Saturday, December 6, 2008

Unmuting Myself

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

How Can I Share What I'm Feeling?...How Can I Not?

"I must be the only Irish Jew in the world now," said my partner Pat, eulogizing our friend at his Memorial service at the Manhattan JCC yesterday. I cried then and now, as it seemed like a prelude to Pat's funeral some day -- it's my hope that it's many, many, many years in the future, and that, selfishly, I will already be dead and won't have to witness the occasion.

Both of them were funny, not heterosexual, Irish, Midwestern and Jewish converts. All of us met at Or Chadash in Chicago, back when name badges had just our first names and the first initial of our last names by default, in case we weren't public about our sexual orientation.

When I am forced to acknowledge death, I want life. God forgive me for totally watching the vivacious former employee of our friend over the shoulder of our friend's brother as he shared his grief with us. Earlier, she told me that our friend had been her boss for five years, and had been the best one she had ever had.

Later in the reception afterward, as his brother spoke of necessarily flying back to his brother's home city (no longer Manhattan) to retrieve his brother's stuff, she was a fresh vision of life out of the corner of my eye: tall, slim, black-haired, blue-eyed, features too youthful and too perfect to have been created surgically, all in black, except for the unclothed portion, where a long necklace could have lay. She had a ring on her left finger and so did the guy for whom she kept twirling her hair in her fingers. He had the guy-version of her build and strikingly handsome looks.

I never learned his connection to our friend, but smiled at the irony that two, apparently heterosexual people were flirting energetically at our gay friend's Memorial service. Or maybe he was gay, but was feeling like I was:

When will my pregnancy urge in response to death ever stop? I wanted to be either of the pair who were flirting -- young enough to become pregnant, or virile enough to impregnate. I wanted to escape our friend's gone-ness. I wanted to escape my worries of Pat's potential absence from my life someday through death. I wanted to be gone from the room of mourners and be busy, creating life.

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