Earlier this week, José Rolón marked the 4th anniversary of his husband Tim's death with an Instagram post.
"FOUR YEARS: You'd think each year would get easier waking up December 11th, but my stomach like clockwork, knows exactly what to do."
Tim died suddenly of heart failure in 2013, leaving behind his husband José, their 8-month-old son Avery, and a 11-week pregnant surrogate carrying their twin daughters, Lilah and London. Tim was 48 years old.
José was completely devastated. He'd lost his beloved husband and was suddenly a single father, with two more children on the way.
"Being a single dad was tough. There were a lot of hard days, days I didn't want to get out of bed," he said. "But I got through it. I distracted myself in good ways, in positive ways. I had a huge, consistent support system for me and the kids."
Tim had initially never wanted to be a father, but a year after he and José were married, he had a change of heart. He wanted to share their love and start a family. Tim took so completely to fatherhood that when Avery was only two months old, he started talking about another child.
Tim and José with Avery. Photo credit: C J Isaac Photography
José now resides in Brooklyn Heights with his 3 children, and runs a New York wedding planning business, José Rolón Events. Although he is looking for love, José never wants his children to forget their father, nor does he want Tim's memory to fade. So in honor of Tim, José set up a website, "Remembering Tim," which serves as an online memorial. José also sporadically shares beautiful and moving photos via his Instagram account, using the hashtag #RememberingTim. These posts have a profound effect on the readers and provide a glimpse into this single gay dad and his family's life without a husband and father, whilst also celebrating Tim's memory and the legacy he left behind.
From oldest to the most recent, here are some of those posts.
September 11, 2014
"Today's hard and strange for many reasons for many of us. I took this pic on April 4, 2013. The first day Tim ventured out in the city as a proud papa with Avery in the baby bjorn:-)"
September 25, 2014
"Valentines 2008 - my bday - Clearly shameless (or still drunk) from party thrown night before where Tim meets my closest & craziest friends for the 1st time, he STILL surprises me w/ a red balloon delivery the next morning :-)"
November 11, 2014
"11 months today since Tim's passed. Next month marks a year."
November 27, 2014
"Thanksgiving last year at Christine's house with 25 guests - our last holiday Tim and I spent together."
December 4, 2014
"One of my all-time favorite moments captured. Man cave I created for Tim turned into his space of solitude in the mornings with Avery while he let this daddy sleep in. Said it was his favorite time of the day."
November 30, 2015
"8 years ago today i met Tim for the first time. This clearly changed my course forever ... Being a father was a dream, but was only just that--an unreachable one. This would've never happened without that first date."
December 11, 2015
"2 YEARS AGO TODAY ... Missing you is permanent. This I know. But the pill that gets harder to swallow as time goes on is how much you're missing out with Avery, Lilah, and London."
May 15, 2016
"Today would've been our 6 year wedding anniversary. A bit shocked to see this number this morning. Missing you deeply."
May 4, 2017
"This #throwbackthursday goes to you Daddy Tim. Always missed. "
July 27, 2017
"Unexpectedly came across this pic an hour ago and it broke me ... I had to embrace your son a little extra hard, grateful I at least get to see you through him every day. I miss you."
August 22, 2017
"Then Tim happened...we happened..and finally, this happened! ... I take nothing for granted."
November 30, 2017
"10 YEARS AGO: Nov 30th, 2007, we had our very first date at Yaffa's cafe. You walked in and I couldn't stop staring at your smile."
December 11, 2017
"FOUR YEARS ... It's important Avery, Lilah, and London understand how their world came to be. With two men who loved each other hard. A love that grew so hard and so deep, we made a choice to not get greedy with it and expand this love. It has always been my promise to not let them forget how we came to be. How they, very simply, are a product of our love. - - Miss you."