I am approaching the big five-oh this June. Yes, I will be officially inducted into SAGE as a full-fledged member. I’ve been an honorary member since its induction, much like I’m an honorary bear, an honorary Cyber Slut, an honorary Matron of Mayhem, an honorary lesbian and an honorary twink. Well, the last one is a lie, but I can aspire to such things, can’t I?
While I don’t feel much older than I was when I was in college, I suppose the years will begin to catch up with me soon. Most people my age begin to wonder how they will make ends meet, especially now that most 401(k)s were decimated by the Republican Recession (see how I stuck a dig in there? I started that when Tag or Trig or Tog Romney called it the “Obama Recession.”). We also start wondering about our health and who would take care of us if we became too frail to do it ourselves.
So, when a report came from the Salt Lake City Police Department that an elderly man had killed his “domestic partner” and himself here in Salt Lake, it gave me pause.
The report said that the men had “significant health problems,” of which I can only read between the lines, as no reputable organization or health care professional would tell me what their true issue was, so I didn’t ask.
So, here we are in 2013. HIV/AIDS is now over 30 years old. Many who were in their 20s and 30s when it reared its ugly head are now in their 50s, 60s and beyond. A large number of men in the 80s up and died of the disease. A large number have contracted it since and are still living, but as we age, a body becomes more and more at a disadvantage in the fight with a disease.
We cannot be in the heads of these two. This well may have been (and probably was) a brave and powerful choice for them. It may also have been a last straw in the inability to get proper help from our community.
What struck me the hardest, however, was that no obituary was ever placed in any publication that I have been able to find, in our out of Utah.
Were these men alone in their battle? It seems if family was present, someone would care enough to place an obit. Did they have close friends or neighbors to help? We know they had hospice, but was it enough?
I hope our community can look to our seniors, appreciate their lives that were very different from today, and offer at least to be present in their twilight years. Q