Rhys Andrew Borba Jenkins

Whose bright life was taken at the age of 18.  Memorial Day 2003. In Memoriam.

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This was on the bench by the front door. 
Your brother is in Nepal at a Buddhist temple on a one month solitary retreat. You can bet that he will be thinking of you. You would be such great friends.
Last week, I listened to a great friend describe how they lost their son on a street in Rome - just like that. Later, someone asked me how many kids I have and for the first time since you left us, I told them about my two great sons. I choked a lot - but I managed to do it with a smile. Your smile. We love you Rhys, always have and always will.  Nos Da.


And then it was 11. 

Your cousin Wendy joined you today. But you already knew that. What a sad day. What a sad day.

There is not a day that goes by without you in our thoughts. Mostly we smile, and sometimes we cry, we cry for what could have been, for what should have been, yet mostly we cry because we miss you. And always will. Wendy will always be with you as well - always - Nos da Rhys, Wendy, Neil. We will miss you. Say hi to Hank and Vovo too - for they too are with you. 

I had a eulogy written. It was a bit sad, and when I came to insert it into your Website it had disappeared. Poof, just like that. So I guess you didn't like it. So let's be happy instead - just happy thoughts of you blasting around on your ATV and Golf Cart and your smile and gentle nature. We love you.   Mom, Dad and a very proud - Anthony Rhys Jenkins.


Your cousin wrote a tribute to how you - with the help of Dylan Thomas' boat house have helped her, with you sitting on her shoulder and guiding her hand.

It's such a fitting tribute to you, your lasting effects on people, and you ever present part of so many peoples lives.  

Anthony came home to see you, and mom removed the plant that you looked after so well that it obliterated your headstone, she planted something a little smaller :)

You will always be there to hold our hands when we need it, always.

This site is dedicated to the memory of
Rhys Andrew Borba Jenkins
who's bright life was taken
on May 29th 2003 at the age of 18

Eight Years.

Hi Rhys,

Corey cooked for us last night - he is the manager of an Organic Pizza place which is doing really well. Anthony came home for the weekend as well. Pretty much everything that we can say has already been said. We love you, and we miss you. Always.

 Now that you are on Facebook (don’t ask), I thought I should write up some of the news so that your friends will see it and hopefully write on your wall – this means at least you Sadie.

You might have noticed some “commotion” at Christmas. That’s because your grandmother passed away. We carried her into Pam and Bryan’s for Thanksgiving, and she had a great time with the kids and then she was gone – which is exactly the way that she would have wanted it. You didn’t know it, but telling a story one night, she casually mentioned that she was the Secretary of the New Bedford Communist Party when she was younger – to which your brother said “Outstanding !” in his loudest laughing voice, which is what you would have said as well.

When your grandfather was buried, they put him in at an angle, so there was no room between you and Frank for Emily. I guess your grandfather has seniority, because rather than shuffle him over, they chose you. So that’s why they moved you a smidge. Your headstone is half a bubble off plumb again, but they will fix that. Enjoy listening to your grandmother’s stories.

Oh, Jayne got married (well, technically she will be getting married - in July). Ben is a totally awesome person. Oh, and Monty now exists – a prequel if you will, to the marriage. Monty is less than 1 – your mother knows his birthday. We will be going to the wedding in Devon and you will be with us. You are always with us.

Some of your friends will be down on Saturday to say Hi – everyone else is welcome too.

We miss you, we will always miss you. And after that we will miss you too.

Nos da Rhys.  Nos da.  


Six years, and each filled with the exact same thoughts, not just once a year, always.

All of your friends now have jobs (hopefully) - some are going back to school again (Jes) and they all think about you often.
We are living in the barn now. Your brother took a "gap" year before going to Emerson - he worked as an unpaid volunteer for Obama in Kentucky, and then as a paid staffer for the Obama campaign in Ohio - then to the senate run off in Georgia.

You would be extremely proud of him, and you would be great friends with him now that he is his own man. He's living in a "sketchy" part of Brooklyn - Crown Heights and interning at a theatre in Manhattan, at Emerson he will take acting classes - which will surprise nobody reading this. One artist and one actor, you were both who you would become even when you were little.

Your pots and paintings are everywhere in the barn - we just wish that you could be too.

Mom, Dad and Anthony. May 29th 2009.

Where did five years go ?

If anybody has a photo or a story that we can put into Rhys' new site (which changes photo's and music every time you visit) please send them to peter@gulfhill.com    If anybody wants a copy of the entire guestbook, I can send it - please ask.

Please take a moment to smile for Rhys. He will be smiling right back at you.

Your brother misses you. I really am working on your new web site - the guestbook is the hardest part.
Mothers Day. We wrapped the mothers day photo and gave it to your mom again. She was going to cry anyway.
Four Years.
Hi Rhys.

It's been four years already, and not a single day goes past when you don't flit through our thoughts at least once. This year is especially hard because of all of the invitations that we have been getting to attend graduation parties - all of your friends who went to college (with a few notable exceptions who dropped out - you know who you are) graduated.

Assuming for a heartbeat that you would have stayed at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, you would have graduated last week.

But because most of the people that know you think that you would have left the USA long before now - including us :) it's ok.

You are forever cherished, yes, it's hard thinking about what could have been, but what we had was great and we are thankfull for all eighteen years - every minute of every day, of every month and of every year - except for the odd "event" and we can smile about those today.

We miss you Rhys - all of our love forever.

