The pain is unbearable.
by Gregg Maddox
I was a cocktail waiter in a bar in New Haven CT and worked with Jim and Shelly Taylor in the piano lounge. I decided to move to LA in 1981. That's when I met Craig. He was a bartender and very handsome. I fell for him immediately. Time went on and in 1990 we became best friends. In 1992 I made my move and we had a very intimate experience. But, to him, we were still "just friends." In 1994 was the 25 anniversary of Stonewall. So I flew us to New York, stayed at the Regency,Went to Macy's. Bought a new suit, bought Craig a new pair of boots. Went to Sardi's and then Madison Square gardens to see Barbara Streisand. We were 22 rows from the stage. But he still wouldn't commit. We then went to CT to visit my mother. Then To New Haven to see a revival by Jim and Shelly. I insisted on stopping at a florist to buy Shelly a dozen yellow long stem roses. That did it. That simple act won his heart. Craig wasn't impressed by money, fame. Just the simple act of giving roses to a friend. He was committed to me. We returned to LA and a week later I was diagnosed with HIV. My viral load was 2 million, I had 1 T-cell and 69 white blood cells. 2 weeks later I ended up in the hospital with a temp. of 105. All his friends told him to get out now but he said no, I'm not giving up on him. I had 5 doctors working on my case and they told Craig to"pick me up in a box" because I wasn't going to make it through the night. He said "No God. You can't have Gregg.He's mine and you won't take him from me." Craig told me I would be getting out next Sunday. Wednesday came and a intern came in and looked at my chart and said he only has 59 white blood cells. We have a new medication that tricks the body into producing white blood cells. The next day my white blood doubled. Then doubled again. Craig still, against what the doctors were saying I would be getting out Sunday. Sunday I was scheduled for a spinal tap. I was medicated for the procedure. 15 minutes later a nurse came in and said "We've decided against the procedure and also there is nothing more we can do for you so you will be released today. As Craig depicted. The next couple of years were very difficult but eventually I got better. Life became good. I was getting healthy with the love of my life. Craig and I were together in 1994 and life was good. With extremely painful help from my doctors and Craig always by my side. Life became good and I became healthy. We were together every day for 18 years. When he bartended I sat at his station. When I dj'ed he would stand by my booth. We were one. Every decision for 18 years Craig was included. Life became perfect beside having this illness because Craig saved my life. We had 16 years of the perfect relationship. We were both devoted, loyal and passionate. Then in 2005 it started to go bad. Craig was screwed over by the owner and was fired. So we decided to start our own business. As upholsterers we got very busy. Life was good. The business was prospering and we were happy. then 2008 the bubble. burst. We went from 5 jobs a week and by the end of 2009 it dropped to 2 a month. 2010 came and Craig became depressed and suffered from anxiety. He started taking Xanax for anxiety and it helped. Nov. 2010 Craig had 2 seizures. He found out he had a heart that was working at 35%. He wasn't a good driver and got into 2 car accidents which made our car unusable. With the help of my family I got a new car and I told Craig not to drive it because it wasn't insured yet. New Years Eve day came and I was at the computer getting ready to take the car to have the stereo worked on when I got a call. Craig was feeling productive and decided to go to the auto store for a light bulb for the rear taillight. He side swiped a parked car and ran into a curb totaling our car and causing damage to the car he hit. This destroyed him. He felt he ruined my life. I told him it's just a car. It will get better and like I said a million times "we still have each other" and we were starting a new year. He became so distraught that he started drinking to the point he couldn't walk. I told him he's got to get a hold on this because I wasn't going to watch you drink yourself to death. Sunday night he asked for some money to get cigarettes. I gave him money and told him to put the change on the dresser. Jan 2, Sunday morning at 10 am I woke up. It was just like every wonderful Sundays we had for the past 18 years. I watched tv with Craig lying beside me still sleeping. Around 10:30 I counted the change and it was 6 $ short. I went to ask Craig why it was short. I shook his arm and it was cold and stiff. He was already in rigormortis. Called 911. They got there in 2 minutes. He was pronounced deceased. And they took him away. The shock set in. Disbelief despair sorrow pain destroyed and worst of all, alone.