Anatomy of an Illness, Part 18
Having been hospitalized every month for the past five months (November through February), I decided it was time to start end of life preparations by selecting a cemetery. After having made an appointment with the cemetery, I was informed by my nephrologist that I would need to undergo dialysis if I wanted to live beyond possibly six months. Having already made my decision that I would not undergo dialysis (recorded in my previous blog), I shared this with my nephrologist who was most appreciative of my decision. The decision made perfect sense and he knew why I didn’t want dialysis. He was happy, and said when he was down it would cheer him up. Now the task of coming to grips with my own death loomed forward. Death via chronic kidney disease can take one of two paths: (1) fluid buildup in the lungs resulting in drowning in my own fluid and thus being very painful, or (2) the toxin buildup in the blood resulting in sleeping more and more until one slips into a coma and passes. This appears to be the most probable path for me based on what has been happening so far with my sleeping more and more and with no fluid buildup in my lungs.
As I get ready to dictate some of my final thoughts, Gizmo, one of my two ginger short-hair cats is on my belly. I love that. He is a devil, but a wonderful devil. I love him very much, and he is going to miss me a great deal when I am gone. He is already hanging around me a lot. He now has shifted to the foot of the bed. The other cat is named Murfee: M U R F E E. Some people call her Mur-Feee, my friend Allan does that. She gives you mixed signals, she tries to love you, and when you extend your hand she backs away.
I am dying now, and I find death to be a very beautiful thing. I have already had one foot in the grave of this earth plane and one foot in the other plane which I call the death plane or others call the afterlife. The death plane was very beautiful, and I was happier than I have ever been in this earth life. I loved dying, and I know that must be strange to most people. I truly loved dying, and I am experiencing it. I know what happens, and I am going into the arms of Durga, the Mother of All Things.
I saw a vision of Durga coming through a veil of mist. She was floating; then, she went back through the veil and came back out on a lion. She said, “This was for you, Roger.” My friend, Wendy, said that I was going to ride out of here on Durga’s lion, and Durga brought me a lion.
She came through the veil from the other side, in starlight, surrounded by starlight. She was surrounded by silver fairy dust all glittery. The starlight comes from One Dove (Antony & the Johnsons), the song in the memorial service. It says:
“One Dove, in starlight you came from the other side
To offer me mercy, mercy, mercy”
She transferred it on to me so that it became my aura. I still have that aura of starlight and silver glittering fairy dust moving up and down around me. She gave to me her aura. The greatest gift she could give me. She gave me her spirit. In One Dove it says:
“From your skin I am born again
I wasn’t born yesterday”
What she is saying, “that now I embody her in my skin, she was born again; she wasn’t born yesterday.” That is what Durga says to me. I embody Durga. That is amazing.
Also Durga is saying as she comes through the veil, that she is old and hurt and that I was old and hurt. She longs to be free and I made her free by embodying her. You were old and hurt that was me being sung to. One Dove continues:
“You were old and hurt
I was longing to be free
I see things you were too tired
That you were too scared to see”
She enabled me to see things that I was too scared to see, and that came out in a nightmare:
I sensed I am in a hellish situation by being trapped in construction sites, and unable to get out. The sites were filled with beautiful young boys with magnificent asses and amazing endowments. These boys were wanting to kill me. I went to have oral sex with one beautiful boy. He had a scalpel sewn into his urethra, so that if I went down on him, I would slice the roof of my mouth open and bleed out.
Bruce, my psychotherapist, helped me see how this nightmare reflected my life. I lived an invisible hell as a junkie and a young adolescent gay boy hating himself so much. God; how I hated myself. I knew it was a secret that had to be kept at all costs.
The construction sites were the construction of my own life which I cannot get away from. I have been constructing a new life coming out of the shame for having AIDS for the past twenty years and coming out of the hell of the active using years for the past ten years. I will be constructing my own life until I am dead. After that I will be constructing a new life in the death plane. That is just amazing to me.
The beautiful young boys were the antithesis of whom l desired sexually. I was attracted to men with hair on their chest. I was never attracted to boys. The boy with the scalpel represented my original shame for having AIDS, a sexually transmitted disease. This boy nearly killed me, but he didn’t. I nearly died in 1995 from herpes encephalitis, my AIDS defining disease, but came awake after ten days in a coma. I was told that I would die before my 50th birthday five months down the line. But I didn’t, I have lived for twenty miraculous years, yes, twenty miraculous years.
I have the most extraordinary dreams; they are actually hallucinations because they are so real to me. They take me places.
In one I went to Augsburg, Austria. I have never been to Augsburg, Austria. I don’t know why anyone would want to go there, but anyway I went there. And I was going to get on this little choo-choo train. I thought the kind that you get at Great America, the tiny little kids’ trains. The kind you get a TV theme park. I realized that I didn’t belong there; but I stayed there riding around. And the train took me to Lucerne, Switzerland so that I could watch the swans. I have been to Lucerne, and it’s very beautiful. You could eat off the sidewalks in Switzerland; it’s such a clean country.
From Lucerne I went to the Netherlands I was going to ask the conductor which city Amsterdam or Rotterdam was the better play city in terms of playing with leather men. As I had been to Amsterdam, I like the city and knew what I would find there from when I lived in London in 1966, my junior year abroad from Oberlin. I took the short ferry boat ride to Amsterdam. It was very leathery for the 1960’s. There were lots of leather bars there; lots of men in leather. I am a leather man myself.
Instead I asked the conductor. “Which city had the better restaurants Amsterdam or Rotterdam?” A friend had lived in Rotterdam for a couple of years. He told me that Rotterdam was the better city. So I went to Rotterdam to eat dinner, and I was sitting in a restaurant. I was eating a lovely piece of steak and I don’t eat steak very much. I had a wonderful biscuit, a baking-powder biscuit, and I don’t like those very much either. And I spread very soft butter all over the biscuit, and I ate the biscuit. It filled me up really well. That is what I did in Rotterdam, and I woke up from that dream and went back to sleep.
I told my friend, Jay Rock, today. He came up to visit from Sarasota, Florida. I told him after three and half years that I am still in love with Jerry, not that I just love him, but that I am in love with him. I have never known such love before. I have never known the secret to that love. It is a very simple secret. I think that one falls in love upon appreciation of the lover’s body and lover’s spirit. I still have that appreciation of Jerry, and I love his body; it is so beautiful. I love his butt; it’s too good. I love his spirit. I love both. When one loves both at the beginning of a relationship and still hold on to that feeling of being in love, something remarkable is happening. He is a very beautiful man, an extraordinary man for me.
I have had an amazing career so filled with brilliant people: brilliant students and brilliant colleagues. Durga has been with me the whole time. I am assuming that she was with me twenty years ago during my herpes encephalitis episode, but I had no knowledge of her then. What medical people told me then in terms of having a short life expectancy may be true now too, but I don’t think so. This is too filled with the death process.
Roger passed peacefully on Friday June 19, 2015.
Roger wrote much and spoke often of our love for each other. This love was from our Higher Powers as we had died to ego and self-will through our 12-step work, although via different programs. This love was confirmed to me by my Higher Power a couple of days before his passing when I had the awesome sensation that I had given him all the love that I was sent to give him in these final years of his life. Rest in the happiness that your were shown my beloved Roger.
Jerry, his partner