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A Personal Loss :(

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Hello All,

First of all, my apologies for being absent these past couple of weeks, but my heart and mind have been distracted by a tragedy I now need to share with all of you.

About a year ago, a good friend of mine got me involved with a e-mail mentoring group for at-risk Gay & Lesbian youth. One of those kids also attended the high school where my buddy is a guidance counselor. This kid and I went from being "online" friends to "real-life" friends. Marc was his name, and he was special. For you see Marc had suffered from an injury that took his eyesight when he was 12 years old. Amazingly, not only did Marc recover quickly, but he bounced back to re-enroll into public schools and succeeded beyond anyone's expectations.

Marc was also Gay and VERY closeted because of the fears of being outed, especially to his parents. There were other associated issues as well, but as I got to know Marc, I was impressed by his sweet, gentle nature and sunny disposition. Then last December he met and started dating another sweet boy by the name of Mitch. They would always refer to themselves as M&M which I found highly amusing.

Marc's 18th birthday was this past May and as a special gift, a group of my close friends and family got together one Sunday morning. For nearly 8 hours we read outloud and acted out the story; "Just Hit Send," by Grasshopper. Marc was thrilled and between him and Mitch nearly wore that tape out. I had e-mailed Grasshopper and he replied that he was so happy for Marc and desired to "talk" with him & Mitch via the web. Thus a unique friendship was born which they all really gained from. I look back now fondly on the e-mails from all three of them as they became buds, it was heartwarming.

Then, about three weeks ago now, the kids, Marc and Mitch went on a camping trip. Apparently at one point, a cousin of Marc's witnessed M & M being themselves and took it upon himself to tell Marc's parents. What happened next really sucks folks. Marc's parents went nuclear, took away his cell, his computer, and most of all his love. Then they called Mitch's parents & outed Mitch and then accused Mitch of "turning Marc into a fag." Marc, God love him, apparently was so deep in despair, his lifelines cut, his love denied, took a bunch of pills and never woke up. To make matters worse, while Mitch was dealing with the news that Marc was gone, he also had to deal with the hateful calls that blamed him for Marc killing himself from Marc's parents.

During the initial 24 hours, Mitch told his parents about me and my good friend Rick and Mitch's parents reached out to us to help their son and them. Yes, my plate has been full. Mitch is only 16 and this, none of this, makes any sense to him. He is mending, with alot of help from Me, Rick, my friends, Grasshopper and the wonderful crew at It's Only Me From Across The Sea. But its a journey begun that is so difficult, for Mitch, me, Rick, Grasshopper, and et al that love Mitch.

I do not pretend to understand this, nor how Marc's parents can be so heartless, but I do know that I am angry......VERY.

Marc was my inspiration for the web site Rick and I are working on and I hope soon to commence work on it again. For now, my attention is elsewhere. I would ask that all of you, in your own way and fashion send Mitch good thoughts and prayers as appropriate. I will be back soon guys, I promise.

Hugs and Love to All

Paul

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I offer my most heartfelt condolences. There isn't much more I can say. I've never shared an experience like that, or had one ever even had one close to me. I find it hard to see how people can be so inhuman, though. I won't bog myself down in slagging off bigots or anything of that sort, just say that I'm sorry that this happened.

I hope that the pain lessens in the near future. I'll keep you all in my thoughts.

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Paul,

Damn. I am so sorry. I know Mitch must be taking this hard.

In another thread, you'll see that just this past week, I peeked out of the closet.

I will e-mail you, Paul. If it would help, I'd e-mail or write Mitch and his family. I did not have someone like Mitch, growing up. It would've been an enormous comfort to me if I had. I am sure that Marc loved every moment of what they had, even when things weren't perfect. Mitch should never doubt himself for loving Marc. Mitch should also never blame himself for times that didn't go so well.

Oh, how I wish I could explain to Marc's parents just exactly what it feels like to be handicapped and ~not~ feel safe to tell your parents, even if they love you and say "you can tell us anything," for fear that they'd do exactly what Marc's parents did. I think my parents would've been more understanding, but I'll never know for certain in my lifetime.

I hope you'll continue with plans for the website when you can. I'd like to contribute.

A few weeks ago, I read Just Hit Send - The High School Years. I've recently begun reading The Least of These.

I can tell you that what those stories say about being handicapped or handicapped and gay is true. My eyes don't work as well as some people's but the rest of me works just fine.

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Paul,

When I read your posting, it was all I could to do to hold my anger. I wanted to lash out and punish Marc's incredibly unfeeling and cruel parents.

But rather than letting my anger take control, I pointed my good friend in North Carolina to your posting and asked his advice.

Sequoyah replied:

"Beyond the fact that human beings are capable to unbelievable cruelty and the loss of any young person takes from all of us unknown potential, this is a story which is certainly illustrative of what the code words "family values" really mean.

Good that you are not responding out of your anger. This young man will be dealing with his anger for a very long time, of that I am most sure out of my own life experience. The anger of others can, given his own, not comfort, but add negative emotions for him to deal with.

As Keith and Tom say about death, it is not something you get over, but learn to deal with--how well you must understand that!. Your--my--response has to be in one way or another, "I am here."

Strange the words of that song "Reach Out" have been running through my head today and it says very well what Mitch needs to hear right now. Same with his parents.

Sad that Marc's parents have chosen to cut themselves off from another hurting family. The guilt they must deal with--constructively or otherwise--is enormous and, sad to say, out of their guilt (not I suspect their anger) they have attacked, cutting, hurting.

Again, just be present."

I guess the "old man" is right again, Paul.

My heartfelt condolences and best wishes to you, Rick, Grasshopper and to Mitch and his family. If there is anything I can do.. I'll be here.

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I e-mailed Paul last night, to offer help.

I also chatted with a reader of Perry and Jesse who is blind and gay and out. He's involved with a couple of Australian organizations for blind and blind and gay youth and adults.

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