I am Jack, 54 and despite my life’s tragedy may not be more severe than others’, I feel like I should share it to the world and show what love actually means and how it shaped my life for the past decades.
I have been gay since I first started knowing anything about sexuality, but back in the 70’s being gay was by no means a valid option. I knew I had to keep it a secret, but it was just a matter of time until someone would find out. I was deeply ashamed of myself, especially since my parents were deeply religious and I knew what religious teachings said about those like me. I was wearing a stigma that would have subjected me to contempt and social rejection, provided my sexual inclinations were to become public. This was especially true when considering the fact that we lived in a small community where such a secret would have the lifespan of one day tops. Also, I knew it would affect not only me but my entire family and I took the decision to hide from the world until it will be safe for me to follow the path that I felt it was destined to me. But I was deluding myself if I thought that life would wait for me.
At about 18 years of age I met Sam, during a Sunday preaching in my hometown. It wasn’t the first time I had seen him, since he was a regular visitor of our church, but that was the first time I have actually met him. It was the first Sunday when my parents couldn’t come to the ceremony, since they had to go visit my grandma in another state. I was a bit surprised to see Sam coming next to me on the bench and saying “This is fucking boring”. He noticed my amazement and he winked at me.
It was not long until we became close friends and I soon started having real feelings for him. I had never met anyone like him. He was optimistic and joyful regardless of what came into his path and he somewhat completed me – a dedicated pessimist and fatalist. I always found support in him and he was always there to cheer me up when I was discouraged or lost. I knew the drama that waited for me, because in my soul he became very dear to me and I felt my love for him growing with each day.
Then we both went to college and faith kept us close once again as we managed to get accepted at the same institution. We had to leave our families and move to another city and that was the first time when he confessed his love for me. It just happened one day, without any prior warning and it totally took me by surprise. I never thought I would be that happy in my life and I felt like it was a dream come true.
For an entire year we hid from the other students and our love kept growing and our relationship strengthening. I knew it was bad and sinful, but there was something inside me that would not let me be. I had to be with him, he was fulfilling me.
Then the inevitable happened and the word about us spread, since it was almost impossible to keep the secret for so long. My parents soon found out and disinherited me on the spot. They said I had given my soul to Satan. Then the college administration found out and we were expelled. We had to separate and our lives took different paths for the next 30 years. It was heartbreaking for me and it virtually brought me on the verge of depression. It was my only chance of being happy and was stolen from me. It seemed too unfair and I have been angry with the world for a long time.
Couple of years ago I was diagnosed with a severe heart condition and the only thing that could potentially help me was a heart transplant. I knew that the chances of getting it were extremely slim, considering the number of patients on the waiting list.
Because of my illness I had to retire since I was no longer able to face the daily physical efforts. I was getting with myself knowing that I wouldn’t have much time to live. Then it happened.
I was coming back from my daily walk, when someone called me from a car and when I turned around I saw him. It was Sam. My heart rushed and we just hugged in the middle of the street with all the other cars around us honking. Right then nothing else mattered and we were just separated from reality completely. Then it all went black.
I woke up about one and a half week later on a hospital bed after a long induced coma, with a medic starring at me. I didn’t want to hear what he had to say, but he told me anyway and the words that came out of his mouth broke my world in half. “You had a heart attack”. I had been in an induced coma for almost a week, waiting for a miracle then a miracle came. A heart became available for me and I got the transplant that saved my life. The one transplant that I had been waiting for an eternity it seemed. The donor was Samuel Parkins. He had cut his wrists in a hotel room and had left a letter for me saying that he couldn’t live if I died. That letter also contained his acceptance of donating his heart for my surgery.
For me, he is not dead. He still lives in my chest and he will ever live by my side. I am now 54 and I regret for not have confronted the world and for not have fought for my dreams. I could have been happy but I was a coward. I hope this confession will help others realize that it doesn’t matter what world thinks about you. All that matters is what you want from your life.