Reality Shifts

by Carol Sue Rosin

(This essay first appeared in the Winter Solstice 1996 issue of Crone Chronicles: A Journal of Conscious Aging.)

January, 1995. I received a call. "Hello, Darling. This is Timothy. IÕm calling to tell you that I am dying and you should visit me soon." His voice sounded rather chipper. He said it was prostate cancer, and he wanted me to join the celebration. I knew he was serious, but he wasnÕt serious enough for me.

I said, "This is horrible!" and told him I was going to bring him information about alternative medicine. He said all his friends except me had been supportive, happy for him. That if I was not going to have fun with this, he didnÕt want to talk to me. He slammed down the phone. I called him back. "But what about me?" I whined. "I'm not ready for you to go. I want you to try to live." He slammed down the phone again. I cried. But I didnÕt call him back. And he didnÕt call me, either.

In September, he phoned again. ÒPlease come visit me. I miss you.Ó I did. The schism between us forgotten, I started to visit him once a week. Twice. Then three times.

Then I got another call. ÒI want to talk to Jon. I want to know if he would lend you to me until I die. I want you to move in here.Ó ÒWhy me?Ó I asked. I wasnÕt a best friend or lover. ÒWhy not?Ó he replied. Then he got serious: ÒYou are the only friend I have who doesnÕt listen to anything I say.Ó Those words would make more sense as time went on.

Thus did my final trip with Timothy begin, one which, like others we had taken during the last 20 years, immersed me in the often abrupt, discontinuous and chaotic nature of what he introduced to me as Òreality shifts.Ó Once labeled Òthe most dangerous man in AmericaÓ by Richard Nixon, TimothyÕs genius had encouraged entire generations to shift our perceptions of reality; to see that reality is not absolute, but relative, and that we can create it as we go. Now, he was intending to die joyfully with his friends, and he wanted me there.

In the end, Timothy did die, or Òde-animate,Ó as he called it, surrounded by family (only a granddaughter, and Òthe familyÓ -- the paid staff and me) and friends; but his dying process was not all that pleasant. While he was an archetype in life, flying higher than a kite like Icarus to the sun, his legions of followers trailing behind, what struck me -- as he lay dying, in an oversized T-shirt which proclaimed, in big red and black letters, ÒIf you only have one wish, make it BIGÓ -- was his all-too-human vulnerability, his loneliness. While all his life, he identified with his mind and spirit, blowing other peoplesÕ minds wide open with his extraordinary flights of ideas, his visions into multiple dimensions, in dying his body took over, and its dramatic changes blew even his mind.

Towards the end, as he sat in his wheelchair next to me one day in the dining room, he asked me to bring him a mirror. Sadly, puzzled, shocked, horrified, he said ÒLook at this. I donÕt know who this person is!Ó He had just been given a shave, his teeth were broken, brown and missing, he had sores and scabs on his face, he was skeleton thin, his eyes and cheeks sunken, his skin thin, blotchy and gray.

Timothy was an original. A multi-faceted, controversial, paradoxical man, he left an enormous legacy of information, perspectives, and people -- positive and negative. He discovered and explored new worlds for us to play in. And he loved to play games, to trick people, telling them not to believe anything he said. Sometimes he told people whatever they wanted to hear. He was easily influenced; if they handed him drugs, he took them, even towards the end when he knew they might kill him. He could be tender and loving. Caring. Mean. Nasty. Abusive. Free. Controlling. This dignified professor and courageous outlawÕs life journey took him from Harvard to prisons, around the world and back again. His mind jumped with ideas, spanning the spiritual and the technological. He was one of the most stimulating, exciting, enthusiastic, energetic of men. Respected and appreciated. Hated, misinterpreted, misjudged.

I loved his genius. He blew me wide open. I loved to be with him, in spite of him and because of him, his unlimited smile, the SMI2LE lessons: Space Migration, Intelligence Increase, Life Extension. His childlike curiosity, sense of humor and fun. His ÒletÕs go,Ó Òkeep moving,Ó Òquestion authorityÓ attitude. His extraordinary intelligence, courage, command of history, visions of the future. That deep look in his eyes. His expanded consciousness that moved us so high -- into the light -- defies description.

