POZ Community Forums

Main Forums => Pre-HAART Long-Term Survivors => Topic started by: slb on April 03, 2019, 02:27:22 pm

Title: They Were Supposed To Last A Lifetime
Post by: slb on April 03, 2019, 02:27:22 pm
Just as parents are not supposed to bury their children, the friends you make in your teens and your twenties are supposed to last a lifetime. But so many of us in the post-Stonewall generation preemptively pushed those friends away (just as we pushed our families away) out of the oft-mistaken belief that they would surely reject us if they only knew. We gays and lesbians of our generation were masters at reinventing ourselves— our lives, our loves, our friends, our families, our aspirations. I literally stopped investing in my high school friends (all seemingly straight) and replaced each and every one of them with those I instantly befriended upon moving to a gay ghetto. I might as well have changed my name and created a complete new identity; I was that determined never to allow my old friends’ presumed disdain hold me back in any way. Nothing was going to stop my reincarnation as a free and self-respecting gay man.

But then it hit us harder than we ever thought possible.

It erased so many of my newly found friends, my brash and boisterous band of thieves, my adopted extended family, my loves and my adversaries; it made me feel like a diseased pariah who had no business touching or hugging or kissing ever again; it forced me to bear witness to the suicide of a close friend who could take it not one day longer; and it implanted in all of our minds the unshakeable thought that we all had it coming. So many in their agony promised to God that they would forswear sex with men for the rest of their lives if he would just make this horrendous nightmare go away— naturally to no avail.

And now, as I navigate my sixties trying to feel gratitude for every breath I take, I long for all of them— those corruptible companions of mine whom I locked arms with and who were supposed to stick around and accompany me through all of it, through thick and thin, the ups and downs, the joys and the heartbreaks, the wins and the losses. As I was planning to do with them.

Not only did they not last a lifetime, but— it's hard to believe— they’ve been gone for almost a lifetime. Hard to believe, but never hard to remember.
Title: Re: They Were Supposed To Last A Lifetime
Post by: harleymc on April 26, 2019, 09:07:43 pm
I never got the memo about friendships being for life.

Quite frankly I didn't have friends at school a few acquaintances but nothing that extended beyond the school gates.

I lost 200+ people I knew to AIDS related deaths including 3 former lovers and another to suicide.

I'm changing my name to reflect my recent marriage. It's not all doom and gloom.