Nudity

We are all born naked…every single one of us. Millions of years ago, our prehistoric ancestors didn’t wear clothes. They didn’t even have clothes. We often see the depictions of them in animal hides intricately placed together to resemble “modern” clothing, but the reality is, the walked around naked. Sure there were probably some innovative clans in colder regions that came up with some type of outerwear for warmth, but way back then, they didn’t have the skills to make the clothing as depicted. 

Fast forward to a few thousand years ago, nudity wasn’t a shameful thing. We often see paintings and sculptures of the ancient Greeks and Romans (etc.), they are either nude or scantily dressed. Being nude wasn’t something to be ashamed of, but rather a way of life. 

It wasn’t until after these long ago times that nudity and the beauty of the human body became something to hide. Puritanical religious views made nudity to be sin, something to never be seen. It also instilled the idea that nudity is inherently sexual. While being naked, it is true that all sexual organs and orifices are able to be seen, but that doesn’t make them sexual. 

As a nudist, I’m not sexually attracted to every naked person I see. The same way gay men aren’t attracted to every man on earth, every woman isn’t automatically attracted to every man. Yes, there are men I find attractive, but just the mere fact of interacting with them without our clothes on doesn’t mean I am constantly turned on. I can carry on a conversation without my clothes and it would be like any other conversation. 

The fact that there is such a negativity towards nudism astounds me. It’s just freeing. I hate wearing clothes. Shirts feel like they are choking me, pants (and underwear) make my lower half feel like I’m in a sauna. Being naked in no way turns me on or makes me feel sexual. It just makes me feel normal, like my body can breathe. 

I don’t know many other nudists. But the few I do know, I’ve never slept with. We sit and talk, or watch tv, or just hang out. They are the rare individuals that don’t see nudity as a precursor to sex, but just life as it was intended. 

Naked. 

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F**k The Haters

Sunday I lost my cool. I was treated poorly, via Facebook. It was implied (though not actually said) that I should have died instead of my husband. I was in a tailspin all day. I went from sad, to angry, to depressed, to suicidal, to just plain pissed. It was a roller coaster for sure! 

Needless to say, that person (and others like her) are now blocked. Blocked, deleted, and as far as I’m concerned, no longer existent in this world. 

NO ONE deserves to be treated poorly, regardless of how hurt you may be. If someone tells you something isn’t your business, it ain’t your business, end of story. Just cause you are a nosy bitch, doesn’t give you free reign to be nasty to people. 

I woke up Monday morning with a new lease on life. I will not be held back, I will not be brought down, and I will not be responsible for others’ feelings. I am going to be happy, I am going to take care of myself, and I will move on with my life…though shy a few people. 

I’m not a fan, but T-Swizzle (Taylor Swift) had it right, haters gonna hate, hate, hate, but you gotta shake it off. 

Crossroads

Life often comes to the proverbial crossroads. Sometimes even literal ones. At times, we see them coming, others we don’t realize it until we’ve made our “turn” and we reflect on what could have been different by taking the other path. We all come to that point in our lives. Be it the small decisions or life altering ones, the choices we make every day are the decisions that shape our lives. 

I find myself coming upon one of these theoretical crossroads. With the death of my husband (as previously promised, this blog is not about him, just my circumstances after the fact), I find things have changed significantly for me. Something inside me is broken. I’m not sure if it is my spirit, my will, or just my desire to carry on, but something is different. I’m smart enough to realize it, but not so smart that I know how to mend the brokenness. 

My lease on my apartment is coming up in July, should I renew, my rent increases but I know I’ll have shelter for another year. I could find someplace cheaper, as my rent is towards the high end of the scale for what I’m getting. But, as I don’t drive, the location is ideal. It’s close enough to walk where I need to go or should I need something. However, the only reason I live in this complex is because Tim loved it here, and by staying it is a constant reminder of him. Not that I have any bad feelings or memories about the place, I just constantly expect him to come home at some point and I know he never will. The thought of moving fills me with dread. I HATE moving, all the packing and unpacking, and the manual labor involved is exhausting. My gut is telling me to not only move, but to completely leave the area, perhaps the state. To move far away and start over where no one knows my personal tragedy, and I’m not treated like a leper of sorts. But that means not only moving, but either transferring jobs or finding a new one all together. So, it leaves me with the conundrum, should I stay or should I go?

