A few months ago, the boyfriend of 24-year-old Dylan Bailey, shared the beautiful story of the man he fell madly in love with and the heartbreaking account of how he lost him in a tragic freak accident.
In his moment of severe anguish and grief, he took time to share a beautiful tribute to the man who captured his heart.
He shared his story via Reddit:
I loved a bro named Dylan, and yesterday he died. He drowned.
I loved him more than I thought I could love anyone.
I hadn’t even known him for that long. I only met him this year, on Scruff. He wasn’t even my type, physically, I usually go for tall/big guys and Dylan was 5’7″ and skinny. But we clicked intellectually over beers and his touch was electric. It was always electric. We were both afraid to tell each other “I Love You” because it was too soon, but then we did it 20 times a day and it wasn’t enough.
Within a week of meeting we were spending every day together. Soon, I had moved into his closet of an apartment right next to the university. We would lie on his futon and bro the fuck out with video games, TV and beer. At least until we broke the futon apart with the best sex I’ve ever had, 3 times a day. He loved to feel my weight on top of him. He loved my stink. I loved how his hair felt. I loved his bikers/sprinter’s legs. They weren’t skinny, especially after I taught him how to bulk up. He wanted to get big like I wanted. I just wanted him.
He was an EMT, but he was ready to quit and push towards med school. He needed help with chemistry and math, which I was ready to give. Those were always my strengths, and his was language. He was teaching me French as I was teaching him Python.
Dylan would scramble up trees during any lull in a conversation. He’d sprint ahead and then wait for me to catch up, just because he liked to go fast. He was more full of life and happiness than anyone I’ve ever known. He was goofy, distractable, energetic, affectionate and in every way like a puppy except he was housetrained. (We did both like to piss in the sink, though.)
Dylan was the reason I finally came out to my father. I always told myself I’d tell him when I found something real, someone I absolutely had to bring home and Dylan was it. My family loved him as soon as they met him. Everyone loved him.
My father had rented a condo at a resort in Northern Michigan, on the shores of Lake Michigan. My dad was still new to the idea of me being gay, so we stole our kisses and touches where he couldn’t see. The first night there we played drinking games with my sister and her boyfriend and my stepbrother and his girlfriend. Dylan either won or lost depending how you count these things. He threw up for the first time in a long time, but he had no regrets.
The next day we went to a half-collapsed clifftop sand dune. Dylan took the last leg of the trek up at a sprint and was already leaping down the slope as we crested the trail, bounding out as far as he could and letting the soft sand catch him. I followed him in similar moonwalking fashion. The others were slow to follow so we explored the shore and its shaded nooks together. It was a long climb up, and on the way we stopped and looked at the lake and the islands and made plans. We planned to go take on the Monster Sundae challenge at a local ice cream shop the next day. We made a lot of plans.
That night we all made a bonfire by the shore. Dylan didn’t want to drink after the previous night so he and I just laid together by the fire and watched the stars and the last gasps of the Perseid shower. The fire died and the wind grew chill and we went inside and shook the sand from our hair. We were in separate beds, narrow twin bunks. He took my shirt with him; he said it helped him sleep.
On the last morning he climbed into the top bunk with me to cuddle. Then we got up, we got our coffee, and I checked my email and caught up on a little work while he chatted with my dad and made funny faces at me from the balcony. Everyone went to the beach, but we lingered together in private a little while longer. We walked to the beach, and he said he has to burn off some of his energy on a run. I wasn’t as fast as him, so he said I didn’t have to come, but I wish I had. I went everywhere with him. I played catch in the waves with my family instead.
Dylan was a long time coming back. A boy showed up asking if we were missing a friend. Somebody had been pulled out of the water and had just left in an ambulance. The description didn’t match. Late 20’s, 6’0″-6’2″, heavy build, receding hairline. Dylan was 24, short, thin and bemopped, and he was a strong swimmer anyway. Did his swim trunks have flowers on them? We didn’t remember. It probably wasn’t him, but he probably got involved. He was an EMT and he always got involved to help.
We found the place where the victim was pulled from the water, the people who saw said he was still gurgling, trying to breathe when they took him away to the hospital in the next town. The spot was close to the ashes of our bonfire, near a long submerged jetty of glacial detritus.
My sister, her boyfriend and I didn’t know where else to look for him, but maybe he was a ride-along in the ambulance? Maybe they were short-staffed in the busy season. We drove to the hospital. No Dylan on record at the ER, no John Doe. Not even any ambulances recently arrived.
We had beaten the ambulance there. We sat in the waiting room and eventually a sheriff’s deputy found me, along with a social worker. There was a body to identify. I still thought Dylan was probably joking around the ambulance bay and borrowing a shirt. I had brought one in case he needed one. And Dylan wasn’t 6’0″+, he was my little manlet. I was shaking as the officer led me up to the morgue, but the description was off. I imagined myself gasping in relief and saying “it’s not him” as I looked at a stranger.
He was blue and cold and sleeping. My sister wailed and I fell down beside him. I felt his hair. It still felt good. I told him how much I loved him. I told him I couldn’t possibly tell him how much I loved him. I told him goodbye and went back into the hall weeping.
They told me he was running and then jumped in the water, he was a good 600 feet out when he yelled and started struggling. Someone went and got him, but it wasn’t soon enough. He was too far out. Maybe it was a riptide.
I’m back home now. His funeral is Sunday. I’m going to bring the shirt I wore that day, to the dunes. The one he brought to bed with him to help him sleep. He’ll be buried with it. I still don’t know what I’m going to do without him. He’s been my world since we met. I still haven’t gone back to his apartment. Too painful. Tomorrow, in the light.
I still feel like he’s just run up ahead, around the next bend and I just need to run to catch up.
Thanks, bros, for all the replies. And thanks to those of you who read but didn’t say anything because there was nothing to be said.
I can’t express how great he was, but I hope I showed you all an inkling. I want to write down all my memories of him while they are still green, maybe I’ll leave some of the best ones here.
I’ve been talking to his parents this morning. The worst part is: they have done this before. Dylan’s older brother died in a car crash at 19.
I’m about to head to his apartment to start cleaning up. Before I go in I think I’ll ride his bike around Detroit. He loved to ride and he loved the city. And it’s a beautiful day.
“Grief is the price we pay for love.” -Queen Elizabeth II
A local news report Via Mlive.com:
Dylan Bailey, 24, was seen jogging on the beach, behind Leelanau School on Old Homestead Road, when he went into the water for a swim.
A short time later, witnesses heard him yelling, and said he appeared to be in distress. Four teenage boys from a summer camp at the school entered the water and tried to reach the victim. But the victim was about 200 yards off-shore, and went under before the teens reached him.
The teens brought the victim to shore, but he was not breathing. They started cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, which was continued when rescuers arrived, but he could not be revived, Leelanau County sheriff’s deputies said.
Read Dylan’s obituary here.