On regret and being too late

My sister’s dearest friend is gay, or more precise, was gay.

They met ages ago right at the start of college through his then girlfriend; he was your typical small town, shy and dorky young man, passionate about arts and my sister was… well… my sister…

My sister and I were raised under the same roof. We ate the same food, drank the same water and got equal shares of love and attention from mum and dad. But if you give me a ruler and a pen and ask me to draw a straight line … well, I wouldn’t know where to start.

My sister, on the other hand, is amazing: she is creative, full of beautiful ideas and incredibly skilled with her hands. My sister is awesome, just like my mum.

Back to my story: my sister was, even at that young age, awesomeness in a petite package.

In each other they found somebody with intense passion for design, arts and all things creative. They became each other’s confidant and the toughest judge on the other one’s suitors. They were there for each other not only through the day-to-day drama that only college can be for the very young, but on deeply emotional matters; they were there when hearts were broken, parents were lost and when there were pregnancy scares.

They spent most of their awake time together; it was common for me to come back home in the evening from uni, to find him going through the fridge’s content, crashing on our couch or with his head on my mum’s shoulder pouting about something or someone.

It didn’t matter he had a girlfriend, or that he liked this or that girl. My sister knew, well before he admitted it to himself, that he was gay, and just waited until he was ready to come out.

She was there for him when he needed her, she helped him deal with many of his emotions and thoughts and tried to hold him together when he tried to face a tough and unsympathetic father. I am being unfair to his father, I guess he didn’t know what to do and didn’t really understand how to handle his doubts and assumptions and sadly acted the wrong way. He loved his son very much, he just didn’t know how to just accept and love, he put prejudice and “what others would think” first.

This post is and is not about that.

My sister’s friend lost the sense of home when he came out, he had nowhere or no one to “go back” to. He just turned around and jumped into the world with a new sense of freedom and unfair sense guilt and shame. He didn’t have “home” to talk about relationships, or what was right or wrong. By shunning him off, his family lost, if not the ability to help him stay balanced, the ability to guide and protect him when he needed it, just like we all need once in a while.

The only way he found to ease the pain was to put physical distance between him and his family. He dropped out of college, moved countries, and followed different careers. He wanted to explore, to learn and to love, and I guess, to find something or someone that would fill that huge hole that he carried in his heart.

He acted crazy and irresponsible, I am not justifying his actions, he was a young man and he knew what was right and what was stupid, but I do believe that when we are hurt or lost we tend to put more faith on acting on impulse.

On a silly night, my sister’s friend became HIV +

It took him quite some time to find this out, and when he did, he went and stayed in denial. My sister found out when he was hospitalized due to pneumonia and realized that days went by without him recovering, and that he was transferred to the “tropical and other infectious diseases” wing at the hospital. He wouldn’t talk about it and pretended not to listen.

She was there during his whole stay; she sneaked in the cigarettes and the cookies, she brought books and magazines and she helped him feel better.

She forced him to look at what being HIV + meant, and forced him to make changes on his lifestyle to take better care of himself and others.

Life got in the way and they drifted apart again.

Today my sister is at home heart broken. She is been crying for hours inconsolably. She got a phone call to let her new that her dear friend passed away last night, away from his family and most of his friends.

A few months ago, I had the pleasure to meet my husband’s old pediatrician … yes, the woman that healed him from when he was a little premmie baby, gave his baby a check up. On our way back to her home, she went on “full advising mode”, the type mums get into when time is running out and they need you to absorb the maximum amount of pearls of wisdom: you know like: this to eat, that to wear, careful with blah blah …

And at the end she said, “remember, this baby is not yours to keep, is yours to prepare for the world. Who he decides to go to bed with, is his problem, and his problem alone. Just love who he loves”.

Is it worth for a parent to lose a child because we don’t agree with our child’s choice of life companion? Really?

A workmate argued that is not just a life companion choice but more of a life style choice … how is that a life style choice? we all eat, drink and sleep the same. Work the same hours and do the same things for fun. How does life style change if you are gay?

How can I, as a parent, justify pushing my kid away?

For me it is just the same as pushing him away because he doesn’t like broccoli. In my view, that is how absurd it sounds.

My sister’s friend didn’t have to leave this world alone. He needed his family and his family needed him. I know it is very hard to realize that one’s child doesn’t get that “parents know best”; but as a parent love is infinite, we need to let or children “make mistakes” and learn from them, make decisions and live with the consequences, without removing the anchor that home represents if we don’t agree with their decisions.

I am not perfect, I have made mistakes and I will make mistakes with my child in the future, but I hope he always knows that I love him more than anyone in the world and that I will always be there for him.