Another choice I am facing is at work. The company as a whole is changing. In the past few years they have upped the pay and benefits, which was great for the employees, but now the expectations have become almost unreasonable. Yes, I make nearly twice what I made when I started, but that doesn’t provide any extra time in which to perform the duties assigned to me. It’s still an eight hour day, a forty hour week. Just because I earn more money, doesn’t mean I magically have more time in which to do the things to earn it. After Tim’s death, I threw myself into work as a distraction, but I’ve had to step back since then and deal with my loss. I get the feeling from my superiors that they do not care about me or my loss, only the output of my work. It’s become all about the level of productivity, not caring about the associates at all. That is not how my company used to be. So I find myself wondering whether to stay, transfer, or find something better suited to the realistic expectations of what can be done. 

I no longer speak to my family. I am a recovering drug addict, and I don’t want them around me. My brother is an addict, my other brother is following in our alcoholic father’s footsteps, and my mother coddles them. Not to mention, she deserted me in my hour of need during Tim’s memorial to tend to my brothers addiction and her husband’s daughter’s legal issues with drugs. Something inside me will not let me forgive her for that. I was a fool and held hope that Tim would stop using and abusing drugs, but that did not turn out to be the case. Now that I’ve had that eye opening experience, and have spent many an hour remembering my own struggle with drugs, I’ve made the life choice not to have an addict in my life. Not one, nor the people that enable them. While I am confident in that decision, and there is no more choice to be made, a different choice arises. I no longer have a family, so the starting over with my life fills me with dread. Do I have the strength to do it alone? Can I find the will power to find new people I want in my life, that I can rely on and have that closeness that is now lacking in my life? Where does one even start that journey?

There are stories about crossroads. That if you go to a literal crossroads and (the stories vary) either bury something personal, or pray, or just call out, that the devil or a demon will come and make a deal with you. Whatever you desire most for a period of time in exchange for your soul. I don’t believe in the devil, nor God, nor any aspect of religion, but the idea has become fascinating to me. What would I ask for? Peace? An end to drugs? The return of people I have lost? I’m not sure exactly. I’d probably ask for the ability to accept changes and still have my happiness. But this is a superstition and not a reality. 

There are no easy answers in life and we must make the choices we feel best for us. We also must deal with the outcomes of those decisions. I don’t regret my choices, I’ve always had that mindset, the decisions I’ve made in the past shaped who I am now and I wouldn’t be who I am today had I not made them. But I find myself feeling incapable of making the choices I need to make now. Fear is stopping me for some reason. Fear of failure, fear of being alone, and a fear of losing what little I have left. As I will turn 40 this fall, I am unsure if I have it in me to start over as a middle-aged man, when I was younger, I would not have had any problems making that choice. But yet I am at this crossroad in my life. I must choose where I go from here, and be strong enough to accept the consequences of my decision. 

Civil Rights

I’ve recently been reading a trilogy of novels by author Greg Iles. Natchez Burning, The Bone Tree, and Mississippi Blood. While I have not yet finished Mississippi Blood, the first two have got me thinking. 

This series of books is a fictional account of some all true events in our nation’s past. Civil rights. The sixties were a troubled time in the history of our country, and while I was not alive yet at the time (I wasn’t born until 1977), I’ve always found the sheer nonsense of this time to be morbidly fascinating. Not in a way that I agree with it, but like an accident you can’t look away from. It was a horrible time in our past, when the racial divide was at the forefront of our nation. 

In the books, a black nurse, who had fled from Mississippi in the late sixties after the disappearance of her civil rights activist brother, comes back to Mississippi in 2005 to die after a long bought with cancer. Her sudden reappearance and the very unfortunate circumstances of her death, bring the hate crimes of forty years ago back into the light. In the late sixties, she was kidnapped, raped, and beaten by an offset group of the KKK to lure her brother, a prominent civil rights activist, out of hiding. She barely got out alive, and with the help of the white doctor she worked for, she escaped north to Chicago. By her coming home to die, the doctor and his family are plunged back into dealing with the terrible history that made her flee in the first place. 

I’m not going to recount the entire series of events of the novels, it is a thrilling read and I highly recommend checking them out. Instead I’d like to talk about the actual reality of this terrible tragedy in the past. 

