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.)