Twelve years is too short to spend with the person you love. Billy passed away suddenly on December 07, 2017 while on a business trip to Kentucky. He was only 58. My man had the most beautiful blue eyes, an amazing smile, and a great sense of style and confidence that knew no bounds. He was a dreamer and a problem-solver. A lover of hedgehogs and the funniest man I knew. He would help me with anything and came to my rescue on photo shoots often. I could always count on him. He hated eye-rolling, liars, and Donald Trump. He loved fire nights, smoking cigars with his best friend Steve, and watching documentaries on his iPad at night in bed. He had a way of shifting and hiking his shoulders forward to adjust his shirts. He loved his family and took the roll of "patriarch" seriously - hating to miss being the first birthday greeting on anyone's special day. On my birthday, he would wake after midnight, pull me close and sing "Happy Birthday" in a soft-as-a-whisper voice, kiss me on the back of the neck and then fall immediately back to sleep. He adored any and all sweets, cold pizza from the fridge, Yum Yum hot dogs and Cheerwine. He also loved the chicken wings at Pho Hien Vuong, the Penne Pulcinella at Elizabeth's, the Escape Roll and Bulgogi Tacos from Sushi Republic, steamed oysters from Pier, the 6 Cheese Penne Pasta at Harper's and the "best cheeseburger in town" at Printworks. He was a master with understanding the ins and outs of precision machining and metal finishing and was on the cusp of succeeding with a new process that he spent years working on. He washed, dried and folded laundry to perfection, he loved making the bed every morning and did so with care and love, he turned down the bed every night and placed my clothes in the dryer during the winter so I would be warm and toasty between the cold sheets. He cried easily and became more sentimental in the last few years. He knew how to laugh me out of a bad mood. He was thrown off Twitter for very bad behavior. He loved church and working out. He loved to give but hated to receive. He always said that "epilepsy changed his life" because an over-fondness for tasty beverages and the cold path of alcoholism seemed destined.
He leaves behind a good woman who loved him passionately through thick and thin, a cat who kept him company when I was away, and a new baby hedgehog who was his 58th birthday gift and whom he looked forward to socializing and holding in the evenings (and she is coming around just fine, baby). I love you, Billy Smith. We had a grand 12-year roller-coaster of a ride. More than most, but no amount of time would have ever been enough. May the celebration of your life and the book you never got around to write - but that I will - be a worthy legacy for you.
We hope to celebrate his life after the new year, perhaps in February. The beauty of cremation is time. I want this to be perfect.