Sunday, January 25, 2009

In memoriam: Douggie F

Doug on left, Jeff on right, at a fundraiser for the YWCA Breast Cancer Project hosted by Kristy in ... February, 2007? at Bullfishes'. It was snowing and nasty and one of those "roads are made of ice days" here in Cincinnati. They drove over an hour and a half (they only lived in Hamilton), braving the roads, to make it down. Those are they kind of people you know you are lucky to have in your life.

I'm not good with feelings. I think that should be clear to most people in the world, so it's hard for me to express situations and emotions, especially when I don't know how I feel either.

Doug F. passed away this morning. I know this doesn't mean much to a lot of people who read my blog, but there's value in understanding and processing and just writing it out.

I didn't know Doug as well as I knew his partner, Jeff. Jeffery and I were close... girlfriends, really, though I always feel, as I do with most people I meet in my life, that I could be closer to him than I am. I could always be closer to people, we all could, I suppose, be closer. Geographically, emotionally... whatever. We could always mean more to other people, and people could always mean more to us. But that's beside the point because we rarely, if ever, really think that it's necessary at that moment to be closer to someone. There's always tomorrow.

There's always another drink. There's always another night out. There's always another time to move closer.

So I could be closer to Jeffery. And, of course, the corollary is that I could have been closer to Doug. It struck me as strange, when I was talking to friends, that I didn't even know Doug's last name. To us, he was always "Douggie F," or just "Jeffery's partner, Doug." In fact, I didn't know nearly as much about Douggie F as I could have. When I would see him -- which was rarer than I saw Jeff -- I would hug him, give him a kiss, call him darling, and feel genuinely blessed to have been in his presence. I did, I swear, feel blessed.

But Jeffery was always there, and I loved Doug because I love Jeffery. And I knew that they loved each other.

In my life, where the concept of love and being in love with someone is far and distant, theirs was a life and a situation that I appreciated. Jeff and I would get drunk together, check out boys, be crazy bitches, have a great time... and I knew that Jeff would go home to the love of his life.

And that meant something, to me.

I didn't know Douggie F as well I should have, but I'm not upset about that. Because I knew him enough to know that he was special, and that he was this amazing person that my good friend loved.

In a world of Facebook and Twitter and blogs and texting, when online drunken conversations often are mistaken for real human interactions, and when making out with a boy at a bar is equitable to a relationship, that kind of emotional proximity is enough to miss him. Knowing that Jeff is hurting, knowing how much they meant to each other, knowing the days Jeff spent in the hospital and waiting and watching and hoping, and knowing that Doug mattered to someone is enough for me to feel the loss and to genuinely be upset about it.

Jeff doesn't know this, but I had a spy on his floor who updated me on Doug's status occasionally. I was too busy, I told him and myself, to go up and visit. I was too busy and there were other things I needed to do, but I'm not blaming myself and I'm not upset about the fact that I didn't go see him because I knew about Doug much the same way I did throughout our relationship... through other people. And, besides, Jeff's always positive demeanor made me believe that there would be another drink, another night out, another time to hug Doug, kiss his cheek and call him darling, and to feel blessed that he was there, again.

Except that won't happen this time, and that's hard for me to process.

Now, as the funeral arrangements are being made and Jeff is putting up with family (at church this morning, "those Baptists," he said with guffaw, making a light joke much as I would expect Jeff to do), I'm learning about Doug. I know his last name now. And, though I never visited their house despite multiple invitations, I know where they live now. I looked it up on Google Maps.

And so even now, I'm interacting with his passing much the same way I interacted with his living.

I don't wish for more, and I'm not crying that I didn't get to know him better. Life is what it is, and our interactions happen whether for good or for bad and to place some sort of judgment or qualification on the relative goodness or badness of our time together undermines his life and produces nothing more than vain emotions and botched memories. Doug knew that I loved him because he was my girlfriend's partner. He knew that he was important to me because he was important to Jeff. Even though I didn't know his last name, I knew enough about him to know that this person is special and he matters.

In an age of Facebook and Twitter and texting and where a drunken online conversation is often mistaken for real human interaction... it was enough to know there is love, and there is hope, and there was him.

Doug, we rarely talked, and we didn't know each other, but I wanted to say goodbye in the best way I know how, in the only way I know how, and let you know that you mattered to me. Thank you for the time you spent here, thank you for the love you gave, thank you for having blessed me and us with the time you had.

I will miss you.

And don't worry, we'll take care of Jeff, in the best way we know how.... I'll buy him a drink and toast your life. It's the best thing I know to do. 

I hope it's enough.

What I do know, though, is that Doug's and Jeff's family were fierce advocates and avid fundraisers for breast cancer charities. I know you don't know Jeff or Doug, most of you, at least, but I would ask that, if you have a few minutes, or have a free day, that you take the time to volunteer or donate to the Breast Cancer Alliance of Greater Cincinnati. I've not been asked to do this, and I expect there will be a charity announced when the funeral arrangements are made, and I will re-update that, as well. But, for now, if you happen to be stopping in and the moment moves you, take a moment to donate and make sure you make it in honor of Doug Feld and Jeffery Dalton. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

I was Douggie F's roommate in college though we just called him Doug. We lost touch a few years after graduation and the last time I saw him was '99 or 2000. I found out he died today and came home and goggled his name and came upon your article.

We had five guys in a house. One strictly religious, three military ROTC, and Doug. If he knew he was gay then, he didn't let on to us. I wish he had.

