Friday, November 19, 2010

It's harder than I thought...

No "Beck Boy" pictures mesmerisingly staring back at you this time. I'm not in the mood.

I was going to blog on my thoughts on the new CHI, but I've put that on the back burner right now as my earthly life has forever changed this week. And though I somewhat expected this day to come, it still doesn't matter how much you prepare yourself or anticipate the day when you lose your parents, it still isn't enough to adequately prepare you for the ache I now feel.

I have worked through the obit and the funeral services yesterday and this morning and made all the arrangements (which has been a blessing in its own way) and have tried to be "patriarchal" (being the only son)helping my sisters through their pain and tears, but right now it is hitting me really hard, and I can't work, and I don't feel very good about things and I don't particularly feel very patriarchal.

I don't want to celebrate her life. I don't feel like celebrating much at all. Of course she was a great elect lady, a truly amazing source of love and devotion to me, and she led an amazingly wonderful life. So much of who I am and how I feel and why I feel the way I do comes directly from her impact on my life.

I know she was suffering and didn't want to be here anymore. I know she wanted to go, but I didn't want her to go. I selfishly wanted her to be better and return home to her life as it was before and that everything would just continue on.

On Sunday she was doing well... a bit lethargic, but still okay, so I took off on a business trip, coming to find out that soon thereafter she began slipping away. I managed to get to her bedside in the ICU by Wednesday afternoon in time to see her, to have her see me and recognize me and to acknowledge that she knew I was there, and then... within an hour or so, she was gone...

I know that in and of itself should be enough of a tender mercy for me to hold onto. She did care and wanted me to be there and did all in her power to make it so and was "granted" that wish that we both had... it still sucks!

I have seen others die before, but never my mom... watching her slowly, slowly stop breathing. It was the most heart-wrenching experience I have had to do. Of course she is "better" on the other side, and is free from the pain and suffering and so why should I linger over the idea that I still want her here? Let her go!

I have blogged that I firmly hold a belief of strong hope in "the Plan". I feel I grasp the concept of eternal life and families lasting forever. But watching her spirit leave her body, witnessing her last breath and finally feeling her last heart beat and then coldly nothing... it's hard! It's really, really hard. It is harder than I thought it would be.

I have regrets. I regret that I was worried more about my next job and next trip and next obligation than in spending time holding her hand or running my fingers through her hair. I regret that I wasn't the supporting son that was always there for her - sure, I was there, but she wasn't my top priority. She was always going to get better and so there was nothing to worry about, right?

Mom never "knew" about me. I never felt the need for her to "know". Yet, she knew. She knew I was different and she loved me for who I was and never questioned my feelings or motives. I guess I should have been strong enough to have told her, but for what purpose? I already knew she accepted me for being me.

Just a few more days to be the "strong one" and the patriarch of the family, and then I can have my true breakdown... right about time for Thanksgiving! Wow, what great timing!

I feel like an orphan. I don't care if I'm not a dependent child, but I still feel so alone and orphaned. Being parentless leaves me empty.

Family is so over-rated! :(

I don't know why I'm blogging... I probably shouldn't. You don't know me and you never knew her and so why am I sharing my emptiness? I just need to write some things down to myself about my thoughts and memories, but I can't bring myself to doing it...

All I want is some pathetic pity...

Does it get better from here? Where's the "it gets better" sound bite in this one?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Will it ever get better?


so, I've been out of town and slow to respond, but here's the deal...

I came to the conclusion that I am a sane person (relatively speaking) and that I can function maturely and in control of my passions and emotions (for the most part) and that surely I can meet a fellow MOHO in a public and open forum for good friendship and conversation.

And, so despite my personal commitment to promise to do otherwise, I took the steps and met a fellow community member that has gone from an on-line acquaintance to a friend, a brother, a dear man who understands me (which isn't always something even I can do), and who, for whatever strange reason I still can't comprehend, actually wanted to meet and know me face-to-face and appreciate who I am and to understand better my story.

We met in a very public space, in a very "sacred" space, out in the open, but private enough to have a conversation that I will remember with great fondness for many days to come. That's it... nothing more. A hug goodbye and we left, unsure if we will meet again, but sure (at least I am) for being better having spent that brief but wonderful time together.

So there you have it. Nothing earth-shattering (sorry to disappoint those who wanted more). And yet, personally impactful and moving nonetheless. Maybe I've disappointed others for having done so (again) without my wife's knowledge, I don't know, but it felt like the right and appropriate thing to do at the time, and so I did it.

I don't need to justify why I did what I did. Nor, do I need to explain my reasons for why the timing of this meeting doesn't fit well with a sit-down in-depth dialogue with my wife. Circumstances are such that stress and pressure keep such discussions currently at bay - at least to be had at another more calm and appropriate time when we are together. The HOW I'm going to tell her is something for another post on another day.

So, what does it mean? How have I changed? How am I doing now that I've broken my promise?

