Thursday, May 19, 2005

Dear Diary...

I need to tell a story for Jayson's readers who may migratte over here to find (me).

As that post said, this IS an ongoing drama.

When I was a young boy and we moved into the house we spent the better part of 12 years in miami, my parents were racist, homophobic, and judgemental. My father had BEAT fear into his wife and two children. My father spoke the social gospel for our family, and God Help the one who disagreed with his sentances. I knew the first day of 7th grade (when i walked into the locker room) at school that day that I WAS different. I knew it... So did alot of people. Unbeknown to me, my gay education would begin when my parents were introduced through friends to a family that MY family frew up with. There were 4 families in this social grouping. All of differenr economic and social means.

My step mom ( that's my surrogate mother) invited us to dinner at her house, she was married with 2 children and had a husband whom had been having an affair behind her back, and she later nailed him to the wall. that's not important in this sotry telling. NOW Nancy hosted "Wedgewood China" dinner parties for upward of 15 to 20 people All the Time. My parents were surprised to see that Nancy had the audacity to invite GAY GUESTS to her dinner parties. My father was besides himself. ( my father has a HUGE skeleton in HIS CLOSET).

My mother WAS working for a home health care company. She was a medical specialist who would do home treatment for patients who were sick and were at home. On many a night, my mother would come home and "talk about the faggots she saw dancing around their houses with AIDS)... as she tipped her beer in front of coworkers - my father and her children, she would prance around the room like a "fairy!!" "oh, those faggot's are getting what they deserve she would say." So you see, I knew early on, that discussing my homosexuality at home was NEVER going to happen. So I stayed in the closet. Meanwhile (for years) my parents and us would socialize at Nancy's house for years and years, till we all graduated from High school and into college, when Nancy finally divorced her prick husband..yes I can use that reference it applies.

My parents would come home after dinner parties and my father and brother would entertain the notion of grabbing a couple of bats and go "Fag Bashing!" My father hated the faggots that I was conversing with at those dinner parties. Nancy would invite Doctors, lawyers, writers, and publishers, I mean God, Bruce Jenner and his family came one night, that's how HIGH powered these dinner parties were. I got a REAL education from these men. My father beat me on a regualr basis but the beatings were especially brutal when we would come home from dinner parties and I would be in seventh heaven, just having had a wonderful and engaging experience with these men, who treated me with the utmost respect, because that was Nancy's rule. If you sit at the dinner table you conduct yourself accordingly. And I did. I grew up before my father's eyes. HE had nothing to do with that growth. We never talked - we always fought. I knew how to push my fathers buttons so he would beat me and not my mother. He beat my brother for years until my brother started taking Karate. But my brother was my fathers favorite, so after that the beating became worse because my brother did my fatehrs bidding.

So picture this...a young boy, with a dilemma, who do you talk to and when will it come out of the closet. I never discussed my sexuality with my parents EVER. By the time I was 21 I came home with a "friend" one night and we slept in my room that night. i was 21. BIG MISTAKE.
My father saw that I had a guest, and I drove a white mustang. (Picture) My father went into the garage and got his grease gun and painted the word FAGGOT across the side of my car. He escorted my friend out of the house, and threw me and my clothes out the front door. that was the last time i set foot in THAT house.

I never told my parents that I was Gay.. Ever, which makes this a terrible story.

My parents have never been a big supporter, basically because my father preached a socially repressed, homophobic and racist family unit. My mother NEVER back talked my father because he would beat her. She is still married to him, "For better or worse right!!" She would never leave him, because she fears him so much. And I know he's fucked around on her, I called him on that shit later many years later.

I moved on, i was an alcoholic to the HIGHEST degree. Because my shrink - whom I trusted gave me one piece of advice that kinda stuck... the first time I went into a Gay Bar, i was told to go to the bar, get a drink and sit and relax the rest would be history, and IT WAS... The social lubricant was alcohol. It was the social lubricant for my entire family. We did not feel ANYTHING. We drank away our feelings. The only feelings my father children had were of beatings, the comments and of FEAR!! I am a third generation alcoholic.

I have been clean and sober for now... 3 years 5 months and 19 days.
One day at a Time.

When i turned 25 I moved to Ft. Lauderdale to be "with" someone. In 1992 he started trying to kill himself over that first year, he made 4 attempts which I saved him from. I was working at a bar. The manager of THAT bar would become my Guardian Angel to This day he still is. Anyways, we were relocating the bar to a new larger - more fabulous location. I was working all that weekend. On Friday the 15 th of April 1993 we had our grand opening. By that time I had separated from my then boyfriend, but we were still technically "together." On the Sunday the 17th my mother called me at the travel agency i was working at. My mother and I have always had a love/hate relationship. We still do.