Your uncle Hank is with you now. Introduce him to Bob Marley.
Three years.
Hi Rhys - Cory lit the first fire in the barn in your memory on memorial day. A lot of your friends were there and those that were not were with you in spirit. Your uncle Hank is very sick - help him if you can. More when our lives slow down.  Love from all of us.
Hi Rhys,

We went to Paris for spring vacation. The French students were having riots to protest a new law so we went along to see. It was more festival than riot, with the students wearing bandana's and with a slice of lemon in the mouths - apparently it does something to the tear gas. You would have fit right in, I can see you with the bandana and slice of lemon right now. 

Your grandmother's 90th birthday was a couple of weeks ago. We had a party at your little church for about 80 people who came to pay their respects and we had a computer running a slide show of vovo's favorite pictures. There were pictures of you and Neil in frames as well and the little kids all went to see you. Sometimes, the best eulogy is a moment of silence and that's what the little kids gave you.

Nos da Rhys.

You always wanted to be 21. Happy Birthday.

We went to the Capital Grille for your birthday. I have been practicing ordering a Jim Beam straight up for a missing guest for a week and I still choked. It sat there at your chair for dinner. We didn't leave it though , we drank it for you.

We visited you in Dartmouth and left you a big daisy. It's covered with snow now, but we know it's there.

Twenty one. We like to think that you would have spent your birthday with us, but everyone pretty much agrees that you would be somewhere in Europe - but you would have phoned.

We love you, and think about you every single day, all of us.

Nos da our 21 year old. Nos da.

Rhys wrote this little note to protest that the land of the free was perhaps not so free after all. And yes, he knew how to spell America. Notice the date :(
Merry Christmas Rhys and to all of your friends and loved ones.
This little boy caught his very first fish the day that this photograph was taken. It was on Marco Island in Florida, round about spring of 1985.

After catching the fish, we took it off the hook and sat and admired it - both too squeamish to actually do anything but look. But we weren't the only ones watching...

A Pelican, who had been quietly watching the show took off from the pole he was standing on, swooped down and had swallowed the fish and left before Rhys could even squeal "Pelican". We laughed about it for years - nobody beleived us.

On the drive back to Miami - which is clear across the other side of Florida, we saw aligators and the real everglades, the part without the condo's.

We stayed in Coconut Grove at the Mayfair, which is the sort of place where you need at least three dollars to get out of your car after the door is whipped open for you.

Rhys didn't feel well and he developed spots - so we rushed back to Boston, straight to Dr Cohen who congratulated us on giving chickenpox to an entire aircraft and who asked us to leave by the back door after giving Rhys a hug.

So that's the Pelican story.

Here's a short story Rhys wrote about donuts.

Doughnut Rain
October 20th 2005.

Hi Rhys.

Fall is here. And we miss you. We miss you smiling, we miss you talking, we miss you singing, we miss you.

And we always will.

September 21st 2005.

Your cousin was here for the last two weeks. She wanted t o spend time with us and the munchkin.

She had a great time and took a "little old ladies" bike back with her as luggage. She has your backpack with her which will always be on her bicycle.

It's my birthday today. You took me to The Capital Grill and we watched the waterfire and went on a boat after dinner. Thanks Rhys.

More when I am not so teary eyed. Nos da from all of us.

Last Updated - August 29th 2005.

Hey Rhys, we just received an awesome framed piece of Art from Richard - who won this years Rhys Scholarship. It's awesome and will go in display in your studio.

He wrote a really nice note that came with the picture, and he mentioned that he was at the Pepe's house recently and Richard told him all about you :)

I finally got round to writing a program to pull all of your guestbook entries. I now have all 610 of them safely on a CD and on this computer.

Everyone talks about you and smiles or wipes away a tear while smiling.

Nos da.

July 20th.

HB posted a note in your guestbook the other day, so here is the picture I just took off the fridge - your pictures are everywhere - your brothers too.

HB doesn't look like this anymore :) She's modelling.

Anthony came back from Paris last weekend and has a TV acting interview on Thursday.

Your cat is still missing - please send him home.

Mom found a Hershey's kiss that you left for her. Thanks.

Everyone misses you - everyone. Nos da Rhys.

Compressed Movie from DVD
Last Updated - June 21st.
Hey Rhys, I just realized that I have not been saving these notes in the push down list, so most of the ones for the last few months are gone. That's OK though because the Guestbook is still there.
There were 22 friends of yours at the church in Dartmouth - they hung out all day and even brought their own barbecue with them. Next year we will open the Barn to them and have your drums set up so that they can bang on them in the music room and look at your art and pottery all through the building.
That'a all - just thinking of you as always. Us.
Last Updated - June 14th 2005
Your free wheeling cat has been mssing for almost five weeks. He managed to escape the house and just kept on going. We posted flyers and he was "spotted" a few times next door. Two weeks ago Brian - a neighbour - (who didn't read the flyer in his mail) said that Dimitrius hung out with him all day while he was washing his car. So he's safe - but if you could send him home that would be nice.
I didn't finish writing the program to collect your guest book entries yet - been too busy as always.
Your little brother if off to Paris for acting starting this week, so keep an eye on Monmarte for us too.
Your cousin has bought a house in Exeter and is going to start visiting all the places that the two of you were going to visit together -she starts with Rome in July.

Rhys Small Movie

The Tequila shot glass that you made is used every now and again :)

Your smile was missed at Christmas.

November 29th 2004.

