Martin James Connolly died on 2nd April 2004 at the Palace Clinic in Monterey, Mexico. He would have been twenty-two years old the following day. John Beresford was his best friend and his partner, he was at his bedside (note: their surnames have been changed to protect their privacy).
I met John in 2006 at a gay men’s health and spirit retreat. During the week long event we became good friends and it was over this period that John talked to me about Martin and the many dreams he had had following the tragic accident that led to Martin’s death. I simply listened and at the same time made some notes about the dreams he described, I never tried to interpret them, only to record what he told me. His dreams were about their vacation together, the trip across the desert, the time they spent together on the coast and in the mountains. There was also an element concerning his childhood, it was fairly obvious from what John recounted that something happened in his early life. I think that I managed to reflect that in what I wrote, but the essential purpose of our time together was to help him come to terms with his loss.
Like with almost any dreams, things get mixed up or take on different meanings. John told me how often in the dreams he was no longer himself, but became Dr Fernandez, Jabez as he was known by everyone. He recounted their meeting with an old Indian and their mescaline trips in a cabin at the foot of the mountains. I listened without making any judgement, I just thought to myself it’s a folly of youth, experimenting with drugs. He explained how Martin and he had talked about getting married and having a family and that they would donate their sperm to have a child together. It seemed as if in the telling of everything to someone, a huge load was being lifted from his shoulders, a weight he had been carrying around since Martin’s death.
He went over the history of Martin’s childhood, how he had discovered he was gay with his best friend Demitri when he was around nine years old, before he even knew what ‘gay’ was. He told me how the two of them met and fell in love, their time together, the holiday in Mexico and the tragic accident that ended it all. That was the hardest part to tell. It was towards evening when they found themselves lost on a road with a lot of trucks near some mining area. Martin had taken off his seat belt to reach over to get the map from the back seat when they hit or got hit by one of those trucks.
I wrote John’s dreams, my interpretation of them, as a personal recording of our conversations together, to give to John as perhaps an aid to surmounting his grief. The story was never intended to be published, that was John’s idea. His recurring dreams ended after that week’s retreat, I hope our talks together helped that happen.
If you believe in dreams then you can believe that life goes on even with tragedy and even after death. You have to allow for some ‘poetic licence’ in the story I wrote, although it is for the most part taken directly from my notes. Only the final chapter is my interpretation of saying goodbye, what John described to me was that he saw Martin in his dream walking away, turning to him and smiling.
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