Anyways, Joey's mother found my parents number and called them to ask her if SHE had seen either one of us lately. How that happened I have no idea, and I don't wanna know. anyways, my mother calls me at the office and so I sent word out to my friends who might know where he was. i was given an address and I called the Cops, because Joey had been Missing in Action for a number of days. A few hours later the cops called me back, to tell me that they had found his DEAD BODY decomposing in his apartment, he had been dead 3 days, by the coroners words. That was the first traumatic event in my life as a Gay man. So I was called to the site to meet the cops. 2 hours after my interview with the cops they hauled the body bag past me into the coroners van. That afternoon I started drinking HEAVILY !!! At the bar i worked at. It was safe for me to go there and the alcohol was cheap. I did that for a week straight. the day after that episode at the apartment the coroner called me to identify the remains. ( I can still see Joey's rooting corpse in my miinds eye even today so many years later).

In the interim of those days, one of joey's friends called me at work to tell me a "SECRET!" Joey had AIDS and did not tell me. He was a diabetic and I handled his blood strips when he was sick and couldn't do it. ( we did not have sex because he was impotent). HOLY FUCKING SHIT !!
i went ballistic at that news. I headed over to the local family planning unit to get an anonymous test done. Those 21 days I waited I wrestled with my mortality BIG TIME!!

The test came back negative.

My boss (Todd) got me into Suicide Therapy for 32 weeks and he sat with me every night while I cried in his arms. My parents could not be bothered with their faggot son. They never called or came to visit. Even after the Great Hurricane Andrew in 1992, when Joey and I saved my parents from utter destruction - they were away when it hit, and the house was destroyed. Had is not been for BOTH of us - their belongongs would have been trashed and the house looded by the natives that lived in the neighborhood. We lived on a racially violent / segregated area of Miami.

I was retested 3 months later by a CITY HOSPITAL lab, who THEN gave me another negative report. WHAT we did not know then, was 150 elderly men and women had been diagnosed with AIDS in Ft. Lauderdale, unknown to (US) then, was that THAT lab, switched lab results with 3 elderly care facilities. 150 gay men had AIDS and it took them 6 months to find this out. Meanwhile I was living in NEGATIVE heaven.


In January of 1994 I got extremely sick. I though i was gonna die. I was told it was hepatitis.
that stared the 6 months seroconversion period. I was single - I had been single since Joey's death. I could not sleep with another man after that. I had a card in my pocket that THEN had the 9 TELL TALE signs that you "Might have AIDS!" it was published by the city health unit.At that time there were NO SOCIAL progrmas or AIDS care facilities in Ft. Lauderdale. In May of 1994, i met a boy, i fell in love and we dated.


July 4th 1994, Philadelphia was just out on Video, And my then BF and I were cohabitating slightly. I had a HUGE 4th of July Party at my house for all of my THEN friends and such. After the party we all went down to the beach to watch the grand spectacle fireworks display. After that we came home and watched "Philadelphia." How auspicious that event was. I had been sick on and off for months and I decided that 7 out of 9 sypmtoms needs to be checked immediately, i was living in denial for months. Yet I did not get sexual with my then BF.

That night I called my parents, and what were they watching on VIDEO as well, "Philadelphia!" amazing isn't it. I told them that night ( it was a monday ) i think... that i was going into the hospital the next morning for some "tests!" Well, my parents were besides themselves hysterical and all that shit, LIKE THEY CARED really !!!

So Tuesday came and I went to a clinic where one of my FRIENDS was a NURSE! Who drew the blood to SEND to the LAB. Ken was misty eyed that day. I think he knew. But i told him that i would know what the answer was when he called me back later on in the week. At that time it took 4 days to get results on the SPEEDY PLAN. Thursday came and no phone call. Friday rolled around and i drove my BF to work and went back home. That morning the phone rang, and it was Ken, the nurse. I'll never forget that day as long as I live...

Ring....the phone.
It's Ken, Oh hello... what 's up
Jeremy, you need to come to the office, You need to come NOW!!
the line goes dead...
Ken hangs up the phone.

I knew.

I drove the 15 minutes to the clinic, where I was ushered into an office to see a doctor for the difinitive answer. Ken was no where to be seen. He had left the office before I got there. So very pleasantly a wonderful man walked in the office and said those words...

