Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Final...

Another year goes by…

And then another year, and no word from Fabrizio. It pained the RM to endure this silence. He had thought a lot about their last phone conversation and still could not believe that he was like Fabrizio. He couldn’t be. He was now serving in a bishopric. He was honored and respected as a leader of the church.

He followed Fabrizio indirectly through mutual friends in Italy. He heard things like, Fabrizio:
• has left the church completely.
• has taken up drugs.
• has dropped out of / got kicked out of medical school.
• has a boyfriend.
• has multiple boyfriends.
• has AIDS.

The RM tried writing and calling Fabrizio, but there was no response. He started corresponding with Fabrizio’s sister, Silvana and she became his primary source of information. Silvana told him that Fabrizio purposely tried to get AIDS because he wanted to die. He no longer had any will to live. He stopped eating, too. He just lost all will to care about anything.

Silvana knew how close Fabrizio and the RM were. She knew of their relationship to the point that she probably knew it was much more than the RM led to believe. She wasn’t blaming the RM for this change in her brother, but she was placing blame at the church in Italy and their lack of efforts to provide any kind of support, fellowship, brotherly love toward him – and it was killing him – literally.

The RM decided to return to Italy with his wife. He met up with Thomas and SIlvana but by the time he got there, Fabrizio wouldn’t see him, didn’t want to see him ever again…

And he didn’t… A few months later, the RM received a phone call from Silvana telling him that Fabrizio had died. The last couple of months were gut-wrenching and painful to watch her brother suffer so.

And then she shared these words:

“Do you know what his dying wish was?” she asked.

“No, tell me…” the RM replied earnestly.

“He said, softly touching my hand… um… do you think the Church would allow me to have a Mormon funeral? And I responded: I don’t know, maybe… why do you ask? And then he said: Because that is what I really want. I want you to know that I have always been a believer of the Church. I know it’s true! And you know what else… the only good thing I ever did in my life was getting baptized and then bringing the missionaries to you! The only good thing I’ve done is then baptizing my sister into the true church!”

And she wept. The RM wept.

And then she continued: “And he got his wish…”

“The Mormon funeral?”

“Yes, the Mormon funeral. He had so many people there. All those people that were so afraid to reach out to him, to love him unconditionally, to be there for him… but weren’t. They were there, honoring my brother as one of them. Where were they when he really needed them?”

The RM sobbed uncontrollably… “I’m so sorry… I’m so, so sorry, Silvana.”

“It’s not your fault,” she tried to comfort him. “I’m not blaming you. You live on the other side of the world – what were you supposed to do?”

“I could have loved him unconditionally as he wanted me to,” he muttered.

“You did love him unconditionally,” she demanded.

“No, … really I didn’t. I didn’t support him when he was reaching out for support. I didn’t see the pain he was feeling because of my own short-sightedness and self-loathing. No, I’m just like the rest of them… I helped to kill Fabrizio, too!”

“Stop talking that way… I know how you felt about my brother!” she inserted boldly.

“I loved your brother.”

“I know you did!”

“I’m so, so sorry I didn’t do more…”





EPILOGUE:


To think back on this now, I find it so ironic that I am posting this very personal story on this MOHO gay-Mormon blog. As tears still stain my cheeks, I am so, so sorry. I feel the pain of those words I last spoke to him. Many years since his death, these wounds are still very deep and painful to share. I have kept them hidden inside me for all of this time. It’s funny… some things can heal with time. The hurt can dissipate. The pain can subside… But not this! It still aches inside my gut. I feel responsible for watching the demise of my dear, dear friend, and not being more proactive to take steps to stop his self-destructing behavior – and why? Because I was afraid! I was too afraid of myself. I was scared of who I really was. I wouldn’t allow myself to be truthful and honest about my feelings, my attractions, my desires to be with him, to really be with him. I refused to permit myself to think that I could be gay. It was not possible! It was not true!

And yet, he knew. He always knew. He knew the first day we met. He knew that night in his bedroom – the night of our “first meaningful kiss”. He knew that night in my guest bedroom – the night before entering the MTC. He knew all along. And he was right… And I still feel such pain, such guilt, such hurt for allowing this wonderful, beautiful, kind and gentle brother to disappear and suffer such a horrific death… alone…


Would I do anything different now? Would I have the strength and courage to not be afraid? Am I doing anything for others in this situation now? Aren't I still hiding? Where is the progress? Aren't I just as pathetic now as I was then? What have I done to show that I really am sorry for not doing more and helping others to not end up in such a tragedy?

