We seem to edge nearer to the edge of the edge…and a new beginning is dawning
— Scott, Journal Entry, April 1988
HOW could I have known that Friday morning, the morning of the death of my beloved life partner, Scott Richard Gillen, that I was standing on the threshold of a miracle? There in the bedroom we had shared, looking down at his dead body, I had never felt more assaulted, or alone. With his passing it seemed as if love had forever slipped between my fingers, every door been forever slammed shut on me, all light extinguished from my life. I found myself horribly, irredeemably alone, in a world that no longer seemed my home. I knew not where he had gone, but knew beyond doubt or reason that part of my heart had gone with him.
The two of us with our friend Hal Boedeker, only weeks before. Suddenly ancient history. In my despair, I could only think "When will I ever feel that comfortable with a lover again, to just pull him to me and lick his ear?" Grief speaks a different voice in each soul. That was mine.
With all of my soul, from the very beginning, I burned with a desire to know where this one I so loved had gone. I had always been a spiritual seeker, searching here and there for the divine peace about which I’d read, but suddenly my passion to really know, to look beyond the veil, had been lifted to a new level. For the first time, I had lost to the other side the one I loved most on Earth, my best friend, life partner, advocate and playmate. Even through my pain and sickening disorientation, my mind raced as my soul began grappling with questions that had suddenly become fundamental to me. Where was he now, and where had he gone? Had part of me not been taken with him? Why had I been left behind here on this sterile promontory, so alone and so far from our spiritual home? How could I be in such pain and yet standing here still?
After Scott had stopped breathing, I called emergency rescue on one line and some friends living nearby on the other. He was dead, but had clung to life with such tenacity, and such joy, that the possibility had not even really occurred to me. I had never met anyone with a lust for life to rival Scott’s, and it never seemed as if the Dark Angel would be able to get the better of him in a fair fight. So when the troop of paramedics finally rushed in, asking brusquely and matter-of-factly "When was the last time you saw him alive?," shock broke over me like a wave. All they could do was say "Sorry, he’s flat-lined. There’s nothing we can do," and turn away from the uncomprehending anguish of my stare.
There was no way I could have known that day, much less accepted the fact, but it was Scott’s time. So I asked everyone to leave the room, to leave me alone with my baby. I laid beside his body on the floor, hugged his still chest, and began to grieve from the bottom of my soul as I felt the warmth leaving his body. Crying out in pain, I told him that I loved him and that I always would, gently shut his eyes with my fingers, spoke soft words of love like a lullaby as I brushed his hair, cleaned up his face, kissed his cheek. There was nothing I could do, but loving him was all I could do. As I looked at his body, I knew that this was in no way him, that it had simply been a shell for which he had no further use. No, this really wasn’t him, I knew, but what had become of him?
Mr. Gillen, the beloved literary Peter Pan of Piper High School in West Broward County, FL
How could it be, I anguished, that such a soul could be lost to us? It seemed worse than meaningless. He had packed a full lifetime, perhaps overfull, into his thirty-six years. What had now become of his memories, the rich tapestry of his life experience, his dreams, longings and desires? Had they all come to naught? Were they all extinguished suddenly in the black void of death? If so, what’s the point of life? How could this be part of any divine plan? Indeed, how could there be a God to allow such a bright light to be snuffed out so untimely?
They finally took the body away, leaving me truly alone. I found myself deeply wounded and sick at heart, with little energy or will with which to face the journey that lay ahead. In the heart of my heart I cried out silently in anguish, but there was no one to hear.
To Chapter 2