Yet, there was a lot I didnÕt like about Timothy. Though I was not one of those who blamed him when unprepared, unstable, or addictive personalities jumped out of windows on bad acid trips or became addicted to drugs, I did, however, sometimes suffer from his cruel, toxic, manipulative, massive ego. More than occasionally, he mentally and emotionally hurt and abused people, lied and played with feelings, was bossy, demanding, and inconsiderate. He talked about people behind their backs, making up stories so they would dislike each other. Unfortunately, some of the young people left behind to continue his work have chosen these ways.

Timothy rarely did drugs at all after the Õ60s. I doubt he would have ever talked about them again if nobody asked him! He had moved on to computers, to develop software, publish books, produce videos, do interviews and give speeches. Anything to get his messages out. Only in the last year or so, when the pain became intolerable, did he return to extensive drug use. But he never stopped working. He didnÕt want any pain killer that would make him lose consciousness. He wanted to know everything that everybody was doing and saying. And he stayed conscious, right to the end.

While he would privately describe his depression, and pointed to the parts of the body where pain showed him the cancer spreading, his public dying image, to the very end, was mostly one of humor and glee. Many people believe that he did die as he intended, joyfully, that he was never afraid, that his public persona was the whole of him. In this view, they miss his human side, and prefer to hold him as an icon.

He once told me that what has depreciated individual confidence and forced individuals to increase dependence on authority is the fear of death, causing anger, bad relationships, greed, destructive relationships,and war.

Characteristically, he wanted to open our minds even in his dying.

Announcing he might commit suicide on the web, he consciously analyzed the choices available in ways to die. He wrote and spoke about the subject. His life-to-death process was filmed by Retinalogic, the young crew working full time in his computer-filled garage. We may one day see him dying on his website.

Timothy brought out the best and worst in people, even while he was dying. I lost one friend because she found out I was friends with Timothy. She is opposed to all drugs, except for her Prozac and any drug her doctor prescribes. I watched invited guests who came from long distances experience shock and hurt when he threw them out of the house for no apparent reason. I saw people compromise their positions so they would be in agreement, or hang all over him so they could hang out with him, a Òcelebrity.Ó

I met Timothy at a party in the Õ60s. Tripping. Someone gave me a blotterfull of LSD for my friends. Tune in, turn on, though I didnÕt drop out. During this era, Timothy would call me from remote places and invite me to hip Òhappenings.Ó Experimenting with life. Travel adventures. I loved hearing his outrageous stories: climbing a greasy kitchen pole and crawling electric wires to escape from prison; being smuggled into foreign countries and hidden by other outlaws. I met one wife Rosemary, at Millbrook. Another, Joanna (though they werenÕt really married) in a New York hotel room, and a third (out of five), Barbara, in their Beverly Hills home with her son Zachary.

During the years I was working in the military-industrial complex, I happened to pick up a copy of LearyÕs THE INTELLIGENCE AGENTS -- only to discover a full-page photo on page 34 of me in his ÒGenetic Hall of Fame.Ó

Me, a ÒGenetic MutantÓ?! An "Evolutionary Agent"?! Playing the straight role, I was mortified. I phoned him, angry that he had made our connection so public. I barely knew him! To enlighten me, he carted me around with him so I could experience who he was and what he had to say. His speeches were scholarly, witty, and mind-opening. I apologized.

One evening while out with Timothy, he handed me a hash-filled brownie. Not knowing that it wouldnÕt be prudent to eat all of it, I did. The next thing I knew Timothy had turned the lights on me to ask me a space question, in front of about 5000 people. I actually fainted. Then he took me, sick, sweating, and embarassed, back to his dressing room and put me directly in front of live television cameras to be interviewed. Reality shifts, indeed.