Though the “race war” in the 1960s did not start then, it has been an ongoing struggle since the first blacks were brought to this country as slaves, it has been (in my opinion) a terrible blight in our history. Black people were brought over from Africa as slaves into a country ran by white men. No minority group (black, Latino, Asian, women, native American, the poor, etc.) were ever given equal rights. Rich white men ran the country and decided it’s fate, always in their favor. These men owned black men and women as slaves. They worked them to the bone, beat them, raped the women, killed them if they didn’t do as they were told, and delivered many other horrible punishments upon them. They were property, they had no rights, no say, and no benefits. They were lucky to be given enough food, water, and shelter to survive. 

Just prior to the civil war, a shift occurred. The northern states (for the most part) no longer treated black people as slaves, though they still had little to no rights. The south however, still held onto the owning and mistreatment of any person of color. Throughout the country, there were different classes of colored people (the term of the time, not mine), as many of the white slave owners had had illegitimate children with their black mistresses, spawning mulatto children who were a step above a slave, but still not treated equally. 

After slavery was abolished, blacks were still not equal. They spent another hundred years treated as second class citizens. Little rights were afforded to them. They were free, yes, but they were not equal. They had manual labor jobs, regardless of any skill they may have. The were paid less than their white counterparts. They were more or less herded into only living in certain areas, away from the white areas. Segregation was horrible. Blacks and whites had to have separate entries to buildings, different drinking fountains, different everything. Partly because the white leaders of the time feared what could happen if they were equal, but mostly these instances of segregation were to remind the black citizens of their place in the scheme of things in America at that time. 

The civil rights movement in the 1960s changed everything, and not always for the best, but it was a step in the right direction. We have all heard of the obvious voices of this movement, Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks but there were countless people working to end the fight. People working to get black Americans to register to vote, to fight for equal pay, to go to public schools and institutions the same as whites, etc. We may not recognize all of their names, but every single step they took was a step in the right direction. 

Unfortunately, for every step a black man or woman took to ensure their equality, there was a white man or woman doing something to stop them or counteract their progress. We’ve all heard of the KKK, but there were people not in the Klan that felt the same. The white men leading our country at the time were not for progress, still aren’t in my opinion, but that’s another blog. There were a few that were for it, but the majority were not. A popular theory (a subplot in the books) was that president John F. Kennedy was active in ending segregation and was killed as a result….as was his brother Bobby. 

Here we are over 50 years later, and while segregation is no longer openly discussed, it still exists. Black Americans are not paid equally, are still profiled as drug dealers and criminals, still have trouble acquiring homes in better neighborhoods, and many other things. It is just not openly talked about. Black Americans have trouble getting health care, approval for housing, assistance for education, and even government assistance if they should need it. While white Americans do not have the same issues. 

Recent events in our country have proven that the struggle goes on. Most notably, the Black Lives Matter movement. Of course they should matter, ALL lives should matter. The color of the skin surrounding that life should be irrelevant. My personal belief is the media and government of our nation have told you what they think you need to hear, in order to keep up their low key racism. If you pay attention to the news, they spend a lot of time telling you about black criminals and white do-gooders, but very rarely the other way around. I’m not saying there are no black criminals, but there are an equal amount of white ones. And most of the black people I know would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it. The public perception is being guided by the media. 

Why does this bother me so much, you may ask? True, I am a middle aged white man, I shouldn’t have an issue, right? Wrong. Besides it being utterly, ridiculously wrong, it is an issue I do have to deal with as a gay man. The discrimination may be a bit different, but it’s still there. The white men who are still in power, after all these centuries, are using discrimination to help themselves. Against blacks, against gays, against immigrants, against different religions. The struggles are different in some ways, but at their core they are the same. We are discriminated against because we are different than a straight white man in public office. 

I don’t have a solution to end this discrimination and racism. I wish I did. But I hope that it will end. I doubt it will happen anytime soon, but someday. When our children are our age, and have children of their own. When the racists are no longer around to instill their hate into their own children, when we can elect officials with a more open mind to actually bettering the country and not just their wallets. When we as a society can concentrate on important issues like global warming and not being able to live off a minimum wage job…then and only then can we step away from the horrific events of the past. When children can learn about civil rights in history class and see that it was a horrible blight in our history, but feel proud they live in a country that can live up to the motto All Men Are Created Equal. 