Well, to be honest, I feel really good and at peace. I feel the meeting has become a catalyst of sorts for a discussion that will be happening soon with my wife (that should have happened years ago) that can involve principles outlined in loving advice from MOHO Hawaii in the previous post comments. Maybe not as forcefully, but ending with a better direction of at least not hiding future meetings from her. Ultimately, that is my goal - to be able to make these connections of affirmation without repercussions or guilt and with her understanding the need, and not feeling pain or threatened by such meetings. I've lived my life "alone" for too long and such repression does no one any good.

I read in someone's blog a few days ago a quote that went something like this: "Even seven thousand years of joy cannot make up for seven years of repression" or something like that. Well... what about 30 years of repression?

My new MOHO friend asked me how I do it? How I manage to live the way I do? How I am able to keep up the facade and still function in some sort of sanity and normalcy?

It makes me wonder, too. If it gives him such pause as to how I am doing it month after month and year after year, and now decade after decade, how am I able to do it? And why do I do it?

And then I wonder if I would ever really change? Would I permit myself to truly be myself?

He asked me where I would like to see myself in 5 or 10 years. I said I hoped that I would see myself as being "free" - not free of marriage, or the bonds of the church and culture with which I am immersed and choose to be living my life willingly - but "free" from the guilt and repression, and "free" to be myself and hopefully find joy therein.

I've thought a lot about that answer since last Friday and I'm not sure if I'll ever get there. I wrote on Abelard's blog this evening that the "It Gets Better" campaign is wonderful for the younger set, those coming out in the teen and early twenties with their lives ahead of them, but as for those of us who are well into mid-life years, with years of repression accounted for and neatly packaged up and stacked in our tidy closets, I struggle to see that it really does get better from here...

All of this seems so self-centered and so self-serving. It's all about me, after all, no?

That's when I stop and count my blessing, realizing the "good life" that I do have, and that somehow, in the right time and place, all I want is the opportunity (and willingness and courage to take action) to LIVE and be real, and be me! Including meeting fellow MOHO brothers in public and "sacred" forums of face-to-face interaction and connection in plain daylight... no hiding.

Maybe then there will remain some hope that it's never ever too late for life to "get better".

Thursday, November 04, 2010

All is not well in Narnia / Seeking wise counsel...

Things have been going well, really well regarding my marriage. Our relationship has strengthened in the recent past, and getting away together has been a truly bonding experience. We've talked about it since returning, and we both have expressed how it feels like we've passed through that wardrobe into Narnia and back - that so many magical experiences and growth have occurred and we've changed so much, and yet, stepping back through that "proverbial closet", we see a world that is the same, no change, not even the passage of time, and our reality quickly returns with some disappointment or at least a bit of dissatisfaction. It's like we are different people in that other space and time. I am more open and free and expressive and "myself". She is more accepting and loving and comfortable with the real "me". And we can be ourselves and leave the worries of years of hurt and baggage and just be! And then we return home... and quickly, things revert back to where they were. The difference is that somehow, you don't lose your memory of the feelings of magical experiences and confidence in your relationship. You still take that with you, as you resolutely move on, carrying a hope that somehow, maybe naively thinking, things are different or slightly better.

Some wonder how a gay guy can continue to make a marriage work after all these years. Well, for me, it's a lot of work, but most things that are of any value at all require work and constant effort.

Some wonder how a gay guy can continue to pretend to be straight and live in a straight world, culture, marriage.

Yeah, I wonder, too...

I wonder why, if things are really going well in my marriage, why, for heaven's sake, would I now be feeling a desire, a need, a requirement, to have some good-ol male-bonding connections face-to-face and not just through this distant and detached media of blogging and chatting?

You see... I'm feeling the itch, the twinge, the prompting, or yes, even the temptation to rendezvous with some of you! Some old, some new! Some requests have come to me from old friends and a couple of new ones. For the record, I've been MOHO-visiting-face-to-face celibate now for nearly 14 months! In the MOHO lifespan of a few years, that's a good chunk of time - nearly eternity! :) I've done it deliberately as I've chosen restraint in my face-to-face encounters in order to "strengthen" and "focus" attention toward my marital face-to-face encounters.

And here I am looking seriously at jumping off the wagon of self-imposed gay-male friendship celibacy.

Should I take the plunge?
Should I be brave and do what "feels best" for me? Should I do so without her knowledge again and break a trust and hide behind my timidity? Or should I be confrontational and demand my independence from these self-attached shackles? I'm not seeking the standard answers of what works best for you in your situation that isn't mine. For those that have followed along and know some of me, I'm seeking what you think is best for me (and don't say that I'm the only one that knows the answer! If I knew, I wouldn't be asking, right?)

Should I be congratulated in my restraint and honored for my noble respect for her feelings? Or is it high time to stop acting so cowardly and disingenuous? What think ye oh wise mass readership?

Oh to be in Narnia again...