December 07, 2018

Losing a Parent

I've debated whether to post about this or not; after all, sharing one's vulnerabilities online is not really something that I like to do, but I also feel like people don't really talk about this stuff a lot and I feel like I kinda need an outlet.

So my mother died a little over a month ago. It wasn't unexpected, she had been fighting cancer for many years--lots of treatments, scans, radiation, chemo, side effects, many things that healthy people probably don't even realize can happen when someone is diagnosed with the big C.

I also feel like I need to explain that my mother had a personality that brought on a lot of issues to others--aside from my standard mommy issues as a gay man, there were so many other layers of issues that we dealt with: My leaving the LDS church--that was probably more traumatic for her than my coming out of the closet (since she knew that part since I was a kid and all) and other things that frankly at this point don't matter anymore. Anyway, long story short--mom and I had kept a respectful-once-a-week-call-over-the-phone relationship since she lived in another state. It was cordial but really superficial 'how's the weather, how's your health?' kind of a thing.

The point of my story--I did get a chance to say goodbye in person about a week or two before she passed. I'll admit that while there was high drama going on everywhere around mom, siblings, family and others, I think I managed to keep most of my wits about me during the trip to see her--thank heavens for my husband who was a huge help during that time and pulled me away from a few situations when I asked and was a huge support!

We made it back home and she went into a hospice center where after a few days I got the notice that she had just passed. When I heard of her passing, which I had anticipated and had told myself for years how I was going to handle things, my reaction was more or less calm but also a rush of thoughts and emotions--some good, some bad--but I still went through some emotions I was not entirely ready to process.

I noticed that friends and other family reached out, showed care, love and concern in unusual ways. Of course you have to be grateful for caring and thoughtful people who surround you with love, condolences and offers for "if you need anything". I thought about this for a while and realized that some of these people had also lost a  parent and have been through the emotional rollercoaster of losing someone that significant in your life or at the very least dread someday having to deal with that situation, hence the extended empathy.

I don't think it mattered that mom and I were not the best of friends or that we were not super close as other mom-child relationships seem to be; I think at the end of the day, nothing prepares you to lose a parent, it is a hard thing to go through, I rank it up there with the high traumas of my life. I think it just sucked to lose her and I hope I will feel like I'm processing things by writing about it.

Crazy hu?

So there's been some ups and downs; a lot of the feelings have come through, maybe a song I hear and I know she loved, it may be through a picture someone posted or a note from a sibling or my step-dad who is still sorting through things. Sometimes there's tears, sometimes there's just feelings and I'll be honest, sometimes there's nothing...

I loved my mom but it was really difficult to love her at times. I know she loved me too and maybe a lot of things she did were out of love--I don't know and at this point I honestly, don't care to know. Part of me makes me feel like an ungrateful son, part of me feels like I have the right to feel any way I want and I shouldn't be making excuses for the way I chose to maintain the kind of relationship I had with her even up until the end.

Funny how humans and relationships and feelings work!

So there's that!

December 21, 2016

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas...

Up to a few years ago--I'm going to say 5 years I was NOT a fan of Christmas.

I won't talk about the details of how I came to hate the holidays but when someone right about September of every year would bring up drawing names for Secret Santa and how much money was expected to be spent--the rest of the time up to the day was one big anxiety attack. I recall literally going into a dark place when I would hear

I'm dreaming, of a White Christmas...

..and have literal body convulsions. It wasn't the most wonderful time of the year, it wasn't a season of love, it was everything but--I didn't want to be part of it. I used to fall for the tear-jerker movies like The Family Stone, Love Actually and others because they could make me cry and release some of that hate for the season. I actually enjoyed being called a Scrooge, a Grinch--yeah I owned that and the last thing I ever wanted to hear was a Christmas carol--none of that!!!

Move forward a couple of years after coming out, divorcing and being only in charge of my own and my kid's Christmas--money was sooooooo tight, every extra penny was spent on what to get the kids, every bit of extra credit on my card was carefully spent on something they would love--not the best of times but much, much better times--I had a much narrower purpose and I could handle that.

