A Widow's Tale

I certainly never expected to be a gay widow. When Jeremy and I got together in the summer of 1994, I was 36 and he was 23. Given our family histories and disparities in size and health consciousness, odds were very much that he'd outlive me by 15-20 years. I figured that if we were lucky in 10 or 20 or 30 years he'd be the one calling friends and relatives to let them know that I'd gone to meet my Maker. Neither of us had HIV and both of us had relatively low risk factors, so it seemed a reasonable assumption.

But it didn't work out that way. With absolutely no warning, Jeremy suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage while we were visiting friends at a 4th of July pool party. He died two days later, July 6, 2001, never having regained consciousness. We'd been together seven years and he was five months short of his 31st birthday. You can read the whole saga by visiting Jeremy's memorial webpage.

It's not the first time I've had to go through an unexpected major life transition. In the summer of 1993, a year before Jeremy and I got together, I came out to my wife and children after 11 years of marriage. I never really expected to lead my life as an openly gay man but there I was doing it just the same.

That experience prompted me to put together my first online resource page, A Coming Out Guide for Gaydads, one of the first two or three such pages on the World Wide Web, and quite possibly the very first, in the fall of 1995. Overall it has been a very successful site; since putting it up more than six years ago, I've heard from an average of 2-3 new gaydads every week and every month or so I hear from a wife saying "I think my husband is gay." At this point I've chatted with literally hundreds of married or divorced gay men, all of whom have said "I'm doing that now, or I'm thinking about doing it, or I did it 10 years ago and I wish I'd had a resource like this then."

As was the case with my coming out, separation and divorce, in my bereavement I have been exceedingly fortunate. Everyone knew that Jeremy and I were a couple, everyone -- friends, family members, neighbors, my employers, people I've never met -- has been forthcoming with condolences, support, etc.

Six years ago I felt the need to give something back to world in honor of all the people who were supportive of me in my time of coming out. I feel the same need now. I hope the resources in these webpages will help others in their grieving.

Much love...

Richard Jasper

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