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Four Months...

The holidays have come and gone; but there was no Merry in my Christmas…no Happy in my New Year…despite being able to get together with most of my children and grandchildren; I still felt very alone and desolate, I found myself needing to be alone though; without Ray I have no peer, no one that shares my view of the world, no one to laugh at silly old stale jokes with…or enjoy an old movie or song together. Or to share that knowing look when the younger generation doesn’t “get it” and those wordless hugs that told me everything will be alright… Not anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, my family has been so very supportive and loving and anxious to bring me happiness; I did have moments where I could laugh a little and smile at their interactions and conversations, even contribute a few observations and memories of my own. But…it is not and never will be the same. Ever.
At least I was with them. At least I had a chance to feel their warmth, their embraces and their love. But there is this deep, sad, empty void; where my Ray used to be… some days I am filled with despair at his absence, I have many tasks to do related to his departure from my life; I avoid them; for now. From the time I get up and open my eyes to my empty bedroom, I pat his pillow and stare at where he used to sleep; as I struggle to get up my spirits, to get myself ready for work…dragging myself as a reluctant child down the stairs, averting my gaze from the walls that contain Reynaldo in all shapes and forms and sizes; just get by, don’t look…you will never get out the door…
Yet… they also comfort me, I come home, stopping to touch the unfinished painting on the easel; caress the face of Geronimo as I come through the door; stop and stare in wonder at all the beauty he saw and recreated on canvas, paper and wood. My fingers run along the back of the large painting that is still set next to the stairs, it has a million staples in it! He would stretch his own canvas and staple the living daylights out of it…over the top; that was my Ray! And his name is everywhere…he would ID everything that he ever had/found/bought/made… “Reynaldo ‘07” or “RVD ‘04” all the tools of his carpentry trade; his workbenches, brushes, anything…named and dated. I think he got that from his dad, who still to this day identifies each grocery or leftover with a dated masking tape label…
I have yet to clear anything off his desk, his worktable, his easels, his sofa…the little Budwiser beers that he liked are still in the fridge waiting for him to pop open a cold one…for the GAME. His Cheerios, his Earl Grey Tea that he drank each night…his cookies, the one’s with the little sculpture on top (sugarfree) and so many other things; his paint encrusted shorts and t-shirts, the moccasins that he wore constantly; his sister bought him a new pair every year, but he would get paint on them almost immediately to her dismay, he said ‘one day they would be valuable, because they were worn by the world- famous “ Reynaldo” and they would be on display like “the shoes of the Artist” and always with a twinkle in his eye…his humor was like no other…and his laugh; his smile. He would light up the room…
…yes, he had big aspirations, lofty goals and a creative spirit that will live forever. And in my heart; my forever love…my Ray, whom I ended up sharing with the world… immortalized in a Bubble called RED.

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I felt compelled to share my thoughts as I enter the new year…now on my own without my other half, my partner, my best friend; my forever love. The house is full of Ray’s essence; I cannot bring myself to disturb or move his things. I know it is part of grief and eventually I will find the strength and courage to take care of what needs to be done. But; I can’t, it is still too painful and tender for my spirit to handle. I try to take comfort in what he left behind; but what lies in the future? We would always have the tradition of writing out our goals and prognosticate what it would take to accomplish them, and he would write sheets and sheets of steps, and bullet points and figures, and he would put a picture of those goals taped to the front of his computer. There was usually a new truck or car on the list…lol, but he was still driving his ’98 Hombre which we fixed up in preparation for his art exhibits and shows a few years ago. If nothing else…he had an exquisite imagination and vision…
I sit here now…staring at the blank page of my future.

As a self-taught working artist, I have always believed that we are all blessed with gifts. It’s up to us to recognize and develop them; to what extent we will use those gifts to benefit others that cross our path.

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  • Matty B. Duran
    Matty B. Duran11 months ago

    Oh Cathy this is so beautiful and heartbreaking. Thank-you for sharing your absolutely amazing writing. This writing brings comfort, sadness and joy to me, as you describe my father’s life with you. His everyday routine, his paintings, his likes and dislikes. I know it is so very hard for you, Cathy. Even though he is no longer with us, his presence, his memory, his spirit, will always be with us. These writings of yours mean so much to me. I pray for healing, not that you forget him, but that you are able to cope with his loss, not with heartbreak, but with a heart filled with love, that he was your soul mate, and this is something one can never forget. I believe it will get easier, no one will ever fill this hole in your heart, but each month will be less heavy on your heart; acceptance will come in your own time, and accepting his death, is what will make it less painful. Love, Matty

  • Thank you Matty, I was hoping to let your dad’s peers and friends see what was behind the artist; his day-to-day routines, his quirkiness…his humor; and how hard it is to be without him in my life. He was such a vibrant person, but yet down-to-earth. I appreciated those things more and more as we grew older together…and after all we had been through; we finally had a very comfortable relationship…and then the unthinkable happened. I am so glad you see all these things; I write what is causing me pain…wistful thoughts of what was and now is not…sometimes don’t look at the whole picture, because I am in the middle of it. It’s good to get your perspective; from a daughters viewpoint…I appreciate that. Love, Cathy ~

    – Reynaldo

  • Matty B. Duran
    Matty B. Duran11 months ago

    In recognition of your outstanding writing!