We became friends around his Space Migration topic. He gave me ideas for the space movment. We co-presented. He was fascinated to learn how many people in the space field had experienced chemical brain-change experiments. He was glad I understood Òour species can go only as far into outer space as we go into inner space.Ó

Once I asked him to appear on a World Future Society panel I was chairing on Space Age Education. He arrived in the limo I had arranged, wearing a suit and tennis shoes. I have the photo hanging next to me in which I am laughing hysterically. I had no idea that he would say things like, ÒJust remember that you can dress up like an adult, but donÕt become one. They are the ones who fucked up this planet.Ó

As an educator, I was enthralled with his lectures on Intelligence Increase. He summarized decades of his own research using psychoactive drugs to teach us how to reprogram our brains and ÒThink for yourself.Ó His work with our mutual friend, Dr. John Lilly, who did some of the original dolphin communication studies and wrote about our bio-computer brains, was translated into personal computers, word processors, video, and other educational and communication technologies.

One time Timothy came for a few days to my home. Nineteen friends came over one afternoon. Most of us did about 100 milligrams of Ketamine (devised to keep cats out of body during surgery). He did 350. While most of us were wiped out after our out-of-body journey, he got right up and cooked stew.

Once we spent days in a borrowed New York apartment taking lots of acid. We had such fun, naked much of the time, but no sex. He told me he was in a relationship, and was monogamous. I loved him for that.

He addressed the idea of Life Extension philosophically and scientifically. We talked about how religions and philosophies persuaded us to believe we have to die. He said if human life can be extended to 150 years, it may become possible to postpone dying indefinitely. Tim introduced the idea of Òre-animation,Ó by digitizingÓ to become immortal: create your website so your grandchildren can know you.

During those last months, Timothy insisted he was ready to de-animate. He had done his thing, he said. LSD had shown him what death is, and itÕs Òbeautiful.Ó This cancer was his Òticket out.Ó Life Extension, he said, can be extended or cut short. It is your choice.

After all these years of tripping with him in one way or another, Timothy had now invited me to accompany him on his final journey. Looking back now, I thank him for this supreme gift. Our intimacy, slowly growing during those final months, was consummated during his dying breath.

At first, after agreeing to help him, I tried to help find someone else to do it instead. A young website worker did move into the bedroom next to TimothyÕs. But Chris often wasnÕt there in the middle of the night. Timothy was not happy being alone at night, and was beginning to need more help. I think he was afraid of being alone, of dying alone. He was having trouble walking, and would soon be wheelchair-bound.

So I moved in, living out of my car trunk for the next few months. ThatÕs when I got sucked into the Timothy Leary vortex.

I usually slept next to Timothy in bed, or on the study couch or the office sofa bed. Whenever he had all- night visitors, guests, parties, or interviews, I went back to my home in Ventura.

One night, after being awake all night for five nights in a row with Timothy, as he didnÕt want to sleep, I told him that I was going home to get some rest, check in with the housesitter, dog and cat, mail, etc. He had told me he was going to a party, that heÕd be spending the night, and that I wasnÕt invited.

At this time, there were people in the house fighting for his attention. I was picking up on the fact that a few of them wanted me out of the house, and Timothy, who loved that kind of awful divisive game, was playing along with them. I was tired of the games, and considered not returning, ever, as I drove home for three hours in typical LA traffic. As I walked in the door, the phone was ringing. ÒWhere are you? Why did you leave? I am all alone. Come back Come back.Ó

I jumped back in my car. When I walked back in, he was sitting up reading mail, smiling. He didnÕt like the party, wasnÕt alone and didnÕt need help!

Another night I was so exhausted I fell asleep in the office about 4 a.m. Suddenly I heard Timothy screaming, ÒCarol! Carol! Carol!Ó My heart pounding, I ran into his room imagining he had hurt himself or was dying.

