Whose life is this anyway? I went from living my new gay life with a sense of freedom, joy, and fun to caring for my wife who was dying of cancer, caring for my father who is dying of old age, caring for my son who found himself accused of hazing, and working with my siblings to clean up my fathers estate, which is a mess.
I remember in college, when I would feel the need for sexual release as an explosion that needed to take place, my destination of choice was the baths. I would arrive driven, nervous, with butterflies in my stomach. My first destination, after paying the fee and getting my towel and locker key, was the bathroom, where my intestines would explode with a complete emptying of my bowels.
Until my wife was diagnosed with cancer two months ago, I thought I was in the final stages of ending my married life and beginning a neww life with my partner. I went from planning my divorce to planning my wife’s cancer treatment. My wife’s battle with an aggressive cancer brought me back into her life, after three years and four months of separation. Her tumor was found the week before we were set to begin divorce mediation.
One of my favorite sci-fi books of all time is Dune by Frank Herbert. In one of the early riveting scenes, Paul Atreides, son of Duke Leto, is given the test of the gom jabbar by the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam. Without going into the details of what the test is – you will have to read the book — the purpose of the test is to know if Paul is human. If Paul is not human then he is an animal.
At the end of September, at 5:20 in the morning I got a call from my wife. “I am in the emergency room. They did a CT scan and found a mass in my abdomen.” “Do you want me to come to the hospital?” “Yes.”
As a gay man and a father I could not have asked for you to be any more supportive than you have been since I came out to you three years ago. When we marched together this past summer, with my boyfriend, surrounded by my coworkers, in the Capital Pride Parade, it was a powerful and empowering experience.
Where does one begin to describe a life? Did it begin when I was born? Did it begin when you were born nineteen years ago? Or did it begin when I first met your mother on the tour we both took to the Soviet Union in 1990? For me the story needs to begin on the day I came out to you and then moves backwards and forward in time from there.