I had sex the night my boyfriend died.
Jeremy and I had been together for 4 years. We met in 1991. Jeremy was HIV positive. 10 months before he died, his T cell count dropped below 200, and he was diagnosed with AIDs. He had been relatively healthy up until that point. Not long after that diagnosis, Jeremy got sick. He got pneumonia, he got KS, and he went downhill quickly. Almost all of our friends were already dead. About 4 weeks before he died, we knew his death was imminent. Jeremy had a picture taken with our dogs a month earlier. He knew he was dying and he wanted me to have something happier to remember him by. I cried when he gave it to me because I knew why.
Josh was Jeremy’s oldest friend. He flew out to California from the Midwest to be there for Jeremy and he stayed with us. My lesbians were there as well. Jeremy’s parents couldn’t handle it. They saw him briefly before he died, but didn’t stay.
On the night Jeremy died, we were all with him. He had slipped into a coma. I held his hand as the morphine drip was increased and listened to his rattling breathing get shallower over time. He passed quietly. I didn’t cry. I felt relief that his suffering was over. I had mourned him over the months leading up to his death, because I knew he was dying. I had already cried for him. I cried for all of them. I had no more tears left.
Josh took me home that night. I went to bed but just laid there, unable to sleep. I don’t know why, but I got up and went to the spare room where Josh was sleeping. I stood there silently for a while. I didn’t want to wake the girls sleeping on the sofa. Eventually, Josh lifted the covers and I crawled into bed with him. We had very quiet, very sweet sex. When we finished, I got up and went back to my room. We never spoke about it.
I think I just needed to be with another human being. I needed to feel something other than sorrow. I needed a connection with life as I had been so surrounded by death for so many years. I needed to know I could still feel something, and Josh understood.
Josh and I keep in touch. We are friends on Facebook and every year he sends me a Christmas card. We have never spoken about the night Jeremy died. Josh, if you’re reading this, thank you for everything.