George
July 8, 1958 February 17, 1993


George and his dog Limbo


one of my favorite pictures of George



U N C H A I N E D

Love


eternal nights passed
dreaming dark
waiting as bride bidden
for the moment when screaming soul settles
in blissful silence

searching for eyes which would
with loving gaze
embrace me as no other
in silence I cried
raged wept whispered prayed
"RELEASE" and the freedom to soar!

tedious amounts of time taken seeking
waiting for wings

effort exhalations
pulling as once you pushed

frail I reach
grasping my way towards life
struggling out of human bonds
birthing upward
rising release I
Fly

at last.


by Gaylen Hoyle
(written by a friend of my mother's for my brother George after his death from AIDS in 1993)






(The photos at the top of the page are George and his dog Limbo at his home in Manhattan around 1989 and another of him in a restaurant, sometime in the late 1980's.)


George in Austin


My mom's favorite photo of George, in her front yard in Austin in the early 1980's


Susan, Michael, George, and Victoria

My sister Susan, son Michael, brother George and me in his back yard in Manhattan in 1985


George in Manhattan


George in his back yard in Manhattan in 1990




Another of my mom's favorite photos, George at Vanderbilt in the late 1970's





"Ordinary World" by Duran Duran



The song "Ordinary World" I heard for the first time on February 17, 1993 as I was driving home from work. The song made me cry, thinking of how George told me he had seen his reflection in a store window downtown not long after he first became ill and had not even recognized himself as the gaunt reflection staring back at him. I found myself unable to stop crying, wishing once again his passing would come quickly, that he would somehow be back in an "ordinary world" that he once again recognized. I walked in the door of my house to find a message to call the hospital in NY. George was gone, dying minutes before I heard the song...





ORDINARY WORLD


Came in from a rainy Thursday
on the avenue
thought I heard you talking softly

I turned on the lights, the TV
and the radio
still I can't escape the ghost of you

What has happened to it all?
Crazy, some'd say
Where is the life that I recognize?
gone away

But I won't cry for yesterday
there's an ordinary world
Somehow I have to find
and as I try to make my way
to the ordinary world
I will learn to survive

Passion or coincidence
once prompted you to say
"Pride will tear us both apart"
Well now pride's gone out the window
cross the rooftops
run away
left me in the vacuum of my heart

What is happening to me?
Crazy, some'd say
Where is my friend when I need you most?
Gone away

but I won't cry for yesterday
there's an ordinary world
somehow I have to find

and as I try to make my way
to the ordinary world
I will learn to survive

Papers in the roadside
tell of suffering and greed
here today, forgot tomorrow
ooh, here besides the news

of holy war and holy need
ours is just a little sorrowed talk

And I don't cry for yesterday
there's an ordinary world
Somehow I have to find

and as I try to make my way
to the ordinary world
I will learn to survive

Every one
is my world, I will learn to survive
Any one
is my world, I will learn to survive
Any one
is my world
Every one
is my world





A LETTER FROM MY MOTHER


Hi George,

We know your arms were open and waiting for an eager Angel who always gave you the same "wet kisses" as Limbo. Enjoy watching Limbo, Angel, and Chili romp together, and throw a bone back to Savannah and a kiss and hug for your big sister, Vicki, or "Bicky" as you called her when she was trying to wipe your tears.

You remain in our hearts, souls, and spirit...


Love,
Mom, Victoria, and Susan
November, 1999




RECLAIMING CELEBRATION FOR GEORGE


In celebration of your life rather than your death
When nights seemed at an impasse,
And the days were surreal
Waiting for the unpredictable but predictable death.

When Paula comforted you in your coma holding you
As you struggled all night without oxygen
And sent your big sister "Bicky" a dream
"They think I'm dying, but I'm just fooling them."

Your friend Warren struggled in his own bed space
Using his architectural training for pretend windows
For the two of you to escape the albatross of AIDS
To fling it off using the albatross' wings for Paris.

All of your friends sighed relief from pain's curse
Sharing Helena's "very best from Bloomingdale's"
And laughing aloud at photos of little sister Susie,
And you in a tutu...the memorial...the Miracle House.

