Sunday, January 17, 2010

The horrific death of my gay brother William

My dear little brother, It’s been nearly 10 years since that fateful night you left this world in horror. The image of you hanging from that tree in your lover’s back yard still doubles me over in agony at the thought. Your life was lived to help others. You gave so much of yourself to so many, and then you were just gone. The sudden shock of the news seemed to break apart every cell in my being. When they were put back together again, I lost a part of myself and will never be the same again. The questions I’ve been asking for nearly a decade remain the same. Did you kill yourself, or were you murdered?

The cops found a suicide tape in your pocket. Repeatedly listening to the tape I can tell it was made on a night when crickets were chirping. You died on a night when there were terrible thunder storms. I explained this to the cops, but they refused to listen. They are all good friends with your lover Gary. They’ve allowed him to drive drunk in that small town for years. So I spoke to the coroner. At first, he didn’t want to release your body. He said you and Gary were legally married and he was at your commitment ceremony. I explained to him that gay marriage isn’t legal in Indiana, so he released your body to mom, but he refused an autopsy, even though your death couldn’t have been more unnatural. So no autopsy was performed. The marks on your neck could have led a pathologist to the truth, but nobody but me was insisting on an autopsy, and my voice was not heard. They did test your blood. They didn’t want to touch an openly gay, dead man. They feared you had HIV. The blood test came back with trace amounts of phenobarbitol and traces of valium, too small to even knock you out. Clearly, the tape you made with crickets chirping, in which you said you were taking an overdose of valium, was not made the night you died. I’ve spent ten years trying to prove that you were killed, and I can’t. That judge who used to go to parties at your house and snort cocaine in your bathroom decided not to allow me to review the public records surrounding your death, even though I am legally entitled to do so. His secretary told me I’d have to hire a lawyer to get the judge to hear the case and then the judge would probably say no. I told her to tell the judge that I know what a coke head he is, and I expected as much. So even the photos taken of your body have never been released to me. Those pictures are the last thing in the world I ever wanted to see, but if I could have just gotten them to an Independent pathologist, the truth could have come out.

At first, I was angry with you on so many levels. How could you stay with that abusive piece of shit who beat you? How could you have possibly ended your own life without notifying me? How could you leave so many things undone that could cause me and everyone you love a lifetime of suffering and questioning? It took every ounce of my own strength not to follow you into death. You were my best friend. My only full blooded sibling and the fact that we were gay brothers made us unique. Everything I had worked to achieve up to that point felt like a burden. I wanted to die too, but my children were keeping me alive. I couldn’t put them through the pain that made my own life unbearable. I refused myself so many pleasures in life because you weren’t alive to enjoy them. I went from 200 lbs to 150 lbs in body weight within weeks of your death. How could I enjoy anything when I could never share it with you again? Believe it or not, it was a dream that healed me.

In the dream, you were alive again, but very weak. You had cancer and were as small as a child, so I carried you. I carried you out onto the frozen surface of Lake Michigan. As we neared a section of thin, breaking ice, you said something to me that I will never forget. “You must go back Chaz, and put your feet on solid ground. I am no longer there for you to carry through life, but your children are.” And when I looked into the face of the body I held in my arms, it was no longer you. There in my arms was my son Patrick, who was just a toddler at the time. I got your message loud and clear. This life is not to be lived for myself, but rather for those who I love that need me the most. I began to heal myself, gain weight and count the blessings I had left in this life.

In my dreams, you never died. We still get into trouble and smoke weed and chase hotties. I never ask how you died, and you never tell me. It’s as if you don’t want me to be 100% sure either way. I refused your lover entry to your funeral. Your love for him was misplaced, along with your trust. The abuse you suffered at his hands for those six years together was enough to make me want to end his life, his casual attitude towards your death prompted me to seal the deal. I actually was planning to kill Gary Hobbs. I had managed to get my hands on two full bottles of valium, and I crushed them into fine powder. I pretended to let Gary console me on the phone without accusing him of anything for two weeks after you died, so I could visit his home without suspicion. On the day I was to visit him, and poison him with valium, a family emergency came up that prevented my plan from coming to fruition. When Gary called me and was cussing me out for not being there to take what he called “all your shit” from his home, I explained how lucky he was that I had not made it to Salem Indiana that day. I told him that I know he killed you, either by his own hand or by driving you to end your own life. I told how that I had planned to kill him, and warned him that if he ever crossed my path in this life again, it would definitely be the last time. You picked a town and a lover that did nothing but conspire to conceal the facts surrounding your untimely demise. All I could do was inform everybody you knew of the circumstances. So I created a flyer and called it “The Naked Truth” and I put a naked pic of my ass on the top to make sure it got the attention of anyone who received it. I placed it in hundreds of newspaper boxes around your town. Now there’s not a person in Salem Indiana who isn’t aware of what I know. The coroner was not re elected, but the new coroner continued his refusal to offer me any public documents. I had even considered handcuffing my nude body to the flagpole of the Salem Police Department with your name written on my back, but I realized that getting arrested by the same assholes who are covering up your death would not bring the attention required to fix this. Instead, I’ve spent the last decade of my life trying to gain enough fame to make people like Oprah give a shit about what I have to say. I’m still not there yet and Oprah doesn’t know I exist. Your signature trademarks and sayings have become mine now. Your fight for equality for gays has become mine. Your influence on me is the driving force behind everything I do these days. The things you would have said regarding every topic enter my mind before my own opinions do and make my statements more powerful. William, you live on in my heart and mind, and will never truly die for as long as I’m alive to fulfill your legacy.


  1. That is one of the most powerful stories I have ever read! And sadly, I'm not surprised at the treatment you received in one of Indiana's small towns :(

  2. Thank you for taking the time to read this intimate story. I find it helps to know that others are aware of my grief.

  3. Sorry for your loss. I remember when this happend even though I was very young. My mother was murdered when I was 13 and justice was also never served. Me and my childhood best friend were both there when she was murdered. But nobody would listen to us and because her murderer soon to be ex husband was friend with our local law enforcement here in salem indiana and also the coroner. I would love to speak with u sometime if possibe.