Saturday, May 20, 2017
Joe was a fellow BAGLY alum (Boston Alliance of LGBT+ Youth), but was a decade older, so we weren’t there at the same time (he was 80s, I was 90s). In the early 2000s, when I was Administrative Director of SpeakOut Boston (the country's first LGBT+ speakers bureau), Joe wanted to become one of our speakers. As it turned out, he didn’t really have time. But we connected personally as well, and became friends, especially because of our shared love of Star Trek (particularly the Original Series), writing (our own and others’), and classic style / design.
Speaking of which, the image is a photo I took after his passing of some of Joe’s gifts to me on one of my birthdays (the box contained a set of the coordinating stationery, and I bought the cup and trivet, and some teas, with his Teavana gift card).
We became friends at quite the dramatic time in my life, though, and largely because of that, we had a falling out and became estranged. But we remained connected on some level, and in a way that had always seemed rather Vulcan to both of us. And in time Joe contacted me, knowing that we needed each other, and we met “at the appointed place” – his mother’s wake, funeral and luncheon, as it happened – and we renewed our friendship. It was mostly through e-mail and then Facebook, especially because of our busyness, but it was meaningful, and we just had a Messenger conversation on April 18th.
We were both fortunate enough to find true love in recent years -- Joe with a man named Lynn, who he married in August of 2015; we were each co-parenting a dogter, too. Just last December, Joe and family moved to Las Vegas. Joe – a fellow (almost?) lifelong Bostonian -- was sometimes homesick, but still very happy and hopeful. I thought we might visit them if and when we visited my aunt in Nevada. And then on May 19th, Lynn came home from a trip to Boston to find that Joe had drowned in their pool. Lynn is planning to have a memorial service in Boston at some point.
Another layer of meaning and mourning for me is that Joe and my late friend Chris Hannon knew each other through me, and were similar in some ways (including that I met Chris at BAGLY), and Chris took his own life in January 2015 (when he was in his 30s), and I was the one who told Joe that. I believe in an afterlife, and believe that Joe and Chris have reconnected there, and that I will reconnect with them eventually. But oh, how I wish that they were still in this life! I love, miss and thank you, my friends – you did not live long, but you prospered more than many, and you found some peace though not long life.