A World Of Extremes

Hello Everyone,

I’m writing you today to let you know a bit about what has gone on in my life for the last few months. This post will be brief because I can’t begin to express how I feel. I have so much to say, but have been unable to find the words to express it.

I know it’s hard to imagine me not having words, but it’s true.

Since my last post I have had a lot of life-changing things happen to me. I been blessed in ways I could never have imagined. I have also endured tremendous loss. This is why I titled my post “A World Of Extremes” because that’s what my life has been since mid-July.

You see, my partner Bill passed away on September 9th. We had been together for almost 20 years and today marks 30 days without him. If you have lost someone dear to you, I’m sure you will understand my inability to articulate my feelings. The pain is great and with each word I type it gets stronger. Because it is hard to type and cry at the same time, I’ll get to the point.

I believe that to have a rich life you must have extremes or contrasts. In my life this has always been the case. For every wonderful thing that has happened to me, there has been an equal amount of pain occurring at the same time.

Today is such a day. Although I am coping with a loss beyond words, I have something special to celebrate. This is the contrast. My pain and my joy. Let me explain.

Two years ago I filmed a segment of The Quilt Show after Quilt Festival in Houston. Prior to filming, I had spent two weeks in the hospital with Bill. I was exhausted from the ordeal, but thrilled to be on The Quilt Show. It was a wonderful experience and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

For the past two years I have waited patiently for my show to air, but it never did. My first thought was that I was so bad they couldn’t edit the piece down to a usable length. My second thought was the show had aired and they didn’t want to hurt my feelings by telling me I sucked and they cut my segment from the show.

Fortunately neither of these scenarios were true. They told me my segment was time sensitive because it relates to Quilt Festival and Houston, so the opportunity to air the show was limited. I learned this during the preparation for the last show I did.  Long story short, Quilt Festival is right around the corner and my segment is about to air.

Here are the details if you would like to check it out:

1. Episode #908

2. Airs October 10, 2011

3. Scenes slide show taken during the actual taping of your episode at http://www.thequiltshow.com/slideshows/908/index.php.
Your slide show will air on Friday, October 7, 2011.

4. This is BIG!! We will open up your Episode for *your* customers to watch for FREE! We have it scheduled  from *October 16-23, 2011 * AND give you a link where your customers can receive a discount on a TQS membership. Anyone joining during the week will have an opportunity to see the show and enjoy the other fun things they have to offer on the website.

The link is:

The coupon code for your newsletter subscribers to receive a discount of 20% when joining is: 186188424575.

5. Please note in order for you to view your show you need to sign up as a Basic (Free) member and we will take care of the rest.
• Log onto the website www.thequiltshow.com
• Click on the Join Now button
• Create a profile name and password
• Complete the sign up process for the Basic (Free) membership
Once you have done so, let us know and we will automatically upgrade your status to Star (Paid) membership.


There you have it. This is my big news. I had initially planned to make a huge production out of it, but I’m just not able to at the moment. The airing of the show is comforting and painful at the same time. It was created during a tough time in my life and it is airing during an even more painful period.

That being said, I’m thrilled that the show is airing now. It helps to ease the pain I’m going through. If you have the time, I hope you will check out the segment and let me know what you think.

Although I haven’t been blogging for a while, I have been collecting lots of things to show you and tell you about. I just need  little more time to heal before I start.

Before I go, I would like to thank all of you for sticking with me during my absence. I missed you, but couldn’t tell you what was going on. Your thoughtful comments and concerns have been touching. When I was feeling my worst I would receive a comment that added a few tears of joy to the many I shed in pain. For that I cannot thank you enough.

Will You Do Me A Favor? Here’s what I would like for you to do. Make sure you tell the people that you love “I love you.” every day. I want you to do this—not just for them—but for you. It will help you get through the pain of losing them, because you never know when that might happen.

