Greg and I met for the first time about a year ago in New York through the good offices of Intersections International where I was serving as a Senior Fellow. I had just begun performing The Actual Dance. I was invited to lunch with Greg and Bob Chase, the Founding Director of Intersections. The luncheon was magical. Something that was “meant to be.”
Greg has imagined and created an award winning program at EmblemHealth called The Care for the Family Caregiver. It has an ever expanding outreach through web presence, social media presence, and organizations like NYCFCC (New York City Family Caregiver Coalition). He has received numerous awards and recognitions within the fields of health care, family caregiving and service to others. He currently serves the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City as Minister for Family Caregiving and leads its weekly Prayer Circle Services.
Greg saw immediately the value and relevance of The Actual Dance as what he calls “another face of caregiving.”
He did because Greg has experienced the Dance twice in his life with those he has loved most in the world. Greg’s life-partner of 41 years, Joseph Polacek passed away in 2011. Their adopted son, Wayan Suardika, passed away in 2005.
Greg does not shy away from his orientation. He is indeed proud. He reminds me of how hard and difficult that path has been and must still be for those who are in same-sex relationships.
Being present when someone you love is grievously ill is difficult beyond words. Yet it can be beautiful and dignified. As I say in The Actual Dance it can be “the ultimate consummation” of your love. Having to Dance in an environment of judgment, hostility or hate is an indignity and it is wrong.
The reminder then in the month of Gay Pride is that “everyone will one day dance.” Mortality is not selective. As odd as it sounds, there needs to be an equal right to Dance openly and fully for everyone.