Love chose me; I said yes. It’s not your place to judge.
I’m from a religious family. All my life I’ve heard how homosexuality is wrong. I’ve never agreed. I’ve always believed in love. I’ve always sided with equality. I’ve always been loudly in favor of the freedom of choice. And when I found myself in a relationship with a person who brightened my life on the darkest of my days; who accepted and celebrated my love with Paul; who quickly became my best friend and love interest; when that person was a woman; I tolerated and even walked on eggshells for others’ religious convictions. After a few conversations and encounters over the past couple days…I reject the bigotry of my family and friends. We can agree to disagree. Have your convictions. But have them silently. Because at the end of the day, I still believe…if you can’t say anything nice; don’t say anything at all.
All my teenage and adult life, my father has been absent. My father is an intelligent man and a wise man in many ways. My father has devoted the last 10+ years to ‘Yahweh’. He rejects Christianity but in many ways he is just like those certain Christians that we all have encountered. He has preached time and time again about how wicked homosexuality is and how Yahweh hates it. My sister is homosexual and don’t get me started on the struggles that she has had to endure on her own journey along with those she’s faced with my father. To his credit, he has tried in the best way he can to be tolerant. I have walked on eggshells with him. I try just not to mention it. But in recent events, he has made efforts to give the appearance of acceptance. And at the first opportunity, he is quick to point out his efforts. Today was no exception. He told me today that he has done more for me in terms of accepting my ‘choices’ than he has with anyone else because he loves me and that credit should be paid given his beliefs. While I recognize his efforts, I reject the pedestal he is perched upon! Accept me; don’t accept me. I don’t really care but don’t you put on a show of tolerance and expect me to bow at your feet. It’s not going to happen.
On the flip side, my heart was touched by my mother in law, a very conservative Christian. A wonderful woman. A woman with a huge heart. She of all people is allowed to take pause. I knew that me announcing that I was pursuing a relationship with a woman within the first year of my husband’s, her son’s, death would be a bitter and difficult pill to swallow. I did not push her. I did not say anything directly to her. I allowed her time. I had no expectations of her. I was fully prepared for her to shun me; for her to not accept me. This weekend she left me in awe. She was so very honest with me. She shared with me how she had a difficult time coping with the news last year. She told me she had to unfollow me on Facebook for a period of time. She went on to tell me that she reflected and she realized that I wasn’t disrespecting Paul. She saw what a positive force Lisa was in my life. She saw how Paul’s memory and our love still lived on. She recognize what a wonderful person she must be to accept that in her life and in our life together. I was truly humbled. Here in front of me sits the mother of my late husband. A mother who should have never had to ‘bury’ her son of only 30 years; a conservative Christian mother. She told me that she could never condone my choices but that she accepted me and loved me. She told me she wanted to know her. She told me we would always be family. And I love her more deeply for this conversation. I recognize how hard this was for her to arrive at. I love her more for never making me feel ashamed, for recognizing that she had to step back and do some soul searching. And I love her for being able to have her convictions and to still be able to love and support me without making it feel as though she’s doing me a favor.
Love, life, death and grief are hard to juggle. They are even more difficult to explain. There is not one day that goes by that I don’t think of Paul. I don’t ever foresee a day where he won’t be a part of me. He has forever changed my life and who I am and I will love him forever. Love does not end when death rears it’s ugly head. My life did end the day my husband died but I did not die. I could have but I chose not to. I chose to go on and to make a new life. I have a big heart. And I’m able to love him and love another. I’m able to keep my memories and to make new ones. I’m able to grieve and to laugh. I don’t have to choose between the two. The grief of losing a spouse is never ending. You learn to adapt. I’ve chosen to adapt. You can’t know unless you’ve been here. I feel fortunate to have found someone who accepts all that I am; all that I’ve been through; a person who wants to make my life brighter but allows me my darkness; who wants to celebrate this life with me and to make it better. Who be it to say that it is wrong just because she is a woman? Who be it say that it wrong because I’m a widow?
I hope that everyone finds love like these; a love that changes you-that enhances you. I hope that everyone gets to experience the look in these pictures.