Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Zachary

A few years ago I read this Dear Abby (see below)....It has come to my mind many times.

Almost 4 years ago Zack came and told us he's gay. We had him go to counseling, we had him talk to the Bishop, we asked him to try not to be. We had him read articles in the Ensign (Church magazine). We've made him go to church and go to Seminary. I got much advice from family and friends. What it all comes down to is this....He's our son....we love him. He did not die, he is not sick. Although it is not what I would of chose for him it's his choice. Early on a dear friend (who has so much life experience) pointed out to me that I could tie Zack in a chair and keep him away from all of his friends but the one thing I could NEVER do is change the way he feels....that is not my right. So this is what I choose....I choose to be a BIG part of my son's life. I choose to enjoy in his triumphs and be there with him through his trials and sorrows. So, if others choose to judge me or Zack...I have to say...I don't care. I want to be a part of my son's life, I want him to come to me and tell me things that are going on with him. I want him to share his thoughts and feelings with me. I may not always agree with his beliefs or always understand them but I'm okay with that....He's my Zack...I love him.

Dear Abby:
My husband and I raised our two sons and two daughters. One son and both daughters married well. Our other son, “Neil,” is gay. He and his partner, “Ron,” have been together 15 years, but Neil’s father and I never wanted to know Ron because we disapproved of their lifestyle.

When I was 74, my husband died, leaving me in ill health and nearly penniless. No longer able to live alone, I asked my married son and two daughters if I could “visit” each of them for four months a year. (I thought living out of a suitcase would be best for everyone.) All three turned me down.

When Neil and Ron heard what had happened, they invited me to live with them. They welcomed me into their home, and removed a wall between two rooms so I’d have a bedroom with a private bath and sitting room. They also include me in many of their plans. Since I moved in with them, I have traveled more than I have my whole life. They never mention that they are supporting me, or that I ignored them.

When old friends ask how it feels living with my gay son, I tell them I hope they’re lucky enough to have one who will take them in one day. Please continue urging your readers to accept their children as they are. My only regret is that I wasted 15 years. –Grateful Mom

Dear Grateful Mom:
You are fortunate to have such a loving, generous and forgiving son. Sexual orientation is not a measure of anyone’s humanity or worth. Thank you for pointing out how important it is that people respect each other for who they are, not what we would like them to be.You could have learned that lesson long ago, had you and your husband contacted Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) when you first learned that Neil was gay. Among other things, the organization offers support groups and education for parents who need to learn more about gender issues. The address is 1726 M St. N.W., Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20036.


Julie said...

Although having a gay brother isn't the same as having a gay son, I think I can understand a little. I love my brother so much, and like you, decided I would love him no matter what. You're a great mom and Zack is lucky to have you.
You ought to check out this website- -it's quite inspiring.

Tammi said...

Well Stated Kim, we love you and Zach both. Nothing is more important in life than to have a supportive family in all our endeavors.

Kristi Amasio said...

Kim. You are such a fabulous Mom! I always say that there is nothing like the bond between a Mom and her Son. It is so strong. I think the hardest part of being a parent is not being able to control your childrens choices and actions and letting go of the dream you have for them. I truely admire you.

Cindy said...

Kim, you are so brave to have even posted in knowing that some may judge. That has got to be a difficult thing but you are right, that he is still your son and that you love him no matter what. Good luck with everything. You are an awesome mom and person. Hugs!

Brenda Scarlett said...

I am so proud and happy for you Kim. I think it has to have been the hardest thing to be able to accept Zack's feelings. I am proud of you for loving him and letting him make his own path. I truly believe that Zack is a wonderful young man. I don't see him as gay or straight, I see him for the wonderful person he is, and the man that he is becoming!

Nicole said...

Kim - you were brave to post this, and I wish more families, especially within the church, were willing to be open about homosexuality and other "alternative lifestyles." I respect you even more than I already did. It's a lot more common to know, or be related to someone, to someone who identifies with GLTBQ, than most people probably realize.

My parents can't understand why I have so many friends who are gay. They are worried it's going to "rub off" on me. They are worried that my level of comfort around people with same-gender attraction means that I possess same-gender attraction. I don't know what it feels like to have those urges...I just know the feelings I'd have if I didn't have my gay friends in my life. It would feel really sad and lonely to lose some of my most loyal, inspiring, cultured and selfless friends.

The scriptures tell us to "Love one another," and it's evident you love Zachary.

Lia said...

I remember when we were all young moms hangin' out and laughing. The dreams we had for our kids, the future we thought we could mold. Funny how perspective changes things as we grow older and dare I say wiser. (The older I get the more I realize how little we really know). I agree with Kristi, the bond between a mother and her son is special. For me, nothing could break it.

As for judging....well, I think it's a sad place to be when a person has such little respect for themselves and others that they can't see how distructive it is, mostly to themselves, to pick other peoples lives apart and use it for gossip fodder and a means of attempting to make themselves feel better. I'm glad you're choosing not to let them affect you. They'll have no impact on you unless you let them.

Also, WAY TO GO ZACK!! Going to the U!! He's comin' home!!

Charity said...

Kim you are amazing! It is really hard to go public with stuff like this. I have always found you inspiring in all the ways you lead your life! You are really an example of a great mom! Zach is amazing and always will be too! Not choosing for our kids is the hardest thing, they get to lead their own lives...crap if someone had only told me that before i gave birth to them.

kim said...

I love you Kim!!! Im not sure I can say anything else to express what a wonderful mother, friend and wife you are. Your family and friends are truely lucky.. Zack is a wonderful young man and I can only hope my kids has as much self respect and he does. Hugs!!

Greg and/or Angie said...

When Greg and I have talked about what we can do to be the best parents, it always comes down to loving our kids no matter what. My parents did and still do that perfectly and it is really all that matters. You're a good example and at the end of the day you will never regret loving your kids.