I'm not sure I like the answers...

I think of meeting him again someday and telling him how sorry I am… that he was right… that there is such a thing as a “gay Mormon” and that I am one, too. I dream of embracing him again and hoping that he’ll forgive me and he’ll allow me to kiss him… to kiss him one more time.

13 comments:

Ned said...

Dear, dear Beck, I think that Fabrizio is aware of your heart now, just as he was then. I think he also looks forward to your embrace and that he is very proud of you, your family, your friends and your blogging. Your courage in telling his story, your story, complements his desire for a Mormon funeral. In death, he affirmed his testimony. I choose to believe that his is among those on the other side of the veil who are working and pleading for changes which "will yet be revealed". Thank you, once again, for sharing this moving love story which is not over yet.

Beck said...

Thank you Ned. I'm not sure why I shared this. Not sure what good it will do. It has brought back much pain and now I'm not convinced it did any good. I'm still in denial in many ways.

But your comment does give me hope in the future, both his and mine.

I hope this story was of value to others.

Joe Conflict said...

This is so hard to read. So hard to see what was, what could have been, what wasn't and what you've been putting yourself through.

recover and thrive said...

thanks for sharing. I know he is at peace..and maybe he's watching out for you now. By having this blog you ARE providing support to so many gay mormons- its wonderful.

Jon said...

I'm so glad you did share it, so heart breakingly beautiful. Thank you for helping me feel more love and compassion for those around me.

Bror said...

Thanks for sharing this moving story Beck, I must say it made me cry. The first thing I want to do now is make sure I am never afraid to help a brother in need.
Big Bror Hug

Beck said...

JOE said: "...So hard to see what was, what could have been, what wasn't..." That really sums it up. I wish it had a better ending, but it doesn't.

R&T: Thanks for your kind thoughts and supporting influence to keep me blogging. Sometimes you wonder if it does anyone any good, so I appreciate it.

JON: I wish I wasn't so scared to be more compassionate at the time. All any of us can do at this point is try to not miss those opportunities to show compassion in the future.

BROR: I'm sorry I made you cry, but I'm kind of glad, too, for it is real. It really happened. I cry as well as I think about how he ended his life - it was like he was begging to acquire AIDS so that he could die - kind of like a form of suicide. We all need to reach out to others before they get to this point, to this mindset.

robert said...

I so wish you could share this important story with others. Is it only in the faithful that I see such denial and unwillingness for self acceptance...and why? Is it the fixation on eternal families and the adroit cosmology which allows mortal men to live out their lives in desperate unhappiness or worse cut them short through suicide? It is all so very disturbing...May you make of all this the very best that is possible.

MoHoHawaii said...

A pretty sorry state of affairs, no matter how you slice it.

Thanks for telling Fabrizio's story. May this dear one rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

Oh Beck when I finished reading this I too could only think to thank you for sharing it with me. I suppose that eveyone else felt the same way.

This story had to be something very sweet, precious and painful.For those were the feelings I had reading it.

Beck, it is so sad the pain fear causes in this life!

~Damon

Beck said...

ROBERT: This exercise has been good to get the story out, to feel the pain, the understand the grief, the shun the fear and to embrace a new hope.

I don't know how to share this story with others... but as is appropriate I will seek ways to do it. Fabrizio did not die in vain.

As for "fixation on eternal families" - yes, that comment gives me pause. Are our fixations on the eternal aspects of the plan so powerful as to keep us from feeling, connecting, interacting, even living? In many ways, sadly, it's true.

Fabrizio couldn't be part of that eternity, and so he abandoned everything in hope that he would die from AIDS as the only escape... an ironic embrace of eternity.

I, on the other hand, ran away, disconnected, abandoned him and hid within the back corners of my closet for two more decades! All for the sake of eternal reward.

What reward?

Lots to think about...

Beck said...

MOHOH: Thanks for your encouragement. And thanks for your thoughts and tenderness along the way.

And yes, may he finally find the rest he didn't find in this life!

But, what good has it served to tell his story? Where do I go from here? What value? How can I atone for my mistakes? Where do I go from here?

...sigh....

Beck said...

DAMON: Sweet, precious, painful... yes.

But the moral of the story is fear and how we deal with it. Fear of being shunned and so one shuns all, including life, in hopes of relieving the pain of fear. Fear of connecting and being compassionate and loving another, to the point of being locked into a closet and though still breathing, not living.