There he was. Sitting up in bed. ÒDid I ever tell you the story about the little king who loved to control everybody around him? See, I am the little king. It works!Ó

One night I had a sensitive discussion with him about the fact tht he simply had to start wearing diapers. He was losing it all over himself and the bed. I had to shower him and clean up before morning people arrived. He got so angry with me, so frustrated with his lack of control, that he threw me out of the house, and told others he didnÕt want me there. I understood that people in pain become angry, but he had gone overboard. I was furious; after all I had done, the life sacrifice I had made to be there for him -- and told him so. Later he apologized, ÒCarol, donÕt listen to me. This is why you are here. I want you here. I love you. LetÕs get married.Ó Of course, he never bothered to tell the others.

I was feeling the tension in the house. Timothy had just been telling me that the natural state of the mind is Òchaos.Ó ÒWhen you produce a pleasant state of confused chaos, the brain is getting ready to be reprogrammed.Ó The chaos that I was experiencing in the house was beautiful, he explained. ÒWe are afraid of chaos because we are used to the rules the authorities have provided to keep us comfortable.Ó When I told him that I was uncomfortable with the negative energy, he said it was good for me. I said I didnÕt understand. He said, ÒThere are one hundred billion neurons as powerful as a computer in your brain. There is a galaxy of information that is incomprehensible to a linear mind. There are one hundred billion galaxies each with star systems and planets. ItÕs all incomprehensible.Ó He told me to Òsurf the waves of chaos and learn how to redesign [my] realities.Ó

Though I now understood what he was saying, he was being insensitive to (or ignoring) what I was feeling. He also ignored his feelings.

Timothy loved elegance, but his house was often a mess, dirtied by stoned techno-kids and guests.

There were times when friends were not sensitive to him. Many nights heÕd go out. Sometimes IÕd go. Sometimes others went. He loved being in the public eye. One night we went to a restaurant, Timothy all dressed up in his tuxedo, less than a month before he died. When the papparazzi showed up to snap his photo, he sat up proudly in his wheelchair, smiling slightly (he didnÕt smile much anymore because his teeth were almost all gone). His ÒfriendÓ stooped down wearing a metallic jacket that shined to stop the photo from being developed, laughing about this with the others. A few days later, Timothy remembered the photo session and asked me if it had appeared in any of the papers. This would have been the last picture taken in a restaurant, but it never got printed because of their selfish, insensitive Òjoke.Ó One friend gave him a cigar on a night when he was having trouble breathing. He got sick. Another, heroin. Another gave him DMT, which almost killed him.

I also saw a lot of wonderful things happen in the house. Vicki Marshall, TimothyÕs closest assistant for 12 years, who became my good friend, and who was the other mostly ÒstraightÓ responsible person in the house, was the day shift. I was the night shift. Vicki put a chart on the wall so we could monitor who gave him what drugs. Timothy tried to throw even Vicki out, scheming with Òthe family,Ó as he called those working in the house, to do it. Tim told me he barred VickiÕs husband from the house. (Actually, RonnieÕs exile was self-imposed.) Still, both remained loving to Timothy. Camella, one of his website designers, stayed up all night painting the backyard furniture white and framing posters for the outside wall to surprise Timothy. Zachary (whom Tim never adopted but who now uses his name) prepared him a beautifully displayed shrimp salad. Timothy said he didnÕt want Zach in the house, and wanted me to ask him to leave.

Near the end, Timothy was in excruciating pain, and had oozing body sores and thinning skin with patches covering the holes. He displayed the worst of it at night after everyone else left. He was finally placed under hospice care. Hospice doctors prescribed painkillers including MS Contin (long acting morphine tablets), Roxane Hydromophone (liquid morphine) for breakthrough pain, Docusate 50 mg tablets (for constipation caused by the MS Contin), and Choline Mag Salicy, 500 mg/5 ml for bone pain. He supplemented with Nitrous oxide (had a tank and balloons next to his bed), occasional use of street heroin, Valium and Ketamine. When Vicki described his worsening pain, hospice prescribed Duragestic 25 (Fentanyl, morphine) patch and Dilaudid. He continued to use a lot of nitrous oxide, marijuana (in cookies, cracker spread, ice cream), alcohol, cigarettes, and occasionally DMT. We changed the patch every three days, and added a patch during the last week. He was also prescribed Ritalin for depression, and vitamin B-12 broncho-dilator for lung congestion. I had to wear rubber gloves to change his bandages as he had hepatitis.