"Jeremy, there is no easy way about this, so lets do this! You Have Aids, you have at maximum 18 months to live, I am sorry..."

And as fast at the words rolled off his tongue, my fate had been sealed.

I went into the treatment area to get a drink and sat and waited for Ken for half an hour, when he didn't come back, I started to leave. I got to my car in the parking lot and Ken was sitting on the hood of my car, and he turned towards me and started sobbing. We sat and held each other, it was as if i was comforting him, rather than he comforting me. We sat and talked. Ken got the doctor there to take me on as a patient. Because at that time there were no real AIDS treatment physicians around.

That afternoon I went to pick up my BF at work in his car. He knew where I was - he knew I was going for the test. He got in the car, and i popped in the tape, forgetting that THAT particular tape (Philadelphia) was in the deck. We were traveling down the highway when he convulsed out the passenger window throwing up. That's how he figured it out.

When we got home, he packed his stuff, walked out the door, and i never saw him again.

I called my family, and they again were in shock, "Like they cared! really!!" I told my friends. Back then, people with aids were thrown out of their apartments, they were fired from jobs, friends and family walked away. So I told my inner circle. that night I went to work, and told my boss(Todd). I was sobbing and i was hysterical. Todd had lost his last lover to AIDS just before we met in 1992. Todd tried to be stoic, to show me that he was strong and could take the news.
Little did I know the education I would get from Todd and the care and life he and his lover would pour into my existence. I will tell you right now, that HAD it NOT been for Todd - I would have died many years ago. i credit him with my very existence. Back then, God was someone i feared and it was drilled into us that this was "GOD'S Punishment."

A few days later i went to Sarasota - I had called a family meeting for everyone to attend. i h ad a few days to process my own feelings and news and educate myself. When I got there, I noticed that my mother had sterilized the guest room. There was a bottle of BLEACH in every bathroom, I was given a set of PLASTIC utensils at dinner. They would not allow me to leave the house, I could not use the phone and I could not see any of my freidns while I was there, GOD FORBID they find out. What would my parents do if their friends found out that one of their sons was Gay and more to the point suffering from AIDS!!! Jesus Help me now !

4 days later I left Sarasota. Totally abused and emasculated. My mother WITH her medical training treated me like I had the PLAGUE!!! You see, my mothers words came back to haunt her all those years later. And I remembered the words she said IN FRONT of me when I was a kid. How i still wonder what was going through her mind on that weekend.

My parents never recovered. My brother walked away.

Over the years I did my best to survive. Todd kept me on a short leash. I had a job, a home and food in my fridge. Jesus Christ, you really find out WHO your friends are when you are diagnosed with an incurable disease that will eventually take away every shred of your humanity slowly and painfully and KILL YOU as well.

I could count all my friends who stuck around on ONE HAND !!

I got sober the first time on August 23rd 1994... I was sober till May of 1999.

At Christmas of 1997 was the last time I ever went home for a holiday. By then my grandparents were all dead, so there was no allegiance left to my parents. I would go home only to see them when they were alive. that was the only time a TRUCE could be negotiated, if they were visiting at the same time. My Parents would save face and treat me graciously in front of them. (There is another story there I will one day write about) suffice to say, my grandmothers protected me from my father wanting to kill me!! when I was a child. They had instilled the fear of God into that man. My grandmothers were very SMART!

That Chrismas was the Last family holiday. My brother was getting married a few months later, and on that vacation my mother wanted to find a dress, so we went shopping, and who better to take shopping for dresses, shoes and makeup, than a Gay Man. When we got to the store and i walked into the dress department my mother was MORTIFIED that I had asked the girl there for help. She sent me away, fearing that someone SHE knew would see her son rifiling through the dresses in a store. GOD FORBID they see her GAY SON, what would that do to my mothers (Oh so tight) social circle.

So i went shopping. That fall I had FINALLy got disability from Social Security and my first dump payment was HUGE! I bought my family a Christmas that year, Literally!! a good few thousand dollars was spent that weekend. No thanks came in return. I had gone to a store and bought some Christmas gifts for a young man of my acquaintance - he mowed my mothers lawn, took care of my mother and cared for her while my father was working in Texas, screwing his secretary. I knew this truth, I confronted my father, never told my mother. Anyways, I spent a couple of hundred dollars on gift cards and music certificates. On the way home I told my mother to stop at their house so I could deliver these christmas gifts..well she went ballistic and accused me of every sick perversion known to man. I walked from our house to his to drop them off. It was not far from there, a HUGE fight ensued and I was punished and sent to my room. ( Do you believe that !!) My father threatened my life that night.