It takes no time flat to type in the account number for your web site. Some numbers are just always with you. Like the 29th of May 2003.
It has been eighteen months to the day. Every one of which has had you near to us. We saw Ian and Will yesterday, they are both doing great – Ian is still wicked thin and a smidge “dorky” looking – sorry Ian, and Will is always Will. Looks like will will be bugging out of Rochester next year (yes, I saw the two will’s and smiled too). He wants to study in Manhattan. You would be in Florence or Rome or Dublin – wherever you are, we hope you are having a hell of a good time.
Your cousin Josh was with us for thanksgiving – which we had at Vovo’s. He’s going to Iraq because he volunteered to take someone’s place – someone who just got married and is having a baby in February – so no matter how you might disagree with his decision to join the Army, we would appreciate it if you could have a word with the management up there to look after him.
Your Vovo is back home after rehab and is doing great. Your brother is doing senior year acting which is also great, and we all miss you so much that it makes us cry just to think of you.
Every day Rhys. Every day.
Nos da.

Worcester Telegram Sentencing Article.
Hi Rhys. We finally took all of the loose coins to the machine that turns them into money (they keep 8.9 cents per dollar). Your policy of just skimming the quarters turns out to have been a mistake ! – your brother – who scarfed up all of the coins and carried them, netted $138.00 on the deal – which he kept. Who knew that we had so many pennies.

Speaking of which, you will be delighted to hear that you broke the machine. Half way through, it jammed. The lady had to take it all apart and found what was causing the blockage. It was two pennies superglued together – your first double headed coin no doubt. We found another “set” when slowly feeding in the rest of the coins (we were afraid to break the machine again). We kept them both.

News, Vovo had an operation to stop her back pain – she’s 88 and a great trooper – and this was no “operate through two small holes” type of operation either. She is recovering slowly in a rehab hospital. They make her exercise every day which is great.

We never told you yet, but earlier in the year Mike Costa – who was with you all through Touchstone, died in a car crash. It was early morning too – they were on their way north to go to the mountains. His mother died two weeks later in her sleep. So there’s more than enough tragedy still to go around. Just thought you should know.

The church had a concert a week ago. They voted to use some of the money you gave them to fund it – which was a great idea – we told pastor Steve that you would have loved the idea – they used all of your equipment too. Although they did have to repair one of the big powered speakers – you never told us that it blew out – must have slipped your mind J

I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I repaired all of the music compressors and road gear – you lost the power adapters and Corey mentioned that the pawn shop wouldn’t take em without the adapters. Anthony is going to use them.

The Barn is moving along – slowly. So it looks as though your studio will not be ready until Spring/Summer of 2006. Which gives us lots of time to decide on the glass blowing side of it (apparently you need a LOT of room to swing the pipe thing) – so we will get someone from UMass Dartmouth to help us design it.

As a “tree hugger” you will be delighted to hear that the house is going to be heated/cooled using Geo Thermal energy. No oil, no gas, just Mother nature and a smidge of electricity.

We talk about you often, Anthony was telling stories just the other day – about how his friend’s brother got 1560 on the SAT’s after doing them twice to get a better score, and about how you granted yourself an extra 10 points to get 1100 and would have laughed at the concept of sitting them again. He talked about you stopping for gas and putting in a quarter’s worth because that’s all you had, and he talked about how you obeyed the speed limit – once – and had a mile long back up behind you. You will always be his mentor.

Just like you, he copped out of sports, his way was by taking Fencing, the other “non jock” sport that the artsy crowd is taking is Yoga. You would be proud of him. You could do us a favor and get him to play his guitar more, he compares himself with you and just doesn’t try, so if you could just tell him that it took you a while would be nice. He has already agreed not to blow off his junior year to learn how to throw pots, which shows that he doesn’t totally want to emulate you J

Dimitrius has become a house cat. He’s still not someone you would want to cross tho, nasty little git just bit my toe.

Nos da Rhys. We love you.

2nd June 2004


Hey Rhys, we buried you exactly a year ago. We were at your grave today and mom said that your headstone dips to the left. I said “well, it fits, my Rhys was always half a bubble off plumb” – and mom said “no he was not !” but she said it with a smile.  You know the cool thing ? – your brother is half a bubble off plumb too. Wanted a white suit for middle school graduation and for Italy – he’s going to study acting in Florence for a month – so we bought the white suit, you would be very proud of him.


The kids came on the anniversary. They sat by your grave and sat listening to music coming from your Volvo – which seems to have stopped breaking down. There is a massive speaker thing in the back that Cory made – with the cable going over the seats and into the middle of the dashboard – just the way that you would have wired it. The kids came to the boat too – we stopped counting at 40 – they move too much to be counted accurately.


We have decided that it’s time to lighten the melodramatic tone of your web site so that your friends can come and see you and smile a bit more. So we will start a “progress report” on your Art Studio. Everyone needs to know that it will be a working studio. There will be a glass blowing set of rooms – that we will ask Chris Lockwood to design, there will be a pottery room that we will ask Mr. Hancyn (we call him George) to design, and an art room for drawing and painting that you will let us know the designer is.


We already have the first piece of non Rhys art for the walls. It was done by Arthur Moniz and it is a painting of our barn as it was in 1935 (ish). It was one of those – you can’t not buy it things. Check out his web site at http://www.arthurmonizgallery.com


So, to all of you reading this, there are only so many ways to say we miss you, and the five hundred or so entries in Rhys guest book probably say it every way that there is to say it. So, lets start using the guest book to talk about life. Use it to tell Rhys what’s happening in your life, tell Rhys that you are stronger for knowing him.


