my tribute

a eulogy during the Requiem Eucharist for Timothy MacBeth Veney at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, on Friday, July 29, 2016

PMA B'day, Rose's Luxury, DC, 1-23-15

I don’t know precisely when Loretta and Tim, Pontheolla and I bonded as two pairs, a quartet of kindred souls; most truly, a quintet. For there ever abided amongst us an element, a spirit of love, evident even and especially when we, on occasion, as humans always do, disagreed with one another, disliked something said or done or not said or done.

But when did it happen? When did we know that we were “frienilies”, friends who had become and ever would remain family?

Surely, not at once. Though it was close.

And surely not all that long ago. Spring 2006 when we met. Yet that seems a lifetime past, given all the life the four of us lived…

Gathering nearly every holiday. Christmas. New Year. Birthdays. Loretta and Pontheolla in January. Tim in May. Me in June. Easter Day. Memorial Day. Labor Day. Pick a day…any day. To dine. To drink. To play Scrabble. To build with LEGOS. Most of all, to feast; our souls satiated again and again, but never able to partake enough of our rarest, divinest fellowship, which continued, carried over onto momentous road/round trips to (among many places)…

Heading to mainland, MV, August 2010

Martha’s Vineyard to which we rode the ferry, taking in the luscious coastline scenery, refreshed by the sea’s chill breeze, where we ventured all over the island once, and then again and again, feasting on our friendship, feting our fellowship from one end of the island to the other. I don’t know about Tim and Loretta and Pontheolla, but I believe that trip was when I knew with certainty that we were bound for this life and the next. For we shared a house. And there was, is nothing for me quite like waking up day after day to see and day in and day out to be with Tim and Loretta that let me know we were, we are family…

Then Maui, where we sailed zip-lining out of our sanity-leavin’-ever-lovin’-minds toward the horizon…


where we searched wholly (as in completely, seemingly) crazily for sweatshirts in Hawai’i to venture to the heights of Haleakalā to observe the sunrise, then to bicycle on a mad run from The House of Sun 10,000+ feet later to the mountain’s blessed bottom…

where we drove the circuitous, serpentine Road to Hana, then returned via Maui’s east and south road less traveled where NASA held training missions for astronauts because the landscape looked like the moon, and where Tim, always at the wheel, drove through a gully, the road pitched at a 40° angle over 60 miles an hour with a G-force of God knows what, expressing his unabashed delight, releasing the wheel and yelling “Whee!” and terrifying me!

Tim & me

Now, Tim was, is my brother. And I was, am his. Forever. Brothers of different fathers and mothers, bound together by love. Not love as feeling, as emotion that really is more about liking each other; though we did. But rather love as the unbounded hospitality of unconditional benevolence; active kindness that wills to be and do the best for the other; irrespective of the way that other sometimes can be and can behave. For Tim embodied a quintessential and ever-joyful equanimity. I, on quite the other hand, lived and live on the extremes; sometimes, at my best, sometimes, at my worst with very little in between (the sweet and bitter fruit of my Gemini-esque nature). Yet no matter. Tim e’er embraced, ne’er abandoned me; though from time to time, when at my worst, he’d say, “I’ll wait ‘til you come back.” Then he’d pause and to make sure I understood his point, he’d add, “Let me know!”


And I can’t recall when I first called Tim “Mr. Timothy.” I have a habit of renaming people. It’s a biblical-thing. Whene’er in the Bible God (and by no means do I presume to assume that divine station!) renames someone it is the unmistakable mark of a new relationship. Same for me. One day, quite spontaneously, I called Tim, “Mr. Timothy,” clearly claiming him, covenanting with him in a relationship that was, is invulnerable to the passage of time, invincible to the absence of distance, unassailable by the changes and chances of this life, unconquerable by death…

Timothy, I love you eternally, requiescat in pace.

7 thoughts on “my tribute

    • Thank you, Judith. Your approbation is high praise, indeed. Tim, as you well know, was…is the definition of the proverbial one-of-a-kind, salt-of-the-earth person. He alway will be missed and ne’er forgotten.


  1. Paul,
    My heart is happy and heavy at the same time. Sharing in the loss of your ‘brother’ and thrilled to hear ( and see) the joy he brings to you. Know that you are surrounded in love, on your good days and your bad, as you move to a new relationship with Tim ever watching over you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Erika. Your words are a comfort to me. Tim was…is one of those “larger than life” folk. I sense him nearby in the same way I continue to discern from time to time the aura of my brother Wayne who died 21 years ago. In the awareness of his abiding presence, so, I pray, I will know Tim in our now new relationship.

      Erika, it was grand to see you.



  2. Mr. Timothy loved you! ALL of YOU….Every single part of you!

    Reading your words about Tim was special for me! We alll have our own memories and interpretations of our relationships, but what’s amazing for me was that your words captured exactly the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE and and HOW of our relationship. Reaing your words I knew I hadn’t overestimated or exxagerated what our relationship has been. Most of our relationship was great, extraordinary even, and though times of disagreement occurred too, we resolved them in a way that allowed our relationship to continue to grow. There was love, and forgiveness and some of the best memories of mine and Tim’s lives. The four or us laughed and cried together which is what families do. I’m grateful for our 10 years of relationship that went from friendship to family. I look forward to our new relationship with Tim. I look forward to me, you and Pontheolla embracing our new relationship as Triplets as opposed to Quadruplets.

    The fact that you and Pontheolla dropped what you were doing (very difficult given your responsiblities in Spartanburg and Laurens) and came to Clinton, to do whatever you could with and for me. Please know that I’ll never forget with you’ve done for me, and how you’ve honored your relationship with Tim by your words and deeds since July 10th when Tim was stricken.

    Thannk you from the bottom of my heart! Love you always!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Loretta, reading your words sends chills of joyous recognition coursing through my body. As I read, I heard myself saying aloud at each sentence, “Yes!”

      And I love your testimony that we’re now triplets. Though I suspect dearest Tim will alway hover near and around us, for he is, bar none, unforgettable.

      Love, always and in all ways.

      Liked by 1 person

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