The Precious Man I Loved As a Brother
We grew up together, lived in the same apartment building, my family's apartment above his family's. We laughed. We annoyed each other. Sometimes a lot! But always we were there for each other. As I graduated from high school, we moved away, but of course this chosen brother of mine and I kept in touch and loved each other every moment. He and I were very different people in many ways, but he accepted and loved me as a true sibling, and I him. Then I found out that he had gotten married. He was such a tender person and I was happy for his happiness. Down the line things didn't work out; he said she'd met a woman and told him she wanted to be with her. My brother had had real challenges in his family relationships and had been diagnosed bi-polar. I don't know what factors contributed to this and I 100% do not judge him, but he turned to being gay. I wished we'd been living closer to each other before his marriage fell apart, wished I'd been there with him to be supportive in a more present way. I don't think he ever felt truly accepted or loved, and this hurts me to know. In some ways I really didn't understand what he was going through. Then I indirectly found out that he had AIDS and was in the hospital. I went to him right away. I was able to be there for about a week with him. He got out of the hospital while I was there and we were able to spend some enjoyable time together. But the heartbreaking moment I couldn't accept came when it was time for me to leave. He said, most simply and terribly bravely, "I probably won't see you again." I went home. I called to check on him sometime later, and his roommate answered, "I'm so sorry, he passed away." The man he'd contracted the virus from disappeared the moment he found out, so that was a terrible abandonment, although I realize he must have been terrified at the news. Still no excuse for completely abandoning someone he'd claimed to care deeply for. I did go back to attend his funeral. I was FURIOUS at the priest for saying something along the lines of my brother's life having been wasted. It was not. He loved deeply and with a true heart, and the power of his love is still with me. I miss him so much, I know I always will. I believe in God, I am a Christian, and I know what the Bible says about homosexuality. I also know that my brother was a deeply decent person who suffered things none of us really understood. I believe I will see him in heaven because I know my brother loved God and I believe in a merciful God, a god whose mercy we ALL rely on. I am so thankful and blessed to call this man my brother.