Saturday, July 29, 2017

Yet another friend has died...

July is historically a shitty month for me, particularly when it comes to people dying.  Ten years ago, I lost my beloved grandmother in July.  She was 100 years old, though, and about six weeks from her next birthday.  It was sad to lose her, but she had made it clear that she was ready to go.

Three years ago, I lost my father in July.  Again, he was elderly and had been very sick.  Although it was sad to see him go, I also felt relieved that his suffering was finally over.

This week, three people I was either friends with or knew of died.  Two of the deaths I wrote about the other day.  One of those deaths was rather expected, as the woman had been ill for some time and it had a very serious type of brain cancer.  One death was much less expected, although the woman had had cancer.  She had just told us three weeks ago that it was back.  Less than three weeks passed before she was gone.

The most recent death came out of the blue.  A friend of mine from college died in his sleep of a heart attack.  This friend, well known on campus for his musical and theatrical talents, had been living in extreme poverty for the past eight years or so.  His elderly aunt lives in the coal mining country of Virginia.  She has a decrepit house and there was no one to take care of her.  So my friend, Scott, moved back to his hometown to look after his aunt, who had raised him.

Scott had some unique challenges.  For one thing, he was very flamboyantly gay and living in a place where people didn't have much love or respect for him.  He was constantly looking for work and was limited in what he was able to do, since he had health problems that made it impossible for him to stand for long periods of time.  Although he was a very talented writer, singer, photographer, costumer, actor, and makeup artist, there weren't any places in his town where those talents were useful.  Consequently, he made ends meet doing jobs beneath his skills and talents.  He was also substitute teaching and attending an online graduate school through Liberty University.

There were a couple of times when Scott thought he might try to open his own business.  I donated money to him a couple of times.  But his plans to launch a business seemed to dissipate as quickly as they formed as the reality of just getting by would hit him.  I'm pretty sure the money I donated was used on food or medications for his aunt.  Or perhaps car care or home repairs.  It's hard to tell.  He had so many problems and was always looking for solutions that didn't involve moving himself and his aunt out of that black hole of a town they were in.  Even as I post that, I realize that he was pretty stuck.  It takes money to move and money was something he didn't have.

Just this past week, Scott posted that he had two job offers.  I was thinking things might finally be turning around for him.  Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.

I knew Scott had been under a lot of stress and I surmised that he wasn't taking care of himself.  He was only 44 years old, though.  Just a few days ago, he posted about the death of his geometry teacher in high school, who had only been 18 years older.  I wonder if Scott had a clue that his own end was rapidly approaching.  On Wednesday, Scott posted about 45's tweet about no longer allowing transgendered people in the military.  He was disgusted by it.  That was the last thing from him.  He went to bed and was gone.

I found out about Scott's death on Facebook.  I was about to eat dinner at a restaurant and a mutual friend posted about a friend who died.  I commented that I'd lost a couple this week, too.  My friend said he wasn't sure if I knew Scott.  I guess he didn't realize that Scott was in the music department a lot, too.  I was pretty flabbergasted at first... but then I remembered his comments about his ailments and realized that they must have all caught up with him, just when things were seemingly better.

Those of us who knew Scott in college, and there were many people, including a theater professor who seemed to love the theater majors as if they were her own kids, were pretty shocked by his sudden passing.  I am shocked, but not totally surprised.  Lately, he'd been posting a lot of hopeless stuff.  I suspect that he might have been feeling pretty broken, although he managed to maintain a sense of humor most of the time.

I wasn't that close to Scott.  He had a lot of friends who knew him much better than I did.  I wasn't involved in theater, although I did take a minor in speech and that department was part of the theater department.  I used to think the theater folks were an interesting lot.  I had friends who were involved... and they ran the gamut.  It was kind of like the cast of Glee.  There were some really beautiful people and some people who were misfits.  The theater group seemed to take all comers.  It was attractive to me, but I never summoned the desire to get on the stage with them.  I stuck with music, which had its own interesting characters within it... and was decidedly more straightlaced.

Anyway... this may not make a lot of sense.  I guess I'm just feeling like life is really short and you never know when your last day will be.  I hope wherever Scott is now, he's finally at peace.


  1. Scott's life seems so sad. I really hope that wherever he is, things are better.

    1. Me too. He really was very talented.


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