I was fortunate. I told Bill I loved him many many times a day. He would roll his eyes and say “me too.” Trust me, those three little words don’t ease the pain of losing him, but it helps for me to know that he didn’t die without knowing how I felt.


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55 Responses to “A World Of Extremes”

  1. Barbara Says:

    Tom, I am so sorry for you. Such a loss is very sad and the hurt is unrelenting. Know there are many who care about you.

  2. Cathey Says:

    I am so sorry to learn of your loss. I feared something terrible was wrong since you had not posted so prayed for you during your absence. I will continue to pray now that I know more specifically what has happened. I had noticed that you were to be featured on the Quilt Show and look forward to seeing the segment.

  3. Carol Ann Wilbourn Says:

    I wish I could hug your neck. I am so sorry.

  4. Dot Collins Says:

    My heart is breaking for you right now but I know that you will be okay and that Bill will be with you and each of us as we watch your show this week. We all love you and want to help in any way that we can!

  5. Carol Anderson Says:


    My deepest sympathies. Lisa had told me of Bill’s illness and death, and I have had you on my prayer list for many weeks. I would have done so even without this knowledge, because I know for you to be missing in action for so long would be for an “extreme” reason. Be comforted by knowing that I pray for God’s presence along your solitary journey. None of us can walk it for you, but many of us can walk beside you.

    Carol aka needlecrazy

  6. quilterlynn Says:

    Gosh Tom. I knew something significant was going on to have you absent so long. I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. It’s a major life loss and although I certainly agree with you about life’s highs and lows, it does not make the pain any less. Have been a charter member of TQS so willeagerly await your debut!!!

  7. Dawn Brumfield Says:

    I am sorry for your loss.

  8. Patricia Eaton Says:

    My dear friend, Tom…..as one of your Arkansas Friends….and someone who has watched you ‘bloom’ as you refined your quilting skills….let me say, as you requested we do when we feel it….that I love you. And, you know I will enjoy seeing you someday in the not so distant future. During this time of pain and sorrow, know that you are thought of each and every day. pat

  9. lindaschiffer Says:

    My heart goes out to you – my sympathy for your loss! May you find comfort and happy memories.


  10. LInda Says:

    Tom, I’m so sorry for your loss, I can’t imagine the pain you have been though, remember you have many friends here to lean on if you need too.

  11. Jim Gatling Says:

    Dear Tom, Having known you almost all of your life ,words can not express how deeply I have felt your sorrow. I am truly saddened by your grief. Though I never met Bill, you always spoke so highly of him and he was always so nice, funny, and polite on the phone. Time doesn’t heal all wounds, especially those of the heart. But with the love of family and friends, we do get through life’s major bumps. As always, you are in my thoughts and prayers. You know I love you, but will say it: I love you, JIM
    PS: Congratulations on your upcoming show!!!

  12. jessica Says:

    Dear Tom,
    Your sadness is felt. I’m sorry that you’ve lost someone so special to your heart. If there is such a thing as a cyber-hug, this is it…(((HUGS)))
    I hope that you have family/friends close-by to be be with you… know that your “outer circle of friends”, are keeping you (and Bill) in our thoughts and prayers too.

    Love Love

  13. kathi Says:

    I am truly sorry for your loss. In time I look forward to seeing you back here and being amused by your projects and humorous delivery.

  14. Thearica Burroughs Says:

    Tom, I am very sorry for your loss and wish for you the easing of your aching heart. You will always carry Bill in your heart and he will always be smiling down on you as you continue to create.

  15. Janet Stone Says:

    Tom, I am truly sorry for your loss. But as you say, it is a world of extremes, and I am so very excited for you with your debut on The Quilt Show! I hope your creative soul will help get you through this rough time in your life. Lean on your family and friends.

  16. Nikki Brackin Says:

    I love you – you’ve been in my daily thoughts and prayers and as hard as it is – I know you’ll go on. The pain will finally turn to sweet meloncholy memories and you can rest in the knowledge that while Bill awaits you – he wants you to be happy and successful. Your segment will be great and I can’t wait to see it (and you – next month)!!