I drove Timothy to the doctor one day. His brain scan was normal. Despite the rumors, his brain was not burned out!

Timothy considered cryogenics, being frozen, even having his brain frozen. He decided against it because of influences from people in the house, and because he didnÕt want to wake up in 50 years with Òhumorless peopleÓ standing over him with clipboards.

He considered suicide. Several of us agreed to assist. We hoped that if so many of us were involved we could stay out of legal trouble. My father had committed suicide when I was in my 20s, so this idea brought up a lot of memories.

At night, the two of us talked and talked; he read letters, articles, and books, and showed me photographs and videos proudly reviewing his entire life story. I saw the little boy in him, so proud of his accomplishments and mischief. That part was great. Caring for him, nurturing him was fulfilling. Dealing with his ego, and mine, and with his pain, was difficult.

One night about midnight he sent me out of his room. Wanted privacy. When I checked in about an hour later, he was sitting on the side of his bed, naked, with his arms flailing uncontrollably. Crying, holding back screams, his face contorting. Timothy was confused, frightened. I straddled my legs around his, gently putting my arms over his and around him to hold his arms down to his sides. He fought me with that thin, frail body that was once so voluptuous. Finally, he surrendered, plopped his head on my breasts, and fell asleep as I stood not moving in that position for two hours.

Another night he fell asleep hugging his only daughter SusanÕs photo. A few years ago, she hanged herself with a shoelace in jail where she was serving time for shooting her boyfriend in the head. TimÕs first wife also committed suicide. His only son, Jack, didnÕt speak to him.

One night, he fell asleep sobbing, my body curled around his. His energy felt soft and loving, like he had taken MDMA (a therapistsÕ heart- opening drug), which we had done together in the past. There were feelings of ecstasy, love and tranquility underneath a deep sadness.

One morning he woke up bright eyed, smiling and twinkled excitedly, ÒIÕve had a sneak preview.Ó He wouldnÕt tell me what it was.

The day my baby, a 17-year old Shitzu, collapsed at the vetÕs, I held him as euthanasia was administered. Weeping, I phoned Timothy to say IÕd be late. ÒDonÕt worry,Ó he said, ÒIÕll be your puppy.Ó When I arrived he stood holding his paws up, barking. Tenderly, he put his arms around me and told me to get the glass bowl out of his pantry and put two white candles in it. ÒHereÕs where youÕll put LafiaÕs ashes. Look, thereÕs room for me.Ó This urn is on my altar containing some of Timothy in a jar and all of Lafia in a can.

Days before he died, Vicki, a hospice nurse, and I sat outside to ask Timothy what he wanted to do with his body after he died. He said he wanted to be cremated. He looked straight at me and said, ÒI want you to get my ashes into space.Ó OK, I can do that,Ó I said, wondering how. NASA headquarters, the U.S. Space Foundation, and Hughes executive Dr. Stan Rosen, former head of military space planners, all suggested I call Celestis, Inc., a new Houston-based company preparing the first official launch of cremated remains. They agreed to launch Timothy (only $4800 per person) with up to 30 others including Gene Rodden- berry, creator of Star Trek, Gerard OÕNeill, a physicist who designed space technologies, and other space pioneers, in December, 1996. When Timothy saw the beautiful Celestis video which showed the re-entry vehicleÕs burst of light, he said, ÒFinally, everyone will know.... I am the light. And IÕll go out in a blaze of glory.Ó He was so excited that he would finally go into space, and with other space pioneers, that he jumped up and down in his wheelchair. I know that is the moment when he decided it was time to die.

On New YearÕs Eve he asked me to turn away nearly 200 people because he didnÕt want friends bringing people whom he didnÕt know. He wanted no visitors except Òthe familyÓ and very close friends. Only seven of us remained.

