He was a blonde-haired, green-eyed handsome young man who sang like an angel. He had a contagious laugh that could fill a room leaving its recipients with the memory of good times and better memories, knowing you were better for knowing him.
I was blessed to call him friend. But he was more to me than a friend, if indeed there is a higher calling in a human relationship. True friends are few and far between; however, this man was my college boyfriend, then my fiance and then my husband. We were in music ministry together singing our hearts out and loving every minute of the time God gave us. We were blessed with a baby boy in 1981 who grew up to be a music whiz as well.
But our life together came to an abrupt end in 1989 when he died from pneumacystis pneumonia, a complication of the AIDS virus. In those days the medical professionals only knew of one way for people to acquire AIDS and that was how he died. His diagnosis and death brought with them confusion, hurt, anger, remorse, feelings of betrayal, but more than that it left me having to pick up the pieces of a marriage torn to bits by a horrible mistake that was made resulting in death.
Before anyone should think I was going to say anything blatantly rude or hateful about lifestyle choices please understand this was my life. I was the spouse of a man trying to live a straight life and unable to do it in his own strength. He was a brilliant, comical, compassionate man who loved life, but he was ravaged by two lifestyles: one he knew was accepted by God and man, the other at the center of a tremendous anount of controversy, ridicule and sometimes hate crimes among other things.
I was not innocent in the ridicule. I was a young woman, in nursing school with a two year old son to raise when my preacher husband announced to me he was leaving the curch and moving in with his boyfriend. Six years later he was dead. Those six years were a roller coaster for me. I was angry, hurt, grieving the loss of my marriage. I had ups and downs. I rationalized with myself on a number of issues: (1) I had the right to be angry and he deserved whatever he got, then (2) I had no right to be so mean to him. I had no right to judge him. It was the last one that finally won out. I chose to live by the teaching of I John when it says that if we don't love our brother who we have seen how can we love God who we have not seen. Ouch!!!
The end of the story was this: he and I were able to repair our relationship and become friends during that last six years of his life. I am so thankful for that because when he was diagnosed as HIV+ and died two weeks after his diagnosis my life and the life of my son were rocked forever. Grieving....on a much deeper level rushed over me in waves...lasting for years.
Now I remember him fondly. I am thankful for the time we had together and grateful for the privilege of knowing him and bearing his son. Oh....one important thing. He died in Houston's M.D. Anderson medical facility on Sunday, December 8, 1989 at 4:30 p.m. CT. At 3:30 p.m. our time (Colorado MT) our house permeated with the smell of Polo Musk cologne...his signature fragrance. My son and I were alone in the house with a little friend of his making Christmas cookies. Christmas cookies do not smell like men's cologne!
You had had quite a journey. I am sure even with as many words that you used, you could have typed more and still not hit on how hard this must have been. I can't imagine nor pretend to understand how all this must have been. In this world a spouse may come and go and it is always sad when a child is involved, but this is deeper than that because you lost a husband (whihc usually if things work out well, the child does not have to be without a father) but with the death of your sons father...that is a horrific thing. I am always saddened to hear of death regarding anyone. Some say its sadder for the young than the older and while I see the point in this, I feel badly when anyone dies that leaves anyone behind that loves him.
I remember when my friend died next to me in comabt. He bled out slowly, he was 22. I often wonder what he would be like today, who he would be, and perhaps you wonder the same about your ex husband. I give you credit for taking it as well as you did reagrding becoming friends with him. I could not do that...not because he was gay, but because he left me for someone else. Grieving for years had to be horrile but if there is once thing I know about death is the weird becomes the norm after a while I suppose. Such a sad story but thank you for sharing it.
This speaks to what I always say. We all have a non fiction novel in us....our life is interesting and I would rather read your post (or if you made this into a book which I am sure you could, and offered us a verion that enlisted brevity) that watch some reality tv show.
In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen - Shawn
To Shawn: who posted a comment. Thank you! So very much! I can't pretend to know what it is like in combat, much less have someone I care about die on the battlefield. God bless you! It has taken years, but I remember my ex-husband fondly. To use the energy it took to remain angry was more than I could conjure up. Bless you. Keep the faith! Hazel