I sat earlier in the week in my parent’s living room. I watched as my mother struggled to move about the house with her walker. I watched as my father tried to anticipate her every move. I saw how carefully he has to think about where she will sit, and will she feel comfortable there. I sat as she talked about her pain. I sat as her thoughts became confused, and I wondered where she was drifting to. I saw the look in my father’s eyes, fatigue, frustration, worry, concern. I saw how he jumped up when my mother decided she needed to move back toward their bedroom, how he was right behind her so that she would get there safely.
I sat there thinking, “I know the drill. I know these trials. I know where they are headed.” Something is very wrong with this picture. Why is it that their son is sitting there having already lived through a significant part of life, and is now watching his parents follow in his footsteps? What the fuck happened?
I sat there wondering what each of my brothers were doing at the time. They were likely each arriving home from work, meeting up with their wives, and preparing for their dinner together. There were probably not even giving it a second thought, taking for granted that they have lived the charmed life, and feel safe and secure in their relationships. I’m sure they think of our parents, and marvel at how wonderful it is that our parents have been happily married for 55 years. They are likely telling themselves that they are well on their way to having this same experience.
I on the other hand, am sitting on the couch, alone, having lived through a relationship/marriage, that lasted only three and a half years. Looking at statistics on marriages, anyone would not be surprised by this number. It is likely that most relationships don’t even last that long. Some people likely looked at my relationship and thought to themselves, how sweet, it is almost like a marriage. They probably were surprised that I had what appeared to be a very conventional relationship for a gay man. They are probably thinking that I should be happy for what I had.
Who am I kidding? They are likely not even giving me a second thought.
What’s in the past is in the past. Right? I’m the guy who looks like he just bounced right back. Right? I’m the guy who always comes out on top. I’m the guy who has done so much for the gay widowed community. I’m the guy who is always thinking of everyone else.
Well, obviously, I’m also the guy who still resents the hell out of life. I’m the guy who’s relationship ended in death.
Am I moving forward as they say? Hell yes. Do I have a choice?
I feel like all I do is field phone calls from all my family members, letting me know how every one’s life is going each day. They want my advice. They want to make sure I am kept up on all the latest news, concerns, and special events that are taking place all around me. And oh, how are things going for you?
Would it matter what I said? The answer is no. When asked how my weekend went, I usually say the same thing, nothing much happens around here. When asked how the kids are doing, I say well, life is still very complicated for them. When asked how I am feeling, or how am I getting through life without Michael, oh, how silly of me, nobody asks that.
But I’m okay. I have accepted my fate. I am forever grateful for what I have. I am looking forward to all the good things that are coming my way. I am storing up a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and empathy, that will all be put to good use one day. I know that a new love is right around the corner for me. I know that God is going to reward me. I know that God doesn’t give me more than I can handle. I know that there is something fantastic in store for me. I just have to be optimistic.
Well, at least that’s what they say.