Jerry 1953-1987


To me, you meant everything. In a life that was filled with darkness, you were my light. Seeds of happiness, contentment, connection, and love were sown and grew whenever you would visit. They were my little perennials, dying in your absence, and springing to life at the mere mention of your coming. 

When I was older, you'd take me to stay with you in San Francisco for two weeks. Two. Whole. Weeks! I was beside myself with joy to live a different reality than I was used to, and to have you all to myself! I remember you swinging me around and around to make me laugh (and when you told me I had gotten too big for it I felt heartbroken). You took me to the theater to see The Nutcracker, introduced me to your friends, and took me to the park. But some of my favorite memories are of us singing in the car together, because we listened to the same music and you loved to sing, just like I did. The Beatles, Bread, and Don McLean. Plus, show tunes! Sound Of Music, Fiddler On The Roof, Grease. Our voices blended and harmonized together perfectly. The day mom would come to pick me up was the day the music died for me, every time. 

*A long long time ago
I can still remember how
That music used to make me smile

They say all it takes is one person to make a difference in someones life. One person that shows a little bit of kindness, concern, interest, etc. I would hear that phrase and scoff. Who was that person for me? Who cared enough to intervene? Why, or how, could anyone take a look at the little girl with the dirty clothes with holes, a sad little face filled with sorrow from neglect, and just turn and walk away? 

It was you, of course. You were the one that made a difference. I'm fairly certain that if you had not existed in my world, I would not be here today. Why I am here, and to what end, I'm not sure. I never thought I'd live this long. Apparently this is common for people with CPTSD. 

*And I love you so
The people ask me how
How I've lived 'till now
I tell them I don't know

I wonder, who was that person for you? I wish I could ask you that now. There are so many things I wish we could talk about. 

As I grew older, I recognized the sadness in your eyes. The far off stares into the distance that betrayed your troubled mind. The stress of living a double life showing more and more as the years went by. I wish you could have lived long enough to see how different things are today. How there is so much more acceptance. You could just BE, not pretend, and not be made to feel guilty or deviant. At least for the most part. Things are not perfect, but they are getting better.

*And yes I know how lonely life can be
The shadows follow me
And the night won't set me free
But I don't let the evening get me down
Now that you're around me

You would have been 62 today. Every year I wonder what you would have been like, and how our relationship would have developed as grown ups. I like to picture you happy, surrounded by friends, teaching and singing to children, maybe in a relationship, and of course, still living in the city you loved. 

Walking through a costume shop one day, I saw you were melancholy, I grabbed a magic wand, twirled it about your head, and asked what you'd wish for. "For Jesus to take me home" you said. Did you think, like me, you wouldn't be living so long, or hoping not to? Or did you know by then that you were dying? Either way, had things been then the way they are now, maybe you would not have been in such a hurry to leave. Maybe you could have been fully happy, like in my vision for you above. 

AIDS took your life. Nowadays, many people live long lives with HIV. In the 80s, fear and misinformation ruled, and you were just another statistic ravaged and consumed by a new and horrible virus. The drugs were so costly, we couldn't donate enough blood to afford a consistent supply for you. 

*The book of life is brief
And once a page is read
All but love is dead
This is my belief

I don't know if we have a specific purpose in this life. Were you, Jerry, put on this earth to help me? No, I don't think so. But beyond some seemingly grand purpose, I think that is what it's all about; us helping each other get through this thing called life. So when I think about my purpose, I think about you, and decide that if I can show my kids kindness, compassion, and that they are loved beyond measure, like you showed me, then that's all the purpose I need. You live on in me and the lives of my children. 

I want to radiate loving kindness to myself and all beings, like you did. You were my first Metta teacher. 

Around this time of year, I'm listening to our favorite songs. Right now I'm listening to Aubrey, by Bread. Next, the American Pie album, by Don McLean. And when I reach the song Vincent, I will be still. I'll close my eyes and feel you in the room with me. Because you always saw me, I mean really saw me, *with eyes that know the darkness in my soul. You understood. We were the same. I wasn't alone. I'm not alone still. And I want you to know: 

*..I could have told you...
The world was never meant for one as beautiful as you. 

~Jen xo