Tuesday, July 17, 2012
He wrote several stories on Lit, but the three biggest ones concerned his real-life boyfriend, Kendal Marcus Owens, and he serialized their love affair in a multi-chapter story that was named after him. He wrote about meeting Kendal in high school in 2007 and how they discovered they loved each other. Both boys grew up in dysfunctional families where they weren't loved or taught to cope with the hard times life threw at them. Only having each other to lean on, they became close, and Emery was shocked at how amazing Kendal was, despite his horrible childhood.
Earlier this year he took the Kendal chapters down and turned them into one long piece with an update entitled A New Chapter. This was followed by Beginning of the End, the account of Kendal's abuse at the hands of his family, and his slide into mental illness, drug use and self-harm. The last part of this tale was named Tonight and Forever, the tragic story of Kendal's suicide in December 2010 and how Emery was coping with the aftermath.
Yesterday afternoon, July 16, 2012, Emery took his own life when he traveled out of state and hung himself in a remote cabin belonging to an uncle. He had been miserable and lonely for quite some time, reliving their life together in Kendal's belongings and the places they frequented, experiencing a lot of guilt over his boyfriend's death and unable to move past it. Emery and Kendal became lovers on the Fourth of July which has always been a very difficult time of year for him since Kendal passed, leaving a lot of painful memories. The boys considered themselves married, and Emery had even taken his last name. But since the tragedy he hadn't been able to shake the depression that dogged him, and time did not heal all wounds, as he complained to me bitterly. They just made Kendal's absence hurt more.
Indirectly, Emery's death is the result of homophobia. Part of the reason Kendal committed suicide was because of his father and brother's view of homosexuality which they used as an excuse to rape and torture him. He was burned with cigarettes and beaten on a daily basis, and no part of his body was spared. At the time of his death at barely nineteen, he was a walking skeleton, the sole breadwinner of the family working two jobs and getting very little sleep. He felt no safety at home and no way to handle the pain. Kendal coped by cutting on himself and abusing alcohol and drugs. The boys had argued over cheating and parted ways when they needed each other the most, and Emery was desperate to get back together with him. But by the time he realized how much abuse Kendal was going through, it was too late.
Kendal had a daughter named Addie who is now five and was living with his foster-father, but he he also left a son, four-year-old Jayden, that Emery was raising on his own. He tried so hard to be a good father to Jay but always felt that he was falling short. He took full responsibility for Kendal's suicide, despite not having all the pieces to the puzzle, so to speak. Since his boyfriend's death, he has been trying to deal with the crushing guilt of being unable to save him, and he didn't even understand how so immensely over his head it would have been to do so. I mean, he was only seventeen when Kendal died, and yet he expected himself to do what the adults in Kendal's life refused to?
Emery couldn't put up with that kind of abuse either and was being beaten and raped by an ex-boyfriend/drug addict living in his mother's house and another former friend. They even put him in a coma at one point, but Emery thought he deserved it because he believed he had abandoned Kendal to the same fate. Although he was finally convinced to move out at the end of June for Jayden's sake in order to stop the abuse, he unfortunately couldn't leave behind the pain. He couldn't stop blaming himself for Kendal's decline and suicide. These two boys needed each other like breathing, and once his lover was dead, Emery didn't have the strength nor the will to go on without him. Over time Kendal turned into an obsession.
I got to know Emery through his stories, and we became good friends. We e-mailed each other and chatted on Facebook. He was so warm and compassionate and had the ability to draw people to him effortlessly without even knowing how special he was. He didn't like talking about himself or his problems; instead, he focused on the people he cared about. He called me Mom because his own was so negligent, cold and unloving, and he was like a son to me. I loved him, but I couldn't talk him out of his depression or lighten his load. I couldn't turn him off the path I knew was waiting for him. He grieved so hard for Kendal, and it was heartbreaking to witness. I am going to miss him very, very much.
Emery, I hope you're free of your pain. I hope you are soaring with Kendal just as you wanted to be. I hope you finally know what it's like to be completely loved. I look forward to seeing you again at some point and would dearly love to be introduced to him. Rest in peace, sweetheart.