This is my dear friend. I painted this portrait of him in my art journal a couple of years ago. He passed away in September after a too short life full of much hardship and difficulty but also love.
He was more handsome in real life and more beautiful yet on the inside. He didn't always think that though. One of the many tragedies of his life was his struggle with Schizophrenia. His hallucinations were frightening and horrible, leaving him emotionally drained and humiliated when they were over. My friend was brilliant and funny and did his very best to cope with this affliction while medications continued to fail him, keeping some of the symptoms away but unable to protect him from the terrifying experiences that hallucinations brought him.
He also had periods of delusional thinking, and sometimes, when these were relatively harmless he could look back on them with amusement. I learned how to talk to him during such times, without patronising him or upsetting him. The most important thing was for him to feel that I believed him. This is not easy when your friend believes he is being taught all the secrets that are required to enable him to take over as Master of the Universe. Special spirits visited him for the period of about a week and a half, during which time he made copious notes which would of course later make no sense at all. When this particular delusion ended and he was able to look back at it and laugh, we sometimes joked about the idea of becoming Master of the Universe. I can assure you that my friend, if the job ever were to fall to him, would be a very benevolent caretaker of us all. What excited him most was that in this role he was going to be able to make everything everywhere okay for everyone.
One day as we joked a little about this, he told me that when he is Master of the Universe he will appoint me as Director of Awesome. He was an affectionate and loving friend and I don't lack for memories of kind and loving things he said to me, but this one is probably one of my favourites. It reminds me of his strength and his vulnerability and softness all at the same time.
I miss you, my friend. I miss sharing our art, laughing, joking and helping each other through the darker times. I am glad you no longer suffer. I am grateful for what you gave me. You gave me more than you know. I promise to hold the position of Director of Awesome in the highest esteem and give the job my greatest best efforts.