Against this backdrop, I read three things on Thursday that just sort of pushed the emotions over the edge of the cliff and I wound up crying.
1. One of the items was written by a friend of mine, a young Christian man who recently married the man he loves and who has experienced swift and devastating rejection from his family. Reading his recent update broke my heart.
Out of concerns for his privacy, I won't give any more details and will not post the link.
2. Letters to My Brother. In September 2010, a Rutgers freshman named Tyler jumped to his death from a bridge after his roommate publicly humiliated him for being gay. His older brother wrote a series of posthumous letters to his younger brother. Reading these letters and viewing his childhood photos of his brother (like the one above) just ripped me up emotionally.
3. I Will Hold You Ten Times. Once a year Joe Jervis posts a poem he wrote about caring for his dear friend Daniel who died of AIDS in 1997. I don't think I've ever read a more raw nor more beautiful description of human lovingkindness.
I Will Hold You Ten TimesI am crying again.
1. I will hold you, Daniel.
2. The lesions don't bother me, I will hold you.
3. I will pretend nothing is wrong when you want me to pretend and when you want me to hold you, I will hold you.
4. I will make plans with you to go to your favorite places that we both know you can no longer go and I will sit with you and look at your pictures of these places and I will hold you.
5. I will ride with you on the train to your doctor's office and when you get sick in the station, I will hold you.
6. I will see the Post-It notes you put all over the house reminding yourself to do everyday things like "Turn off stove" and "Lock front door" and I'll pretend the disease isn't robbing your mind and when you tell me something for the third time in ten minutes, I won't let you know, I will hold you.
7. I will go to Safeway with you because you need to get out into the world and when the diarrhea overwhelms you and you shit your pants in the middle of the store, I will call us a cab and in the cab, I will hold you.
8. I will make you mix-tapes of our favorite songs from last summer, just like you asked me to, and when the memories make you sad instead of happy and you throw the tapes in the trash, I won't get angry, I will hold you.
9. I will sit up all night with you because the fevers and night sweats won't let you sleep. In the morning, I will change your drenched sheets and help you out of the shower and when you weep from the sight of your withered body in the mirror on the bathroom door, I will hold you.
10. I will hold you, Daniel.