During his last week, it became clear to Timothy he was rapidly failing. He slept longer, even when sitting in his wheelchair. He could no longer control aspects of his bodily functions. The energy changed. Everyone seemed to be aware. Now, Timothy wanted no visitors.

In the mornings I made him coffee and a Biomega 2000 aloe vera vitamin mineral drink, some fruit or cereal. Every morning he would take two mirrors and flash the blackbirds who would appear suddenly when we went outside. Now, he told Vicki he was depressed. Someone gave him photos to distract him.

His schedule was stopped. Trudy cancelled appointments. He noticed the gaps in time, but didnÕt know how to fill them.

During this last week he told me the drugs were no longer working. He said his body was giving out and he couldnÕt stand his quality of life, diapers, that he was losing his ability to hear and communicate, and that he felt embarrassed by his inability to recognize friends, including Arlen and Robert Anton Wilson. He was deteriorating rapidly. Stopped eating. Continued to smoke cigarettes and breathe nitrous until the day before he died.

A few days before he died I reminded him he had said he wanted to call his favorite ex- wife, Rosemary. He said, ÒDo not call her! I donÕt want to talk to her!Ó ÒWhy not?Ó ÒHaving trouble communicating.Ó As usual, I didnÕt listen, dialed, and handed him the phone. He glared at me, but asked her to ÒDrop everything and come.Ó She did.

About 5 pm the day before he died, he called me to join him in the dining room. There he was in his electric wheelchair. He handed me a pink [nitrous oxide] balloon and said, ÒCarol, this is my last balloon.Ó He paused, head down, and sounded so sad, ÒI will never have another balloon.Ó In my denial, I rather flippantly said, ÒOh, you donÕt know that.Ó

All of a sudden he had slipped into his real feeling state, and I was left behind, in denial. I wasnÕt ready to shift into this reality. Quietly, he repeated, ÒI will never do another balloon.Ó

That night, May 29th, I told Timothy that I felt I should leave the house in order to give Rosemary and the others time with him. I asked if he thought he would die before morning. He said, ÒNo, IÕll wait for you.Ó He liked to say things like that to people, but I believed he meant it this time, so I left.

I phoned from my car the next morning. Vicki told me to hurry, that he was fading fast. He had already been up and around in his wheelchair looking at the garden when I arrived, and had gotten back into bed to start a slow breathing process.

During the first part of the day I helped the nurse put some ice cubes on his lips. At one point, Timmy grabbed one and popped it into his mouth, as if to say, ÒSo there! I still have control -- over an ice cube!Ó Still humorous. Then, sleep.

Ram Dass talked on the speaker phone with us -- to help our spirits through this time.

At the nurseÕs instruction, I checked his diaper now and then, but his bladder had stopped functioning. The nurse asked me to help change his shirt to that oversized ÒBIGÓ T-shirt he requested to die in.

People took shifts sitting around his bed. I hardly noticed who was there. The living room filled, waiting for the inevitable.

The night hospice nurse, John, a beautiful Jamaican man, told us not to touch Timothy because that might bring him back, that he was trying to leave. He suggested each of us repeat a silent message saying ÒI/we love you Timothy. You can go now.Ó

At one point, Timothy looked at Rosemary and mouthed, ÒI love you,Ó and she did the same. At another, he sat straight up in his bed, just when we thought he was about to die, and said, ÒWHY?Ó Then repeating over and over many times, looking into everyoneÕs eyes with every inflection imaginable, he said, ÓWHY NOT? Why not! Why not!Ó

Suddenly, about 12:44 am on May 31st, I felt a huge rush of warmth rush through my body. The room illuminated. I could hardly catch my breath. I sat up at exactly the same second John sat up. I think we noticed before anyone that Timothy had taken his last breath. I was sure I had felt his soul leave his body. John then signaled to me with his eyes and hand to join him next to TimothyÕs head. We had been sitting on opposite sides of his bed. John put his fingers on TimothyÕs neck. He asked me with his eyes if IÕd like to. I did. I was a little shaky, sweating. Thoughts flashed into my mind like, ÒIs he really dead? Why did John pick me to do this? Timothy, are you here?Ó

I felt his strong pulse. But he wasnÕt breathing. Did I put my head on his chest or am I imagining it? With my fingers on his neck, his pulse faded away. I looked up to the ceiling. My mind tried to talk to him there. The room was lit with candles and white Christmas lights. I saw the room turn deep yellow, white, green, amberish -- radiant. I felt his presence, his consciousness, or was it his spirit. I felt him still there.