All By Myself

Alone. 

The word itself strikes fear for so many people. So many people I know, or know of, just cannot be alone. They have to have someone else in their presence at all times, they do not know the joy that comes with time spent by their self. 

Admittedly, I used to be one of those people. Many years ago, prior to becoming sober, I needed people around. I couldn’t stand the silence, had to have someone else there to talk to, listen to, interact with. The thought of having to spend any amount of time alone just made me seek out the company of people I may not have even liked. Of course the drugs I was doing at the time dulled the annoyance of said people, just so I could get the fix of some type of closeness. 

When I was 21, that changed. I don’t remember the exact day, but I do remember that it was summertime and raining. I had my heart broken (I touch on this in the blog titled If I Knew Then…Part 2), and that event changed me forever. In so many ways. 

I found solace in being alone, in music with my headphones on that only I could hear, in watching a thunderstorm that somehow reflected my mood perfectly. I even remember I was listening to Garbage’s Version 2.0. 

That night a shift in my social life changed my outlook forever. I’ve had trouble being social since then. No longer did I want to be around others. I didn’t feel the need to go out. The fewer people in my circle, the happier I was. My trust in people had been shattered. I learned in one evening that the only person that could make me happy was myself. Me and me alone. 

Fast forward about 6 years, and Tim moved in with me. He had broken down several of the walls I spent so many years (felt like a lifetime) reinforcing. While I never again became as social in public as he was, or would have liked for me to be, I let him in. He was my social circle. 

There were a few close friends and family members that I let in also, but mostly it was Tim. I still enjoyed my alone time, but I grew to crave his company. I lived with him for over 10 years. A decade of my life spent with him. During that long time, I did learn to open back up, selectively expanding my circle to allow others in. 

Though we haven’t lived together since July, I’ve operated the past 8 months as if we did. I allowed friends and family into my heart, mind, and personal space. But I also thought we’d end up living together again. 

Since his death, another shift has occurred. I don’t want people near me again. I’ve spent the majority of my time alone, and that’s probably the best thing I can do right now. I still feel like being close to someone from time to time, but if I’m being honest with myself, it’s only his company I crave. Other people get on my nerves quickly. 

I’ve attempted to make new friends, as the existing ones seem to only want to talk about Tim, and that’s not something I am ready to talk about yet. It’s been nice to talk about other things with people who did not know him, but somehow it just doesn’t feel right. The distraction level I’ve sought isn’t there. 

So I’ve decided to try the alone thing again. Some time for self reflection and self healing. I intend to read more, write more, and of course listen to some great music. Hopefully, I won’t become a shut in, but maybe that’s what I need to heal my heart. 

I want to get myself to a place where taking a chance on others doesn’t feel like a betrayal, to a place where I don’t feel like others want to talk to me to just be nosey about my loss, and to a place where I feel safe to break down a wall. 

It’s been nearly half my life ago that I first learned to be my own best friend. I never imagined that I would be doing it again. But here I sit, contemplating just that. I’m considering moving far away when my lease is up, just to find the peace I feel I deserve. 

I don’t want to ever forget the circumstances that put me in these situations, as they have made me a stronger person in the long run, but I also don’t want a constant reminder of times I cannot have again. 

I plan on spending all my free time listening to music, reading, and doing things (alone) that make me happy. I’ll still work, as I need food and shelter, but not planning on doing much else. If it ever warms up and stops raining, going hiking in nature to clear my head. 

I do not fear the path of being alone. It’s a road I’ve journeyed before, and I’m looking forward to having a positive impact on my future self. 

All by myself, alone. 

Moving Forward

Six weeks ago today, I got some devastating news…my husband had died. In that time, the range of emotions has been drastic. I’ve been sad, I’ve been angry, I’ve been numb, I’ve found acceptance. While I’m never going to forget Tim and the wonderful things he brought to my life, this will be my last post specifically concerning him for a while. I need to heal, as well as one can in this situation anyway. 

I’ve learned a lot from this experience. Though it is not a typical learning experience, I’ve learned quite a number of things about myself, about how society treats others, and about dealing with grief and loss. My eyes have been opened to things I didn’t realize I was handling wrong and regrets I’m learning to accept and not feel guilt over. 

