Jessica Valentin

Robert James Bowden was the sweetest and gentlest man I've known. He lived to make others smile and laugh. He did this while he suffered so. I didn't know when we married after high school, that our vows would be tested so quickly.

We had a beautiful life, with so much love and joy. Being his wife was my pleasure, and I know he was devoted to me as well. Even when he was feeling his worst, we would have moments of laughter and joy, despite the misery we were enduring. After the death of my grandmother (whom Rob adored), he became distressed and depressed. I didn't quite understand what was happening - being 23 - but this was the psychotic break for him. He was hospitalized in July 2001.

After several hospitalizations, med changes, severe episodes of agitation, visual and auditory hallucinations, delusions, and a diagnosis of schizophrenia he took his life in November 2003. While he was alive, I wrote to deal with my sadness and grief for him - and for us. I used what I wrote, and his love for classic movie monsters as inspiration for "Monster Mash, a lost love story," which last year was exhibited at Ripe Art Gallery in Huntington, NY.

I think he would've been proud of me.

While making Monster Mash, I meditated, marinated and painted for hours and days - all on our life and my deep love for him.

by Jessica Valentin

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