- Published: July 28, 2015
From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. “Go on up, you baldhead!” they said, “Go on up, you baldhead!” He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord.
Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.
And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.
— Second Kings. 2:23-25
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
— Matthew 5:4
In gay culture hairy men who are attracted to hairy men are called “bears.” I am a bear. One day I met CaBearLuvr in a chat room. Gay chat rooms are mostly filled with friendly banter and heavy doses of sexual innuendo. The following is a love story that resulted from a chance meeting in a chat room. It is a true story. I have changed very little of the actual words of our chat and our email. As you read it please make careful note of the dates and times. And at the end of this story make a simple vow: I will never ever delay saying, “I love you.”
Early Evening, September, 1999 … Labor Day
Orygun bear 2: How have you been, Todd?
CaBearLuvr: Been great, Dave. We both had the day off and went to the mountains with our dogs. How was your day?
Orygun bear 2: Good … a little chilly up north here, though … could use a couple of bears to keep me warm …
CaBearLuvr: How you been?? Was going to e-mail you last night then got busy looking for a traffic school on the internet and got all involved with that.
CaBearLuvr: Like to be there to keep you warm … in more ways than one.
Orygun bear 2: Are you needing to go to traffic school or teach at one?
CaBearLuvr: Jim’s all for heading north in November … be a little colder than might have to come up with a few more ways to keep you warm. Ha Ha
CaBearLuvr: Go to one – got a speeding ticket the other morning – don’t want it on my record as insurance goes up. Just found out last night that you can take the course on the web.
Orygun bear 2: November is perfect for being in front of a roaring fire and cuddling … then when the fire goes out you get creative …
CaBearLuvr: Sounds really hot! I’ll have to tell Jim he is a real fire cuddling kind of guy. We don’t have a fireplace, but sure wish we did.
CaBearLuvr: I don’t think we would get much done around the house if we did.
Orygun bear 2: California is not an ideal fireplace state … in Oregon everyone has one!
CaBearLuvr: Yeah, I know Colorado is great for fireplaces too. Jim is from Colorado, originally.
Orygun bear 2: Hey, I’m still waiting for those pics! Don’t give up on that noble project. I have to know what you look like to pick you up at the airport!
CaBearLuvr: Jim has time off the first part of November and I am trying to get some time then also. Hope it works out. Looks pretty good right now but I haven’t got full go ahead yet and I ain’t sending him alone.
Orygun bear 2: Well, I can understand that! Besides it’s my fantasy! … a fireman and a cop … in the words of Martin Luther … “Sin boldly!”
CaBearLuvr: I think we would sin very boldly.
CaBearLuvr: Saw in today’s paper where Jerry Falwell is meeting with 200 gay activists in October or November. That should be very interesting
Orygun bear 2: Yeah, Mel White is a great guy … his book, Stranger at the Gate, was a big help to me.
CaBearLuvr: Haven’t read it but then I don’t have much time to read. Have bought several books and they set on the shelf collecting dust. What a waste of money!
Orygun bear 2: If I were married to a cop I wouldn’t read either! I wouldn’t even read the newspaper or watch tv!
CaBearLuvr: Yeah, but you can only do it so many times in a day.
Orygun bear 2: If done right, once a day is enough!
CaBearLuvr: LOL You’ve got a great sense of humor. Stay that way Dave, wonderful trait.
Orygun bear 2: I hope you guys are serious about coming to Oregon … I would take you to Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood and we’d have the biggest fireplace in the joint!
Orygun bear 2: Don’t forget your uniforms!
CaBearLuvr: We are into leather but not S & M or BD. Oh, we’ll remember the uniforms. We usually take THEM WHEREVER WE GO.
CaBearLuvr: Oops! Hit the caps lock sorry … not yelling at you.
Orygun bear 2: k
CaBearLuvr: Hold on a minute Jim’s yelling out in the back yard about something.
CaBearLuvr: He just finished giving the dogs a bath the checked them for ticks. Katie, the female was rolling in the dirt. That’s the life!
CaBearLuvr: Thought it was a matter of life or death. He doesn’t get real upset over little things in life. Must be more tired than usual tonight.
Orygun bear 2: Tell Jim hello … I must be off soon … I have a dinner to go to tonite. Great talking to you … keep in touch — Dave
Orygun bear 2: And no more speeding tickets, young man!
CaBearLuvr: Yeah, Dave. Good talking to you, bud. We’ll keep you posted about our trip north. Have a good dinner talk again real soon! — Todd and Jim, Love ya
Date: Friday, September 24, 1999 5:57:22 PM
To: Orygun bear 2
I am sorry I haven’t communicated with you for a while. My life has been torn to shreds the past few days. Jim was killed in the line of duty on September 12th. He and his partner were answering a domestic violence call about 2 a.m. They were ambushed both were shot Rick his partner is still in the hospital on life support.
