Rosemary's Blog

Cover design by Tony Dorris
October 14, 2007, 4:49 pm
Filed under: Documentary

I get hundreds of e-mails every day, many of which I delete without ever reading them. One I received about three weeks ago caught my attention. It said, “cover design by Tony Dorris.” I clicked on the message because I knew the name Tony Dorris.

Tony and I had never met. He worked at Sifford Video in Nashville, Tennessee during the time I was working on our documentary, “Space Between Breaths.” Tony was a patient man. He worked with me over a period of almost a year on the DVD design for our film. On our first conversation, Tony asked me the subject of the documentary. He listened patiently as I told him how we had interviewed twelve families from across the country who had lost a child. He was thoughtful and compassionate as we began working on ideas for the cover.

As I said, Tony was patient. He would e-mail a proof and wait for my inevitable changes. He never complained. He knew I was a perfectionist who wouldn’t be satisfied until my vision of the cover for the film was realized. Tony was a talented graphic designer. The cover, case, menu, and label design all came to life under Tony’s creative touch.

July 24, 2007…one day after the fifteenth anniversary of Drew and Jeremiah’s angel day…Tony Dorris took his life. I had not spoken to him since the second week in May, two weeks before the private screening of the documentary in Lexington. I did not know he had left Sifford Video. I also did not know he had battled a drug problem that eventually took his life.

Tony’s sister Donna had googled his name shortly after his death and found my website that listed his name under the credits for our film. Her message left me stunned. Tony had committed suicide. My mind could not grasp that sentence. Why hadn’t I noticed something in his voice on our many phone conversations? How are we as a society letting drugs claim our sons and daughters?

I now know Tony’s precious sister Donna and his parents Edna and Elliott. They mourn his tragic passing along with his wife, young son, and other family members. I too mourn his loss. I will think of him each time I see the cover for our documentary. He will live on through the work he did while he graced our lives.