I’ve never been good at expressing my feelings, shy of anger that I have a hard time suppressing. During this time of loss, I let my emotions float to the surface. I didn’t run or hide from them, I wore my heart on my sleeve, as they say, for everyone to see. There was no hiding my heartbreak, my anger, my utter devastation. I let people see how I was hurting, how I felt. It was partly a cry for help in dealing with something I was unprepared to do alone, but also partly to show sorrow for someone I’d attempted to push to a back burner in the public eye. 

My relationship with Tim was just that, MY relationship with TIM. I rarely gave the outside world a glimpse of what he meant to me, how I truly felt, or any of our private moments together. I thought that our relationship should remain private and that if I chose to share anything, it was (what I felt to be) mundane anecdotes and stories of things we did together. I’ve learned by doing that, few actually knew how I felt about Tim. Because we were separated at the time of his death, people didn’t understand that I truly loved him, that I was crushed by his death. I know now that by keeping my privacy, I seemed like I was seeking attention upon his death. I was/am in no way trying to be a martyr in any sense, I guess I learned to open up. Just too late. 

I’ve also had some eye opening realizations about society as a whole. Few people have been genuinely concerned about me or my welfare during the past six weeks, the majority of people have been more concerned with Tim’s cause of death or the less than honorable aspects of which we were separated in the first place. I’ve been very angry at people for this. Why he died, or even the less than attractive things he did in life, should not have any bearing on how he is remembered. He had his secrets (which I will touch on later), but they didn’t define him. We ALL have secrets that we choose to hide from the world, and even if they come to light in our death, they aren’t everything about us. 

I’ve learned that too many people are afraid of death. And by being afraid, they deflect the focus from dealing with a loss to some sort of bad mouthing to distract everyone from the pain. Sadly, I did the same thing, on a less dramatic scale, when we separated (more on that in a moment). I don’t want Tim remembered for his flaws, but rather for the amazing person he was, the joy he brought to the lives around him, and the numerous qualities that made him special. 

In dealing with my grief, I’ve had a lot of realizations. Tim died thinking I left him for personal reasons, which was partly true, but not the reasons I really felt. I loved Tim with all my heart, and always will, but he had some demons that, in the long run, effected us both. Among them, he had a few medical issues, a drug dependency issue, and a resulting non-existent sex drive. 

He died thinking that I left because we didn’t have sex, and I let him think that. I’d hinted numerous times that I hated his drug addiction, as a recovering addict myself, it killed me to watch him spiraling into a place I had already dug myself out of. THAT was why I left. I didn’t know how to help him, he saw there was no issue…and that is the first step in accepting help, admitting there is a problem. He refused to admit he had a problem, and the distance between us grew every time I brought it up. His resentment of me was becoming obvious, which made me feel horrible. Admittedly, I never flat out gave him the “me or drugs” ultimatum, though I don’t know it would have helped. After leaving, I felt like a coward for not doing it, but it was too late at that point. Instead, I let him believe what he wanted to believe, or more likely what he was willing to admit, that I followed my dick out the door. 

During the first few months of our separation, I put up a wall with others. Especially those who still talked to him. I let everyone think I just didn’t care, especially if I thought it would get back to him.  Sides were drawn amongst our friends and family. To my side, I seemed like I really didn’t care anymore. That Tim was someone I’d grown away from, and I didn’t want anything to do with him anymore. To his side, he was heartbroken because I left because we weren’t fucking all the time. I was just some sexual pervert trying to get my dick wet and not getting it at home. He definitely played the victim card, and I just let it happen. I felt he needed that to heal, so I assumed all the blame. 

In reality, I spoke to his family and best friend and asked their assistance in getting him help. I told them why I couldn’t stay and why I was concerned about him. I couldn’t watch his struggle, it was breaking my heart. Like a coward, I ran. Though I hoped that my leaving would be the wake up call he needed to see how his actions affected us both. I pleaded with his loved ones to not enable him, I secretly hoped without my financial support, he’d not be able to continue down his path. 

The guilt I feel over that decision may never go away. I know that I shouldn’t feel guilty, as I was only doing what I thought best, but I do. And it’s no one else’s business how or what I feel. I am not going to spend my life drowning in the what ifs though. I owe it to Tim to remember the positive memories I have, and to hold those close to my heart. He was a good man, he was just wondering down a path I couldn’t be a part of. 

