Edward Albee is living with a huge void, says Jesse Green in The New York Times. For 35 years, the playwright was in a committed relationship with sculptor Jonathan Thomas. Then, several years ago, Thomas developed bladder cancer. “I was expecting to die way before Jonathan did,” Albee says. “He was 18 years younger than I was, and the whole idea was that when I got to be my age, he’d be taking care of me, you know? But life doesn’t always work out the way it’s supposed to.” Instead, Albee put aside his work and cared for Thomas full-time. When Thomas died at 59 in 2005, Albee was numb with grief. “I couldn’t write for a long time. I mean, I didn’t feel like it. You know, we had such a good, long relationship. Thirty-five years is a long time, a life in itself. The mourning never ends. Hell, I miss Jonathan a lot.” Eventually, though, Albee realized he had to return to writing, and to living. “You can’t just say, ‘How dare you go away from me?’—which is an attitude that a lot of people get. ‘How dare you die!’ There’s got to be a lot of, ‘Thank you,’ too. ‘Thank you for being alive and being with me for so long.’ One thing I learned was that grief is easily turned into self-pity. Yes, someone that you’re with is fading, going out of focus. But my God, if we ever lose sight of the fact that they have had the greater loss, then we’re being selfish and self-indulgent.”
How Albee came to terms
November 21, 2007
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