There will still be a little melodrama – we have over 50 video tapes to review and edit.


The grass around your grave is twice as tall as the other grass and twice as green J  Mom is going to do the whole graveyard (huge as it is) when nobody is watching.


We look back and marvel at all of the decisions we made a year ago, in such a short amount of time. The decision to ask the meeting house if you could become immortal in their little graveyard was the best one.


Nos da Rhys. We all love you and we always will.

Scholarship Award.

It was suposed to be easy. Stand on stage, look at the happy smiling faces and award two scholarships for $500 each.

I choked. Every kid that went to the podium made my eyes leak. Every “thank you” could have come from you. And Mrs Jonas smiled through the whole thing – just as you would have done.

Chris Lockwood and Mallory Higgins won your first award.

We could have had them all in tears. We didn’t. There is enough money left for ten years of these scholarships. Perhaps next year we will make them smile for you. Better than choking.

Chris phoned this week to say thanks for the award.

He is interning at a famous glass blowers studio in Vermont.  The website is www.milontownsend.com .

He phoned to say thank you for the scholarship, he is probably going to spend it on a course that he is enrolled at.
You don't know, but a couple of days after you left us, Chris stopped by the house and gave us a glass heart that he made with swirly colors in it - which I guess is his trademark right now. We keep it on the long table under a photograph of you.
Chris was the one playing your didgeridoo when the kids had their jam session in our house. Chris learned how to play it in Australia and he is going to make one out of glass with Milon Townsend, so that he has a neat one to play. He says that it's great for forcing him to use circular breathing, which helps his glass blowing.
We chatted about your Art studio and we have decided to have the glassblowing stuff in it - apparently it's not that easy, the torch sucks the oxygen out of the room for example, so Chris will help us design the glass blowing room and will use it, which is about as fitting a use for the 1st winner of your scholarship as one can imagine.


Last updated 29th May 2004.  

This Saturday, the kids asked if they could have a picnic on the field next to your grave. The church has said yes - but you all need to remember that it's a place of worship, to be left in the same condition that you found it. We don't really need to remind you now that you are all young adults, it's just a habit that comes from raising you all.

Ask Cory for details. (774) 267-9135 We asked Cory and David what time - and they said "all day, pretty much". Please let Rhys' friends who don't visit this site know.

Dee Peter and Anthony will be in Dartmouth all day too - either at the barn, at the church or on the boat. You might even get Anthony to give you a marsh tour in "Little Q" - high tide is at 4:56 (the Marsh is best an hour either side of High Tide). The marsh is magical. There are Ospreys there too.

On Sunday, at the 11:30 mass at Rose of Lima, Father Houston will say a few words in rememberance of Rhys.

Check Rhys' poems on Poetry.com as well.
Our new number is (401) 270-9290
and our new address is
401 Wayland Ave, Providence RI 02906.
Email - rhys@4rhys.com


Throughout this site, click on any picture to enlarge it.

We would still like any and all photographs that you may have of Rhys.
Especially from the Vigil and of Rhys with the "rooster tail" hair style.


"Some people come into our lives and quickly go.
Some people move our souls to dance.
They awaken us to understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom.
Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon.
They stay in our lives for a while, leave footprints on our hearts,
and we are never, ever the same".

From the 2003 issue of Sachem, dedicated to Rhys. "His spirit of creativity and his talent knew no boundaries, and they will live on forever in our hearts and minds".


This is Rhys resting place. The scorpion "Rhys" is with Rhys.

This is Rhys rock that was in his way. It will be inscribed "Rhys" "Thoughtfull Spot", and a small hole is being drilled all the way through, so that water will always flow over it.  That will save us a few tears - Mother Nature can take her turn at crying.


Someone wrote that they still call Rhys cell phone to hear his voice. So we pulled the message from Verizon to listen to - this is it - and yes, we were expecting a little more as well.

Rhys Cell Phone Message

Mr Foley

Mr Foley Graduation 1 of 2

Rhys had three favorite teachers. Mr Foley - English, Mrs Barkey - Latin, and - the most influential - Mr Hancin - for everything else...

Mr Foley spoke at the graduation about Rhys - have a listen, and think about how hard it must have been for Mr Foley to write this - and then present it in public. That's what outstanding teachers do - and they do it all the time.

Mr Foley 2 of 2

Sue Ellen - for Touchstone - which was always "Rhys' School", has had "ArtWarmers" send us something every week. The artifacts that they send do indeed warm your heart with art. This is the one we received last week - the 2 month anniversary.

Rhys has...

     Snow boarded the back bowls of Vail.

     Received a lump of coal for Christmas (2002).

     Played his guitar in Starbucks and Subway.

     Caught scup off Menemsha on the Vineyard.

     Hackey sacked in St Mark Square in Venice.

     Been down a deep mine in Wales.

     Owned a 1966 VW Split Screen Bus.

     Given up his bus because it wasn't safe enough.

     Owned a Volvo station wagon with 150,000 miles on it.

     Had his name announced as a "visitor from the USA" in Cardiff Arms Park.

     Driven the coast road from LA to San Francisco.

     Listened to great Jazz in New Orleans.

     Stayed at the Madonna Inn in St Louis Obispo.

     Driven a 40' narrow boat on the Thames.

     Felt the tawdriness of Bourbon Street.

