Living Continues

Living Continues
© September 9, 2007
Richard O. Harris

It has been some time since I added anything to my blog but I have had a somewhat depressing year so far. If you have followed my entries, you know my health declined the first of January just before my partner of 21 years decided he only wanted to be friends. You may also recall my mother’s death in February but I have not yet written about my next-door neighbor and good friend’s death in July or my nephew’s sudden, accidental death in August.

As you can see, it has been a year of loss for me and for those I love as well. My good friend and neighbor’s loss was not unexpected but happened only hours after our last conversation, which has left me at a loss for expressing my feelings. My nephew’s death was so numbing for me that I cannot even imagine what my brother or my nephew’s wife and children are experiencing, especially since my brother had to bury both his mother and his child this year.

Yet overriding all of this is my sense of helplessness that several of my siblings have still not learned to get along very well. I know it is difficult not to want to involve one’s self in the well being of those you love. Still, there comes a time when, in my opinion, you must trust those you love are doing what they believe to be best for them.

I am not denying the turmoil and concern I have often felt over some of the decisions I have seen others make. I simply am admitting how powerless I am over all of those actions and hope those I love are happy. My own sadness stems from the losses of opportunities and the lack of knowledge I have on how to express my love to them all.

As a child, I did not see open displays of affection between my parents or among my siblings unless it was with an infant. Also, the words ‘I love you’ were seldom spoken if my memory serves me very well. This may be one of the reasons my family still finds it difficult to let each other see any feeling other than anger.

During the time I spent with my family as we prepared to bury my nephew, I began to be introduced to the continuing struggles the next generation is experiencing. It helped to clarify just how much is passed on to the next generation and to magnify my own powerlessness. Those nephews and nieces I had the opportunity to speak with were very open with me about some extremely sensitive issues.

Though I have not been involved in their lives for some time, I was not surprised by their forthrightness. It is often easier to confide in those you are not in daily contact with in my opinion. Yet, I could not help but be saddened they felt more comfortable with me than those closest to them.

Several wanted to confirm for themselves that I was gay and HIV+. It may have been my own honesty on these subjects that allowed them to open up. A couple of them were even honest enough to let me know they did not approve of homosexuals while assuring me their relationship to me was causing them to re-examine their thoughts.

All of this leaves me with mixed feelings and I am still processing a lot of the things that have happened this year. I do believe in all the loss there has been some gain as I have developed deeper relationships with some of my closest relatives. I also hope for those at odds with each other to find a way to communicate without anger or condemnation of each other.