I’ve just returned from Jacksonville. I was there for a beautiful wedding of two beautiful friends. They seem so perfect for each other.
At the wedding, I couldn’t help but think about my future wedding and what it’ll look like. I couldn’t help but think of the one I love. I couldn’t help but think of how awesome it’ll be to be surrounded by family and friends who came just for me or just for him…or for both of us. I couldn’t help but think about how great it’d be to one day make a naturally personal thing so public. As I watched my two friends do all of this stuff among their friends and family, it just made me so happy for them. And it made me so happy at where I’m at in my love life. Watching two lives merge into this joint life was just…great.
In a few days, I may very well be sitting in another place with another group of family and friends celebrating the life of another friend. Only this time, we’ll be celebrating his life because he’s dead. This friend was in his 20s. He was someone I worked closely with for three years and still regularly talked to. I helped him come out. I ran with him. I screamed at him and laughed with him and everything in between. He was a hell of a cook. When he laughed, he sounded like a woman who had just seen the funniest thing in her life. At work, we’d roll our eyes. Now, I can’t help but realize how memorable it was. How nice he was.
I’m not the guy who thinks that we should gloss over our feelings about people in death. I think we should be honest about who they were and what they did. Sure, we naturally think of the positive things, but I think a person is more than just the positive stuff. I know in my life, the negative things I’ve done or my not-so-wonderful actions/emotions have also shaped my life. And they’ve made all the positive stuff even better.
When I die, I don’t want it to be an opportunity for some pastor to try and bring more people to his religion. I don’t want it to be entirely sad. I want it to truly be a memorial. That means lots of music and lots of laughter. I want people to know that I was sometimes an ass and didn’t mean to be – or did. I want people to know that I tried to help others when I could, but wasn’t infallible and knew that. I want people to know that I loved and loved fully when people deserved it. I want people to know that I was gay. I want people to know that I talked a lot and was frequently obnoxious. I want my work friends to talk about my singing showtunes as I produced the news. I want everyone to know how much I loved them and how much I loved the love of my life.
When I get married, I want my wedding to be beautiful, filled with love from all sides, romantic, special…awesome. I want there to be tons of singing and laughter and food. I want dancing. And while I haven’t figured out the whole garter thing quite yet, I know Daniel and I will come up with something!
What’s funny to me after spending the last few days simultaneously thinking about a wedding and a funeral is how many similarities I think they should have. The biggest difference I can think of so far is that I obviously don’t want my funeral to be for another century or longer, but my wedding better happen MUCH sooner than that! Oh, and I guess I won’t technically be at one of them (or will I?!). But they are both celebrations, just for different reasons.
I’m begging you to tell those you love that you love them. Not in five minutes. Now. You never know what could happen and while that fear of the unknown shouldn’t dominate your life, it should encourage you to live each moment as if it is your last and make sure everyone knows how you feel about them. Now is the time. Regret sucks, even when you can try to make things better. I can’t imagine what it’s like when you can’t.