Ostracized Honesty

It’s time I dive into a topic that is always at the heart of gay men dating – HIV/AIDS. Growing up I watched as the disease came forth, took lives and drove the world to treat the LGBTQ+ community worse than ever. There was fear of being accused and harmed and there was (and still is) fear of contracting the disease. From my biology background, I see medications and treatments have advanced to amazing supportive levels for those affected. A new preventative medication PREP has reached the mainstream and decreases the chance of contracting the virus to almost zero but nothing is ever 100%.

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A Piece of You

I felt my heart stop when your heart stopped beating

I felt the air in my lungs leave my body, when you took your last breath

I felt the world crumbling down on my chest, with every shock wave that went through yours


I was an empty vessel walking above ground, while yours lays down in the soil empty as well

I cried storms of sorrow, while rain poured down on your resting place

Lifeless is how I feel at times, lifeless is what you became


When you left this earth, part of me went with you

The part that stayed also stayed with a piece of you

She is all you in every way

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What You May Not Know About Grief

What you don’t know is that
People die because of Grief
People die because of a Broken Heart
People Die by Suicide
Because their Grief is
Too Much to Bear

I had a call just last night from the
Now-orphaned-daughter of a friend
A widow
Whose husband was my friend and colleague
He had helped Mike get to
Chemo treatments on occasion when
I just couldn’t manage to fit it all in

But my friend also died
Just months after Mike died
And my new friend
My friend’s wife
Missed him too much
And like Julia chose to end the
Desperately Painful Grief that had
Settled over her life and her being
Her present and future and
Even her past
Replacing the love she had once felt
And reveled in and rejoiced in

Not a fair reward for
Decades of love

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Part of me died with him.  And, surprisingly, a big part of me survived his death.   This part of me is fighting to live forward.

Since early on, I have chosen to focus on the living part of me.  The part of me that was not buried with Mike.  Sure, absolutely, I miss the person I used to be, but the life in which that woman existed died with him. 

All of it - everything we were together - simply vanished when Mike died.  Our life was built on solid ground, but when he died, everything imploded and what was once solid quickly turned into a quagmire of uncertainty.  I lost Mike and my identity.  Everything that I thought was certain disappeared. My life was no longer recognizable to me.  (And, in truth, it still isn’t 2.10 years later).  Not surprisingly, I lost my footing when Mike died and I have been fighting to recover it for nearly three years.



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A Shared Grieving

The other week, we stopped by a field of sunflowers on our way home. This isn’t just any field of sunflowers… it is a memorial called Prayers from Maria. Each year for the past five years, this field has been planted with hundreds of sunflowers. Towards the end of every summer, they bloom into their full glory. I’ve seen this covered on the news each year since moving to Ohio, but this is the first time that I had set foot there in person. 

So what is special about this place? It was started because of death, and because of love. Because of the death of a beautiful daughter to a family, who lost a battle with childhood cancer. What has unfolded now is a powerful place for so many to come to have a moment of quiet. What I didn’t realize before stepping through the field, is that there would be notes and prayers, written on cards they provide, tied gentle to the stalks of the flowers. 

As we first entered the main path through the flowers, I was completely overwhelmed by all the messages. Many of them were messages to loved ones who have died. Not just children that died from cancer, but moms and dads and grandparents and friends and spouses. It was beautiful and terrible all at once. The further we walked, the more there were. Message after message. Row after row. So much loss. So much death. But also… so much love. So much deep, enduring, beautiful love. 

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The Grief Summit

I haven’t written in a couple of weeks. I could say I’ve been busy but really it is because I didn’t feel inspired to write. Writing for me is very specific. I have to feel I need to write to portray an aspect of my life that might help another. I don’t want to just write anything to have something written. There is an emptiness to that method. There was another reason hanging in the shadows and distracting me from being in the moment. I was gearing up for a professional conference that I was going to present at. Was it the presentation? No and yes. The last time I saw all of these people was 2 years ago when Tin was texting me he thought he had the flu. I wish he had gone to the doctor right than but he waited for me to get home. There is unnecessary guilt here, regardless if it is warranted, it is here. Had I only been home, had I only picked a career that didn’t take away valuable time from him. Had I only solved it sooner than he would be here and I wouldn’t be headed to a grief summit.


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Money Woes

I'm really broke.


I'm really tired of being broke.

I'm really tired of talking about being broke.

I'm really tired of typing and writing about being broke.

Even when my husband Don was alive, we struggled financially. Everyday. But he worked and I worked, and we helped each other out. He started helping me out way before he moved in with me. He used to send me checks from Florida to New Jersey, telling me that he knew how much of a struggle it was for me out there and he wanted to help me pay my bills. He saved up enough money to move in with me, when he finally did make that move, so that he could get through a few months without a job, in case it took him that long to find work in EMS where I lived. He found work quickly. He made okay money, better than what I made, but his money stretched way further down in Florida. NYC life ate up his money fast. So we were broke. Often. But he always made sure we had enough to go out on a nice date, take me to dinner, see a movie, cover the basics. I felt taken care of, even though we didn't have a lot.

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Broken Chain

I was recently given a beautiful cross with the poem below. It hit home. 


Little I knew that morning.

God was going to call your name.

In life we loved you dearly, in death we do the same. 

It broke our hearts to lose you. 

You did not go alone, for part of me went with you, the day God called you home. 

You left us beautiful memories.

Your love is still our guide, and though we cannot see you, you are always by our side.

Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same.

But as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.

-Ron Tranmer

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Roads, Places, and Memories~

70. 20. 10. 65. 85. 60. 1.

East to west to north to south and back again.

The Oregon coast. The road to the Keys. New England. The Southwest. Deep South.

Roads and directions and places and, most of all...memories.

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In The Past 24 Hours...

In the past 24 hours…

…I collected my youngest daughter’s “personal effects” from the clinic she’d been attending

…I was told that her death by suicide most probably wasn’t pre-meditated, but an “on the spur of the moment” action

…I learned that my baby girl had been terrified at the possibility of being a carrier for Lynch syndrome – she still needed to wait three more years before she was eligible for testing

…I heard that she had included me, her mum, in the short list of “reasons she wouldn’t take her life”


It makes me heave. I feel sick. I just want to vomit it all up.


In the past 24 hours…

…I have sat in my bed and looked through the pictures and artwork that Julia had on her bedroom walls at the clinic

…I have sat on her bed and read through a calendar where she recorded her mood, what she ate, what she was thinking…it’s full of pain

…I have knelt on her floor and opened and closed and opened and closed again the cartons I collected with Pascaline from the centre

…I have put the ceremony card from her service on my office shelves


It turns my legs to jelly. My throat constricts. My tummy clenches more.

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