Greatest Hits.

Monday, September 7th 09 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment

I’ve been sitting here for the last ten minutes trying to figure out what the five most pivotal moments of my life were. The five moments of my life that have shaped me into who I am, made me the person that I am. So far, I’ve only been able to come up with three. I guess over the next few years, as Kristi and I get married and have our first child, I’ll have my two more moments to finish out the five. As I consider those events, I feel like that will be exactly what I need to completely solidify me and make me a fully complete person.

Nothing in my life has changed me more than when I lost my grandmother in October of 2004. It’s a rather lengthy story that I’m sure I will get into eventually. After all, it seems to be something I write about in great detail at least twice a year. But the short version of it is that, at 60 years old, my grandmother died from complications with heart surgery. It was a long battle that my entire family fought for the better part of four months that left none of us untouched.

I’d been raised in a Christian household from the age of four, so I always had some framework of faith. I really believed that there was a God above that heard us in our greatest despair, which would give us strength at our weakest and give us peace when everything seemed lost. I had never been much for praying, but in the last two weeks of her life, I prayed as I never had before. And part of me really believed that when everything was over, I would still have my Gramma in my life. She would still be there to hug and touch and hear and smell and see. But on the afternoon of October 16, my mom and I got in my car to go and pick up my younger brother to tell him that my Poppa had made the decision to remove the support keeping my Gramma alive because her brain had ceased all activity. He was quiet.

I remember walking into her house. She hadn’t been there for about two weeks – no one really had, as we all pretty much lived at the hospital – but it still smelled like her, it still felt like she would be sitting in her chair reading a book. But she wasn’t. The house was quiet and still as I walked to her bedroom, into her closet. I collapsed into her hanging clothes and pulled them all around me – much like at the end of American Beauty – and I wept. I wept until all I could do was shake.

On a scale of the most important people in my life, she was at the top of it. Of all the people in my life to lose first, that was the worst possible scenario. (Not to undervalue the rest of my family, certainly not. It’s just.. well, you know.) I lost my faith the day that I lost my Grandmother.

But without that happening, I may have never come to terms with being gay. It was something that took me a long time to be at peace with. Having been raised Christian, I was well aware that it’s a sin and an abomination and all that other stuff they tell you. I spent years sitting in church hating myself and feeling disgusting. That’s kind of how they preach it, after all. I never thought that there’d come a day when I would actually say to any of my family the two words I couldn’t even say to myself. “I’m gay.”

The day did come though, and it kind of happened out of the blue. I was talking on the phone with my dad, lying in bed with Kristi, my girlfriend. I had been telling him about my current situation with work, which was quite a terrible one, and he asked me about the person I’d become involved with. I always felt that my father would be the most accepting member of my family and that when it came time to come out to him, that it’d be a fairly easy thing to do. But I didn’t even have any time to think about it or prepare either of us. So I just said it. I don’t remember exactly how I said it, what I remember was his reaction. Which was utterly and completely… calm. He told me he was happy for me and that was the only thing that mattered to him. That he didn’t care who I loved, just as long as I was loved in return and loved fully.

Telling my mom that I’m gay was not as easy and certainly not as pain free. I was terrified to do it. She was the Christian one who’d been married to a man who said things regularly like “fudge packer” and “carpet muncher.” That obviously didn’t give me any peace of mind when it came time for Kristi and I to make a trip to Arizona to visit her. I had tried to do it the cowardly way a few weeks beforehand by emailing her – it was an email that she simply hadn’t found time to read. So when she noticed the rings that we were wearing, thirty minutes after our arrival, she didn’t have any idea how to respond.

To make an extremely long story short, that week was one of the worst, most uncomfortable times of our lives. In fact, the whole next year was fairly terrible and uncomfortable when it came to my mom and her acceptance of our lifestyle. There was constant ridicule over the way I dress, the way I wear my hair; she would cry and cry and say things like “What would your grandmother think?” Yet, somewhere along the way, she changed. She’s not exactly Debbie Novatni, (hell, maybe joining a PFLAGG group would be good for her), but she has come a long way. This is something I am more grateful for than I know how to say.

Coming out and telling my friends and family that I’m a lesbian was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever come to face. But it is also one of the best things I’ve ever done. I would not have been able to do it without Kristi by my side.

My past pales in comparison and my future is prepared because I have her. If my life were a movie, meeting her would be the climax, the part that everything was working towards, the most important moment of them all. In the beginning we had nothing more than a casual working relationship, but once I really got to know her, I rapidly fell in love with her. She made me feel things again, she reopened my eyes to see the beauty in life, and she made my heart feel so full just by looking at her. And this was still at the point when she was trying her hardest to brush off my attempts of pursuing her.

The first night we spent together was long before she gave in to me and it’s one that I still remember every detail of. I was drunk and sick and she was frustrated with me because I didn’t think that I could make it up the stairs to her apartment. She laughed at me as I drunkenly confessed my love and spilled my guts, both literally and figuratively. I remember the smell of her bedroom and the rustling sound her comforter made every time she moved. I remember the way she pulled me to her and wove herself between my arms, her hair was in my face and it smelled like a summer morning. She touched my neck and lips and I couldn’t breathe or sleep.

It’s already been almost four years since that early November night. And staying with her that night remains the single best decision I have ever made.

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Entry filed under: Memories. Tags: , .

New shoes. Sink cat.

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