BETTER TO HAVE LOVED
A violent hate crime forces one man to realise he’s been both blessed and haunted by the greatest love of his life.
I met Glen back in 1996 at Bonham nightclub in San Antonio, Texas. He caught my eye, even though I was in no mood to meet up with anyone that night and definitely wasn’t looking for “the one”. He kept flirting with me and so finally, after an ultimatum from my best friend Noel who said, “You two have been eyeing each other all night and if you don’t go up to him I’ll do it for you!” (Noel is someone who would follow through on that, so ultimately I didn’t have a choice), I went up to him, said, “Hi, I’m Alex,” and our love story began. I mean, heart-beating fast, constant smiles, major attraction. I was like, what the hell is this feeling? Okay, I’m not going to lie, I went home with him that night. But I had a rule: the underwear is not coming off ! Needless to say, I broke that rule!
After dating for a year, we moved in together. I’d love to share the details of what led to the next 13 years, but that would be a novel. Within those years we had the best times in love, more of the best times in love and some of the worst times in love. We moved states, from Texas to Rhode Island, back to Texas, to Maryland and finally again back to Texas; but this last move was by myself, in 2009.
Our love was going right on so many levels and we knew we would grow old together, no matter what… but the worst happened in Baltimore, Maryland. As we were walking downtown, heading home after a fun karaoke night on September 22, 2008, some kid comes up behind us on a bike and points a gun at Glen. Glen asks, “Why are you doing this?” The kid doesn’t answer and just shoots him, twice. I couldn’t believe it. We were now a statistic, victims of a hate crime.
Glen was shot twice, once in the neck and once in the abdomen. The neck, thank God, was not critical. The abdomen was critical! The bullet went through his left side and out his right side, ruptured two arteries, his spleen and multiple parts of his intestines. He lost a lot of blood – they used 50 litres of blood to keep him alive during the surgery. He survived and, after six months in the hospital, he was released with high hopes of survival. During these six months, and those that followed, our
“The kid doesn’t answer and just shoots him, twice. I couldn’t believe it.”
love was the best again. It had grown stronger than ever… and it was right. Five months later, we even managed to get me a job back in Texas, to be closer to family who would help me take care of him, for it would be months or years for Glen to be anything close to normal again. Until the worst in love happened again.
We didn’t foresee complications developing from one final surgery he had in July 2009. He was back into hospital, but this time it was bad; it was scary, it was not going to end well. I had to leave him behind in Maryland, in the hospital, for it was not recommended he travel. So there I was in Texas at my new job and flying back and forth every other weekend.
I told myself all will be okay, he will get well enough to travel and I will move him back home to San Antonio. I was blinded by love. The truth was that he was not getting better. The doctors and the hospital tried everything. They became like family to us. They were absolute angels. Finally, they had the conversation with me. The one after Glen was technically gone except for equipment keeping him alive. The worst in love came the moment I had to make a decision, one that his family, my family and his two wonderful children left for me to make.
On November 9, 2009, Glen took his last breath. This was the worst, most painful day of my life. I had never known what a broken heart felt like until then, as I clenched my chest trying to make it go away. I had the best and worst in love, and today I say… he was so worth it! I love and miss you my love, my Glen… besitos, mi amor!
en ootm n eft n e n ro e .