Thursday, September 2, 2010

Message to Michael


Dearest Michael,

I have been feeling the need to talk to you all day. The past few days, especially today, I have felt that I am just biding my time, allowing the hours to pass without any real focus. I am back to where I don't see the point in doing much.

In all honesty I can't say that I have been unproductive, as I got both boys enrolled in school, and have them both ready for school to begin next week. I am looking forward for them to begin school, as they both could use the opportunity to begin making new friends here in our new community.

I too will be making a new start in a couple of weeks. I was offered, and accepted, a new job today. I'm feeling really good about this opportunity, as it gives me the complete break from the type of social work I used to do, and brings me back full circle to what I was doing prior to moving to San Francisco 25 years ago. I will be working for the Regional Center Program, providing services for the developmentally delayed. It feels good coming back to this type of work with now so many years of added experience. The agency is very excited about my joining them, and have a plan in place for how they can best utilize my skills. I won't be making anywhere near the amount of money I used to, but I am hoping that the new work environment will help to continue creating a lifestyle where I feel calmer, and at peace.

Arianne is doing very well in her program. I feel like she is making the needed adjustments to not living at home, and is becoming more and more open to the new experiences that living in a community of women can bring to her. I think you would be very pleased with the progress she is making. In fact, I know you would be very proud of her. As I write this I can picture the way you would be looking at her, and telling her how proud you are. It brings me to tears thinking about this.

Michael, I miss you so much. My body is hurting right now, needing some part of you to hold onto. Tonight at yoga I arrived a bit late, and didn't have the time to greet anyone, or to look around the room at the guys that were present. Once we were all moving in sync I realized that there were many new faces in the group. I was trying to stay focused on myself, and focus on my breathing. As I moved into the various poses I began to sense that the person to my left was having some kind of effect on me. At one point we were instructed to turn our gaze to our left, and I immediately understood why I was feeling pulled toward this person. He didn't look anything like you, but he had your build and skin color. As he moved, I could see your movements. When he flexed I could see your muscles stretching and relaxing. I tried to distance myself from this observation, but I was weak, and kept finding my gaze returning to him.

This made me ache for you all the more. I'm finding that as time goes forward I am able to intellectualize what has happened to us. I understand death, and know that it touches all of us at some point. In a way understand that you had to die. We knew that it was coming for two years. We talked about it, and we prepared for it. During those years we loved each other madly. We held each other close every night. We made love as often as we could, and when your health took that away from us, we made sure that each touch was purposeful. I loved the touch of your skin, and how all the little hairs would stand up when my hand grazed across you. I loved your furry chest, and smoothness of your shaved head. I loved your scent, even when you put on far too much cologne. I loved the devilish look in your eyes, and the desire that spoke through them.

Michael, I know this is leading me to a dark place. I know that giving in to these thoughts, and acknowledging my own desires will only bring me pain. I know that I cannot seem to stop myself from wanting you. It goes beyond logic, and enters into the memories that are imprinted on my skin. Nothing really gives me pleasure any more. I desire to be touched, but know that it is the touch of your hands that I need. What do I do? Where do I turn?

I often worry that these needs will eventually cause me to either implode or explode. Do I close myself off from the world, and learn to not need, or desire, anyone else? Do I go off searching for someone else to fill that need? I sometimes worry that my depth of pain and desire will lead me to such extremes. Do I isolate myself, or do I become completely promiscuous? I know that most will say I don't have to go in one way or the other, but life has felt so extreme these past few years, so why change that now?

I wonder where you are, and what you are doing. I wonder if there is a place, or if there is a state of being for you. I wonder if you see me, or even still have a connection to me and this world. I know that I will never know, and will likely come to a point of just defining that which brings me the most peace of mind. It's crazy how we that are left behind are each inventing our own sense of afterlife. We each are out here trying to define what will work for us, creating our own individual reality.

I feel like I could keep writing to you, talking to you, way into the night. After all, isn't that what I do every night anyway? I sit, I stare, I wait. I can call it whatever suits me at each moment, but I know that it is always you. I sit with you. I stare into what used to be our reality, and I wait for a sign that the wind is changing.

Could I have one moment back? Could I have one visit? It could be as simple as feeling your breath against my face. It could be as quiet as hearing the air move in and out of your lungs. It could be as gentle as your heartbeat resounding with mine. Am I asking for too much? Probably.

I shouldn't be asking you for these things. If you are hearing my requests then I am only causing you distress. I don't mean to do this. I don't want you hurting because you cannot deliver upon my requests. I'm sorry.

Michael you gave me plenty in the short time that we had. Perhaps I should stop referring to our time as short, as that seems to minimze all that we had, and all that you gave me. I know that I was fortunate. I was blessed. Don't worry about me. I'll adjust. You were a wonderful husband, and a beautiful lover. Remember how you used to look at me and say, "I'm a lucky man." Well, Michael, the truth is, I was the lucky man.

I am yours.



  1. thanks for your honesty, your pure and beautiful honesty in this post. I found myself looking for Cliff in another man, and I'll be honest back. I didn't find him there, of course I didn't. But I did find my heart beating again, and it made me feel alive. I'm all for that feeling.

    I hope that you can find this, as I did. It didn't matter to me that it didn't last ... in fact I didn't want it to. I was brutally honest with him and let him know that I was "using" him and he took it like a man ;-)

    Just to have that human touch again really helped me.

