A week ago I read this out at Phil’s cremation and send off. It was titled “The Man I Love”.
I first met Phil 13 years ago, on Halloween of 2004. It was an online encounter on a Pagan message board, and I was immediately moved by the warmth and goodness of this strong and gentle man who loved his children, and had come through a divorce after coming out as gay years before. We were members of the gay “Bear” subculture, and he had the aura and innocence of an ACTUAL, incredibly loving bear.
We became friends and fell in love before we had actually met physically. When I did meet him face to face in Nevada, his warmth, tenderness and love was so great and so generous, and so was his faith in love and goodness. We stood outside his home in Carson City holding hands, looking up at a clear Summer night sky, and I was filled with joy. I think he was relieved, and we both were in the dream we had always longed for.
A few days later he took me to Virginia City, which is an Old West town in the high desert of Nevada, and we bought silver rings, and we took our vows to each other (12 years ago now), for this life and beyond. That was the happiest and freest day of my life, and those vows still stand.
Phil had been through many hardships in his life, but you would not think it. He carried an enormous amount with great dignity, grace and forbearance. When he was presented with an obstacle, he was immediately right there, facing it, finding a way through it or around it. He was like that till the moment his body gave out and slipped into a final repose, and my warrior brother was fine and beautiful till his last breath. He was loyal, faithful, untiring, and would never lose hope, but would always face things as they were. He had vision, and I know he still does. The past tense is only an organic formality here, nothing more.
Phil had a great capacity to help people, and though his own children were taken away from him, I think he acted as a surrogate father to many people. He was an exceptionally talented clinical hypnotherapist, and I know he changed lives and helped people to transform themselves. He was also psychic and a natural medium, and he never stopped helping, even when he was medically retired, he would counsel, mentor, do readings, give advice, whether it was to do with psychic matters or neighbours standing up for their rights with worldly authorities. It was just who he was.
Phil was also, like me, a Witch, and we followed our path together, latterly preferring the term “warlock” and giving the Devil his due, though Phil was also an open minded humanist who prized individuality, and never needed to join anything. Spirituality for Phil was a tool that we could all use, not a contract. He was a natural – unafraid, adventurous, spontaneous. He supported me in my growth and exploration, without hesitation, with his innate intuition and understanding, in his natural, matter of fact way. He was a natural magician and medium. He was courageous and strong in everything, whether in this world or the other.
Phil protected and cared for me through thick and thin, and everything we went through, we faced together, till the end, or at least the end of the chapter where we are both incarnate in physical bodies, this time (though neither of us especially wanted to come back again!). It really isn’t the end.
We shared everything with complete openness and honesty, and I do believe there is no finer husband in the world than Phil. I am so proud to be his, and so grateful we found each other. Our theme tune was “Desperados” by the Eagles, though neither of us ever hesitated to choose hearts over diamonds, and if we were to find ourselves “out riding fences” (and we did), it was together. It will always be together, because he is my Gentle Bull, my King and my mate.
Phil was a boy who was born on the San Francisco Bay, and always considered San Francisco his spiritual Atlantis and his home. He had brothel keepers and silent film actresses for ancestors, as well as a Canadian Indian grandmother who took off long before Phil was born, to do her own thing. I’m proud his lovely father was a janitor, and that Phil was the heart and soul of any trailer park he lived in. That’s my kind of royalty. That boy grew to become a wonderful man that lit the world around him. An individual who always sought to be true to himself, and live his life on his own terms, for the good.
I think if Phil wanted me to tell you one thing, it would probably be this:
Live the life you want to, as the person you really are. Do not fear, but believe in Love.
He taught me that everyday.
Phil on the right, our son Jake on the left. He and Jake were very close.