  17. Shari Says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. My words of sympathy are small, but my heart is big for you. If I were able, I would give you a big hug and tell you to hold on and keep going one day at a time. May you find solace in your family and friends who are there by your side.
    Hugs – Shari in Australia

  18. Becky Ezra Says:

    i am sorry for you loss!
    i am happy for your the quilt show video – from them i know you. i LOVE your work!!!
    small advice there is a thing that you pull the needle when you hand quilt, it will help you with pulling the needle when you beed.
    i wish i could see more video’s abotu beeding your quilts.
    your work is great!!!!!!!
    bless you! may you be inspired and aspired always.
    the netherlands

  19. Alison in the UK Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, Tom, I thought something awful must have happened for the blog to go quiet. I saw on TQS that your segment was airing today and will be watching it very soon. Look after yourself, lots of love.

    “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”

  20. Lynn Says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Nothing can take away your pain, but knowing that you loved and were loved in return will hopefully bring you comfort in the days to come.

  21. Eileen Keane Says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. You’re right-there are no words to describe it.
    I’m going to Festival this year. I hope we’ll get a chance to meet; I’ll have a special hug for you.

  22. Geri Blanton Says:

    My prayers are with you, Tom. We love you and may you find comfort in the many wonderful things in your life and know that your friends are here for you. Six years ago my comfort was an 11 month grand-daughter and quilting. We miss you at Guild and hope to see you soon.

  23. Jayardi Says:

    • • • Tom, I can’t believe I forgot to check your blog the day of your return. Please forgive me for being late and accept My deepest sympathies. I am sorry to have never met Bill, he must have been a fabulous person and a great inspiration for you. Your heart needs time to heal, we understand, and will be here whenever you are ready.

    You Are Loved and have been dearly missed!

  24. Dreamz Happen Quiltz Says:

    Tom, 1st {{BIGHUG}} I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. I’ve been prompted to pray for you a bunch lately and now.. I know why. 2nd I love you.. your humor and words have carried me through difficult times even when you weren’t aware. Even in your silence you are such a teacher! and finally Congratulations! Your joyful news is encouraging that I will again get to ‘see’ more of you!

  25. Sue Krohn Says:

    Tom – I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. I was at the quilt show taping in Boulder in August and was so delighted to see what you are doing. I’ve told everyone I know about you. Better days will come. My thoughts are with you.

  26. Carla Kennedy Says:

    Tom I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to you. There are no words I can offer to ease your pain only time can do that. I hope you find strength thru the love of family and friends. Regarding your upcoming show….Congratulations.

  27. Kelley Says:

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Some joy can always be found even in times of sorrow and I am glad you have discovered it. Thinking of you!

  28. Pat Greenberg Says:

    Tom….I am so sorry. I came to the website today to get some info for a guy who had contacted Ricky and was looking for kindred male souls who quilted and were more contemporary and I’m going to send him the link to your website. He’s a graphic artist also. And then I ready your news. And so I send you words from an Eskimo legend that I found comforting and made me smile…..”perhaps they are not stars in the sky but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.” As a little girl I always wondered how all of those people over thousands of years fit into heaven and that finally gave me the answer! I was excited to hear your show is coming up and will watch it tonight. Take good, good care of yourself as Bill would want you to. These next months will be a test of your spirit, body and soul but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Much love to you.
    Pat Vassallo-Greenberg (Ricky’s admin – we used to email back and forth when you were doing graphics for Ricky)

  29. Margaret Says:

    I wondered what had happened. Figured it must be serious but never realized the extent of your loss. I send my condolences to you and hope that you will take comfort in your memories of Bill and your life together.
    And I appreciate your good advice to tell those around us how much we care. (I do that.) And we also need to find the time to do that which we love to do. Cause any day can be our last…..
    Hope you also find comfort in the friend you have made. Cause you have made many friends through your willingness to share. Thank you and love.