Everyone took turns saying good-bye. Some cried and hugged. Others sat or stood quietly. I was the last to leave. I remembered Timothy had put my camera behind his dresser so I could take his picture when he died. At the time I couldnÕt believe IÕd do it. Now I felt him reminding me. I grabbed the camera and shot two photos, one of his entire bed, the other a little closer. I am looking at this private collection while I write. His head is on his space pillow. There is an astronaut flying by his head, with rockets and stars. His mouth is wide open. His eyes wide open, bright blue.

Donna, an estate trustee, came in with scissors and envelopes, to cut his hair and give some to Rosemary, Zach, Vicki, herself, and me. She appeared to be nervously jovial as she cut locks of hair, explaining to Timothy what she was doing.

Vicki had called the mortuary and filled out papers. Two suit-and-tied men came to claim his body. Down the psychedelically painted and mirrored hallway into his room with a cot. I helped the nurse prepare him, and the two men slid him on the sheet on to the cot, gently, respectfully. We asked they not cover his face. They wheeled him to the front door. I announced his arrival. Everyone gave him a final standing ovation. Some went outside, watched his body being loaded into the dark van, then driven away until we could no longer see the tail lights.

I stayed awake all night calling people, his friend, actress Susan Sarandon, first, and answering calls. I went outside early to let the press, who filled the street, know the family would be out shortly. My hair and clothes filthy, teeth unbrushed, mascara rings under my eyes -- I had no intention of talking to the media. One of the reporters recognized me as the one he had interviewed regarding the anti-space weapons movement. ÒCarol Rosin, what are YOU doing here!Ó Suddenly, I was surrounded by cameras. I snapped into my professional role and made some statements I hoped would make Timothy look good, and some we all agreed to say, like Òhe was surrounded by friends and family.Ó My quotes appeared on the front page of newspapers all over the world.

Weeks later, Vicki, Donna, Zach and I met to fill two 7 gram vials (which, ironically, looked like cocaine bottles) with TimothyÕs ashes for the launch. Ten pounds of ashes, and little bone pieces in a plastic bag in a box in a blue velvet bag. We champagne-toasted Timothy.

At another casual gathering, friends came, including his granddaughter, to share the ashes. We sat at TimothyÕs white picnic table passing the bag until everybody got their pinch of him. The blackbirds miraculously appeared. Our house-sitter, Michael, hiked to sprinkle a pinch of Timothy on Mt. Whitney. Everyone is looking forward to the launch and party at Vandenberg in December.

Days before he died, Timothy again proposed marriage to me. I said, ÒTimothy, when you propose to me and to other women, donÕt you mean that you love and want to marry everybody?Ó He said, ÒYou understand. You understand. Thank you. Thank you.Ó

My saddest moment was when he whispered in my ear, ÒCarol, you know what the saddest part of all this is? That I donÕt even have a wife.Ó This human being, beloved by millions, was lonely. Only his ego defended him.

He received 35,000 website messages the day he died, and 125,000 tried to get in. He received close to 10,000 loving e-mails during his last days. Twenty five million turned on, awakened their consciousness, thanks to Timothy.

The day before he died, I felt both honored and daunted when he demanded that I design the words I thought heÕd want to be printed on the vials containing his ashes when they are launched into space. Another reality shift.There were 25 spaces. Staring into my eyes, he told me he loved me as he signed his approval of the words. In a whispery voice he read out loud: ÒPEACE LOVE LIGHT YOUMEONE.Ó