(Warning: Those with trigger issues, proceed carefully)
My husband, Bret, and I met on a show called Jack & Jill in 1998. He was a makeup artist, I was a stand in. He claimed we'd talk way back then but I didn't remember it lol. Our paths crossed a lot in the next few years and you could always find us hanging out, laughing and smoking.
To know Bret was to love him. He was handsome; had bright, sparkly eyes; had the biggest, most honest laugh; could always cheer you up; knew exactly what to say and when to say it; and best of all was a decent human being...respectful, honest, kind. His insight belied his age...this guy was an old soul. We'd call him Yoda because he was constantly dispensing amazing wisdom. He was always available to his friends and went out of his way to make people comfortable...not because it looked good on him but because he genuinely cared. Possibly the most impressive though? He was the first guy my mom approved of!
I had so much respect for Bret, not just as a person but as an artist. He did the most beautiful work. His color selections were always right on, his blending immaculate, and his touch was the lightest possible. It felt like he was applying the makeup with a feather! He could take the roughest face and make it look soft and pretty. "Cheeks!!", he'd say, "You need more cheeks!" lol. I was simply in awe of his talent, along with a great many others.
We both ended up working on Charmed in 2002. We marveled at how anyone could get paid to have this much fun...to be with their best friend and laugh all day...to fall in love. And fall hard we did. Within two weeks of being together as a couple, he proposed. We moved in together within 3 months and spent the next ten years proposing almost every day to each other.
Bret and I both felt and acted like we had won the lottery. We were so fucking happy, we said it felt like our souls did the Snoopy dance. We were the couple everyone hated to be around. It was suggested that we hand out barf bags at our wedding for when we made the guests sick lol. If he was off work for the day, I'd still get 30 texts from downstairs...asking when I'd be finished with my project... telling me he loved me...asking me to marry him. "God yes!! Marry me??" would usually be my reply. "God yes!! I love you so much!!" was his standard reply to mine. And so it went.
I'll stop here and clarify: nothing is PERFECT. We had our ups and downs too, everyone does. But at the end of the day we'd sit, watch TV, have a beer and laugh.
I was already painting dolls in my spare time when I met Bret but when we became "we", he took me to the next level. If I was stuck on a color combination, I knew I could go to him and say, "Honey, my doll is going to have blue eyes and rust colored lips but I'm stuck on the blush" and he'd take out some blushes and recommend the perfect one. He'd give me MAC books for inspiration, taught me techniques in blending, and sometimes even demonstrate the colors on me.
His favorite thing to do was come up with ideas for dolls for me to paint. Without fail, this is how it would go: "Honey, you know what doll you HAVE to do?? (Insert character name)!! But you know, if you paint them, you have to make the costume too. It won't look right without the costume!" I groaned every fucking time he started that sentence because I knew how it was going to end...in 2 weeks worth of work!! I would take him to doll events, he would make food for my visiting dolly friends, he knew most of the sculpts and all of the doll brands, and never so much as grumbled about me rattling on about dolls for hours.
There was not a doll that I painted in the last 10 years that Bret did not either have a hand in or at least review for me to make sure I had the painting right. Even if they looked great, he would suggest a specific tattoo that would obviously be brilliant. With his extensive background in merchandising, he advised me on auction layouts and pricing. When it came time, he fully supported the Empire endeavor. He was intrinsic to my art but I didn't realize how heavily until much later. I can hear him now..."That's all you. I just suggested ___.", his standard response when I'd thank him for helping me out.
When I got sick, I remember being so concerned about the bills at first. Of course that all went away with the rest of my mind, but I was also concerned about Bret. I usually took care of things at home, made sure the house ran smoothly. How was he going to handle all the added responsibilities? And would he still want me if my condition was permanent?
I don't remember my wedding. I couldn't tell you what I wore, or who was or was not there, or what we ate. I don't remember how Bret proposed that October 2011, but I can tell you that I've never felt anyone happier to be getting married, perhaps not even a woman. He'd come into the office singing, "You're gonna marry me, love me and kiss me" (sung a la Sandra B. in Miss Congeniality). And when it came to my illness, there was not so much as a cross word or a frustrated sound. He was always very gentle with me. I don't know if he was complaining to his friends lmao, "Seriously, who FORGETS to feed animals?! They're staring at you! Duh!" but he didn't say "boo" to me and even "I" would have lost it with me!!
Bret was steadily working on shows at that time while I sat at home, trying to remember...um, ANYTHING. Professionally he was doing really well, but he wasn't sleeping well. He chalked it up to wanting to catch up on his shows and I literally forgot about it in minutes. In July of 2012, I finally felt well enough to try painting so I dabbled a little. It wasn't until August that I was able to complete and sell my first repaint and then my back went out because I wasn't used to it. Two weeks later I was ready to try again. Each time I kept having back issues but I was determined. I took every supplement known to man, exercised, yoga'd. I was coming back, dammit! It was a slow process but I was finally able to take some commissions in Sept/Oct. Nothing major though. But all the while Bret would tell me everything was okay.
The reality was he was taking a lot of pain medication. If you're thinking of an amount, double...no, triple it. I wouldn't know exactly how much until later. Financially, his job came to an end and he was stressed. His next job didn't start for months so I put my porcelain Enchanted Doll up for sale. Bret was so unhappy I was selling her. Thinking about it now, I'm embarrassed to say I was pissed because I loved her so much. You know that one jewel in your collection that you want to be buried with? Yeah, that was her. I didn't know it hurt him much deeper than it hurt me though.
I wanted Bret to get help for his addiction. He agreed to see a doctor for depression but kept putting it off from Friday to Saturday to Sunday and we were fighting for what seemed like the whole weekend. Finally, I decided I was going to take him myself. With the auction on my Enchanted Doll closing that day...when most of our finances would have been squared....Monday morning, November 5th, Bret walked out the front door of our house and took his life in front of me.
I need a break. To be cont......