Tuesday, November 25, 2008


A month ago Dave and I went to a celebration of a person's life. That is the only way I could describe the event. I thought it was to be a memorial but I felt it was more of a celebration. Some of you may remember I wrote about a gay couple who are friends of Dave. They had adopted two boys with learning disabilities, threw all their resources behind helping the boys and created a family. Last year one of the men developed cancer and he seemed to be recovering but sadly it looks like the drugs were too strong for his weakened condition and he died suddenly. I had never met these men but Dave was invited for the evening and I was welcomed to come. The partner that was left behind wanted to give the boys time before he held this memorial as it would be too raw for them to follow on the heel of the funeral.

I was expecting a sombre evening, with whispers maybe even tears. I always wondered how the father left behind coped and thought of how unfair it seemed that two boys who were given a second chance at a family, had part of it ripped away. I wanted to come to show my support, I felt he would know that I being gay as well could understand his loss. I was greeted however with cheerful smiles, made to feel welcomed and told funny stories of their past life together, as I said it was a celebration of his life and I thought that was beautiful. There were many people there and one could quickly see that family and friends had circled around to try and fill the empty spot. It was good to see they still keep on living the way he would want them to go on. Keeping in mind I had never met him, his pictures revealed a very handsome 'James Dean' type looking man. It was also interesting to see the groups he was involved with and I soon got the impression of a mover and shaker in any community.

The thing that impressed me the most was how they turned their life over to the boys, they understood that the boys would develop at a much slower rate than most children so they constantly stimulate them in fun and interesting ways. They traveled everywhere with them, if the boys heard about a city or country that looked interesting to them, they took them on summer vacation. They had them in programs to help with their learning skills and had them involved with groups like other children. They also had them reading books and playing games that challenge them. It was also interesting to see that a lot of the people there who were doting over the boys were their teachers and tutors, they generally had a love for the boys like their own family members. Many told me that the boys were what gave them joy in their jobs, they said that they only wished the other children would put half of the effort into learning as these guys do, also they said if only other parents would be as involved in their children's learning. I said to Dave that as bad as this sounds, since the world judges people on looks first, I am so glad with all their problems, they are really cute little guys, they are not quite teens yet but you can tell they will be handsome and in this cruel world that will help them.

There was a mixed crowd of gays, lesbians and straight people and it felt good that all these people were coming together to show support. It was also interesting to meet the younger brother of the man who passed away, him and his gay partner, I have often noticed it seems common that a gay person has a gay brother or sister. I also met my competition, before I met Dave the guys were trying to fix Dave up with a friend of theirs (Shawn) but they just never were able to cross paths and then I came into Dave's picture before he could go out on a date with Shawn, well sorry there Shawn your loss, "meooow hissssssssssssss" back off! Kidding, Shawn was actually a really nice guy.

The evening went by quickly and we decided it was time to leave. Sad that I never had the chance to meet this man because looking back on his life, I like him and would loved to have been his friend. Time ran out on us as we knew about each other but never had the chance to meet, I guess it just shows how we should not keep putting things off in life. I could not help notice that I actually enjoyed myself and what a statement to be made about the life of someone who did so many good things to make a stranger feel good about the way they lived that life. Also he and his partner have given me a life lesson, I went there feeling they were heroes for adopting, however both men made it very clear to people that they felt, they were the ones blessed and not the boys. I think looking back on the evening, we would be lucky if we get to make that much of an impact in life. I remember reading something on Birdie's site ( sorry Birdie too lazy to find the link) about all we have to leave behind that is a part of who we were would be our love, and that is all we can hope for.


Java said...

Wow! What a testimony to a well-lived life. I hope his spirit of giving spreads to many. Thanks for sharing this, Steven.

Birdie said...

Well, with that kind of recommendation, you know I had to go find that post. Turns out those words are not my own but are from Father Geoff Farrow. He is a wise and loving man. Here's the link.

john said...

This guy lived life to the fullest. I think that is something that we can all hope for, to be able to live life and make an impact on all those paths we cross.
I have often wondered how I will be remembered, and I hope that I will be remembered for all the good that I've done and not any of my negative aspects.
These children, any child for that matter is a blessing. I always think that it isn't them who are lucky to be in their family, but the family who is lucky to have these miracles in life. I find myself learning more from them, then actually teaching them.
This is a great post...

Will said...

I was raised strictly Catholic and the first time I went to a celebration of life instead of a Requiem Mass, it was a revelation.

Instead of the iniquitous being thrown into The Pit, and dreadful Days of Wrath, there was love and laughter, appreciation, support and joy for having known someone special. What a wonderful idea, particularly for the man whose celebration you went to who sounds like a really great guy..

David said...

The guy and his partner were extraordinary parents. I wish that some parents put in half as much effort into their children as they did. The next generation would be so much better for it.

Now that is interesting, isn't it? (You know which part I'm talking about.)

Joe Jubinville said...

"meooow hissssssssssssss" back off!" LOL. How kidding were you...?

Steven, this post is what the word poignant was meant to describe. Heartbreak and laughter. Loss and hope, but above all, love. Seems these men gave everything to their boys, and got everything back in return. I can't help thinking that the turnout of support and celebration, across all walks of life, inspired and comforted the boys and their father, as it did you and Dave.

In an encouraging and timely decision, a Florida court overturned the state's ban on gay-parent adoption today.

The court called the ban "irrational." Yup yup

Doug said...

It sounds like he was a very inspiring person to be around, so much energy and zest for life.

Birdie said...

It is our great loss as well as his family's, for his example as a father is what we all need. His life was indeed something to celebrate.

r. said...

The deceased [and his family] must've made a tremendous impact on you. How wonderful for you to have the opportunity to attend such a 'celebration'.

In this lifetime, it's not about how much we've accomplished obtained but how many lives we have touched.

Have a wonderful TG celebration with your friends/families tomorrow Steven!!

xo, r