Two years ago today the earth lost an angel. An Archangel, actually.
Gabriel and Bruce were loving partners for close to 12 years...living the last 8 years as a committed couple.
The story of how they met is a true love story...a classic.
Bruce was volunteering at a local AIDS hospice and met Gabriel, who was literally days, if not hours, away from dying. Bruce spoke no Spanish. Gabriel spoke limited English. A connection was made. Then slowly the miracle played out. Gabriel started to improve. Day by day, Bruce would visit, they would try and communicate, and before long Gabriel was in remission and eventually left the hospice. The doctors were stunned and Bruce was relieved.
And the friendship grew.
Back then, Bruce and I were in touch infrequently. I'd call every couple of months, he'd promise he'd write soon (HAH!) then when I would call several months later it was always the same old story..'well, I started a letter to you...it's around here somewhere'! And so it went. He'd tell me about Gabriel and say how we'd have to meet soon.
I was away on a trip out of the country for 3 weeks and returned to find an invitation to their commitment ceremony which was being held the day after I'd returned. Was crushed that I'd not gotten more notice...and was aggravated beyond belief that one of our mutual friends was boycotting the ceremony...seems the friend's wife (who absolutely adored Bruce) had a conflict between her love of Bruce and her strict fundamentalist religious views. She didn't want to be part of 'celebrating' an occasion that Bruce would 'burn in hell for'.
Sadly, her views were shared with Bruce and what should have been one of the happiest days of his life was clouded by this friend's(?) opinion. Nevertheless, the ceremony was held, Bruce and Gabriel were happy 'committed' and many well-wishers were present to share their day.
And they DID live happily ever after...with the 'after' coming long before they wanted it to.
Finally got to meet Gabriel right before we moved to FL. It was arranged that we would meet in Palo Alto for dinner. So my husband and I waited in the Borders Books in Palo Alto for what seemed like an enternity...this was before cell phones were rampant...then there they were!
Gabriel was very petite....barely 5 feet, gorgeous dark skin, (Bruce SO has a thing for sexy Hispanics), a smile that would light up New York...and I hugged him so hard he almost passed out! It was wonderful to finally meet him...and the smile on Bruce's face at seeing me said it all...he was IN LOVE! BIGTIME!! And love was good.
We had dinner at CPK and had the best time. Gabriel retold the story of how he met Bruce...and ended it by pointing to Bruce and saying ‘it’s all his fault’. Yep, it was all Bruce’s fault that he gave Gabriel a reason to live...and inspired him to live...and contributed to the miracle that enabled them to live a happy life together. You should have seen Bruce’s smile when he said those words.
After dinner we went back across the street to browse at Borders. Gabriel loved Martha Stewart...collected her magazines and books and was talking about recipes he wanted to make...Gabriel loved to cook...and Bruce loved to eat.
The night ended with lots more hugs and promises to visit us in FL.
Then we moved, kept in touch over the years, and once Bruce was close to surprising Gabriel and bringing him to FL for a vacation.
But Gabriel was sick again. And had to quit his job. And just when things weren’t looking good at all, he’d get better. Yep, all Bruce’s fault.
About two years ago in Sept I had recently separated and moved into my own place. Called Bruce and Gabriel the day I moved....left a silly message for them and asked them when the HELL they were gonna get their butts to FL? Didn’t hear back, so left them another message. Then another. Then figured they were busy so I stopped calling for awhile.
Mid October I had the strangest feeling that I needed to call Bruce and Gabriel...but never got around to it. And right before Halloween, Bruce left a tearful message asking me to call him asap...he had something sad to tell me.
Seems Gabriel had taken a quick turn for the worse. He had been sick for quite a while and I hadn’t known about it. Bruce was devoting all his time to caring for Gabriel and everything else took backseat...as it should have.
There was time enough for Gabriel’s family to fly in from Mexico. For that Bruce was truly thankful. And they were all together in his hospital room for the final days.
Bruce and I talked a lot that night and over the next several months we kept in touch more frequently. We talked continuously about Gabriel when Bruce visited me this last April. And we talked about today being the two year anniversary of Gabriel's death just a couple of days ago.
I called Bruce awhile ago (halfway thru writing this) to tell him that I was thinking of him and I loved him and to never forget that ‘ it was all his fault’.
Gabriel had asked me to always remind Bruce of that when the day came that Gabriel was no longer around to do it for himself.
Promise kept, Archangel Gabriel.