     Stood on Henry the 8th in Windsor (he's interred under the floor).

     Started a giant fire that set Ian's shoes on fire.

     Done golf cart jumps off cliffs.

     Driven Suzie to dinner in a Hummer.

     Eaten in some of the best pubs in England.

     Flown first class across the Atlantic.

     Flown steerage across the Atlantic - without noticing the difference.

     Bought Lucy, a giant black scorpion.

     Watched Lucy crawl up his bare arm.

     Explained that he had 45 minutes to get to Mass General if Lucy got "pissed"

     Explained that 45 minutes was way more time than it would take to get there.

     Built a lemonade stand with his dad.

     Made a dancing frog video with Jessica.

     Built a "fun Box" with Will.

     Used the Fun Box - once.

     Smashed a building that was to be torn down.

     With a sledge hammer.

     Built a box to play Guitar inside - for better acoustics.

     Always been quiet.

     Made Jes smile - so many times.

     Had one of the worlds best drummers for a teacher.

     Made Jes cry.

     Tasted Bourbon in Montreal.

     Known true love.

     Known heartbreak.

     Played drums at Webster Lake.

     Baked cookies - often.

     Spent two summers at Berklee school of Music.

     Worked at CVS on the front desk - for a short while.

     Worked at Applebee's as a "Greeter" for a shorter while.

     Won the Boston Globe golden key.

     Been in a fender bender - the lady he hit wrote to say how polite he was.

     Named his kitten Dimitrius - "from one of Shakespeare's short stories - Titus Andronicus""

     Smiled as his brother named his kitten "Yoda".

     Picked Abbey from the litter of black labs because she was the "quiet one on her own".

     Cried when Abbey died - 13 years later.

     Learned that you can Pawn stuff your parents gave you without them noticing.

     Named none of his pots.

     Added "Pot 1" to the slide when told that his college portfolio needed names...

     Drawn some beautiful drawings.

     Painted some awesome paintings.

     Performed an unforgettable "stunt" in the vice principal's office.

     Thrown lots of pots.

     Refused to call them "Pottery".

     Painted a mural on a girls bedroom wall.

     Painted a fridge.

     Painted his 1st bedroom - wildly.

     Composed pretty poems.

     Had some published.

     Painted the canteen windows at Christmas.

     Written a poem for his grandmother.

     Driven a stick shift 1965 Austin Healey.

     Wrecked more things than you can imagine.

     Learned how to score music that he listens to.

     Drank in the coffee shops of Newbury Street for two summers.

     Promised his mother a house in the Caribbean as soon as he became famous.

     Told Mrs. Jonis "don't worry about me - I will be fine"

     Built his own darkroom.

     Developed his own black and white photographs.

     Climbed every one of the green mountains while at Camp Tohkomeupog.

     Learned to shoot at the Northborough police camp.

     Never driven a motorbike.

     Not been given a chance to do so many, many other things.

Here's a little poem Rhys wrote on 4-28-03

In Droplets

Being a person,
to live amongst the moonlight.
To look at the way water collects on bright flowers,
And to be a sharp similar,
To look at the way seven year old saliva
collects on the inside of a rubber balloon
on a melancholy spring afternoon,
In droplets.

Sadie made this card - "In Loving Memory of my friend Rhys"

It's one of the flowers from Rhys' grave that she dried and laminated along with a photo from Italy and some lyrics from a Bob Marley song that Rhys loved. They read:

"Good friends we have, Oh, good friends we've lost along the way.
In this bright future you can't forget the past, so dry your tears I say."

You can click on the card to see it full size.

The new photo on the photographs page is for you Sadie - it's the one you asked for.

To all of you that have written private emails, cards and placed such lovely notes in the guestbook, please know that we will write back - It will take a few weeks though - there are so many.

We thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers.

The First Year.



We all have scars, because all wounds leave scars. Yes, they change over time, a scab forms, we pick at it, it heals anyway, yet it always leaves a mark.


The mind is no different. Some of us show our scars without thinking, we carry them on our skin, on our faces, the way we interact with each other. Some of us share our scars with special people, and some of us keep them deep within ourselves.


All of us remember the event that caused our scars, the first bike ride, the first slip of a knife, and the scars to our minds and hearts.  After a time, we feel better about our scars, we wear them with pride, we compare scars with close friends and family.


So, on this, the first anniversary, look at the scar that the loss of Rhys has left us with, be proud of it. And when someone asks, you can quietly say, "I got that scar on May 29th 2003" and it's never going to go away, and I don't want it to either. It’s a memorial day scar.


Time does not heal all wounds, it just softens the scar.  Nos da - scar.



Jayne sent us an email today. I asked her if we could print it here. Here it is:


Dear Peter and Dee,

I just want you both to know how much I love you, so so much. I've sat here trying to write this email since 8am this morning, nothing I write seems to say what I feel, I've been trying to find words, I can't. But even though there are no words I will be thinking of you as ever always. I am here for you all always.

I miss him so so much and I wish there was something anything I could do to turn back time. Rhys has and always will hold such a special place in my heart..in my life..always so even though I am not there this weekend and I know I won't get the chance to speak to you as I know you will be in Dartmouth I just needed you to know this. When Anthony and I talk about Rhys which is everytime we talk we always laugh with all the wonderful memories and stories we have and I always have a smile whenever I think of him.....sorry this is making me cry.. but if there is one thing I now know more than ever is that telling the people you love how much you love and care about them is the most important thing of all. I love you.

