He left six months ago for his homeland of Puerto Rico, certain that he wanted to die there. Five years of a professional yet intimate relationship were behind us: AIDS, cancer, remission, diabetes, wasting, cancer relapse, colostomy, and a downhill slide from there on.
When hospice at home failed, and wet sheets, untaken meds, and benign neglect demonstrated that being alone in his own apartment was not working, his family whisked him away to Puerto Rico, where he could come to rest surrounded by the smells and sounds of his motherland. I was sad to see him go, but happy for his reception into the welcoming bosom of family, and honestly relieved that my years of urgent calls and emergencies were over.
I had considered going to Puerto Rico to say goodbye, to visit him in his native land, but our financial situation and my responsibilities here stayed my hand. I also was just not sure that my appearing at his bedside would be truly beneficial to him, or only painfully remind him of all that he left behind, perhaps giving rise to unnecessary remorse and regrets that would have otherwise have remained blessedly subterranean. If I had gone, it would surely have been for me, not him, and I just wasn't convinced that it would be for the best. Instead, I erred on the side of caution, following the ages old adage, "Don't just do something, sit there."
We did have one telephone conversation about four weeks after his departure. I called the home where he was staying in Puerto Rico and we chatted for a while. I told him that I loved him, and that God would bless him and his family. He blessed me as well, and we hung up. Although I had planned to call again, the number on a sticky note by my desk, it just didn't happen.
Another goodbye, another letting go, another opportunity to say "I did enough". And I can say it truthfully. I did enough. No room for regrets. It's simply goodbye.