    I love you

  2. i hope that in writing this out, you felt a bit of ease. your paragraph that starts with, "I wonder where you are...." hit me in the stomach. i think about this side of it all, too much? the normal amount? i want my Dragon to be at peace. if he is checking in on me, then he won't have it. i tell myself that if he is in a sacred place where his life here is forgotten, that's okay, because he has all the joy he deserves. but then i am bereft of even his memory of me. it is a hard road to walk.

    i pray that you find your peace however it comes to you. if you, and others, are gifted with love, then embrace it with all the joy you have inside you. whether alone or in the company of others; whether a widower or married again, i hope you never stop looking for, and find, what brings you comfort, joy, and peace of mind. Michael was lucky to have you. you are lucky to have had Michael. we are lucky to have found you.

  3. I think you were both very lucky, and yes, maybe it's best not to think of it as such a short time together. In some ways, I don't think that time plays such a great role in quantifying the love we feel for someone. As the saying goes, it's not about quantity, it's about quality. Good to hear that you got the job and that it is likely to be both meaningful employment as well as compatible with a stress-reduced lifestyle.

  4. Dan,
    This post reverberated through me like a large bell. I too wonder where Dave is and want a bit of him so badly. I too am feeling quite desperate for some touch and love - well, actually, sex - and do not know what those drives could do, become. I am not interested in other men - I still wear my wedding rings - sometimes they are "fly repellent". But I wear them to have Dave with me. I was out listening to some live music last night. This was something that Dave and I did all the time. It was hard to be there. While there, I saw a man who was very much like Dave. Small stature, bright eyes and smile, same proportions of frame, even the same wrinkles on his elbows. I gazed at him far too much during the evening. It only made me sadder though.
    Congrats on the job. Dave worked with developmentally delayed youth, ages 18 to 26. He found the work very rewarding.

  5. I stare into what used to be our reality.

    I wonder where you are, and what you are doing. I wonder if there is a place, or if there is a state of being for you. I wonder if you see me, or even still have a connection to me and this world. I know that I will never know, and will likely come to a point of just defining that which brings me the most peace of mind. It's crazy how we that are left behind are each inventing our own sense of afterlife. We each are out here trying to define what will work for us, creating our own individual reality.

  6. Dan,
    I'm so sorry that you are in this deep, dark, cold valley. My therapist showed me a "bereavement graph" which really took my breath away when I was almost 18 months out. After much searching I have found it on line. Please look here:

    to see it. It let me know that even though I thought I was crazy and staying WAY too long in that valley ..... I wasn't. Not by a long shot.
    I hope the link works. If it doesn't then I'll try to e-mail it to you.
    Love to you, my friend.

  7. Yesterday was 5 years for me. Our kids are practically grown but I still miss being able to share stuff with Laurie. All you can do is try to hold onto the good memories you had with Michael. That probably doesn't help much but I am still learning this stuff myself. I hope you find some peace, bro.

    - barney

  8. I always appreciate the insights, and encouragement that each of you bring.

    Janine, I check out the site with the graph, and it was very helpful to see the point you were making. It's funny how I, and many others, often think we should feel better about now.

    Hi Barney, welcome to my blog, and I'm sorry for your loss. It's hard to have a picture of myself five years from now, so I do find it very helpful to hear from other's like yourself.

    I appreciate the fact that I can be very honest, and that you are all so cool about it.


  9. So much love shining through your words.

    That question about where the dead are, what they experience...

    If I had to characterize my belief system briefly, I would say esoteric Christian, which is very different from conservative Christianity. I think that God is in us all, thus there's no need to accept him to be "saved." I thus also don't have the desire to "convert" people to "believe" what I hold to be true. I think we all have to arrive at "our own truth" out of freedom.

    That beings said, here's a link to some interesting lectures by the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner. Reading Steiner isn't necessarily an "easy read," but the images/pictures he offers of spiritual realms; of the realm of the "dead," have been beautiful & comforting to me.

    Beautiful & comforting, albeit not taking away my longing for Brent to hold my hand one more time...

  10. Hi Cadi. I looked for that book at a couple of stores, small ones, but they didn't have it. I'm going to try Borders next. It sounds perfect for me. I suppose I could be described as an esoteric Catholic-Buddhist. The way I experience God these days has my kids a bit confused, but hey, at least there are some good conversations.

  11. Yikes. Wanted to close out the tab & noticed the spello. Should have been being instead of beings... (I don't hear voices; not yet lol)

  12. Dan,

    Which book?

    The "Staying Connected" one or the one I linked above? I ended up getting the "Staying Connected" one at Steinerbooks online. Most bookstores don't carry his titles.

  13. The "Staying Connected." I'll look for it online as well.



  15. esoteric catholic buddhist... I know I just seem to be echoing you these days dan, but - you know, well, this is one of the very things I love about you. I am SO not a one-religion person, or even any-religion (matt used to very lovingly call me a heathen, which is true). I find all traditions rather neat - whatever brings you to your own truth, that's beautiful. But over the last year, the places I have found the most connection are in churches, even though I have to translate a lot of what is said into my own language. I will check out those steiner books as well - I miss that connection with other people who have god at their core. I mean, and know they do.