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bereavement pandemic

Many of us older ( more mature ) LGBTQ have experience living through a pandemic already where fear and death went hand in hand. This was in the 1980's. It seemed to come from out of thin air and swept through the gay community like a sunami - where death rode in on a charger and took no prisoners.

In the beginning it centred itself around the gay community and almost a generation of young men were wiped out either by the disease itself or some years later through the drug companies trying out new medications such as AZT in MASSIVE quantities - to figure out what dosage to use and so humans were the guinea pigs and thosands were killed with medical poisoning, and it took some years before the authorities, governments and pharmacy companies to get their act together - invest millions and try and help.

The gay plague. Aids was ignored by many for a very long time as it did not affect their community and too much bogotry and fear meant many stayed clear of LGBT completely and allowed Aids to run ammock.

The gay community either turned in on itself in a destructive hompophobic - resentful manner which included some within the gay media - or it bounced out and supported, helped and nurtured a community is dire grief and fear, and many rose to the top as heroes while others floundered and sank as unhelpful unsupportive asssholes, and let's face it, all communities have those who do nothing but make the most noise while those who are helping, just get on with it and do what is needed. No fanfare.

It took a lot of fighting against homophobia and bigotry before anything was done and it took years before various medications were found to help and to ease but never to eradicate the problem - and Aids still has no vaccine despite Donald Trump declaring the USA will have a vaccine for Covid 19 within the year - a task that billions of $ and £ have been lavishly spent on Aids globally - and somehow a vaccine for Covid 19 could be here so soon ???

Delusional. Donald Trump is clearly delusional.

Living in San Francisco at the time Aids hit the gay scene and people became aware, the atmopshere changed dramatically from a fun fair party every day - to empty bars and clubs and empty streets - where one can almost imagine Tumble Weed blowing through the streets of San Francoisco as fear ruled the day. We knew nothing about how it was caught or transmitted and many within the LGBT scene went into panic mode through fear. Our lifestyle - our hedonistic lifestyle was the very cause of the pandemics spread and our own actions had to drastically alter - to save lives - to save a community and to save humanity as it spread into the straight world initially through drug users and the bisexual community. California State closed all the gay bath houses where sex was available freely 24/7 and where one friend bragged about going 5 nights a week and getting fucked at least 30 - 50 times a night.... with no protection as people didn't back then, and he was one of the first of my friends to die before his time... or so some would say. Richard Dawson was only late 40's and was a mega hot body uil;der fit as a fiddle and to see him fade quickly away within a few months was tragic - but woke many within the LGBT community up as to the seriousness of it all, and we got use to living a doifferent lifestyle becaiuse of this pandemic and it became routine - Safe Sex - Wear a condom - Have regular check ups etc.

Life changed HUGELY for many.

Here we are again and this time it is global. This time ever man women and child has experience of being months in LockDown / Quarantine and where the planet has seen mass death thrugh Spannish Flu etc. in the past with multi millions dying - or the simple Mosquito has killed multi millions over the years, but as a global shut down - as a global pandemic - other than a world war, nothing has so affected 7 billion people or more - all at once - all together - all for the same reason. Fear grips the planet and the aura of everything has changed and there is so much fear and anger out there - it saddens me. Now maybe all those homopbobes who screamed at gay men back in the '80's might now shut the fuck up and realise the seriousness and fear involved and be a little nicer to others - as we are all in this - this time - together.

Bereavement is often shown in different ways and takes time for each of us to get over. Some turn their grief into anger - and blame the doctors, nurses, care workers and some time even their innocent friends who have done so much to support and offer help and suddenly they are turned into the Anti Christ and the bereaved betrays all that help and support with nastiness and anger which is misdirected and the wrong people get hurt. Friends then turn away and the beraved feels betrayed and abandoned by those they need - but by being cunt towards them, they have given up and as they do not need abuse aftyer helping, will leave the bereaved to ' get on with it ' and there are no winners here. Being in bereavement DOES NOT give you permission to abuse others. It does NOT allow you to grab all the attention and all the fuss and all the ' poor me ' all the time and it also DOES NOT mean you are right in doing so.

There are generally 5 stages to going through the process of grief - and some will not go through every stage. Others will go through them in a different order. But the five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – provide a format for us to better understand the grief process. The third stage, bargaining, follows the anger stage very naturally. Some may even get stuck in one stage and bnever get over the anger or depression and this self inflicted mental health slows growth, destroys other relationships and helps no one. Death is a natural occurance and should not destroy the living from getting on and living life. As the expression says - ' We are a long time dead.'

One friend I had offered nothing but support and friendship to, turned on me after they suffered a close family loss and I indeed became the enemy - which hurt as I fought to keep a healthy environment and a way forward while suffering myself - and while this was totally disrespected and undervalued - I never gave up and inside it hurt being the baddy all the time when I knew - inside - that I was not. Eventually he saw the light and ' came round' and we rescued the friendship but often, something likke this, can destory. Many are going bonkers just being shut up. many need to BE told to damned well behave. Many, simply, it seems,. do not get how important this all is or how we all need to play our part. This is not A Shakesperean play - this is not a drama - this is real life - time to leave any life drama you have back in the closet as we simply do not have time for petty stuff any more. We do not have time for self centres attitudes and globally we doi not have time for those who want toi make things worse.

Time to pull together as we did in the 80's but seem to have lost that connection of community.

John Bellamy


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