Glenview-based author Yehuda Jacobi often received some pivotal advice from his late partner, Arthur.
Jacobi recently recalled that Arthur would say, "Everybody is going through something. You may not see it in their face. Give them the benefit of the doubt, and if you can help them, do so, as long as you don't compromise your own integrity."
Jacobi wrote a book addressing how he came to terms with Arthur's death, tackling one of humankind's most complex emotional processes, grief.
That book, Beyond the Opened Door: Grief as an Opportunity to Rediscover the Self, traces how Jacobi processed Arthur's loss and reconnected with his positive memories of their time together. Jacobi also wrote about living with HIV and his subsequent relationship with Michael, to whom he is now married.
Beyond the Open Door "covers the four steps of the grieving process, but I think it covers much more than that," Jacobi said. "It covers how you can rediscover yourself after someone so important in your life, who has been with you for so long, suddenly leaves this earth. It doesn't matter how they dieyou still have challenges ahead of you."
Jacobi came to numerous revelations as he grieved for Arthur. Foremost was, "I realized that I had laid an awfully large amount of guilt on myself," he recalled. "I learned to resolve that guilt, and learned that I'm stronger than I realizedand better than I realized. But I punished myself a lot, for all the things that I didn't do for him."
In journaling, Jacobi realized all that he had contributed to Arthur's well-being.
"I was there for him for many situations where he was struggling," Jacobi said. "He had a weight problem; that never bothered me. He would go into these periods of depression and I would say, 'I love you just the way you areyou're fine.' It was that sort of thing. These little [recollections] start creeping up as you move away from the grieving process, and you remember, 'I did do this, and this is a good thing.'"
Beyond the Open Door has won Jacobi two literary awards. He recently retired from his job as an accountant and will keep on writing.
"I don't need people to agree with me, but there's something in the book that will make people thinkand make them think differently," Jacobi said. "If you stimulate your thoughts and open a door, you might discover some things about yourself that you didn't know before."