I met Doug freshman year of college at the University of Dayton. He was a 'Heart' fan as was I. We got along, not best friends but we got along. We moved into the same house the next year, then had an apartment together for a year after college. Not best friends but we lived together for five years.

When I heard he died I immediately missed him. He was a good guy and he will be missed by all who ever knew him. Even those of us who haven't seen or talked to him in almost 10 years.

I wish I had known he was gay. Maybe I could have gotten to know him better if he'd known I'd accept him for who he was.

I envy his close friends of today who did know him. I cannot imagine his partner's loss.

Doug's passing today will mean much to many people you cannot imagine.

On my way home tonight "Magic Man" came on 92.5 and I smiled and cried a little. When I met Doug in Stewart Hall, Floor 3 South, UD, 1987, he was listening to Heart on his 'cassette' player and I went down the hall to ask if I could 'dup' it.

Bye Doug.

Dan Jansen
3 South, 1987-88
346 Wyoming St 1988-92
Firwood Apts 1992-93

Barry Floore said...

Thank you so much for posting this, Dan. It was touching, heart felt, and moving.

I didn't know I was outing Doug :-). But I'm really glad you wrote.

Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Doug was very special to many people. Words cannot describe how much I will miss him. He was my Doogie. And in his honor, I'm going out to buy the new He-Man DVD.

Anonymous said...

Me and Doug worked together and we always made each other laugh, we would always impersonate "IKE and Tina Turner" I will truely miss him..He is truely in a


Anonymous said...

I use to work with Doug, and we would often go out to lunch together, laughing and cracking each other up. Those were great times.

Whenever I had a problem, I would walk over to Doug’s cubicle, and he would patiently listen to my drama. Doug was one of the few truly nice people in this world. I will miss him terribly.

Anonymous said...

I work with Doug's partner Jeff.. He has been very much the "trooper" through all of this. He was always upbeat at work, giving the impression that all was right in his world and that this was just a minor setback... I just hope that he knows that even though some of us didn't actually know Doug, we knew him through Jeff and Jeff's love for him and that we'll be here if he needs anything.

Anonymous said...

There are no words to express how deeply Doug will be missed. Doug and I traded recipes at work. So for you Doug, tonight I will make your tuna crescent rolls!
I will never forget you-I promise.

Anonymous said...

Jeff is my dear, sweet brother and I love him very much. I remember when he brought Doug into our lives so many years ago, and I was astounded by his innocence when compared to my "not so shy" family. He was always amazed as our casual, open-ended conversations, and I can't count the times he would chuckle at the topic we discussed at the round table in my mother's kitchen.

I remember so many things about Doug, but the one memory that I will hold closest to my heart is his genuine love for my brother. His pure heart and deep love for Jeff pulled him from an ugly place and saved him from the influences of a destructive past relationship.

We weren’t always easy on Doug, and I believe very many of us got a real “kick” out of his innocent spirit. However, we all loved him dearly and will continue to do so through all our years. He will not be forgotten, and I believe I owe him a great debt that can never be repaid.

Forever Yours,


Dan said...

I'll miss Doug and it has only been later in life we have gotten to be friends rather than just cousins. My sincere best to Jeff, his family and Doug's entire family. Hopefully they know that I am here for them as is my entire family.

Anonymous said...

It’s taken me a couple of days to find the right words to say about my beloved friend Doug. I met Doug through Jeff almost 9 years ago. We were friends before we were co-workers and I’m really going to miss him. He was so like a brother to me, him and Jeff both. So many memories have came rushing back since I said my good bye on Friday, and ones I even forgot about until I started talking to my mother. Like the time I almost pushed Doug over the rope at the Middletown haunted trail cause a man dressed as a werewolf came up behind me (I still feel horrible about that), or our karaoke escapade at the redneck bar in Hamilton. He so did not want to get up and sing with me, but he did anyway. I’m going to miss our Halloween shopping trips, our haunted house excursions and all the random conversations we used to have we when drove with each other to work. I will keep these memories with me always, but most of all I will miss my friend. My heart goes out to Jeff and Doug’s family and all those friends that miss Doug as much as I do.

Shannon W.

Anonymous said...

I'm Doug's middle niece Robyn. It's taken me many days to even think of the right things to say about Doug,and i realized that Doug's personality can't be summed up. He was always the uncle that you could tell anything to and he would know exactly what to say and he was always the one who was open about everything you did.Even though I wasn't old enough to go out with Doug and Jeff when they would go to the bars or whatever, I know that doug always had something special with me. From helping me with my math homework to taking on my dad in a game. Doug always had a positive outlook on life.

Over the past couple of months, Doug was so strong and proved that to each one of us. I can remember the first time I went to visit him while he was in the hopital, it wasn't the person i grew up with. But as he got stronger over the months the old doug came back out, his joking with my dad about the better person or just talking about sports. Doug always listened.

My uncle is forever in my heart and will always be by my side. we will miss him dearly, but we know now that he is in a better place and out of pain.

Over the past couple of months i have asked myself why God would do something like this to a person who never would harm a soul, but the more i thought about this one thing stuck out in my mind. God doesn't give people more than they can handle and that he felt Doug could deal with this. God has a funny way showing us that he is there, but with Doug now in heaven I know that he is always looking down on each person in my family and all of our friends as our guardian angle.

Doug, forever missed but never forgotten.

I love you Doug.

And remember, It's not Goodbye, just see you later.