On Christmas eve, my mother hosted a grand Christmas dinner for all of her friends. There were 20 people there, including the young man and his parents. My father set up a card table in another room. set with my ritual plastic fork and knife and a plastic plate. i would be eating alone and not seated with the others for Christmas Dinner. ( RED FLAGS RED FLAGS !!)

So here we are sitting down to dinner, I knew my place and stayed in the other room. my friends parents and every one else there watched them do this. As they all started eating ( my friend got up from the main dinner table and came and sat with me in the other room, so I would not be eating alone!!)

The next day, my friends father invited me out on his boat for the day, just he and I.

He watched my parents for years. And he watched them humiliate me. And i told him the entire story and explained what needed to be done. That afternoon he dropped me off, i never told my parents what we had talked about. It was a man to man conversation. He was the only man from my parents social circle who extended a hand to me, ever.

The next day I left Sarasota to return to Miami. I was dejected and I was getting sicker by the week. I never went home again for any visit ever again. From Christmas 1997 till July of 2000, i was sick as a dog. I had made a few really bad choices, and almost died from those consequences.

I relapsed in May of 1999...

I pulled a geographic for 18 months and it almost killed me. In July of 2000, I was extracted from a house in the midwest, where I had been beaten beyond recognition by a junkie. I ended up in a safe house in another state for 30 days of hospitalization and rehab.

In July of 2000 I ended back in Miami, with what I could carry in bags and suitcases. I had lost everything I owned. except a few books, my BIBLE, and some clothing. I spent 6 days on a Bus from where I was to get to Miami. I started to rebuild. from the ground up. Literally!!

I was still using and drinking. I was still alive. I did not get any help from anyone in my family, and they knew what had happened. I went through a huge identity crisis, I was agoraphobic, and I was homebound for about 6 months. I started serious therapy. I was working at a bar, for pittance, and I was working New Years Eve 2000-2001... I got home from work around 5 am. I was sober that night because i was a lightman and show producer, and it was my night to "shine" so to speak. My friend Rob was the DJ and we had a great night. Fantastic night actually. I was gay - he was straight, but we had had a really close friendship.

The next morning, new years day 2001, the phone rang. It was my mother. Hello, she says, we were in Miami and on our way back to Sarasota and your father gave me permission to see you, they had been in MIAMI for a week!!! A FUCKING WEEK, and I never knew they were there.

20 minutes later they arrived on the beach from a hotel downtown. My father pulled up into the fire truck stop out front, ( it was no parking) gave my mother 20 minutes and waited in the car.
I offered to pay for parking in the garage not far from where I lived and offered to buy lunch on Lincoln Road. My father refused flatly, saying that they had a schedule to keep and I was keeping them from the trip home. ( OH, it was such a rush to get back to Sarasota, that a few hours with me was beyond or beneath him).

I took my mother and we walked around the block to get away from that monster. When we got back to the building she was loaded into the car, they drove off, and that was the last time I ever saw my mother.

I got sober on December 9th 2001. I am still sober.

In April of 2002 I came to Montreal for a visit.

I found out, years before that my parents had LIED about my birth and the year I was born, because the fucked up on their 25th - well we thought 25th wedding anniversary when my brother and I bought and engraved a silver platter for them.. years before... It was then that they told us that we had the date wrong. That they were married in 1967. well, if that were true, and i was born in July of 1967, then i was at the wedding.

Putting two and two together made my mother STILL a CANADIAN citizen when i was born, so when I came to Montreal I filed a citizenship application based on the lie that she told. You see, I stayed in Miami until I was 34 years old waiting for my father to die, so I could RECLAIM my mother and spend a few years with her before I died. I gave up that expectation when my father refused to die !!!

When I moved to Montreal, my father professed his gospel. I was a deserter, that I had spit on the family by moving to Montreal, BUT my mothers heritage is Canadian. My mother and I had very strained relationship. She fudged her papers and when they approved my application they called my mother in Sarasota and threatened to deport her if she did not correct her papers immediately. Well, that drove a stake in what was left of our relationship.

I have been here 4 years now, and my family will not call, nor will they answer any letters, and I know if I call whether that monster is there, just by the way my mother answers the phone. The last time I talked to them, ( oh, it was at least last fall) my mother told me off, and said that i was an ingrate, that i was a deserter and had no respect. And that that was her last word. I never called her again after that.

So you see, Jayson, this is where I am tonight, watching the C.S.I. Season Finale and writing this HUGE post to explain why this mourning process is SO difficult.

God Help me.


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