This morning, my husband, Timothy Vanderweert, died at 4:04 a.m. Tim’s most recent hospitalization was New Year’s Eve. It was then that he learned that the cancer he had worked so hard to keep at bay had become aggressive and had taken over. If you know Tim personally then you know he was a strong-willed and stubborn man who did not easily accept the word no. And yet – over the 2 years since he was diagnosed with cancer he has always and in every way met the challenges before him and ultimately his own death with dignity and grace. He told me so many times he was not afraid of death or of dying. It was the task of living while knowing he would die that was hard. Tim met this in the way that most defines who he is for me: through his photography and his relationships with all of you who love this art as much as he did. In developing the (100’s) of rolls of film he had lying around, reviewing the vast body of work he had created, and in creating a legacy from this wondrous, magical, painful, challenging reflection of our human existence that his work captured, he found meaning and reward in these final months.
Tim has always been the most talented and gifted artist that I have personally known. I know how much not only his art but his thoughts and meanderings on this has meant to all of you. You meant as much to him. When he started this blog it was for his own edification. It became something so much more. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining him in this endeavor. You pushed him to think harder and broader and to go to places that we all need someone to go to for us – so that for just a moment, we can share the vision they offer.
Tim’s final week was everything that he and I had talked about, hoped for, and planned for so long. He was here. With me. With our dogs and cats. With our family and friends and neighbors – all those who came from nowhere to hold us both up and help us as we lived through his final days. He fell asleep on Saturday after a visit with an old friend, having spoken to everyone he needed and wanted to speak to, after having completed everything he had set out to do just 6 short months ago. He told me many times he was ready and at peace. This was reflected in every gesture and word he made. It covered him like a blanket in his silence. He did not suffer but slept easily from Saturday on. His death was painless and he was in our home with loved ones around him.
This is not an easy loss for me and it will be a long time before I find solid ground beneath me once again. I know you share that loss for whatever he was to you. He made me promise that on the day he died I would create just one more post to let you know. This then is how I would have you think of his death:
since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
wholly to be a fool\
while Spring is in the world
my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
lady I swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
-the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids’ flutter which says
we are for each other; then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life’s not a paragraph
and death i think is no parenthesis