(On this Gay Pride week-end (2011) I remembered back to a tribute I wrote to my son and his partner on their 20 Anniversary.)
It was a Wednesday evening. I came in late from a long church meeting. My wife met meat the door. She said, “Matthew sent us a letter. It is the most beautiful letter I have ever read.” “He’s gay isn’t he?” I asked. My wife nodded.
So I read his letter. Written, I am sure with fear and foreboding. Telling us something of his struggle through the years. He had never talked about this and neither had we. But he opened up his heart and told us he had met someone and they were going to make a commitment to one another. He wanted us to understand and to love and support him.
We cried and hugged one another. We talked to one another about our fears. Aids, especially. What if he has Aids? Wondering who this man was he was committing his life to. Sad that he would not know the love and the joy of children. How different our lives would have been without our daughter and son. We ached when we realized for years he had struggled with his own sexual identity and had to work it out alone—and how very hard that must have been. If only we could have helped. We talked about what a hard road gay people have—especially twenty years ago. There was so much cruelty out there—especially in the church of all places. So many people were quick to judge and not understand. Nobody wants their children to suffer because the road they take is hard and misunderstood.
That was twenty years ago. Matthew called this last week and said he and Mark were celebrating their twentieth anniversary. Mark has become part of our family. I do not know a couple that are as attentive to one another or more in love. There is a tie there that is healthy and whole.
Both of them love their families fiercely. For my seventieth birthday they gave my wife and I a trip to Italy and they went with us. It was a ten days that none of us will ever forget. They have been on more than one cruise with Mark’s mother and family and they have been accepted by them as well.
Matthew and Mark, like a multitude of others, have faced incredible odds when they courageously struck out together twenty years ago. But their ties have lasted and grown stronger. I am proud of our son and his partner and wish them many, many more anniversaries. They are role models for us all.