I miss happy

Missing Beth IMG_0653sm

I can’t believe this photo hasn’t been posted, yet.

Beth just loved her sisters, and this is a cute one with Maggie. They look so alike here.

They are sitting on the front porch of their parents’ house. I realized I was reflected in the door like the person that took the photo, so I positioned myself in the same spot (sadly, I did not take the original, but I love this one so much I had to take it). I’m glad the chairs were still there. I had recently repainted them for her parents before the house went up for sale.

They look so blissfully happy. I miss her.

I miss happy.

Walking in Beth’s shadow

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I have been waiting many months for the Sun to match this angle. Sadly, I think Beth must have taken the photo in the Fall, not Spring, but I’m not going to wait until October to try this, again. All winter long, the Sun was rising too far to the south to get this angle. As April began, it appeared I could get the angle, but I realized I had to capture it as soon as possible because leaves were growing fast on the trees and started blocking the light.

I took this photo around her birthday, but I’m only just now getting around to posting it.

I kept the original photo near the front door to keep reminding myself to look at the morning light at least one day a week. I’ve been doing it since December, or so.

I loved it when Beth got creative; taking photos of her reflection or shadow instead of the usual portraits one might expect. She had started playing around with apps to make her images “more artistic” – making them look like watercolors or “bubblefying” them. She even asked if I could set up a painting area and asked me to teach her to paint. Usually, when I’d ask her about setting up an area as a studio for her, it seemed she had changed her mind, so we never did.

I often wonder, if she were alive today, what kinds of things would she be experimenting with. I know some of it was just boredom being alone, since she couldn’t work or go out much, but some of it was definitely a budding creative mind.

I miss that mind.


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A sample of Beth’s “bubblefied” images. It was an app I played around with, but she loved so much I put it on her phone. I simply stopped using it so it could be her thing. She like using images of stars (that’s Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully at the top). You can see as they get smaller they are easier to make out, like a Chuck Close painting. Top, left to right: Beth, Gillian, Maggie. Bottom, left to right: Beth, me, me



Happy Birthday to me

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Coogan’s in Boston, MA

The color of the wall in the image above changed, so the “missing piece” image doesn’t quite line up, but I’m really glad I was able to take it.

I frequently use the image below as my Facebook profile picture. I’ll share the text from Facebook recalling how thrilled I was to find the original file.

I’m used up and spent today. I somehow threw my back out yesterday and wasted most of the day on the couch or the bed. I couldn’t even walk Gozer, it was so painful to move around. I haven’t slept well for a few days straight. You’d think I’d have a lot of profound things to say on my birthday, but I’m just so exhausted and can’t think very clearly.

Instead, I am posting the following text, which is a slightly edited version of what I posted on Facebook the day I used this as my profile pic for the first time. It sums up the photo well enough.

coogans IMG_0576 3edit
I’m going to share this original image, as well. The “missing piece” image was important to me, but look at her face in this original shot … I wanted to make sure you could clearly see it here.


From Facebook:

You can’t know how incredibly happy I am that I found this image.

For a year, I’ve been searching every hard drive I have for this image. I was prepared to completely reconstruct the image using Photoshop. Until tonight, all I had was a tiny, unsatisfying, shitty, compressed version from Beth’s Facebook page.

I continued to use the tiny, compressed image, on and off, as a profile pic last year. After all, a crappy, compressed version was better than nothing at all.

Because Beth had saved the compressed version to her phone, a thumbail existed in iPhone backups, which reinforced my mistaken assumption it was taken with one of our iPhones. So, every time I searched, it was in backup folders for old phones and on the only remaining phones I still had in my possession.

Then, tonight, I happened upon an image taken in the same location on the same day. I quickly dug deep into the metadata of that image and discovered it was taken with a Canon G10. I didn’t recall having that camera on the trip, but once I realized that, I started a search of more than 20TB of hard drives for all images taken with the G10.


I found a whole folder from that day. I was certain – absolutely positive – all of the original images were lost when one of several hard drives failed several years ago. I had told myself, repeatedly, the image was lost forever and there was nothing I could do about it. I would just be glad I had anything at all.

This makes me so happy. I mean, look at her. Look at the love and joy on her face. I needed this more than you could possibly know. It’s a bit sad to abandon the compressed image with all the comments and likes, but clarity is more important to me.

As much as anything can right now, this just makes me so happy. 

I love seeing this image more than any of the others.

It’s no contest.

The Mooring, the light, and “Dreams”

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This might be the last image I took at The Mooring restaurant, and it is my favorite. The sun splashing through the background illuminates her like an angel.

“To be an artist means never to avert your eyes.” – Akira Kurosawa

My first date with Beth Broderick was to Akira Kurosawa’s, “Dreams” at the old Dundee Theater in Omaha.

Last night, for one-night-only, Film Streams screened Kurosawa’s beautiful and haunting film. I met Rob Gilmer, for one of what he calls our “Widower’s Club” outings, so we watched it together.

There are lots of odd coincidences about last night. Rob’s husband, Rene, died exactly six months ago. Also, Film Streams bought the old Dundee Theater and is in the midst of remodeling it for what they hope is a grand opening by the end of the year. For me, Film Streams was a surrogate for the Dundee Theater.

Also, my birthday is tomorrow.

“Dreams” is admittedly an odd first date film, but keep in mind, I didn’t exactly know what to expect when I asked Beth to go. In the years since that date, I remembered it as a gorgeous film that was mostly sequences of nice dreams. I didn’t recall the apocalyptic parts very well. I vividly recalled “Sunshine Through The Rain,” “The Peach Orchard,” and “The Blizzard.” I recalled the others, like “Crows” and “Mount Fuji in Red,” but they only came back to me as I watched them, again.

This viewing, literally decades later, I was struck by how frequently apocalyptic it truly is. I mean, it is still gorgeous, even parts like the long, slow blizzard sequence, but Beth must have questioned her judgment about me after that night.

On a side note, my personal dreams got more harrowing after Beth died, as you might expect.

I should have taken her to a romantic film, but I was mostly interested in cool artsy films, especially back then.

It was emotional watching the film last night. The first time I saw it, I was completely entranced. This time, I was thinking about Beth as much as the film. I was thinking about us dating and I was recalling some of the bad dreams I’ve had over the past year and a half.

I’m probably replaying the film in my head as much this time as I did the first time.

There was also a guest speaker after the film. It was a discussion on the states of consciousness with Dr. Sanjay Singh, Chair of the Department of Neurology at Creighton University School of Medicine. So, the discussion of Dreams was simultaneously clinical, and emotional, and conjured up both real life memories and memories of my own personal dreams.

It was a lot to take in for one night, to be honest.

Rob and I talked for a half an hour on the sidewalk outside the theater after the event ended.

I’m tired, but I’m also wired. It’s approaching 3:00 AM and I really need to try and sleep.

Perhaps, I’ll dream.