The ways I’ve learned to deal with my grief have been numerous. I’ve learned what to, and not to, show and say. I’ve learned how others deal with death. There is no one way that people deal, there is no right or wrong way either. I’ve also learned that while there are things I could have or should have handled differently, I can’t cannot live my life with regrets. I in no way regret a single moment of my life with Tim. I’m thankful I got to know and love such an amazing person. Just how my mind operates, I’ll wonder from time to time if I could have handled things differently, or if I should have said or done something I neglected to think of at the time, but I know that it would change nothing. I need to learn to deal with the circumstances as they are. I’ve also learned that, should I need to in the future, I need to be more open with my feelings. Tim’s death has been an eye opener to the emotions both of myself and others. 

I am not ready to move on, but I am ready to not dwell on my loss anymore. I want to go forward with life and find happiness again, and hopefully I can do so with the lessons I’ve learned. I want to find the good in life and enjoy it. I want to find things that I am passionate about, without having everything tie back to my loss. I’m not ignoring, nor denying, my loss and what I feel, but I’m ready for it to not define who I am like it has for the past six weeks. 

I’m going forward with a better look on life. There will be good times and bad times, and even instances I’ll be sad beyond measure. But everything we go through in life makes us stronger. I will be a better person for both loving Tim and a better person for learning from how I lost him. 

I’m looking forward to being a better version of myself. Always moving forward. 

Speech I Gave About My Husband At His Celebration Of Life

First of all, on behalf of our family, we thank everyone for coming this evening. I may have married into this family, but I’m blessed to call them mine. We are all grateful to see so many people that loved Tim. He truly touched a lot of lives. 

As I was thinking of what to say tonight, of how I met Tim, how I knew he was the person I wanted to annoy me for the rest of my life, thinking about what it was that made Tim special to me, and what stories I should or should not share, I heard his voice clearly in my head say “BORING, no one cares about that stuff….make it funny”. Which he totally would have said. Unfortunately for you, I’m not that funny. 

Humor was something I did love about Tim. He was a truly funny guy. But the best part of his humor was that he thought he was hilarious. The look on his face and the tone of his voice when he was telling you something humorous made it even better. He also never forgot a joke or something you did that brought him laughter. 

He was also the smartest man I’ve ever met. His thirst for knowledge was unquenchable. If he heard of something he didn’t know, he would read everything he could find on the subject until he knew it by heart.

Tim was extremely creative. He painted, designed both clothes and home decor, did various crafts, sewed, and was known for his extravagantly wrapped presents. The gift itself was only part of the present, the presentation was the key. It had to be just the right wrapping paper, just the right ribbon, and an intricate bow or decoration on top. He got more enjoyment out of people discussing the appearance of his gifts than he did giving them. 

Tim was also an excellent, though messy, cook. He knew just what to add to make things delicious. He knew what spices complimented each other, techniques that I never heard of, and wasn’t against trying new things. He could never cook for just the two of us though. When he cooked, we had left overs for days. He wouldn’t eat leftovers if they had been in the fridge more than a couple days, so I always had food for lunches. I often joked he was trying to fatten me up, he joked back that the best way to my heart was through my stomach. 

He had many talents, interests, and positive qualities. So many he was hard to keep up with. He drove me crazy at times. Mostly because I am not that creative or adventurous. He often told people that he was tons of fun and I was no fun at all, which is sadly true. My idea of a good evening is reading a book, whereas he was always on the go or doing something, he just couldn’t sit still. He’d often interrupt my reading to ask my opinion on whatever it was he was working on. I am not the visual person he was, and he’d get frustrated with me because I couldn’t see his vision. He was very critical of his own work though, and while I’d love what he had done, he’d point out the tiniest flaw that I never would have noticed on my own. He strove for perfection, always.

I would not having traded a single minute of my time with him. We fought, we argued, and didn’t understand each other at times, just like any other couple. But I am a stronger, wiser, more adventurous person for having known him. The things I learned from him will stay with me for a lifetime. I learned more about myself during the last eleven years than I would have alone. 

I truly loved him, with all my heart. Words cannot describe how much I will miss him. I never again will hear his voice, his laugh, or taste his cooking, but I have my memories of great years together. He was my heart, my soul, my best friend. I love you, Tim. ALWAYS.