Saturday, April 08, 2006

Let me sum up

There has been quite a bit going on that I haven't been blogging about, for myriad reasons. Mostly, I think, because I felt it was too private. It involved other lives besides mine. It involved family issues and drama.

But aside from telling my experiences as an ex-gay (and this is really a piece of it), part of the purpose of my blog is having an outlet for what's going on...a chance to get support and feedback, to participate in a community of sorts.

As Inigo Montoya says in The Princess Bride, “Let me explain…no, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

To sum up, I am, at this point in my life, an emotional orphan. Meaning I have parents living but they are not participating in my life, or I'm not participating in theirs (there are multiple ways of looking at everything, I suppose).

Of course, knowing me, you know I can't help but try to 'splain a little bit, right?

Here's the Reader's Digest condensed version:
[Edited in 2007; to sum up even further - my family is not perfect, I have deleted just a bit here that really just says, hey, we've all got issues, and unfortunately, I have significant issues with my parents]

I attempted to start some dialog in the beginning of 2005, and that went nowhere (I never got a response until I wrote again at the end of 2005). There has been some letter writing this year, but the main purpose seems to have been to attack, manipulate and guilt me. My original letter was compared to Japan bombing Pearl Harbor, or like me throwing up once on my mother when I was a small child [slight unnecessary snarky comment deleted here].

[As an aside...one reason I hesitate to even write about this because, well, I feel like I'm giving ammo to those who want to find out "why" I'm gay, and why I didn't change (see? classic moberly theory! she is looking for a mother relationship in other women! see? she hasn't resolved her issues with her parents, so therefore her sexual orientation can't change!) but I've never pretended I've had the perfect upbringing (I've always said that I could be the poster child for the ex-gay movement for their "why a girl becomes a lesbian" theories--the point I've always made is that no matter how I ended up this way, after all the healing work I've done, my orientation hasn't changed; end of story).]

So...to sum up, I am dealing with the loss of my parents, and the loss of a feeling of having a family. I am really done this time. For my own mental health, I need to go on with my life without my parents being in it. If you're about to tell me that I should try harder, or that I shouldn't dismiss family so lightly, just know this is a decision that's come about after many years of heartache (and subsequent therapy) and trying to resolve the issues. I had actually been thinking that I needed to end the relationship in the beginning of 2004, but have spent the last two years trying to see if there wasn't something that could be done about it. Trust me, it takes two and I'm the only one who genuinely showed up.

So it's difficult now to deal with the reality of it, and in the view of many others, my grief doesn't seem "real" (as in, "oh yeah, I fight with my mom, too"), and it's not something I can explain to most people. When I start to cry for seemingly no reason, I can't say, "My parents just died" (which in some ways is what I feel like) and people will understand. I can't get bereavement leave. I can't tell clients I'm late with work because of a death in the family.

I've been told to "get over it" and "move on." But I can't move on without moving through the grief, which is real, heavy and all-consuming. It has been hard to sleep...hard to concentrate...hard to just live my daily life. Combine that with a crazy work schedule and I'm just pretty much toast.

I've been trying to come up with something to do, some kind of ritual to mark this significant time for me. I am collecting items and putting them in a box. Things that remind me of the good and bad aspects of the relationship with my parents. I plan to have some sort of ceremony (maybe bury the items in the mountains somewhere) so that I can have some closure. I'm sending the final letter to my parents this week (I was going to send it today, but realized that I should have it arrive after Easter, so that they can enjoy their favorite holiday freely).

I'll always love my parents, and I'll always wish things had been different. I'll always hope somehow for them to change so that they can be more supportive parents. I'll always hope that they can see me differently. And I'll always cherish the good memories I do have, even as I continue to heal from the bad.

Goodbye, Mom and Dad. I'll always love you, even if it's with a broken heart.

14 comments:

  1. Thank you, for sharing, I understand.

    (((((((((HUGS))))))))

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  2. Christine, the actual death of someone we love (if they hurt us or not) can be so much easier than the death of a realationship with a living person who is still out there in the world somewhere.

    I marvel at your integrity to your process and your refusal to take short cuts even when it means that much more pain. Seeing you "eat your shadows" inspires me as I eat my own.

    thanks for being you and thank you for sharing this with all of us.

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  3. Sigh... I'm so sorry to read the current chapter in the ongoing painful drama around your relationship with your parents. You deserve to be loved unconditionally by all the important people in your life, Christine, and I join Jimbo and data in giving you a much-needed hug.

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  4. Here's another hug coming your way!

    And I also admire and respect your integrity.

    Hang in there!
    Jeanine

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  5. I think the ritual you have planned is a good idea.
    We mark physical deaths with rituals of closure; wakes, funerals, memorial services. They're not for the person who's died, but for those who are left.
    Emotional death is no less painful and the grief is just as real, yet there are no automatic societal closure rituals.
    Maybe it would be useful to pen something to recite something during the burial. Perhaps something that acknowledges your pain and grief, and something that speaks of the hope in moving forward.
    Good luck!
    Peace,
    Rev. Mike

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  6. Sweetie, I'm so sorry. You've given it your best shot. You can only control what you do and the decisions *you* make.

    It just sucks. Nothing can take the place of parents ... especially having to say goodbye to them in this way. The appear to be emotionally dead and incapable of responding in a healthy loving way.

    Wishing it were otherwise and glad to you're taking steps to move on.

    If you ever need a weekend away, we're here.

    Hugs,
    M & A

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  7. I'm so sorry you have to do this, yet it seems unavoidable. Hopefully you'll be able to move on, as you hope, and find other family connections for yourself!

    *hugs*

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  8. Hang in there sweetie. I think you're being very wise in understanding that this is a moment to grieve, and ceremonies are an excellent way to make those unnameable (is that a word?) feelings manifest.

    More hugs...

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  9. Oh geez. I hurt for you reading this. Whoever's telling you to "get over it and move on" should be poked in the eye with a sharp stick and told to get over that.

    Even though your parents aren't dead, they're in a sense "dead to you," so it makes perfect sense for you to be grieving. It's a bit like someone who's "missing and presumed dead"-- you don't even have a body for closure.

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  10. Hey girl and with you in spirit wish we weren't seas apart.
    I admire your courage and strength i know it is hard......know you are loved jules

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  11. I am leading a grief support group that has a number of folks dealing with what we call "disenfranchised grief" -- which you describe so perfectly in your blog.

    That is meant to say that "I hear you" ... and, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    (((((hug)))))

    David

    (AKA DeweytheDoggie)

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  12. Jimbo, Data, Peterson, Rick, Jeanine, Rev. Mike, Mark (and A), Scholiast, Jim, Liadan, Jules, David....and all the others who have supported me by phone and e-mail:

    Thank you all so much. I really appreciate all the support and kind words and offers of a listening ear. It really does help. Thanks to all of you...many hugs.

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  13. Oh Hon, I am so sorry :( I have been there. I know what you are going through and how painful it is. Mentally and emotionally, it really does feel like the physical death of a loved one. My situation is just a little different. I still talk to my parents and we occasionally spend time together, but I have mourned for the part of them that I have lost. My heart goes out to you and I pray that you will heal quickly through all of this. Know that I and many others are pulling for you.

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