With time I started feeling better about the holidays--gift exchanges, showing up to events, festivals and lights were much better on my soul--but there was a piece of me that I couldn't shake off: Christmas Carols--I still had the same retching sensation when I'd  hear the first one of the season. I wanted to be home for Christmas, I wanted the Snow and Mistletoe and presents on the tree... I didn't want to have a Blue Christmas and oh lord--don't even throw Christmas shoes into that mix--I was trying to re-build my life with a new love, a new life, give it meaning but those songs and themes made me sad--really sad and bring me to tears--sometimes ugly, snot-bubble, open wailing cries...

In spite of having a new-great life I was still having Hard Candy Christmases...

Then one day I thought, what is this home I want to go home to? What is this Blue Christmas I want to propagate? What in the world is there to be sad about? I have a great partner, great children who love me, a place to live, great family, great friends, a good life--what is this melancholy about? I had to have an attitude adjustment and instead of focusing on the sad stuff I started having better thoughts and enjoying the great songs and themes:

All I want for Christmas, is you!!

I can now sing along without getting depressed, I can now feel good to hark the harold Angel's sing, I can laugh along with Rudolph The Rednose Reindeer, Sleighbell, Jingle Bells and others-- I can even make it through

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas---

...and not lose it--unless I'm watching Meet Me In St. Louis--then I lose it completely--but if it is just on the radio I can do it--I'm proud of where I am now and the progress I've made. This post has got long (as usual).

How do you handle Christmas?

May 02, 2016

Life is Short...

 It's been a couple rough months in our household...

Not because of finances or internal issues--rather because in that time frame we've lost 2 people that were close parts of our lives. There's a lot to be said for having a family of one's choosing, even if your blood family dynamic is good, there are those close to you that mean the same and sometimes even more than if they were related to you.

Through the last few years we've managed to create such a circle, the ones that you invite to each other's homes for dinner, birthdays and events, the ones that you've grown close to, have seen new love and relationships grow, children grow, things happen and the people that you know will be there for you for the good times but more important, when life doesn't go according to the script in our heads.

The first loss it was the husband of one of our dear friend's. Not that it makes any loss less catastrophic, but we had known for a while that Mark was ill and his health had been deteriorating slowly (or too fast, depending on who you ask).  Their time together was cut too short after it had seemed that the life we all dreamed of had finally materialized.

It was rough to watch our dear friend Joseph lose his love, go through the motions of taking care of arrangements, talking to people, doing what needed to be done. Sometimes words don't do anything to help the pain. All you can do is hope to be there when/if your loved one needs you. I had been holding things in and at the end of Mark's beautiful memorial service I lost it and sobbed uncontrollably in a friend's arms--the sadness was just too much.

Not that there was any time to recover & start healing from losing Mark, a little over a week ago we got word to run up to the hospital, another close friend, Kurt and his fiance had been in a car accident and Kurt didn't make it. There was so much going on for them, they had just bought a house, they were planning a wedding. We probably spent 2-3 days in shock, trying to comfort Kurt's fiance but also trying to comfort each other. Nothing prepares you for such a thing. We met with Kurt's mother and siblings in the middle of last week and that may have been the start of some healing, but sitting in a memorial service again brought lots of emotions.

It is true the funerals are for the living--in the end, you celebrate the lives that have touched you, hang on to the good times and memories--again this is very important--hope to be able to be there for their loved ones and tell your heart to hurt, be angry, resign itself and finally learn to live with the hole left by the departure of those you love. I think the most important thing I can say is that the last time I spoke to the two people mentioned there was no question of the love/care felt for them.

I learned a lot from Mark and Kurt--very different situations but both lived full lives, the kind of lives that you have no regrets, the kind that while you know there was so much left undone, there were few things left crossed off the checklist of things that make you truly happy because of their relationships and they way they found love, enjoyed whatever time was available and at the end of the day you lived it to the fullest. 

 The biggest lesson learned from all this for me:

Yes, why the heck not?

April 13, 2016

Goodness--where have I been?

Time flies...

It is not that I don't have enough things to say on a blog, in fact I have several drafts on thoughts that I've started, saved and think that I'll come back to finish some other time and then I don't...

I do check my page a few times a week and that's where I usually catch up with the blogs I follow or the good ol' Moho Directory.

Life is just busy, not the best explanation but probably the best reason...

