My sister’s dearest friend is gay, or more precise, was gay.
They met ages ago right at the start of college through his then girlfriend; he was your typical small town, shy and dorky young man, passionate about arts and my sister was… well… my sister…
My sister and I were raised under the same roof. We ate the same food, drank the same water and got equal shares of love and attention from mum and dad. But if you give me a ruler and a pen and ask me to draw a straight line … well, I wouldn’t know where to start.
My sister, on the other hand, is amazing: she is creative, full of beautiful ideas and incredibly skilled with her hands. My sister is awesome, just like my mum.
Back to my story: my sister was, even at that young age, awesomeness in a petite package.
In each other they found somebody with intense passion for design, arts and all things creative. They became each other’s confidant and the toughest judge on the other one’s suitors. They were there for each other not only through the day-to-day drama that only college can be for the very young, but on deeply emotional matters; they were there when hearts were broken, parents were lost and when there were pregnancy scares.
They spent most of their awake time together; it was common for me to come back home in the evening from uni, to find him going through the fridge’s content, crashing on our couch or with his head on my mum’s shoulder pouting about something or someone.
It didn’t matter he had a girlfriend, or that he liked this or that girl. My sister knew, well before he admitted it to himself, that he was gay, and just waited until he was ready to come out.
She was there for him when he needed her, she helped him deal with many of his emotions and thoughts and tried to hold him together when he tried to face a tough and unsympathetic father. I am being unfair to his father, I guess he didn’t know what to do and didn’t really understand how to handle his doubts and assumptions and sadly acted the wrong way. He loved his son very much, he just didn’t know how to just accept and love, he put prejudice and “what others would think” first.
This post is and is not about that.
My sister’s friend lost the sense of home when he came out, he had nowhere or no one to “go back” to. He just turned around and jumped into the world with a new sense of freedom and unfair sense guilt and shame. He didn’t have “home” to talk about relationships, or what was right or wrong. By shunning him off, his family lost, if not the ability to help him stay balanced, the ability to guide and protect him when he needed it, just like we all need once in a while.
The only way he found to ease the pain was to put physical distance between him and his family. He dropped out of college, moved countries, and followed different careers. He wanted to explore, to learn and to love, and I guess, to find something or someone that would fill that huge hole that he carried in his heart.
He acted crazy and irresponsible, I am not justifying his actions, he was a young man and he knew what was right and what was stupid, but I do believe that when we are hurt or lost we tend to put more faith on acting on impulse.
On a silly night, my sister’s friend became HIV +
It took him quite some time to find this out, and when he did, he went and stayed in denial. My sister found out when he was hospitalized due to pneumonia and realized that days went by without him recovering, and that he was transferred to the “tropical and other infectious diseases” wing at the hospital. He wouldn’t talk about it and pretended not to listen.
She was there during his whole stay; she sneaked in the cigarettes and the cookies, she brought books and magazines and she helped him feel better.
She forced him to look at what being HIV + meant, and forced him to make changes on his lifestyle to take better care of himself and others.
Life got in the way and they drifted apart again.
Today my sister is at home heart broken. She is been crying for hours inconsolably. She got a phone call to let her new that her dear friend passed away last night, away from his family and most of his friends.
A few months ago, I had the pleasure to meet my husband’s old pediatrician … yes, the woman that healed him from when he was a little premmie baby, gave his baby a check up. On our way back to her home, she went on “full advising mode”, the type mums get into when time is running out and they need you to absorb the maximum amount of pearls of wisdom: you know like: this to eat, that to wear, careful with blah blah …
And at the end she said, “remember, this baby is not yours to keep, is yours to prepare for the world. Who he decides to go to bed with, is his problem, and his problem alone. Just love who he loves”.
Is it worth for a parent to lose a child because we don’t agree with our child’s choice of life companion? Really?
A workmate argued that is not just a life companion choice but more of a life style choice … how is that a life style choice? we all eat, drink and sleep the same. Work the same hours and do the same things for fun. How does life style change if you are gay?
How can I, as a parent, justify pushing my kid away?
For me it is just the same as pushing him away because he doesn’t like broccoli. In my view, that is how absurd it sounds.
My sister’s friend didn’t have to leave this world alone. He needed his family and his family needed him. I know it is very hard to realize that one’s child doesn’t get that “parents know best”; but as a parent love is infinite, we need to let or children “make mistakes” and learn from them, make decisions and live with the consequences, without removing the anchor that home represents if we don’t agree with their decisions.
I am not perfect, I have made mistakes and I will make mistakes with my child in the future, but I hope he always knows that I love him more than anyone in the world and that I will always be there for him.
This post is to remind myself to leave a light on for my child, so he will always remember where he can come back to.
Darling in heaven, I hope you get the peace and love your soul deserves, You will be missed.