PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Gregory, For you. Love Michael

Today, in the car on the way home from a little "being out with strangers" for the day before Christmas Eve, I listened to this song by Tracy Chapman.

Of course it made me think of Gregory and today's grief. Suddenly without much effort, I pictured some of our first encounters after we first meet almost 41 years ago, January 10th.

I close my eyes and clearly picture his study, upstairs in the house at Riverwoods Forest Preserve, where his wife was director of the Lake County Forest Preserve Edward L. Ryerson Conservation Area which included the original house, working farm, and its many acred grounds.

I remember driving up the narrow path through the woods, sometimes at night through the pitch black except for my car's headlights on high, when finally the house would come into view. It was a long, low federal style house and while the Ryerson's were a wealthy family who made their fortunes in steel, the house while substantial was not showy.

Gregory and Barbara, his wife of then seven years, lived upstairs. She married him knowing he was bi-sexual and his first lover Peter lived in Boston. Gregory was lonely for male company and we met at the "Men's Gathering" a sensitivity and encounter group for men of all persuasions to share, unload, and find support.

In those first months of knowing each other I would visit and have dinner with Gregory and Barbara and after dinner he and I would retire to his study for some alone time. Barbara was very understanding and cooperative in the beginning.

I see and feel his grand piano, a red oriental rug in the center of the room, the mahogany with bronze tipped legs desk, a wooden office chair on wheels, several double door closets with doors removed and filled with shelves loaded with books.

I remember the quiet times we spent together without words, or chatting about this or that, or exchanging back rubs, or dozing off in each other's arms all the while with classical Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, or Mozart playing in the background. We would sip Celestial Seasons herbal teas. I have Gregory to thank for introducing me to the classical composers and to herbal tea.

The joy of this experience today in the car is that my emotions were as out of control with love for him then as they are out of control with love for and my missing him now. I am grateful for having had his love for so many years. I will never be the same nor would I want to be.

I can just as easily feel the joy and excitement of our newly beginning love as I can feel the stability and support it became to the final easy for him but difficult for me goodbye.

If my great feelings of grief were not as strong as they are now, what would that say about our love then?

For You
By: Tracey Chapman

Ther're no words to say
No words to convey
This feeling inside I have for you
Deep in my heart
Safe from the guards
Of intellect and reason
Leaving me at a loss
For words to express my feelings
Deep in my heart

Look at me losing control
Thinking I had a hold
But with feelings this strong
I'm no longer the master
Of my emotions

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