Lots of Love and Hugs

Jayne xoxoxo

Medical and Molecular Genetics
Paediatrics and Child Health
The Medical School
Vincent Drive
B15 2TT


Eleven Months.

We gave your car to Cory yesterday,

He's probablty still driving, with a great smile on his face.

Cory moved your drums from the Volvo to the barn - they will be in your music room when it's finished.

Living in a university town, we see you everywhere - every kid siting under a tree talking, every kid on thayer street, every kid as we drive past RISD and Brown.

We see you everywhere.

Mostly, we have started to think about the fact that it will be a year soon. We are going to the scholarship thing at Algonquin - with a bit of fortitude, we will present the 1st Rhys art scholarship awards. What we decided is that all artists are pretty much like you - they would run away before writing a scholarship essay, so we decided that there will be nothing. No test, no audition - just an award to the gifted.

The award will be $500.00 each to the best male and female artist - to spend as they want - art supplies would be nice, but a trip to see Bob Marley in Jamaica would be neat too.

Next week will be mothers day.

I can't write anymore. Sorry Rhys.


Ten Months and a smidge.


This is a random collection of thoughts. Rhys liked randomness.


Rhys Words.


We were talking last week about the words we have in our vocabulary because of Rhys.  Some of you have heard them, most of you have not, because they were words that Rhys used as a child. 


We used to joke that spelling was not high on Touchstone’s list of academic accomplishments – in fact they coined the term “invented spelling”, so here are just a few of Rhys’ “invented spellings” and the way that he said them.  We still use these in everyday conversation.


Bak. Rhys wrote this on a note that we have. It said “Deer mom, I have run away. Bak later”.  I think that Rhys was five or six.


Tamarra. The day after this one.


Lellow.  Which was the color of our house.


Titika.  Truck (we could never figure it out either).


Welk.  Short for “You’re Welcome”.




We went on vacation last week to re-visit some fond memories.  We stayed at the Waldorf one night.  It was at the Waldorf that Rhys discovered “room service”.  We took Vovo there for a few days because she had always wanted to go. Anthony was two so he was in awe at the way his eight year old brother managed to “magically” make food appear. The picture shows them in the Waldorf – Anthony insisted on sleeping in the closet you can see – Rhys humored him and delivered snacks to him all night from the mini bar – something that was also a source of amazement.


There is little chance that Rhys would have wanted to join us on this little vacation because he would be in college right now, but when you order a table for three, it’s pretty hard not to notice the empty fourth chair. Rhys was there with us having awesome duck sandwiches (Peking Duck to those that have never experienced it).


Today – April the 4th, was Rhys’ grandmother's 88th Birthday.  We had a surprise party for her at the church – Rhys was there too – about a hundred yards away in the graveyard. All of the little kids went to see you Rhys. They talk about you every day, and Vovo cries for you every day too.


It wasn’t supposed to end on a teary note, but that seems to be the way that it has turned out. Sorry Rhys.


Nos da.


Nine Months.

Gradually, the cold darkness of grief begins to give way to the warmth of the memories, acceptance, purpose, and reinvestment in life.

We learn to speak of Rhys without crying, and all of us begin to accept that whatever time we had with our Rhys, we would have taken - even if it were just for a moment.

We learn that grief is the price we pay for having loved our Rhys so much, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

We learn that problems in life are not overwhelming. We are handling the worst thing that can happen to us; what else can happen? We learn to more deeply cherish those that we love.

Sometimes we pick up “gifts” along the way by becoming more caring, compassionate toward others, and appreciative for what is truly important in life.

New strengths can develop as we find our new selves along the way. Life will be different as we learn to cope, but it still has great meaning.

Nos da Rhys. From all of us and from all of your friends and family – nos da.

Adapted from We Need Not Walk Alone By Carole Dyck, R.N.



Eight Months.

The first fish that Rhys caught was at the lighthouse Inn in Dennis on the cape. We used to go to the "house of fun" close by, because Rhys just loved the sounds and the lights. He and Geoffrey Bott met looking for "stuff" on the beach and became firm friends. Together, they caught about 15 Scup - which they were so proud of.

We asked the kitchen if they would cook them - which they did - and you have to know that the average scup yields about one fish stick - with bones.

They loved looking at them.

They didn't eat a single one. But they smiled all night.

We think of you every moment. We think of stories about you every few moments. So do all of your friends.

In the Shawshank Redemption - which was on your book shelf, it says that you can either get on with living, or get on with dying. We think that all of us - family and friends, need to read your book and get on with living - it's what you would want.

Nos da Rhys, sorry it's so cold - but your friends come to see you anyway.

Seven Months.

It’s been over seven months. You are the first thought of the day and the last at night and they are all still thoughts that bring choking and tears.

The holidays were pretty tough without you, but you were there in our minds and thoughts when we did presents, when we went to Vovo’s for Xmas and at midnight on New Years Eve – and you will be next year and all of the years after that as well.

We moved over the holidays as well which didn’t really help take our thoughts off you, because we found photo’s of you and old papers in every nook and cranny of the house, which made packing take a lot longer than it should have.

Our new address is 401 Wayland Avenue, Providence, RI 02906 and our new phone number is (401) 270-9290.

Even though you didn’t want to go to RISD, you would love it here, there are students everywhere – and we see you in every one of them. There are coffee shops, cheap restaurants, art shops and all kinds of things for students.

