A grandfather who came out as gay at the age of 90 is heartbroken after he finally tracked down his first true love, only to discover that he passed away two years ago.
Kenneth Felts made headlines across the world when he shared his coming out story last month.
Felts bravely told his lesbian daughter that his first love was with a man called Phillip – and then, the floodgates opened.
Since then, he has come out to his friends and family, invested in Pride-themed clothes and raised money for an LGBT+ charity.
In an article written for Newsweek, Felts said he began sharing his memoirs about Phillip on Facebook.
A woman who lives on the East Coast contacted him and told him she would like to try and track his first love down.
Amazingly, the woman was able to track Phillip down.
Kenneth Felts was able to track his first love down, but discovered that he had already passed away.
“But she discovered a week or so ago that he had passed away around two years ago. So it’s very difficult and very painful,” Felts said.
“To me, he died less than two weeks ago. I posted what I felt was an obituary for him online and people have been overwhelmingly supportive, saying how sorry they are that I missed seeing him.
“But it still hurts.”
The heartbroken 90-year-old added: “In all the relationships I’ve had since Phillip, nothing has ever measured up to him, and I don’t anticipate that anything ever will.”
He said he is “more concerned” with the “quiet aspects of a relationship” such as holding hands and “being close”.
“I’d like to have a boyfriend; companionship and somebody there when the days get longer,” he wrote.
Elsewhere in the article, Kenneth Felts opened up about meeting Phillip in California in 1957 when he started working at a credit company.
Phillip helped him learn how to do reports, and they were “immediately attracted to one another”.
I loved him in my heart so much over the years and now he is gone.
Shortly afterwards, they started dating – but that was made complicated by the fact that Felts was not openly gay.
They later moved in together and their love continued to blossom.
But things crumbled dramatically one day when Felts and his boyfriend went to church, where Phillip sang in the choir.
“Sitting there, it just struck me – I was in this holy place that condemns homosexuality and I was doing something with Phillip that was really wonderful but was ‘wrong’,” he said.
“Society and my religion said I should be straight. I had this conflict between the church and my love for Phillip.”
Felts responded by leaving his job and ending his relationship with Phillip.
His first love wrote to him several times afterwards, but Felts never replied.
In Phillip’s last letter, he said: “If you don’t answer, I won’t bother you again.”
“I didn’t feel I could do both, respond to him and continue being straight. So I chose to be straight and didn’t ever hear from him again.”
He added: “It was the wrong decision and I’ve regretted it all my life.”
The grandfather posted a heartbreaking obituary to his first love Phillip on Facebook.
In a heartbreaking obituary to Phillip posted to Facebook, Felts said he was his “first and greatest love”.
“He lived a full and happy life I am told by his niece. His partner of many years passed just a few years ago and Phillip remained alone for the rest of his life.
“I feel I shared with him the best years of his youth and he certainly made mine memorable and I will always remember and appreciate that. I loved him in my heart so much over the years and now he is gone.”
He said it is “so terribly frustrating” and “horribly painful” to not have the chance to say goodbye to Phillip.
“My heart has turned to stone and I need my tears to wash away my sorrow. Rest in Peace Phillip,” he added.