If you were to look at the family photographs from my mom’s collection (now in Corey’s possession) you probably would not find a huge amount of photos of Patrick. He hated having his picture taken. There are probably at least four times as many photos of Corey and me – the camera hams of the family.
It seems like at least half the photos we have of Corey, he appears to be wearing these stupid gold sleepers. Corey was always sick – or at least it seemed he was. My mom had bought a boatload of sleepers in assorted sizes – though they were all the same color and all for Corey.
Until his tonsils were removed, not a year went by that he didn’t stay home from school with a case of tonsillitis. I think he may have gone an entire school year without staying home from school with some kind of illness. But every year after that he would miss out because he was physically sick.
Corey was skinny for so much of his youth – we had believed that his health and his weight might have been due to being premature. The sicknesses continued through high school, college, and work – it continued. He told me that he was always sick while preforming at a local theatre not far from our house in Midvale, Utah. I do remember one time in particular when he was playing a villain in a show.
He’d gone to the theatre with absolutely no voice. He did go on stage while somebody read the lines as he mouthed the words. It may have been more disastrous that his mouth movements and words were not in sync, but a very talented actress on stage was able to cover it up with telling him that he was so evil that his words weren’t in perfect timing with what was being said (or something to that effect).
Though I have raved about having awesome health and being able to breathe, I developed another sinus infection about two weeks before Corey arrived in Oregon for a visit. It was not the worse sinus infection I’ve ever had. In fact, of all the sinus infections I’ve ever had, it has been the least painful.
However the medication has seemed slower at fixing me – and my breathing has sounded exactly the way it had in Salt Lake. Gosh darn. Roland kept reminding me that I needed to become well before my brother came – not only didn’t I want to make a liar out of myself – but Corey has always been so receptacle to any kind of germ.
He would seriously get sick while watching documentaries about sick people. And it wasn’t because he was a hypochondriac. It was because he was closeted. I had actually never made that connection before until he mentioned it the other day.
For more than half of his life Corey had been dealing with the issue of same sex attraction. He liked guys and fantasized about guys in the same manner that his peers fantasized about and liked girls and woman. Corey had been conditioned that there was something wrong with his perception. Thus Corey could never admit to anybody how he felt. It was an embarrassing secret – one he tried to pray away, one he tried to shake off, one he tried to ignore, one he did feel ashamed of because he’d been conditioned to.
All that pain, all that sadness, all that fear, all those daily battles within himself, all that constant fighting to change his perception, all of that turmoil and struggle had to come out. Bottling it all up had contributed to his becoming physically sick. He told me that after he came out, he didn’t get physically ill all of the time. He doesn’t get sick. He can actually be around sick people now.
His health has been like a metaphor of his life. When he kept it all in he felt sad, ashamed, angry, beaten and physically ill. Now that he’s come out he has experience happiness, confidence, responsible, controlled. Corey is one of my greatest friends. His coming out has made for a more solid relationship. Each of us is comfortable with one another and don’t hold back any “secrets” we may have. And that just makes us stronger.