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Archive for July, 2013

It’s been two years today since my father passed away.  I’m wondering exactly where those two years went – and more to the point – I’m wondering if I have kept the promises I made to myself as I sat staring at his casket on that warm July afternoon.

I promised myself I would take care of Mother the best I could. I would make sure she got the care she needed and I would try to be there emotionally for her as much as possible.

Mother has since passed – but I did my best to fulfill that promise to myself to take care of her. She lived in a wonderful home that I wish everyone with dementia could experience. Her level of care was extraordinary, and more than I could have ever, ever given her, and she died peaceful and in no pain.

I also promised myself I would try to find a way to make peace with my brother and somehow get him into my life. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do that – but he was really all I had left as far as immediate family and I was determined on that July afternoon I was going to find a way.

My father died not speaking to my brother – as did my mother – and I was not going to let that be the end of my family. I don’t really know their story –for our family never did communicate. I only know there was no closure for any of them.

A great many things have happened in those two years since I sat staring at my father’s casket. Mother has passed, friends have passed, the world has gotten a little warmer, and politics continue to divide a nation as we all struggle to find our way. There have been floods and tornadoes and storms which have taken homes and schools and hospitals. There have been shootings and bombings and Wars which have taken the lives of way too many Americans. One life is too many – at least this is how I feel.

There have also been in those two years sweet little babies born and towns rebuilt and families reunited from the end of one war. Freedom to marry has come to same-sex couples; a new heir to the British Throne has been born to continue that unbroken line for longer than I will ever see.  Life most surely goes on – this much I have learned.

As I sat staring at the casket which held the remains of my mother – my brother was by my side. I put my head on his shoulder and he squeezed me a little harder. He was kind and thoughtful and strong and supportive. He was everything a sister would want her big brother to be.

I can pick up the phone and dial his number – and he’s there, the sound of his voice comforts me – makes me feel so not alone on days when “family” seems so much a thing of my youth.

I like it when I make a promise to myself – and keep it…

I have a brother…

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I’ve been asked numerous times why it is that “you gay people” need a parade.  One person suspected that it was merely a chance for me to “prance around in your underwear.”  Let me be clear – I have never pranced around in my underwear in public – ever.

My first Pride Parade changed my life. It was the first time in my then 50 years that I allowed myself to acknowledge in public that I was gay. When I saw that 300 ft flag and my sweet Susan insisted that I go and grab hold of it – It was the first time I openly wept and accepted who I was, and it was the first time ever that I understood I was not alone.

For some of us Pride is a life-changing, life-affirming event that changes how we look at the world from that moment on. There are those that like to focus on the drinking and partying but if you were to ask my friends – they will tell you that Pride is really about – Pride.

For as long as I can remember being gay in a straight world has been a struggle. Prejudice, ignorance and intolerance tend to make the environment in which we live unhealthy and unsafe. We were dragged behind trucks, beaten unmercifully, spat upon, and killed for nothing more than having the courage to live our lives as who we are.

Pride was the one time it felt safe to stand on the street and be your gay self. It was a day to refuel and brace yourself for the coming year – for the struggles and battles that were looming. It was a day of celebration – our day of jubilee.

Pride has a whole new meaning this year. There is less hiding and more celebrating as laws change along with the hearts and minds of the American people.

I won’t be in San Diego this year when that 300 ft. flag comes down Sixth Avenue. I won’t be able to walk out onto the street and grab hold of that flag that changed my life 11 years ago, and gather strength and courage from the thousands who are walking under and around this beautiful flag.

I may not be there in person – but my heart will be under that flag and with all of you as we celebrate the wonderfulness of Pride.

San Diego PrideHappy Pride…

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