The ultimate act…

Dear Friends,

I have been doing so many things since I last wrote, and I have lost several people, old friends, but I am back now, going through my old notes from 1987 and through the years.

There was recently a beautiful post in The AIDS Memorial about Bo Huston, who ”surrounded by family and friends”, ”died at a time of his choosing, to avoid the final debilitating stages of AIDS”.

One of the nurses I spoke to in 1990, in Stockholm, talked about the silent suicides, when men who found out that they had the virus, just killed them selves, without being far gone or marked by diseases, and they left no notes, they just left.

I remember photos in the evening papers, here in Sweden, I can´t remember what year, where one sees a beautiful man – before and after photos – whose face was totally distorted by Kaposis Sarcoma.  I found them!

I have been thinking about those photos. It had to be shown, I am sure, to make people aware of how serious this is, but I also think they did a lot of damage; scaring people who knew they might be carriers of the virus. And of course scaring the public of people who may be sick.

I have written several times about a young man I knew, who commited suicide in 1984.

He was from a very small town, and he sang in the local church, so he was known by some people in the area. He had just finished his education as an actor at the Theatre Academy in Stockholm, the last time I met him. He was very happy that day; he had landed a part in a play on television, and he had gotten a job as an actor at a theatre in the countryside.

He came out as a gay man to his father that summer, (his mother had died a few years prior to this) and all I know is that his father responded to what he said, with silence.

It must have been very difficult to come out as gay during those years, especially in a small place, as it came with a baggage of danger and possible death. Four or five other young men from the same area, had commited suicide, around the same time. Maybe my friend was triggered by their deaths, and one wonders if someone else was triggered by his. Or if it ended there.

But I think one of the reasons may have been fear of what was to come. And loneliness. He lasted a very short time in the city he came to work in. He had never lived alone before.

A partner from his youth, quoted him saying that it was difficult to find love. Sex could be found, but not love. The men he had met,were not interested in love, in having a relationship. I have a feeling that this world was too complex and too hard for him to live in.

I have heard of several suicides in San Francisco, and I remember an article from one of the AIDS-Conferences that said that help to commit suicide was much more common than one had known before.

Being involved when a person commits suicide is very hard to talk about, and not only for legal reasons. There may have been complications; not all people die peacefully.

It may have turned out to be the most terrible day in a person´s life:

I think one of the hardest things to do, is to help the person you love to die when you don´t want the person to leave you, but in the same time you don´t want the loved one to suffer.

It must be the ultimate act of self denial, and desperate love and grief.

Författare: Pia-Kristina Garde

Born 1951, in Stockholm. Actress, author and libraryassistent. Retired from all, but Writing. In 1977 I published two books, one of them was a lay persons book on dying patients at a hospital in Stockholm, and at S:t Christopher´s Hospice, outside London. I have since then written one book about survivors from the concentration camps that came to Sweden in 1945, and several books about a Swedish author, Karin Boye (1900-1941).