This post is to remind myself to leave a light on for my child, so he will always remember where he can come back to.

Darling in heaven, I hope you get the peace and love your soul deserves, You will be missed.

29 thoughts on “On regret and being too late

  1. Our children often disappoint us, just as we often disappointed our parents. However, it is our duty as parents to love our children unconditionally, regardless of the choices they make (and whether or not we ‘agree’ with or ‘understand’ them); in reality, they are their own ‘persons’ from the moment they are born; all we can do is guide them and protect them (as much as is possible) and love them, love them, love them (and, eventually, respect them). Your sister should focus on the good times she had with her friend, and know that he has found peace and contentment at last.

  2. Heart-wrenching. I can’t imagine why any parents would be so callous. At least, he had your sister, and at least he can now rest in peace, just as he is. God bless all those like him and people like you for sharing his journey. May kindness embrace us all, and may we welcome, those that are different than us, with open arms.

  3. Tear* ! Beautifully written. And something I will take away from this when/if I ever have children is your words “to remind myself to leave a light on for my child, so he (she) will always remember where he (she) can come home to”. Thank you for this, and TGIF!

    – Alice

  4. Things like this only remind us to cherish those in our lives because we never know what is going to happen or where our lives are going to lead us. I am so sorry for your loss, but you’ve only gained one more angel to look down and watch over you.

  5. I think you’re so right. I love my children so dearly right now, more than I ever thought a heart was capable of. Why should I change that for any reason when they are adult enough to make their own decisions? You teach through all of their childhood to be who they are. Don’t shun them when they finally can be.

  6. That is terribly sad, his passing and his father’s reaction, and so well told. I do believe there is a gay culture as there is a straight culture, some people may view their sexuality as part of their lifestyle and culture. It’s when prejudices get involved that make us so separate from one another.

    I truly thank you for sharing this, it has made me think and cry and hope for a better future where people aren’t feeling so rejected that they rely on impulse to numb the pain.

  7. “remember, this baby is not yours to keep, is yours to prepare for the world. Who he decides to go to bed with, is his problem, and his problem alone. Just love who he loves”.

    What haunting words and so true . . .

    My mother said something similar. She said that children were like trains. It was the parents’ job to build the trains, fill them up, and let them go. Trains were meant to travel and leave you. Otherwise, what was the point of building them in the first place.

  8. ps, I have to ask you a question on an unrelated matter. You call your blog ‘The Mommy Chronicals’ but refer to your parent as ‘mum’. So are you an Aussie or a Brit living in the US? 🙂

  9. Interesting post. I feel myself drifting around sometimes too. In that way, I can sort of relate to your sister’s friend. The urge to find a nice hole to get into and feel secure

  10. I like your post it really says much about my own life. I am so sorry for your friends loss. It is a tragedy that parents are not able to make sure there child knows that they are loved. That is why I started my website because of my verbal and physical abuse as a child from my father and those who have endured the same. Hopefully my site will give hope to someone who has suffered.

  11. I am a bisexual woman, who also knows how hard it is to have your family look down at you. It’s very hard to try to convince people that we ALL need love, no matter what we look like, who we love, or whatever the case. Everyone needs love, and nobody should ever be in the dark…

  12. I remember coming out to my mother at the age of 17. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I started crying uncontrollably. I’m not a crier.. but the emotional toll of saying the words for the first time was scary – I didn’t know what was going to happen.

    My mother told me, “You may have a some more challenging options than some. I’m not worried about you, and I am happy you told me you’re gay, but I’m just worried about the challenges life is going to present you and I wish I could take care of them for you.”

    My mother easily said the best thing she could have said that day, along the lines of “I Love You”. Reading this post hits close to home and I’m happy there are people like you and my mother. I think you’ll do a good job.

    Our imperfections are what make us each individually perfect for someone else.

  13. This is really touching and heartbreaking. I’m not sure how much my own family knows about elements of my own lifestyle in the past, and it is heartbreaking for me partly because I am experiencing a lot of isolation from my family at the moment in a very bad situation. That is how I feel anyway. I am wondering if perhaps is is all in my mind. That there is something in my own interpretations and choices which, if I were to change them, could make my relationships sing.

  14. ~ your post is enlghtening. i just have to press this post! this post is just in time bec. a friend’s client just contracted hiv and when my frnd told me, i was like, “what?!” but yeah, this really happens. so sad, ryt? nway, congrats on being fp! cheers! 🙂

  15. This is so beautifully written, and I am so sorry to hear that your sister’s friend passed away. It is heartbreaking to see someone have to struggle with identity/sexuality and then be pushed away by their family. I am glad that your sister was there for him, it sounds like she was a wonderful friend to him.

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