This year I lost two dear friends, not from AIDS but cancer. Eric Larsen, with a big smile on his face, walked with me to high school in Wausau; I was in his wedding, and after he and Sevim moved to Sacramento, we saw each other regularly. I took a sabbatical in 1984 and lived with Doug Ballard and his partner Tony Masters in their elegant camelback double house off Magazine Street in New Orleans for three weeks. They introduced me to the world of antiques with their shop of fine English country furniture, pottery and objects. After each visit over the years I’ve come back with something from it; the most recent purchase was a 3,000 year old clay Chinese horseman. In June I went to New Orleans for the Saints and Sinners Festival of mostly gay writers and spent two hours with Doug in a well-lit nursing home. He died a few weeks later. I lost Tony earlier in the year when he died from AIDS complications.
Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “
For more elucidation I turn to those who are wise. John Green in The Fault of the Stars said, “Grief does not change you, it reveals you”. And Dr. Seuss said, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
In the end, to remain sane loss is a mystery we must accept.