Hard to believe a year has passed since we lost Andy. My ex, the best friend I ever had, and the love of my life died a year ago today. Adjusting to a world without him has been quite a challenge.
To know Andy was to love him. He was kind, generous, thoughtful, and always considerate of others. The students, faculty, and staff he worked with in our college adored him. Being the partner of such a nice guy boosted my image around the college.
He was the center of my universe for seventeen years (18 now). Since his death, I’ve thought and thought about our time together — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Could I have done more to save him?
In short, no. Saving him was never up to me — or anyone but him. He gave up early in 2015. He couldn’t forgive himself for the mistakes he’d made and believed nobody else would either. My interference kept him alive for a few more years.
My only regrets stem from the eleven years we were a couple. He made me very happy. We had a great life together. Instead of taking him for granted, I should have paid more attention to his happiness. Had we stayed together, he might still be here today.
If a frog had wings….
Nobody knows me or Andy as well as we knew each other. I still believe that to be true, but how well does anyone ever know another person? I’ve been stunned by things I’ve learned about his activities in the months leading up to his death.
Keeping secrets was his way of protecting the people he cared about. I know. Sounds like bullshit, but it’s true.
He believed the Andy everyone loved and adored was a fake — an act he (and many others in the Deep South) was trained to perform early in life. He bottled up his feelings for decades. People wouldn’t like him if they knew what he really thought.
He judged himself far more harshly than anyone else would. We all make mistakes. Andy couldn’t forgive himself for any mistake he ever made.
Counseling probably wouldn’t have made any difference. He was never going to open up. People aren’t supposed to talk about certain things, especially with strangers.
Things have a way of working out for the best. I’m grateful for the secrets he kept from me. Had I known, I surely would have said and done things I’d regret today. As it is, my conscience is clear. I did everything I could do.