One week ago I received an email from a man named Larry that I'll remember for the rest of my life.
Larry, who identified himself as "a straight man without any LGBT family members," asked if he could share a story on A Note to My Kid about his fraternity brother and dear friend Nick.
Nick came out to Larry as a gay man a year after the two graduated from college. Approximately one year later Larry learned that Nick had died.
According to Larry, "I want this to be printed so that everyone can know that a bunch of macho, straight, philandering frat boys love their gay brother and always will. That although we may not have seen the world that same way or agreed on many things, love is always the most important thing."
Here is Larry's story -- a powerful and emotional testament to the unconditional love that exists between true friends:
My name is Larry and this note is about my fraternity brother Nick. Nick and I were pledge brothers at Theta Xi in the fall of '87. We had a great time as pledges and both moved into the house as soon as we could. We lived and partied together for 3 years. We shared some of the most wonderful times of our lives. Nick was a mellow guy. Kind of a Grateful Dead and Edie Brickell aficionado. :) He was always happy and warm and always great to be around.
After we graduated I lost track of Nick for about a year. Then one night I was out with my fiance (now my wife) at a club. As I was standing in line for the men's room I hear my name screamed...As I turned I saw it was Nick and he ran up to me and half -screamed "Larry-I'm gay!!" I said "Well, OK. Are you happy?" He smiled broadly and beamed "Yes!!" We all hung out the rest of the night and as we left he told me he was moving to LA.
About a year later I got a call from another of our pledge brothers. He told me in a disbelieving voice that he had seen Nick's obituary..... We found out that while he was in LA he had contracted spinal meningitis and died. My first thought was that I wish I could have been there with him at the end.
A group of us (fraternity brothers) who lived near his parents made plans to meet for his funeral. We all arrived and sat together. After the service everyone was invited to the fellowship hall for a meal. At the reception we all went through the receiving line and told his parents we were sorry for their loss and then sat together (there was about 8 of us).
After the line cleared his parents came over to our table and asked how we knew Nick as we were obviously in a group. We told them who we were and you could tell that they were taken aback. They said that they hadn't expected any of us from the House to be there (only hinting about him being gay). I stood up and told them that we were all brothers and that we all loved each other and that we were all now grieving with them. His stern Russian father teared up but couldn't muster any words. I can only hope that by being there we honored our brother's memory and comforted his parents.
I want this to be printed so that everyone can know that a bunch of macho, straight, philandering frat boys love their gay brother and always will. That although we may not have seen the world that same way or agreed on many things, love is always the most important thing. I love Nick, I miss him and I am glad that he knew that my love was without condition or limitation.
Thanks for listening.