Remembering Dennis…

Dennis A. Miller (ca. 1984)

(July, 2001)

Last week a very close friend of mine died. His name was Dennis Miller, and he was a movie and video photographer and director. I had known him for about six years, but we only became close three years ago when he had heart surgery. He nearly died then, and survived with only about 20% of his heart functioning. He had waited too long to get help, and so never really recovered. We had hopes for him, although the doctors didn't give him six months. He got married to Phyllis, who had been his girlfriend before the surgery and nursed him through the recovery. Dennis and I wanted to work together, and to enable this, I purchased a video editing system and spent a lot of time in learning it and making it work. Dennis wanted to shoot and edit his own movies on video, and had great plans for the projects he wanted to do. Sadly, his health was continually a problem. He was in and out of hospitals for the next three years and never did get well enough to really work. His health went up and down, until about six months ago he began to accumulate water in his abdomen as his heart grew too weak to pump it out. Diuretics did not help, and he slowly grew weaker and relied more on drugs and oxygen to keep him going. I saw a lot of Dennis during the last six months, especially after I moved to my new house which was much closer to his place. We talked a lot of plans to get the business rolling and make it self-supporting. He had a lot of dreams and was constantly frustrated by his poor health. Our business together has been on hold for three years. We had a good combination - his talent and experience and my skills with the computers, graphics, and editing. Sadly, that partnership has ended, and I have lost a great friend.

Dennis was a Buddhist, and looked toward the next life as this one drew to a close. He was surrounded by his friends and some of his children, and finally got how much he was really loved. He died at home, as he had wished, with dignity. I saw him several times during the last week. The day before he died he was in good spirits and was looking forward to recovery and bringing his son to see me and our editing equipment. But his body would not cooperate, and gave out on Friday, July 6. On Tuesday, July 10, he was cremated. Many friends gathered to watch as his body entered the crematorium, and prayed for him, led by a Tibetan lama. We talked about how much we loved him and looked at pictures of him when he was in his prime. I was honored to have been his friend. I loved Dennis very much, and know that he loved me as well. Be at peace, Dennis. We all miss you.

Dennis and Mark, 1999