We are within walking distance of pretty much everything which feels slightly weird – so we drive everywhere anyway.

All of your friends think about you every day as well, so smile your immortal smile for them.


Six Months.

Thanksgiving started well. Everyone bustling around moving chairs, setting tables – we put the five little kids on their own table like we used to do – remember when it was you, Hillary, Vanessa and Anthony?

When everyone was eventually sitting, Joey ended up holding little Anthony on his knee at the kid’s table. Which left one empty seat at the big table. Everyone noticed it, but said nothing.

Dee asked her mom to say a few words for you, and she couldn’t. Which started everyone crying. So we all said our own little prayers for you. It will be the year after next before we do thanksgiving in the barn - which will make it easier. People will be in the Art Studio looking at your stuff, they will be in your garden, and some of them will visit you, because you are so close – that will make it easier for everyone to give thanks for the 18 great years that you gave us all.

We have sold the house. We have four weeks to find somewhere in Providence to live for the next year and a half – which will be more than enough time – as you would say. The barn is partially powered up, and we have a mailbox out front that gets emptied every day and is forwarded to us. So your permanent mail address is:

Gulf Hill Barn
317 Gulf Road
South Dartmouth, MA 02748

There is also a phone number at the barn there that you can reach us on, it’s (508) 994-0609 – which is your uncle Hank's company line.

We miss you Rhys. Everyone does.

Nos da.


Five Months.


It’s the little things. I went to put coins from my pocket in the money pot in the kitchen this morning, and I couldn’t because it was full. You normally raided once a day so it was never a problem - that made my eyes fill. Mom sobbed at the grocery store when she picked up treats for you without thinking and then had to put them back. Or the people working on the house who say “who’s the artist” and we answer. So many little things.


We sold the ATV. David and Cory got it running – the broken chain pulled out cleanly, although they were filthy with grease and oil and mud by the time they had it running, and David said that if you were there, you would have just watched – without getting your hands dirty and would have leapt into it as soon as it started for the first ride and given everyone your “I get the first ride” look – and everyone would have smiled and let you – that brought a smile to David and Cory’s face. Cory had the last ride before it was taken away – we have a photo that will be posted sometime.


What else is new – nothing much really. We are giving your Volvo to Cory for a graduation present – it’s a lure to make sure he graduates – he doesn’t get the keys until we get a cap and gown photo for you.


Here’s another story.  Thoughtful spot(s).  When Rhys was about two or three, we lived in Franklin. One day we decided to clear out behind the garage where someone had dumped old car engines and car parts. Rhys was watching and pointed out a large wooden “hump”. We rolled it over for him and it was perfectly flat on the other side, so we made a seat out of it. Then Rhys decided that it would make a perfect Pooh Thoughtful Spot. So we made a sign and painted “Rhys’ Thoughtful Spot” on it and nailed it to the tree that the seat was at the base of. You could find Rhys there most days during the summer. He must have watched those Winnie the Pooh tapes three or four hundred times.


When we moved to Northborough, Rhys managed to find the perfect thoughtful spot under a tree in the woods. Unfortunately it was on the other side of the stone wall on Mr. Weber’s land. Rhys really enjoyed it when Mr. Weber put up a “No Trespassing” sign at the break in the stone wall where the kids used to drive through on their way to the new “Thoughtful Spot” – he left the sign there for it’s entertainment value.  We went there a few weeks ago and found all the chairs that mysteriously went missing and the coffee table. Even though he never met you, Mr. Weber sent a touching condolence card, I guess he misses the muffled sound of the golf cart and your chuckle.


Nos da Rhys. Nos da


Four Months.

We have pretty much exhausted all of the ways to say how we miss you, so its time to start putting our memories on paper for your friends to read.

The list of things on this page – “Rhys has” - is probably a good place to start.

Vail. Rhys started skiing when he was about seven. He learned on a baby hill in Franklin and skied all over New England – Okimo, Ascutney, Sugar Loaf, Attatash, Ward (another baby hill in Northborough), Jiminy Peak, and more. Rhys was one of those skiers who you just watch making turns without moving and you say to yourself “how did he do that?”
We supplemented New England Granular (a nice way of saying ice cubes) for Colorado Powder when Rhys was about eleven. Will and Rhys would disappear in the morning and we would meet them for lunch at Mid Vail.

Rhys decided to abandon Ski’s when he was 13 or 14. He bought a snowboard and off he went – we didn’t meet for lunch. We met him at Lions Head at about 4:00 pm – he was one giant ice ball – snow had melted and frozen and he must have been carrying 50lbs of snow on him. He had this huge beaming smile on his face and said, “THAT, was the FUNNEST thing I have EVER done”.

Dee asked him how many runs he had made – he beamed again and half chuckling, said “ONE” and went off ahead of us grinning from ear to ear. He never touched a pair of Skis again, which we thought was a waste, but then we probably didn’t get it.

So every year for the last six or seven years, Will and Rhys would do the back bowls of Vail. One year Rhys and Will played Bongo and Acoustic Guitar in The Marriott to entertain – that for us was fun – watching little boys grow into young men. So that’s Vail. Every one-line memory has a story.

We finally got up the courage to work on your room today. Martin Luther King's "I have a dream speech" was on the wall under a poster of people who died from handguns - we never really talked about guns - I guess the poster said it all.

Every one of the plastic soldiers that you hot glued to the walls and ceilings left a mark - mostly taking sheet rock with them or taking stain with them. I gave some of them to Anthony - he said that he used to pluck a few off the walls when he wanted to play with them.