  30. JoAnn Says:

    Can’t wait to see you tomorrow. Much better to give hugs in person instead of sending them through space.

  31. Joan Ellis Says:

    Just saw your episode on The Quilt Show and was so impressed by your talent and creativity and looked you up online to learn more. I am so very sorry to hear of your devastating loss. You are so right about telling the people in your life that you love them. Thank you for sharing your wonderful creations – your work is wonderful.

  32. Sharon Kisel Says:

    I came to your blog from watching you on The Quilt Show. Nothing can hurt as much as the helpless feeling of being unable to stop the pain of someone you love or knowing that you can only hold them to you for what little time remains. The love and the memories remain in your heart and over time will be a blessing. I originally came to let you know how much I like your quilts – I hope that quilting is a comfort to you as it was to me after the loss of my father.

  33. Sherry Ford Says:

    Tom, you’ve been in my heart and in my prayers and will continue to be. I’m so hoping you’ll manage a visit to Arkansas in the not-too-distant future just so we can all put our eyes on you and assure ourselves that you’re going to be okay. We need to give you hugs and quilt together and let you share memories of Bill when you’re ready. I love you.

  34. Nancy Harless Says:

    Tom, I remember fondly so many good times with you and Bill in your beautiful South Knoxville home. I remember how the two of you “adopted” me when my mom died and always made sure I had a place to go on holidays. Your love for each other was always obvious, even (especially!) when you were mock-squabbling; I always enjoyed hanging out with you and your fur babies so much. Know that we who love you grieve with you even at a great distance, and we hold you in our hearts and prayers. Bill will live on in our fond memories. I love you, Tom, and wish for you peace and healing.

  35. barlowmic Says:

    Sorry on your loss. Your light will shine again when you are ready, take the time you need. Thank you for sharing your gifts.

  36. a covering of Grace Says:

    Dear Tom, I have only seen your face and beautiful work briefly but I can tell that you are a gentle soul and am very sorry for your great loss. I have tears on my face while writing this because I do know what a broken heart feels like. It occurred to me that your quilt show appearance is quite timely. Perhaps it is an opportunity that we as a quilting community, might offer you some comfort and support as you journey through this dark valley. I thank God for you.

  37. Deborah O'Hare Says:

    First time visitor.
    I have come here after seeing your segment on The Quilt Show.
    So sorry to learn of your grief and loss, but rest assured that your appearance was inspiring, informative and uplifting. Your quilts are a joy. Full of colour and life. I look forward to seeing more in the future.
    Regards and stay strong.

  38. QuilterCaroline Says:

    Dear Tom I have come over to your blog after seeing the segment on TQS – I love your style and the way you presented some really great information – after watching I just had to come over to say hi. But I see that you have had a greatr sorrow and I read your entry with tears in my eyes – I too have recently lost my great love at the age of just 30. My heart goes out to you, but I hope you can get back to the work that you so obviously love – I have found great solice in quilting and creaeting and I pray that you do too. God bless. C

  39. Frank Figueredo Says:

    Dear Tom, I decided to visit your blog after thoroughly enjoying your segment on TQS, and also learning that such a cool quilter is practically a neighbor. Learning about Bill’s loss was saddening, and I shed tears, feeling your loss coming across in your writing. – Your request for everyone to never forget to express their love is both meaningful and true. A few days before my Mom passed away, I explained to her that every value that I hold dear, and are the fibers of my being, I learned from her. I will always cherish the memory of the look in her eyes. She is loved and will be a part of me forever, same as Bill will be forever a part of you. – Please allow a perfect stranger to send you a ((hug)). Take care, and God bless. – Frank

  40. Eileen Keane Says:

    Tom, I loved your segment on TQS! I’m going to Houston for the first time, in 2 weeks, and I’ll be looking for you.

