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September 23rd, 2020

Make The Chili

Some years ago, a dear friend died suddenly, and at least among some of us, unexpectedly. We knew he had health problems, but he always managed to pull through. When the end came it was a shock to all of us, and especially to his lover of many years.

At the funeral I resisted visiting the open casket. Years later I would dig in my heels and flatly refuse to look into mom’s open casket. I didn’t want to remember her that way. But lover of many years nudged me over. And I looked. I just don’t understand why people find comfort in that. But many do and I won’t begrudge it of them. Just don’t ask me to. I want to remember life.

Maybe lover of many years saw the look on my face. He was in the depths of grief and I know what that’s like, if not over a lover because I’ve never had one. When mom passed away I went out of my mind for weeks. I was glad the man in the casket and the one left behind looking at it had so many friends, so the left behind would not be lost and alone in grief. He looked sideways at me looking at the dead, and said something to me that almost reached a place of grief inside of me that I have lived with nearly all my life. All my life since one summer in 1973, when I discovered my first love had moved away and I had no idea where he’d gone. He said that perhaps someone like me who had been lonely all his life would also understand how it was, if not to lose the one you had loved, to have to deal with grief. Decades later he would let a chance to introduce me to a possibly Very compatible someone drop on the floor because, as he told me, he needed an excuse to do the work of arranging it, and my loneliness wasn’t it.

This came across my Facebook stream this morning…

This is good advice, and it isn’t just the recently bereaved who can say it from that empty knowing wasteland. I know what unrequited love is like. I know what being seen as a second best sex toy for heterosexuals who aren’t getting any is like. I know what it’s like to have my ass admired by random passing strangers.  I know what it’s like to have someone’s crotch shoved into my car window and ask me if I “want some”, all because they saw the lambda sticker on my car and figured a homosexual is as good a sperm dumb as any. I know what being called friends with benefits is like when I was in love and thought the other guy was too, and it turned out I was just a between serious relationships snack. I know what it’s like to have a gay friend tell me to my face that people who look like that want people who look like that. And I am going to go from one end of an adult life to another without knowing how it feels to be embraced by someone I loved and desired, who loved and desired me back. I turned 67 a few days ago. I really don’t see anything to look forward to now but the same existential aloneness I felt for the first time that summer of 1973, when I walked past the home of my first love and saw it was empty and for sale. For a moment I wondered if that was how the house felt too.

Make the chili. And if you have lost the love of your life, listen to this man who knows how much and how deeply that hurts…

There will come a day, I promise you, when the thought of your son, or daughter, or your wife or your husband, brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye. It will happen. My prayer for you is that day will come sooner than later.  –Joe Biden

I will never tell you this, but I envy you your grief. I envy you your memories. Staring into that casket decades ago, I envied his. 

 

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