Your life was never wasted because you left behind
Every person you charmed in every foreign country.
And on an inky New Orleans' night helping a stranger
Load her bag onto a bus, only to look up into her face and gasp, "Mom!"


Written by your mother, Moe, on February 17, 2001, the eighth anniversary of George leaving that mom and the rest of his beloved family, with love forever from us all until we meet again in Paris under the Eiffel Tower.





I always try to think of this day as your birthday in a much better place, but I miss you more than you will ever know...our magical Christmas holidays in New York...talking to you every Saturday morning...howling with laughter...you were the only person that ever had exactly the same wicked sense of humor as mine...and you never misunderstood me or my intentions.  There are soul mates in our life other than lovers...and you were unquestionably one of mine.

I have your ashes back now...on a special shelf in my bedroom surrounded by Limbo's and Angel's ashes...I see them every night before I go to sleep and every morning when I wake up...and I still miss you every day.  In a decade or so, Savannah's ashes (Angel's "sister", whom you never met) will be joining them.  I have told Michael that when I go to take everyone's ashes (including mine) and scatter them someplace so he won't have to add an extra room to his house for all the ashes, as I'm sure there will be quite a collection by that time!  I haven't decided where yet, but I promise you I'll find the perfect spot for all of us.

I'll bring the yellow roses...and we'll laughingly scatter the fragrant petals across Paris...running through flowered fields of unimaginable beauty with Limbo, Angel, and all our loved ones throughout eternity.  However, still being your bossy big sister "Bicky", I insist we spend at least half our time in Rome and perhaps some in Athens...I was never terribly fond of Paris...  ;-)

Love,
Victoria
February, 2001





Dear Butch,

Not forgetting as a grown-up you liked to be called George.

If we had been lucky enough to have you on this side of Earth, you would be 50 on your next birthday on July 8. You were born in 1958 and inevitably would have suffered the fate of the rest of us and proclaimed, perhaps, "Surely I could not be a half century old!".

Not so lucky for me, Vicki, and Susie, and all your friends who loved you. Tomorrow, fifteen years ago, on February 17, 1993, we were robbed by AIDS of the pleasure of your company. Sometimes it was the pain as well.

You struggled long and hard to beat the disease and Warren along with you. Unfortunately, the drugs which save people now had not been perfected.

We remain very sad about that, but would never bring you back to suffer as you did during those many months.
_________________________________________________________________________

In your honor and wanting not to look back, but to look forward, I offer these words from Victor's letter:

"Oh well, I get some comfort out of the notion that George has teamed up with my brother and Limbo and have ring-side seats on my life's absurdities!! If it amused them, then may my absurdities live long and prosper."
_________________________________________________________________________

And from my childhood friend, Pat Thurman-Norman, who sent us this tiny wooden plate in an effort to comfort us:

"EVERY TIME A BELL RINGS, AN ANGEL GETS ITS WINGS."
_________________________________________________________________________

From my perspective, five things for which I am grateful about you:

1. I am thankful for being able to watch you grow from a tiny baby, watching Vicki "probe and poke you to be sure you were real" the day you were brought home from the hospital, and into a grown man.

2. I am thankful for the gift of the signed book and prints you found and proudly gave me from Sister Corita called "Damned Everything but the Circus", which I still cherish and look at daily, and that you thought about me and sent them to me.

3. I am thankful for your keen mind as a tiny little guy, navigating Vicki, me, and Susie in Amsterdam to find Janet Fox, who was in disbelief you could do that, and I always remained amazed at your brilliant mind and sensitivity until the end of your life.

4. I am thankful for the quiet times I spent with you in NYC, reading the newspaper, going around the neighborhood corner for bread and cheese, and for the pleasure I saw in you being able to live there, to travel, and to have such good relationships as an adult.

5. I am thankful you were my son, and I will never forget running into you in New Orleans in the dark, having this strange young man approach the bus, offer to lift my bag into the belly, only to discover it was you, and that we had spent the time there together only to be reunited as we left and talked into the night.

This is how I envision reuniting with you on the other side.

I invite you into my dreams more often on this side
_________________________________________________________________________

I will love you with all my heart, soul, and mind forever,

Mom
February, 2008






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