I guess it goes to show for those that wander where will the deplorable path of the gay agenda that people warn you about--if you ever want to follow it:

Get up
Get ready for work (being awake is debatable)
Get to work and put in a full day
Come home
Make dinner
Clean up dinner
Go take a class if there's one going on (guitar, cooking, there's lots of that)
Catch up on the DVR if there's time

Sometimes you're lucky enough to have friends over for dinner so entertaining is a must and a very re-charging activity

Sometimes you're lucky enough to get invited to a friend's place for dinner and be entertained--works both ways and that's great when it happens.

On weekends:
Catch up on chores and cleaning, laundry, etc, etc (blah!)
Catch up with family activities
Check in on parents
Get to work on whatever project is going on at the time.
Clear out the mail basket, pay bills, plan for the week.


A couple times a year:
You get lucky enough to get away for a week somewhere maybe fly out or drive off for a long weekend.
Explore the place (oddly enough be dead tired by 9pm and crash).
Get out of the normal grind.

Somewhere in between life happens, friends and family call/text, you check in on a loved one who is sick, you watch a new relationship bloom, another relationship end, babies born, babies grow, people grow, some get sick and some of them die...

YEP gays are causing all kinds of horror and distress on the world --personally I am not certain where I could find the time and energy for it--I might just be too exhausted. 

I have no time or energy to rack up my brains about what was said at the last LDS general conference, or what apostle or public relations media release says about me, my husband, our lives--I'd rather spend my time/energy on other stuff (I still see the stuff, I live in the middle of it--just choose not to let take a prominent place in my life).

I have made a conscious decision not to get too political on social media--what I may have to say will not change or help sway anyone's mind--so what's the point?

And that--is the story of my life...

Where have I been? 
Probably trying to live it...
Enjoy the sunset...
Enjoy a flock of birds fly by...

Funny how some things seem to be more significant as time flies (read get old)....

What's the point of this post?

Oh yeah--I'm still around

June 09, 2015

Remembering A Gentle, Loving Soul

A year ago my partner's dad died. He had been in the hospital for a few days and we had visited him just the day before. Still in spite of knowing he had health issues, no amount of warning prepares another human being to get the news that a parent has died--it was a shock.

I have seen my partner struggle for a year missing his dad and that has been hard to watch. There are somethings in life that you can't just fix--this being one of those. He was the most loving, caring and accepting man I have ever met, he had nothing but love for everyone he came across, he truly had no guile. He was a handy man and loved tools--many of which my partner learned to use because his dad taught him. While working on some projects in the house there have been several instances where a phrase: "dad taught me this" or "dad would have told me to do this"--to me, this speaks volumes of the relationship they had. My partner speaks of his childhood home growing up as the safe place where no matter what was going on in their lives, everyone knew that home was where they were loved unconditionally and scratches his head when he hears horror stories of Mormon families who disown their kids for being gay or XYZ reasons.

Partner's dad had a way to find a common ground with everyone. One time the topic of our LDS missions came up--as it often happens with returned missionaries; his mission was in the Navajo reservation and he told me he never wore a white shirt and a tie--he wore jeans and boots, rode horses & hardly preached. He was more interested in getting the people's trust and taught them lots of things on bettering their lives. He said that when he came home from his mission he was asked to share his testimony in Navajo--and because he only learned so much--decided to count from 1-10 in Navajo and throw in a GA name here and there--who would ever know right? When I heard this story I laughed, and laughed--then in somewhat of a somber way he said: "I've never told this to anyone before--except for my wife"---oh wow!! Hard not to get the feels when I remember this experience.

The family has been talking about ways to honor him at the year of his passing. Each of them is finding their own personal way of doing it and the best way I can think is to write and thank him here for his unconditional love--which I was lucky enough to receive for a a few years since I met him; he truly loved everyone genuinely--and the example of a loving human being whose legacy still runs in that family that remembers him, misses him and somehow manages to go on while honoring his name.

He lived, he loved, he didn't just talk the talk--he walked it all the way. In Mormon doctrine there is no such thing as "Rest In Peace"--you work when you live, you keep working even after you die and heaven knows if that ever stops--and if that's indeed the case he is probably busy watching after everyone, and I have a feeling that this would have just been his style...