I am grieving tonight.
This evening, I attended the viewing of an acquaintance of mine. This man was one half of a couple I have known for quite some time. He was too young to die--well, he was 60 but that is too young.
He had lived for more than 30 years with a debilitating illness--multiple sclerosis. But even so, his death was unexpected. I didn't even know he was sick enough to be facing death. But for my husband happening by chance to read the obituary in our local paper, I would have missed the news altogether.
But it is not his death that has me grieving. I am privileged to consider this man's partner a dear friend of mine. And that is why I am grieving--perhaps you guessed it. This couple happen to be a gay couple. The particular cause of my grieving is that when the man died, he was in the hospital. And his partner of more than 30 years was not immediately allowed to see his "significant other" until after five hours had passed.
My friend told me in so many terms--"because I wasn't family, I was not allowed to see him immediately."
A simple matter of fairness. If you are reading this, and you are married, when you die or when your spouse dies, you will be allowed to see your departed loved one. Why? Because you are married.
Why couldn't my friend see his partner? Because he wasn't married. Why wasn't he married? Well, you know the answer.
What a cruel inequity our society imposes on people such as my friend. And it grieves me.