  • Thank you for the encouragement…the writing does help. I know I will not always remember every detail of this experience…but I know I will have this to come back to if I wish; recall those feelings and thoughts, maybe with less pain as time passes. ~ Cathy Loves

    – Reynaldo

  • Solomon Walker
    Solomon Walker11 months ago

    really sad to hear what happened to Reynaldo…
    I haven’t been here regularly in the last year, and only sparingly over the last two years, so I’ve been unaware of happening throughout the RB community. I commented on some of his paintings at some point in 2013, but must have been near the beginning, and just figured that he was keeping busy as usual with his work. I only became aware perhaps in late November or early December that something had happened to him through his journal entry. At first I thought it was a joke, and someone was using his profile to post some amusements. But, sadly it turned out that it was more dire.

    I Knew Reynaldo when I first came to RB back in 2008, and I believe he was one of the very few artists whom I met as a new member, and whom I kept in my circle of RB friends. There has been many members who came and went through RB, some sadly passed away, but most just left for other art venues. It’s hard to keep pace in a virtual world, and we often dont know what is happening in people’s lives away from their login-in presence. Reynaldo has alot of friends here, I believe, because he was a nice and thoughtful person, who always took time out to comment on other members creative work. He produced alot of amazing art work and am sure many were inspired by his artistic abilities and his kindness. He will surely be missed in many ways.

    Please keep his memory alive by keeping his RB gallery, and allowing art lovers across the world to enjoy his brilliance for many years to come.

  • Solomon, Thank you so much for responding to my entry…I know that many people do not realize what happened and accidently run across my writing and wonder who I am. I do recall seeing your name many times, although I was not as involved in Redbubble before; I had a full-time job and spent many weekends away from home taking care of my mom, who became ill back in 2010 and then passed away 2 years ago; more time trying to take care of her estate; so hard. But Rey had been helping me with everything and also had some health issues, unrelated to what happened to him though; so he was not on RB as much last year either. I have gone back and looked through many of the comments and interactions with the RB family and his friends here. He truly had some wonderful experiences and found great appreciation both for himself and him for others works and talents. I will do my best to keep adding to his profile and gallery, and will continue to add my own perspective as a “non-artist”…lol; could not understand many of his creations unfortunately, abstract are very abstract to me! but I read with Awe much of the fine comments and awards and features that he had over the years here, and it gives me comfort to know how much he was honored and respected…and even loved by many. I hope to remain in touch with those of you who would like that. Sincerely, Mrs Reynaldo ~ Cathy Loves

    – Reynaldo

  • Solomon Walker
    Solomon Walker11 months ago

    hi Cathy, yes, he produced alot fo art work, and was very involved in RB when I first came here back in 2008. After 2010, I didnt spend as much time here, because I have quite a bit more projects elsewhere. In-fact, I only posted samples of new work about two months ago, but still havent been here much.

    It’s likely that alot of the folks who knew him still are unaware of his passing, so it’s important to keep his gallery here. Plus, his work is great and art lovers are sure to keep buying them. Its not hard to make new items from the work, and RB keeps introducing new options for artists to customize their work for potential buyers.

    Your writing is thought-provoking and would help alot of people who are also going through loss of some kind. There many folks here who write specifically within the avenue of lost and pain, in up-liftment, courage and optimism. It would be great if you could customize your poetry with Reynaldo’s art work. You are an artist, though it may not be with paint on canvas, it is with words; so in-fact you are both creative souls. There is still alot to be done, and it is up to you to keep the light burning.

  • Dear Solomon…I just returned home a bit ago and saw that you had replied; thank you very much for the encouragement regarding my writing; in the past I only wrote for myself in steno-pads and notebooks, but this has compelled me to go a step farther and share my thoughts with others. The sheer emotion of grief is very powerful, and I feel things I have never experienced before, even with the loss of my mom, my dad in ’07 and my only brother in ’81, which was my first ever loss; and boy did it throw me; for that reason I am being very cautious with myself and making sure to watch from the sidelines so to speak. I recently found a notebook where I wrote to my brother after his accident and passing; it was very sorrowful and pleading, but the good thing was, I wrote things that I remembered about him and cherished; now many years later I had forgotten some of those things, and that letter reminded me of them, so I know that with Rey, it will give me comfort years from now that I write as much as I can about our life together and what made him so very unique and special. I will carry on with his torch, as you say…keep it burning; my mission. I love your ideas; and he left a body of work that could lend itself to many forms. And again, thank you for the time you took to write a very thoughtful and encouraging message ~ Cathy Loves

    – Reynaldo

  • Karirose
    Karirose11 months ago

    Dear Cathy, how very precious for you to share your heart with Rey’s RB friends. Rey was a great encouraged as well as a prolific and wonderful artist. Four months is such a short time in terms of grieving. You have my deepest condolences. I smiled as I read about his moccasins. I have my son’s shoes from when he was working with a house painter. They have paint sploches and drips. And after 13 years the pain of his passing is still very real. But the special things, like paint stained shoes or moccasins, bring a smile and a warmth within. Thank you for sharing your Rey with us.

  • Dear Kari, I thought about you just yesterday, I saw that you were one of Rey’s close friends and wasn’t sure if you knew what happened…didn’t you come one time to visit? Thank you for your thoughts and memories of your son; you just never know what life will bring…I can’t imagine losing a child; I felt very sad for Rey’s parents since they are both still alive; his father is almost 92! So hard to accept losing someone so young and vibrant. I remember just a month before all this, we were cleaning up and I was pairing all his shoes and he had like 7 prs of those moccasins! I’m so glad we didn’t get rid of them, although I told him at the time they were about ready for the trash; so I found somewhere to stash them for him and now…they are precious to me; funny how things that were a bit of an irritation end up being treasures! Please keep in touch, ~ Cathy Loves

    – Reynaldo

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