The first one to die was my grandfather. I was young, in junior grade, and although I was sad, his death did not mean a lot for me. I didn't know him too well. He was just an old man, nursed on a home for older people, that I visited from time to time with my parents.
The second one was my dog. That hurt bad. We've been friends for fourteen years, since I was four years old. I never found anyone - animal or human, who could replace him.
Then they started to die, all too fast.
The guy I loved died in an accident, nineteen years old. I'd then loved him for five years, since we met on the same school, when we were still just kids.
One of my best friends hung himself in Bergen state prison when he was nineteen. He ran out of hope years before.
My grandmother on my fathers side died a couple of years after she lost her memory. It was hard to see her fade away, until she no longer recognized me when I visited her at the older peoples home. She sacrificed her life to Jesus, and to help other people, and deserved a better ending of her life.
My grandmother on my mother side died very old, but mentally still young as a child. She lived in her own apartment to the very last, and sacrificed the last 30 years of her life to the family, and me, specifically. She helped rise me - and when I became a young adult - she became a close friend.
My mentor, one of the leaders in the Norwegian gay movement and editor of "Bergen Gay Radio", suffered from AIDS for years, until he was eaten up from inside by the horrifying illnesses the HIV virus causes.
My mother fought against cancer for almost a decade, before the illness took her away, and she died in my arms in the middle of the night, the last day of 1994. She was also a close friend.
I tried to kill myself when I was 13. I failed, and no one ever found out. It was not a "scream for help" - I simply did not want to live any more.
When I was 18, I was shot at close range with a 12 gauge shotgun, and almost killed. I discovered how strong the will to survive is in me.
Today, I look forward to die. When I fall to sleep, I usually wish that it is for the last time. I have nothing more to prove for myself or anyone else, no vital obligations, no children, no future to build. But I am in no hurry.
I'm not religious - so I don't expect there to be anything but this one life. When that's over, I'm just a bad memory, until I'm forgotten.