Last Saturday I was at the car wash when I received a phone call that one of my best friends had died in his sleep the night before. We had been friends a long time, both coming from the same small hometown. Later in our lives, we learned we were both gay. Our friendship grew and although for the past few years, we did not see each other as often, when we did meet, it was like we had never parted.

I share this story as it was once again a lesson that life is brief, but more than that, we never ever know when we are seeing people for the last time. As LGBT folks, many of us know what being alone is all about. Sometimes our friends are much more connected to us than our blood kin. That is nothing unique to LGBT people, but I think we may possibly create our own families more than our straight counterparts.

I also share this as my temperament, my patience, my disposition is not always, shall we say, as pleasant as it should be. I could blame it on age or the pressures of life, but I recall years ago a friend gave me a door mat as a gift that stated, "Go Away." I need to do better. And maybe some of the folks reading this letter could take a look in the mirror, too.

There is more than enough bad stuff aimed at us from our enemies. We don't need to hurl any from inside our community. So, I am going to try and remember that every time I speak to someone, do I want that to be the impression that I leave them with...forever.

How about if we find ourselves ready to snap at somebody, that we close our mouths and take deep breaths? I'll let you know how that goes. It's new for me, too.

Best,

Bill Harrison

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