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.
In my early 40’s, I began to experience difficulty urinating. I learned from a urologist that I had BPH, Benign prostatic hyperplasia. BPH is a benign growth of the prostate, that, over time, as it continues to grow, makes it harder and harder for a man to pee. A man’s prostate, like his ears and nose, continues to grow as he ages. Ok, who designed this system? BPH effects most men at some point in their lives.
Last Saturday my partner came over to the house that I moved out of three years and nine months ago, to meet my wife and her parents for the first time. This gathering was a long time in coming and was driven by my desire for my partner and my wife to meet. The timing was precipitated by my wife’s increasing decline from terminal cancer. She soldiers on with a new chemo regiment that begins today, with the hopes of slowing down or shrinking the tumors that increasingly inhabit her abdominal cavity and lungs. These new drugs may only slow down the inevitable, but they will not stop the cancer.
In my work I have often prided myself at being able to look at a project and know from the onset if it would be a success or a failure. This same projecting into the future and imagining what will be has always been a part of my life. I can often look at a situation and see the key outlines or framework of what it will be in the future, even if I can not see the details.
One of the stereotypes of gay men that I acquired around the age of fifteen, reading the homosexuality chapter of a terrible book about sex, was that gay relationships were fleeting; that gay men soon tired of each other as men continued their relentless pursuit of sex with other men; and that the idea of a deep loving passionate relationship between men was not possible. As much as I have changed over the years, and particularly over the last five years, I think this stereotype still lived on in the recesses of my mind.
Over five and a half years ago I came out to my wife as a gay man for the second time. The first time was shortly after we met twenty five years ago. After painfully wrestling with the kind of life I wanted to live going forward, I made the decision to move out of my marriage. My wife and I separated over three and a half years ago.