My mother passed away on October 28, 2010, at age 57. She had ovarian cancer. It’s something that has been very difficult for myself and the rest of my family to get over. She was the focal point of our family and a beautiful woman.
I feel guilty about my mom’s passing. Why? Because I never talked with her about being gay. She knew I was gay – sort of – but she didn’t hear it directly from me.
I had written an article for our college newspaper about gay rights. I remember sitting in class and my phone kept going off because she was calling me. I knew right away she had read the article. I had never been more nervous to talk.
When I answered the call, she read me an excerpt from the article where I said “As a gay man…”
I froze. I had no idea what to say to her.
I just said “I’m not sure, Mom. I might be gay.” She told me she wanted me to see a psychiatrist. I hung up and avoided her calls for a week. If any of you have an Italian mother, you know this is NOT easy to do.
We never talked about a psychiatrist again. But that’s because we never had a real conversation about me being gay.
Yet I think my mom always knew I was gay. When I was in first grade, I had asked for a My Sized Barbie for Christmas. I got the Barbie and Mom told everyone I wanted a “dancing partner.”
This was different, though. This was the first time my mom had actually said something about it. I didn’t know what to do. Her voice just sounded so…disappointed. After a week I called her back. She said “You’re not gay, are you?”
I lied. I told her “no” and we dropped it.
BUT SHE KNEW. A MOTHER ALWAYS KNOWS.
( I enterely agree with this statment!! )
Last year on the night of my 22nd birthday my mom and I got into a screaming match over cleaning out our fish tanks (yes, seriously). Frustrated and angry, she said to me: “GO RUN TO YOUR BOYFRIEND!”
I burst into tears and drove out of the house, ripping down Christmas decorations in the process. She had been keeping tabs on me. I had been dating someone for over a year and she knew. I called my best friend crying and she calmed me down and convinced me to return home.
I did and it wasn’t brought up again. But I regret not telling my mom about my boyfriend. I think she felt hurt I hadn’t shared my life with her. I was living my life in hiding. I was in this wonderful, happy relationship and she had no idea who this person was that I was with every night. He was a stranger to her.
I should have let her in my life. I should have been upfront the second my mom asked me if I was gay, but I ran away.
The night before my mother passed away, her best friend pulled me aside in the hospital hallway.
“Jake, she got you,” she said. “She understands you and she loves you. She wanted you to be happy with whoever you are with. We all love you and we all accept you.”
We stood there in the hallway for at least a half hour holding each other and crying.
I feel my mother’s presence every day – and every day, I regret not being upfront with her about who I am and how happy I am. I think she would have loved to see me holding hands with someone I care about, would have loved to see me celebrate my wedding and watch me raise a family with a man I love.
She deserved to be let into my happiness. That’s what we do when we love people. We let them in to our lives.