Jul 15, 2014 17:25 Experiencing the seasons of life — and death Experiencing the seasons of life — and death by tmoura gardener| Special to The Advocate July 15, 2014 Comments When I was 48 years old, it was a season for me to meet George Scott, who was to become close to me like a brother. He was 10 years older than me, and we told people we were brothers because we had so much in common. “This is a new season,” George told me in 2011. “If you recognize what season you are in, everything will go well.” I never doubted him. George had a compelling way with words. He was so on the money on many of his predictions that I took heed right away. Indeed, I was his little brother. Even today I regret I did not meet him sooner. George patiently reminded me that only then was the season for me to have him in my life. And what a life it had become. George was an excellent artist who had mastered portraits, still life, abstracts and modern art. I got him to join the Terrebonne Fine Arts Guild in Houma. He was a success from the beginning, winning contest after contest. In return, George encouraged me to write. He taught me that it was fear that kept me from writing. After watching him, I became confident that I, too, could become adept in my art form. By 2012, when I had known him for three years, I noticed he would drink vodka for days at a time. This concerned me because he, like me, was HIV positive and alcohol could cause his meds to stop working. I was afraid to broach the subject because I didn’t want him to get mad at me. After going to the doctor, George always gave me good reports in spite of the fact that the doctor generally kept him in the hospital for long stays and his piles of vodka bottles were getting smaller and smaller because he was too sick to drink. Like a ton of bricks, it hit me that this brilliant man was an alcoholic, and I was too afraid to confront him about what he was doing to himself. I wondered how long this had gone on. Soon George predicted I would outlive him. I knew I was younger, but when he said he would be dying soon, I was shocked. In October 2013, he went into the hospital one last time. The doctors told me his liver was shot and his lungs were filled with fluids. The doctors sent him home to me to die. By the first week in November, it was clear I was going to lose George. Some days I was hopeful he would have more time. Some days I cried. And some days I denied that the doctors knew what they were talking about. As the second week of November came, George fell into a coma. I never talked to him again. By this time, hospice was with me, and they said he wouldn’t make it through the week. It was the final season. The next morning, George stopped breathing. I couldn’t believe it was over. After I cried, I thanked God for allowing me to meet him, then entered a new season. George was right all along. Advocate readers may submit stories of about 500 words to the Human Condition at firstname.lastname@example.org or The Advocate, EatPlayLive, 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810. There is no payment, and stories will be edited.