  41. LeslieC Says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, Tom. Sometimes it is just one day at a time, one hour at a time, placing one foot before the other… Eventually it will get easier.

    I loved your segment on The Quilt Show. I so enjoy your blog, both your words and beautiful photos – but it was nice to actually see you “in person” as well! I hope there will be more opportunities like that in the future. Thank you so much for sharing – you have my love and prayers. Leslie

  42. Mike Kelley Says:

    Tom, there was only one thing wrong with the show. You weren’t the whole thing. But the part that was you was wonderful.

  43. Donna Says:

    Dear Tom
    I am sorry to hear of your loss. There are no words that can be spoken at this time to lessen the pain you are feeling. Our love and support goes out to you and know we will lift you up in our prayers.

  44. Donna Says:

    I meant to mention that i watched your episode on The Quilt Show. I always wanted to learn how to use beads to embellish. If you ever offer a class please let me know. I live east of Waco Tx and would love to meet you. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.

  45. Marla Says:

    So sorry for your loss. I enjoy your blog and was wondering what was going on in your life as you weren’t posting. Keeping you in my prayers.

  46. Michele Says:

    Tom, I came to your blog after seeing you and your lovely quilts on The Quilt Show. I am so sorry for your loss; I can’t imagine life without my partner, and I admire your spirit. Thanks for a beautiful post!

  47. Hannelore Says:

    Hi Tom! I very much enjoyed meeting you via TQS!

    Lorchen (in the UK)

  48. Jackie Says:

    Dear Tom,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you. I just watched your segment and loved the work you do, and had to search out your site. You are a very gifted person and hope when your stronger we will be able to see more of your work. Lean on your friends old and new to help you get through the dark days.

  49. Karen E Overton Says:

    Hi Tom, I hope you know that you have been in my thoughts and prayers. Certainly miss you, and looking forward to my hug at Market/Festival in a few weeks. Finally had a moment to devote to your segment on the Quilt Show – as always you, my dear, are most inspiring and I never cease to learn something new as you are so generous to share your art and your helpful hints. Can’t wait to see the Texas Quilters display at Houston – hope you know you are going to autograph my book on the page that has your beautiful quilt! Good things continue to come your way and I’m so proud to say “I know him! He’s a generous friend and a fabulous quilter” love ya! ko

  50. debandkerry Says:

    Tom, I looked up your website after watching you on The Quilt Show. I so enjoyed your segment and I had to watch it more than once to get a view of your beautiful home in the background. I was so saddened to read of the loss of your partner after so many years together. Please accept my deepest condolences. I know it’s small consolation but I pray that your segment on the The Quilt Show coming at this time in your life will help to bring more people and prayers into your life. I will be praying for you and will keep up with your blog. I’m so inspired by your quilting and the obvious time you put into your work.

  51. Linda Teddlie Minton Says:

    Tom, I’m so sorry. I just found out about your loss, and can’t tell you how much I feel for you. Having lost my dear husband and best friend 12 years ago, I can only tell you that although the pain never completely goes away, it does ease, and you can enjoy life again.

    I had been looking forward to seeing your segment on TQS, so tonight I renewed my subscription which I had let lapse a year or so ago … just to see you and your segment! It was wonderful. You were so relaxed and charming, just as in person, and of course, your vibrant quilts are so inspiring. I’m so glad they finally aired you!

    Don’t forget, in the turmoil of these days, to take the time to care for yourself. My best to you.

  52. Jackie Says:

    Missing you, and I am praying you through. This is that one set of foot prints in the sand moment for you. He will never leave you nor forsake you He loves you too much.
    Psalm 34:18
    The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit

    I love you, Hope to read here soon!

  53. Janet Says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. There aren’t any words that will fill the void, but for me, creative work – quilting for me – helps heal the pain.

  54. daniellewilkes Says:

    I don’t have words, but my heart hurts for you. Hugs, new friend.

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