Mom and I, MOMA, photo by vernnyc
Not many people know that my mother was 6'4" and often sported a handlebar mustache. My mom, more commonly known as John Story, passed away on Saturday. He left behind his partner of 21 years, Mikel, nine cats and more friends than he will ever know he had.
I first met John in the dark months after my grandmother passed away. My grandmother passed away in December of 1996, and John and I began talking to each other around February I believe. We met on an irc channel which we used to frequent. We hit it off immediately. I wish I could remember our earliest conversations, John was the best person to have a discussion with, there was literally nothing he couldn't discuss. For good reason people referred to him as a walking encyclopedia.
There was also no subject that John wouldn't discuss with me, and that was something that became an integral part of my life. He was one of two people I knew would give me 100% truth if I asked their opinion on something, the other person being vernnyc. The only subject John was uncomfortable discussing, was his own health.
In many ways John became the mother my mom couldn't ever allow herself to be. He was my biggest supporter, my harshest critic and my best friend all in the same skin.
For years John encouraged me to go back to school and to move away from Michigan. When I finally went back to school full time a few years ago he was ecstatic, he was even happier when I made the decision stay permanently in New York City. He would introduce me to people and say that I was the most brilliant person he had ever met. Coming from a man like John, that was not something to be taking lightly.
The last few weeks turned out to be very happy ones for John, for which I am thankful. After Thanksgiving dinner (which turned out to be the last time I would see him) he told me it was the best Thanksgiving he had ever had. I think he was as giddy over Bern as I was.
The day after Thanksgiving, John and his partner Mikel both developed a cough, which their doctor would eventually say was pertussis, or whooping cough. It's basically a diagnosis given to a prolonged cough with no other apparent illnesses present.
On December 6th, his doctor told him that he was presenting with the symptoms of a pulmonary embolism. John had previously suffered from a bad case of deep vein thrombosis, which is basically blood clots caused by travelling. We'll never know what John thought about his doctor's suggestion of him having an embolism because John didn't tell anyone, or apparently do anything about it.
By Friday the 9th, he was having a horrible time breathing. In the early hours of Saturday morning he woke up and couldn't make it to the bathroom on his own, so Mikel called 911. They got him to the hospital and decided they would have to intubate him and put him on a respirator but they wanted to give him some drugs to relax him first.
When the put him on the respirator, the blood clot in his lungs burst and he died almost instantly.
I can't even begin to tell you how much I miss him, he was such a large part of my chosen "family".
Rest in peace Mom, I can't wait to see you again.
p.s. John was a set designer and artist, you can see his online profile here