Today is the anniversary of one of the saddest days of my life. November 9, 2007, my beloved friend and quasi-big-brother died unexpectedly at the age of 41.
His name was Dr. John P. Ruffing VMD.
Each year on his birthday (April) and this date (November), I write a post. I feel his loss so much and I suspect I’ve created a bit of a endless grief loop with those posts. I loved John, but it has been 14 years. Going to that deep space of grief and memories of our friendship is not healthy. It just seemed like the only way to say his name each year, to remember him, to ensure he has a legacy in the community. To avoid abandoning him and ignore the feeling that he abandoned me by dying. That’s not helping anyone.
This year, I believe I helped make that transition by establishing the Dr. John P. Ruffing VMD Pet Food Projects in partnership with his family. Our first official event was part of the Manchester Cat Trap TNVR clinic. this past June – we collected and delivered food to pet owners.
John literally pulled me through some of the most difficult moments of my life. If I close my eyes, I see his hand holding mine and simply walking with me without judgment. He was a lifeline, but I’m not drowning now. I’m in a better place in life and I hope he is in a better place, too. I’m not letting go of his hand – I’ll never do that – but now maybe I can pull all of the memories and beauty and love his poured into my life forward to other people.
We were never romantically connected, but this was our song – John was my prom date and taught me some of these dance steps, but the best part was that our relationship stayed strong long after the prom.
So I am asking today that those of you who knew and loved John make some contribution to his pet food project projects today. Lots of options
- Purchase an item from his wishlist and we will make sure it gets to someone in need http://bit.ly/DrRuffingPetFood
- Financial donations are currently being accepted via
- Venmo @pghlesbian
- CashApp $pghlesbian
- Purchase an item for one of our cat colony caretakers and have it shipped to them. Click here and scroll down to read all the profiles.
- Donate directly to caretakers in John’s hometown (West Mifflin)andnearbycommunities
- Al and Karen (West Mifflin)
- Ken (White Oak)
- Rich (Munhall)
- Bulk donations and questions about open, but like-new food should be directed to email@example.com
- Please spread the word to Dr. Ruffing’s clients, colleagues, classmates, and friends.
- Join the Facebook group
Moving forward, the Dr. John P. Ruffing VMD Pet Food Projects will be administered through the Pittsburgh LGBTQ Charities (PLC) and part of my work to move forward while honoring his legacy.
I love you, John. I will miss you forever. I hope you have peace and that I’ll see you again somehow. Thank you for being just who I needed at the just the right time.