Remembering Craig Lundwall


Every year on this day I post a memorial to my friend Craig Lundwall to remember him and the day he took his life.

Every year, I receive lovely comments in which good and kind bloggers offer me their sympathy for the loss of my friend.  I am grateful for all this warmth and kindness. 

But it isn’t about me and my loss of a fabulous, kind, warm, generous, loving friend.  It is about my friend.

Every year since his passing in 2001, I have failed in my memorial post because it has ultimately been about me, not my friend.

I appreciate the sympathy, the kindness.  But it’s about my friend, Craig Allen Lundwall.  So I am going to try to get it right this time.  Please stay with me.

Craig was gay.  He came out in the late 80s, when he was in college.  It was big for him to say it out loud, and I was there for that.  But it made no difference to me. I knew.  We had known each other since the 8th grade, when we were in confirmation class together at the United Methodist Church in Danbury.  I had a crush on him then because he was friendly and warm and funny.  It was a nice crush; it didn’t expect anything.  I was just glad when Craig was around.  His coming out was another stage in our friendship.  He was who he was, and it was great he could and would say so around me.

We became close friends in high school.  He dated a girl who was a friend of mine, and pleasing her became his heroic quest.  I remember his working part-time at a department store to buy her a pearl ring.  He saved enough by Christmas to make a gift of it to her.  She was thrilled, in love.

But eventually the truth caught up with him.  He was gay.  For years upon years she would tell him she loved him “even though” he was gay.  And she never forgot the ring, which she kept, and the way he gave it to her on bended knee at Christmastime… 

She loved him even though was gay.

This broke his heart, and we talked about it often.  Because, actually, the arrogance of this qualified love infuriated him as much as it hurt him.  The “even though” told him he was not lovable as he was, that love was a highly qualified gift.  It was a love that passed judgment.  Such love assumes a superior position, a right to judge.

Such a right leaves open the question, “How about I judge you  now?”

But the sanctimonious never worry about this.  Besides, the question never comes up because being gay somehow shuts you out of the conversation.  Hence, you’re lucky to be loved at all.  You end up shutting up and shutting down and accepting whatever love comes your way.

That was life in 2001.  Maybe it’s different now.  I don’t know.  I’m not gay.  But I do know what it’s like to deal with total ass holes who assume the right to determine who is worthy of love and who is not. 

And that’s the thing about remembering Craig Lundwall today and Wednesday, April 10 (It’s not clear which day he died after he overdosed.).  Be quiet and be kind.  You can’t know which soul rests in your hand, but you can know how and why it is so important that your hand be open and stay that way.  You hold the power of death over life. 

May life prevail.  Stay quiet.  Stay open.

Please click here  to support the Craig Allen Lundwall memorial scholarship.)

Comments

  1. I am so deeply moved by your post/memorial for your friend, Craig. I do understand and I do care and I will support his memorial scholarship. Thank you for sharing this today, Sandy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Words are such sticky and slippery things, aren't they? As a parent I have wondered what I would say to my children if they were gay.

    "I love you even though you are gay."

    "You are gay but I still love you."

    "I love you, no matter what."

    All have an addendum. My kids could never lose my love and there will never be an addendum.

    After thinking I decided to put the cart before the horse which works in this situation and in this time when coming out is still a hard thing to do. I have told them that I love them no matter what and if they are gay they will never lose my love.

    And of course you, dear one, the one left behind to ponder and wonder what if, I send my love. I had a friend committed suicide in 1988 and I still wonder what life would have been like for him if he had just held on a little longer. I miss him.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sandy, it looks like we have both written tributes to people we love this week! This was well written and well said. It sounds like you were blessed to have him in your life.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have a few gay friends. I have known a couple of them since my early teens (over 40 years ago) Now 40 years ago, it was NOT okay to be gay. But alas, 40 years later I still wonder...why is it not okay to be gay? But more importantly I say "Who has the right to judge"?!! Gay, straight, rich poor, black, white, male, female, young, old, etc ... when somone hurts so badly that the only relief for their pain is suicide, it speaks loudly of the failures of humans to be kind and supportive to one another.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I would say you have been very successful in your tribute to Craig. Wonderful and a loving memory. I am sorry he couldn't continue his journey here; but chose to go to his new life.
    Hugging you
    SueAnn

    ReplyDelete
  6. I was once a ballet dancer and met several gay men there. It was a shock to me as a naive teenager but I found them to be wonderful sensitive friends. We can not judge others, that is not our role in life. Many who are not gay also commit suicide when life's pressures get to be too much for them. We just need to treat others all of them as we want to be treated with unconditional love...

    ReplyDelete
  7. the love and respect you still carry for him is testament to his sweet character. bless him...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very well said. You do not fail by being a grieving friend. May w all be so well remembered

    Aloha

    ReplyDelete
  9. You have posted a great tribute to a good man. I wish people would read it who don't understand that people are who they are and that real love -- and real friendship -- is unconditional.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think Tex said it best. Your continued love and admiration for Craig is so indicative of the fine person he was.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for being here.