to make you smile, day to day, week to week, month to month - that's all any human being can do.

  3. So good to see you finding ways to progress and move through this, Suzanne! Your art and your writing is spirited and powerful. "The First Law of Thermodynamics, (a principle which forms a foundation for many of the physical sciences) states that neither matter nor energy can be created or destroyed. The amount of energy in the universe is constant – energy can be changed, moved, controlled, stored, or dissipated. However, this energy cannot be created from nothing or reduced to nothing. Every natural process transforms energy and moves energy, but cannot create or eliminate it." Your life is a journey which must be traveled one step at a time. Don't rush it. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. The love and energy of Tim and all the universe is there to comfort and guide you. You are an amazing woman and an inspiration to us all.

  4. So glad to hear from you again, Suzanne! If it makes you feel better by going to a medium...Wonderful! Everyone deals with grief in their own way. This is an amazing sketch ..I love his expression!!!

  5. Suzanne, I am grateful that you are able to share so eloquently the stages of grief that you are experiencing and what you are doing or not doing to move through this. I believe Tim will be with you through it all. Wishing you peace.

  6. Suzanne, I'm so happy to hear from you!! I'm also happy that you had a little peace visiting the medium. I wish you love and light on this journey through the grieving process. I can not begin to imagine what it is like. I think about you daily and pray for peace. Keep strong and take care of your boys.

  7. Suzan, I am so glad, as the other ones, to read you.Of course, it is so hard for you, and you were right to see this medium, if you had to!I wish you a Bon courage!

    1. thank you so much sylviane! i can't fine your blog address and hope you read this reply. i so appreciate your words, they mean so much. thank you again.

  8. Suzanne, it is wonderful to see and hear from you. I love that you are doing what you need to do, one step at a time, to get through this unimaginable time in your life. You are the only one that knows what those things are and I'm so glad you are finding the strength to do them.

    Wonderful drawing, wonderful words by wonderful you.

    XO Nicki

  9. I'm so glad you got a reading Suzanne, how wonderful!

  10. How weird is this? It was only yesterday I was wondering how you were doing and visited your blog to see if I'd missed any posts ... and now, here you are. This is one heck of a journey you're on and I thank you for taking us with you. I'm full of admiration for how you're coping. Take care.

  11. Suz, it is a magnificent piece, for sure. Very arresting. I have to be honest...I'd be pissed off too. But I suspect the stages of grief are many. I'm glad you found some peace by seeing George. It is something I would do too.

  12. I would have done the very same thing and I don't think you are crazy one little bit. I have always believed that there is more to life than life itself, otherwise, why here? Why now? There has to be more to it. And I'm glad it has given you peace of mind.
    I love the idea of the box with his wallet and other things inside...
    As for the drawing, well, that is exactly how I'm feeling at the moment too. It must be something in the air, lol! Take care Suzanne and I am so glad you posted ;0)

  13. Oh my, this is such a poignant touching post... your words reach out from the depths of your soul and touch everybody who reads them in a profound way. Thank you for sharing your experiences, I'm honored to be reading them this morning. Everything you've described is so beautiful and such a loving tribute to your husband. You've made me want to appreciate every moment of every day to the fullest. I love the drawing! I'm so glad that your art is bringing you some satisfaction and contentment again. I'll look forward to hearing and seeing more from you.

  14. Hi Suz,
    I am having problems leaving you a comment. I am trying again.

  15. Wow, Suz! You have a way with words. I had tears rolling down my face as I tried to read it...kept wanting to jump ahead, but not wanting to miss anything. A self-published eBook of your musings would be a great healer for others on this path. Wish I could have an appointment with George. You are right on 'track' for that 3-4 month timeline. Sounds like you are doing very well, I'm proud of you...and can't wait for you to come back to the Moses Botkin Challenge :)

  16. Suz,

    Is it Kismet that you would post this on the day my Mother passed away. She suffered a long time and made the decision to forego Dialysis on Monday. She was at peace with her decision and left us shortly after Sunrise on Wednesday. We need to talk and support one another.


  17. Hi Suz
    The expression on your painting does sum it all up! Its priceless!
    It is so good to hear from you.
    I see new little feathers growing into your wings... you are healing.
    i love you,

  18. Hi Suz,

    As you can see I don't come blogging often anymore. Happy to find you here. Lovely photo of Tim. I think working through your anger is a healthy way to cope with it all. Very expressive drawing...

    After anger comes acceptance. You're well of your way to completing the 5 steps of loss. Hang in there my friend. You'll find yourself emerging again in the near future.

    Hugs and blessings.

  19. Suze it sounds like the medium is exactly what you needed. I'm so happy that it helped you feel peace and know that Tim's okay, and that you didn't fail him. I would have felt the exact same way, worried that I had failed my husband. So glad you and the boys are feeling some peace. Love and hugs friend. :)

  20. And the drawing is awesome. Everything you do is. Good luck with the tai chi too. :)

  21. Dearest Suzanne
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings and your journey - you're giving us such a wonderful gift. Like so many others my thoughts are with you.

  22. the drawing is quite unique ann expression that is rarely touched on in painting Suzanne.... your thoughts on the other hand are invaluable... xox

  23. Your work is totally stunning and inspiring, but I loved reading your posts just as much... thanks for being open and honest about where you are... it is refreshing to read some truths and hear a real voice... I am now following and look forward to coming back and seeing more of your inspirational work and words...xx

  24. It is just like you that while you are trying to deal with grief you would give to others. Thanks for stopping by my humble blog. I smiled when I saw it was you. You will be better and life will go on...someday. Saying a prayer for you. Can't wait till you are able to paint again.

  25. Suzanne, I believe in mediums and communication from the other side. I'm glad you pursued it and were comforted by the experience.
    I too, have always had an interest in the life after death theme and can say that I fear nothing as much as I fear crushing grief.
    Your words are meaningful and helpful to me because you are sharing a journey that I dread taking.

  26. I am overwhelmed by your bravery, honesty, and courage. I admire you.

  27. I love the unusual expression and the white as the background. Very cool and neat results.


Your visits to my blog and the comments you leave here are an integral part of my creative process. They are helpful, supportive and well, let's face it, they feel really good! If I don't thank you personally, please allow me to thank you in advance for taking the time to stop by and leave your thoughts, they mean so much!