Prayers of Healing
The LGBT community in South Carolina is not very big. If you haven’t slept with or dated someone, you know someone who has. You may not know everyone, but you know of them. It can, at times, be a breeding pool of drama. I was pretty heavily involved in the community prior to dating Erin. I was president of Upstate Pride, which saw it’s largest year up until that point, so I knew a lot of people.
And before that, I was Leeland Cross. I did drag for awhile as a side gig, and at one point, I passed fully as a male for a year without any hormones. I was pretty damn sexy as a boy too (not that I’m not sexy now, though, just sayin’).
You meet a lot of people when you’re doing drag. Mostly people in the drag community, but you can get sucked into the politics of it all pretty quickly, and once my drag family fell apart, I did some freelance stuff for awhile before finally getting out of it all together (minus the super rare benefit show). I did pretty well. I’m a rather convincing guy, with or without facial hair.
Back in the day, there were two drag king families. The one I was a part of and the “other one.” When our family fell apart, I toyed with the idea of working my way into the other family, but by then, I was getting out of drag. I enjoyed it, but not the politics.
The head of that drag family was a woman named Heather. I was always really nervous about going and talking to her because of other connections between us, some of which I’d rather not reconnect. She started dating a woman by the name of Tori. Tori was free spirited. I never saw her upset or angry. I never heard of anyone talking poorly about her. I think we may have spoken once or twice, but it was many years ago, and it’s a vague memory.
Eventually, the two of them settled down and got married. Tori has two children from a previous relationship, and Heather took them in as her own. They’ve lived as a family for years, welcoming everyone they meet as a long lost relative, sharing good times and supporting through bad. Before I fully stepped out of that scene with Erin, I never got the chance to meet Tori and Heather officially, even though I had always been drawn to their infectious, upbeat, positive attitudes.
We have a ton of mutual friends.
And a couple of months ago, Tori was diagnosed with Stage IV Colorectal cancer.
She went to a specialist in Atlanta for testing.
It had spread to her liver and the bones in her hips. Things weren’t looking good for them, so people started to pray. They started a GoFundMe account to help with medical expenses, and they asked for love and support. The community responded immediately with #TeamTori merchandise and lots of love and praise.
Then, they found out that, while this cancer was bad, it wasn’t fatal. They could treat her with radiation, and she’d be able to live a long and productive life, even though they couldn’t ever make it fully go away. Everyone rejoiced.
I donated $300 to her campaign fund to help her and her family, and had a wonderful, short conversation with Tori via Facebook. She was resilient and wasn’t about to let this cancer diagnosis get the best of her. A couple days later, she was asking for reading material, and I suggested four different book series to her, which she decided to read based on my recommendations.
She spent the next short span of time undergoing radiation treatments.
Some friends went down to see her on Saturday and said that while she looks thin, she was full of life and joking and happy and smiling. As my friend Audra put it, “She was Tori.”
Yesterday, my phone rings on the way home from getting ice cream with a friend.
“Hey, Kel. Did you hear about Tori?”
“No… what’s going on?”
“Oh.. Well, see… I hate to be the one to tell you this.. I was calling to see if you knew anything that was going on… because you’re friends with her and all… but I saw on Facebook that she’s been moved to ICU and is on life support.”
“What? What do you mean she’s on life support?? She was supposed to be fine! She was fine just days ago! I saw her pictures… she was smiling.. what’s happening right now?”
We talked for a few more minutes before I let her go. I wanted to call a friend I knew was heading down to see her tonight. She told me everything that was going on… and that’s when I obsessively started refreshing Facebook. She had a poor reaction to a medication, and things have spiraled way out of all of our hands since then.
They ran her blood work again today, and determined that her internal organs were starting to shut down. As one person put it, “The life support is really what is doing all the work right now.”
This evening someone said, “They gave her 24 hours this morning.”
I don’t understand. The doctors said she would be fine. They said that she was treatable… and now, within two days, she’s struggling… beyond struggling… to hold on. Last night, I set up my altar (it had been down for awhile), prayed for her, and lit a candle in her name. Tonight, I pray for her again.
I’m asking everyone who reads this… to pass this on to a friend or family member… ask them for their prayers… and if you can find it in you to donate, please, click here:
I have seen and heard of worse situations where people have turn it around, and I know that it can happen for Tori and her family as well. Tonight, again, I turn my eyes, my heart, my soul, to the Divine Spiritual Power that Flows through all things… Tonight, again, I pray:
The Life God IS, is flowing through Tori’s body right now doing It’s mighty work — cleansing, purifying, and healing whatever is needed. The wisdom God IS, is present and working through her entire medical team to support God’s healing work. The love God IS, is right now blessing her and her family with the peace that passes understanding as they thrive through this process. I know that this is so, I celebrate that this is so. And I am grateful that this is so, because it is so. And so it is. Amen!