Chocolate pecan pie sous-chef, Berkeley, CA.
Pancake hearts, made as antidote to Prop 8 hate, mid-campaign.
After my mom died (now over fifteen years ago), I was thrust into that heightened state of awareness one has in the wake of the death of someone close. The world carries on as if nothing’s changed, except you’re rocked to your core. You see pettiness as petty, because it is. You see the preoccupation with anything other than love and compassion to be misguided at best, destructive at worst. You know how short life is. I was aware of, and tried to hold tight onto, an accute sense of what really matters. It’s the single most powerful gift the dead give the living.
In the year following my mother’s death, I asked the dieties for a ten year reprieve on loss, and I was dazzlingly fortunate to have received it. I was given a decade during which to lick wounds, to breathe deep, to consider love again, to readjust to a world moved by something else besides my mother’s centrifugal force. Ten years during which to see what was left of her (the essence of her love), and what really would slip away (the memory of her voice).
A dozen years after my mother died (six weeks after my daughter was born), a close friend died in an accident. Six months after that my ten-year-old nephew died, following a short, intense battle with brain and spinal cord cancer. These two died not just younger than I expected (as did my mother), but relatively young, or just young, period. Really young. With their leave-takings, my awareness of what really matters became not just a gift from the dead to me, but my gift to the dead in my life. I couldn’t keep from thinking: what can I give them? That they can have left something here, when they left their lives. And the simple answer was: gratitude.
My challenge was to hold on to that insight. Come what may.
Without hope, not only [white] gays, but those [nongay] Blacks, and the Asians, and the disabled, the seniors — the “us’s — the “us’s” — without hope, the us’s give up. I know that you cannot live on hope alone. But without it, life is not worth living. And you, and you, and you have got to give ’em hope.
Thanks to Sara at Suburban Lesbian Housewife for my first viewing of this.
And, in related news, we also have her to thank for alerting me to a link to an amicus brief to the California Supreme Court in defense of Prop 8 by a woman who’s an “heiress of The Almighty Eternal Creator,” on behalf of the almighty G_d him/herself. Not kidding here. Read it and weep. And then don’t loose grip on that hope that Brother Harvey just instilled in you.
Lesbian Dad is a personal essay/photography blog. It began as a document of my (genderqueer) parenthood but, like life, its ambit has stretched to include much more than I expected.
My kids call me "Baba," and together we work toward a world in which amor really does vincit omnia.