My world has come to a sudden stop after 12 years together. I don’t know what I am going to do. I am sure life will go on but right now I don’t know how or why.
Dave, I’ve got to sign off I am sitting her bawling like a baby. Seems like that’s all I do anymore. I am on leave from the fire department — don’t know if this is good or bad but they didn’t want me there for a while. I’ll probably go back at an administrative job for a while.
Dave, I’ll write you again soon.
Take care good buddy … Think of you often
Subj: My Deepest Thoughts and Prayers …
Date: Friday, September 24, 1999 10:47:00 PM
From: Orygun bear 2
Dear Todd, When you make friends on line you often just think of it as a lark. Passing the time. Occasionally I meet someone like you who has need of a deeper and more personal contact. Please be assured that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I have not shared with you my line of work. I am a minister. I am a gay minister in a congregation that is 30% gay and lesbian. The work of grief is one of the hardest things we go through and I won’t pretend to have anything that will lessen the pain other than that I am a real live caring person at the other end of this computer. There is a lot of bullshit that passes for conversation on the computer, but be certain that I want to be there for you in this time. E-Mail me, IM me, or phone day or night my home phone is (503) 639-6415. I will be moving at the end of October. But if you need to talk, cry or just be silent together I will try to be there for you. And if you are going to take a break and would like a place of retreat I would welcome you into my home in Oregon.
With Deepest Sympathy,
Subj: A Few More Thoughts …
Date: Saturday, September 25, 1999 8:52:40 PM
From: Orygun bear 2
Todd, You have been in my thoughts all evening. I wish that I were closer to embrace you and let you know that I care. It is so strange that I am mourning so deeply a man that I had never had the opportunity to meet. But I remember the day you returned from the mountains around Labor Day … you had taken the dogs hiking Jim was giving the dog a bath and had called from the yard while we were on line. It was like I could hear his voice. It was like in that brief moment I had become a part of both of your lives.
We all handle grief in our different ways. I will respect and honor what you need to do to get through them. But I am here if you need to talk. Please feel free to call me at any time day or night. I do not need anything from this relationship other than to be a caring friend. I have no idea of your spiritual roots or background and that makes no difference to me. What does make a difference is that you are surrounded by people who care for you and love you. Please count me among those friends.
Love, Dave Jenkins
Date: Sunday, September 26, 1999 11:42:41 PM
From: Orygun bear 2
Dave: I just want to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for your love and support. We are having Jim’s celebration of life tomorrow morning. It will be a very small gathering of close friends Jim’s folks. and our kids Katie and Winston (the Dalmatians). It will be at a private beach in north San Diego County where Jim and I first met, exchanged vows between the two of us and gave each other a ring of eternal love.
Jim’s folks just got here Friday, They were in Australia on vacation. They are upset with me because Jim was cremated. This was our wish, that when we died we would be cremated and our ashes scattered together in the mountains east of San Diego. Actually Jim’s folks and I get along very well. They accepted his homosexuality and our lifetime partnership very well after a couple of years of adjustment. They think of me as a son in law – in fact Mom Jean was telling me today that I was a much better son-in-law law than her daughter husband. Jim’s sister is a real bitch.
I really shouldn’t say that, but she is. She thinks that Jim’s gayness was his desire and he could change if he wanted. She doesn’t even acknowledge that I exist. She won’t be here tomorrow – She and Jim’s folks live on the East coast and she can’t be bothered to come to her only siblings funeral. She says a celebration of life is not a funeral and to have it on the beach is an outrage. Oh well, it will be her loss and if she hasn’t already kissed him off it will be up to her to find a way to close this chapter in her life.
Dave, it’s going to take me a long time to close this chapter of my life. I can’t imagine not having Jim here to help me through my rough days at work, help with the yard, the dogs etc.
The poor dogs are going crazy. They don’t understand why Daddy Jim doesn’t come home. His schedule was so much more set than mine. He was home part of every day where as I was gone for 24 hour stretches at a time. They set at the door waiting for him to come home. I wish that I could explain it to him. It breaks my heart t see them waiting, waiting, waiting.
Dave, after things calm down, I want to call and talk to you in person. So that I can say thank you for your wonderful love, caring prayers and support. Celebration of life tomorrow, Jim’s folks leave Friday morning and like I told you, if I can get my thoughts together I’ll try calling you around Friday 4:00 pm or so.
Dave, I could rattle on all night, pouring out my heart and soul to you but Jean (Jim’s mom) wants to talk so I must ring off.
Dave, thank you again for you love and support.