In the last so many hours, there has been a flurry of postings on Facebook and blogs about the death of Lee, someone I never knew either in person or in cyberspace. Lee was a mere year and a half older than my son. It is disconcerting to open Facebook and read about the death of someone known by my name, "Lee," as I am called for short.
Lee's was a particularly tragic death, by his own hand, a final grasping at control at the end of a long descent into despair through cancer and chemo, job loss and financial ruin, wrestling with relationships, sexual identity, and familial rejection, and always . . . waiting . . . waiting . . . waiting for love . . . and the small indices of hope, a gift of a computer to remain connected to reasons for living one more day, the paperwork submitted and accepted to receive government funds for disability, an in-person visit from a distant friend . . . .
Facebook and blogs are amazing vehicles for connecting people who expressed their love for Lee across an infinity of molecules in space . . . so close in feelings, yet so far away in distance and actualization. Those Internet vehicles are also the way that many of us, unfamiliar with and unknown by Lee, have now come to acknowledge this fellow sojourner on what is too often life's crushing path. I wonder . . . is it selfishisness that moves me to pray that our retrospective validation of Lee and his life will make a difference in the Creation . . . .
I wrote a poem entitled "Losses" a decade and a half ago after the death of a long-time girlfriend to breast cancer. The poem was dedicated to Jeanne when I wrote it, and tonight I feel moved to rededicate that poem to Lee. There have been too many losses / in too many states / of being loved and unloved / (but never unlovable, one hopes) / at war and at peace / but never at rest / If I don't care, does the hurt abate? / If I hadn't cared, is your absence erased? . . . . [To read the poem, click on "Losses" to reach iDisk Public Folder (Magenta), then download the file titled "Losses."]