The carpet is toast from the small fire that you started with all of the candles - remember ? Candle wax was everywhere and we lost count of the nails in the walls and ceiling.

You know what's funny though - we would be doing the exact same thing if you were still around and in college - that's what parents do, and we can see you smile as you say "I'll do it later" when we would have asked you to empty your room - and we would all smile knowing full well that you really said "I don't think so."  :)

The Rhys-ness of your room is gone now. It's in boxes, photographs and memories. It makes it easier to paint that way.

Nos Da Rhys.

Three Months.

It’s been three of the shortest months that any of us have ever really known. It seems like it happened yesterday. It really does feel as though we could just drift back a little, gently touch you and say “Don’t get into that car, and everything will be all right.” and we can’t.

Everything you broke is fixed. Except for the Healey and everybody’s hearts. Looks like this keyboard is tear resistant, so I will carry on and tell you what’s been happening.

All the while you were growing up, we taught you to make memories and to have such an effect on people’s lives that they never forget you. Well, it looks as though you did it.

Nobody will ever forget you and the memories will always be there – forever growing with hyperbole, and not just from me - the golf cart jumps will get steeper, the Keystone cops chases will get wilder and all of the secrets that we never knew will get passed around and will grow as you become a legend.

More friends than you would guess have shared the loss of their children with us and told us what it has meant to them – every one of them can tell you how many years and months it has been, and not a single one of them says “Oh it will be alright in a few months”, because it isn’t and it won’t be.

Four (yes four) of your friends who dropped out of school went back to finish high school That’s an accomplishment you can be really proud of – we will be at graduation next year and you will be there in spirit for them – although I would remind them not to do what you had planned to do at graduation.

Most of your friends have gone off to college – you have probably seen the notes in your guestbook asking for a little help here and there – see what you can do. Especially, for the ones living in “iffy” locations - like Ian and Will.

When my brother was here, he took apart your camera and cleaned it for two days. Jes took it back to college with her. We even found the instruction book in your rats nest of a bedroom.

Greg took Lucy. He gave her a bigger cage and has introduced her to baby mice instead of the crickets – we haven’t asked if she likes them – Greg didn’t know that she fluoresced bright green under a black light – I guess that was a party trick you reserved for “special” guests.

Lots of your friends popped in to say hi before going off to college – I have seen four tattoo’s for you so far, and tattoo’s guarantee you will never be forgotten – the one that will make you smile the most is called “Ted” – it’s a Goldfish, but you already knew that.

Your brother doesn’t talk about you, but he misses you. He has a picture of you in his wallet – none of us – just one of you. You taught him that a person can be anything you want to be – from a penniless artist to a starving actor – it really doesn’t matter as long as you are happy – and he always saw your happy side, because that’s all almost all of us ever saw.

Most of your “stuff” is going to Dartmouth this week, it will be stored until the Art Studio is ready – which you will really like.

Your web site gets about 50 hits a day – I have started to update it every couple of days so that it won’t get a dusty feeling to it. I still have a hard time watching the video’s of you, so that’s why I haven’t posted any of them yet – but I will.

Your headstone is being made by a really neat gentleman called Tom Rex – so you are having your headstone made by T-Rex – which made me smile too. Your rock has to go to Rhode Island to have the hole drilled for the water thing.

I also found out that I have been saying “Nos Dah” all these years, when the correct spelling is “Nos Da” – sorry about that.

School started yesterday – and you are already a legend for getting final exams cancelled the last week of school, and there is a boatload of money in your art Scholarship that we will talk about with the school next week. Maybe we should make the annual award a trip to Jamaica to see Bob Marley instead of just money for books…make more memories that way.

The place is full of even more pictures of you than it was before, with lots of pictures from your friends. According to the books we are reading, different people grieve differently – men differently from women, mothers differently from fathers, so see what you can do to help those that need you the most.

Oh Rhys, we love you just as much as we ever have, which is totally. Nos Da my Rhys.

Nos Da.


Two Months.

Two months - oh Rhys, we think about you every minute of every day and we always will. I had written a lot more to put here, but I deleted it, you wouldn't want to read how sad we are.

Nos dah my Rhys.

One Month Anniversary.

Sunday the 29th of June 2003 was a hard day.

Rhys had been dead for exactly one month. We didn't get a phone call, we got a policeman and a pastor at 4:20 am.

We visited where he died on Sunday - some of the kids had lit a candle and left some flowers - it was still burning at dusk. We took photos of what you all wrote on the telephone poles. If one of you would like to remove the wilted flowers that would be nice - we can't do it.

We went to Dartmouth. some of the kids had visited his grave and left a single rose and a cigarette - a Marlboro - he would have needed that.

Over a hundred of you come to this site every day - thank you.

The Wake.

This has been placed on the Funeral Page now.


Funeral Services.

This has been placed on the Funeral Page now.


Donations may be made directly to
"The Smith Neck Friends Meeting" at
594 Smith Neck Road, South Dartmouth, MA 02748
which is the little Quaker church where Rhys is buried.

Or to "The Rhys Art Scholarship" scholarship in care of Algonquin Regional High School, 79 Bartlett Street, Northborough MA 01532.

Most of the images on this site can be clicked on to enlarge them. Please download them to your computer by right mouse clicking on the image and then save them.

Music and data CDs of Rhys songs, poems, art and pottery will be available in a few weeks. Please see the Rhys Art page for details.