Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"You are not alone."

Last week, my wife and I went to visit our son at his home. We have not seen him since he came out to us. It was time to see him again.

We spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon together. As we strolled through a museum, he and I discussed this blog. I asked him whether it bothered him that I was writing this blog. He replied that it was important for me to be doing this as a parent, and he understood the goal of this blog is to act as a forum or conduit for other parents to share their experiences.

He told me about an organization that he is involved in which is trying to help frum kids cope once they have come out.
He told us about his friend who came out a few months ago. When I suggested that the young man tell his parents about this blog, he told us that the parents were in denial and have not accepted the fact that their son is gay.

Over dinner, we asked our son if it would be alright to tell some of our friends that he is gay. His response was "they are your friends, not mine, and you may do whatever you seem fit."
This was quite a departure from the way he felt just five months ago. He told us that the people who are important to him know that he is gay and support him. And that is all that is important to him.
In spite of the fact that we only spent part of a day with him, we left him feeling that he is more relaxed and in a better place than he was six months ago.

So where does that leave us?

Since we were hit with the news five months ago, our lives have changed. We see less and less of our friends and we spend most of the week engrossed in our respective jobs. When Shabbat comes, we no longer invite any guests over to share our meals, nor do we care to go to other people's homes. When we find the strength to go to shul, we come home without staying for kiddush. Before Shabbat we have been taking murder mystery books from the library and spending the weekend reading.

And then the week begins again.


The name of the organization my son referred to is called JQYOUTH.
Their motto is "You are not alone."
Their website is www.jqyouth.org.


Anonymous said...

It's great that your son found peers at JQYouth. Loneliness is a terrible thing at any age.
Your readers may be interested in GLYDSA - the Gay and Lesbian Yeshiva / Day School Alumni Association that has been supporting orthodox LGBT Jews since 1994.
Our website is www.glydsa.org

Unknown said...

I just left a long posting to one of your earlier postings.
I would like very much to be in contact with parents who are struggling to come to terms with issues concerning their son's sexual orientation; the difficulties they are having accepting it and how to deal with day to day life having such a son living at home.
My brother is in university (college) and still living at home with my parents who are yiras shomayim irlich people.

Saul David said...

Dear Tanya,

I feel for you and your parents. I went back to the earlier posting and read your comment. It was brave of your parents to go to a PFLAG meeting and what they observed was correct. The people who attend PFLAG have come to accept what is the reality. The leader of the group that we attend told my wife that even after 33 years, she has days that make her sad, in spite of the fact that she loves her son dearly and he is a wonderful human being.
I undertand your pain. It gets easier as time passes, but it is always there.
Suggest to your parents that they read this blog. As I wrote in a previous comment, I am just a dad and I don't have the answers. This is a place where we can come together and talk, share and even cry.
Write me at kirtzono@gmail.com. It is 100% anonymous. You don't know my name and I won't know yours, and the conversation need not be public, like this comment is.


Anonymous said...

Three and a half years ago I too 'came out' to my parents.

Let me say first, I cannot even begin to express my admiration for your empathetic, and honest manner in grappling with the myriad emotions in assimilating what your son's revalation means to you.

I also wanted to, from a very specific vantage point, point out how courageous I think your son is.
You see, when I came out to my parents it was in the same phone call that I informed them that my marriage was ending. That the 'perfect couple' that had given them wonderful grandchildren were anything but. That their 'perfect son' had decieved them, their daughter in law, and had violated her trust and the sanctity of their marriage.
I meet people like your son (and I am involved with JQY so odds are I have met him) - people ten years or so younger than me and I have nothing but admiration for their self-honesty and courage in not doing what I did - taking the easy path of listening to those shiduchim, of dating the girls, of denying first to himself, than a wife, that this is not the path Hashem meant him to take.
I know your hearts are shattered by the loss of the life you envisioned for him, but allow me to have the chutzpah to say that this is the right path, the one of yashrus and honesty. I would give anything to turn back the hands of time and find the voice inside myself to say, No, I am gay, no I won't have the beautiful wedding and the beautiful wife. It would have been pain but it would have been honest pain and it would have spared my ex-wife and parents all that followed.
So whatever complicated feelings you may feel about your son, I wanted to point out that in the world he comes from, the deception of self and others is the path of least resistance. I hope you and your wife can find a way to take pride in the fact that he bucked that and was honest with himself first and then with you.