It was just over a year ago that our daughter, Jillian came out to our family as gay. I sent my husband a message on the year anniversary that said "It's been one year since Jillian came out." His response?
"Yes, it has been a lifetime since then."
Truer words were never spoken. We have dealt with so very many things in this past year.
So many things.
In all honesty, I didn't have too much of a struggle with everything until November when the LDS church changed it's policy about people who are in same sex relationships. I'm sure many of you are aware of this policy change. If you are not Google can help.
That evening as I learned of the change I crawled into bed and sobbed. My sweet McKenna came and just sat with me as I cried, not knowing what I was crying for, because I was crying so much that I couldn't speak.
Mostly I hurt because it felt like the church that I love, that proclaims love; seemed like it was rejecting my child. My beautiful, funny, amazing child. Who is just as much a child of Heavenly Parents as you or I.
That hurt spilled out onto social media. And tried my best to explain my feelings in earlier blog posts that you can read HERE and HERE.
I had many private and public messages of love and support. There were also private messages asking me, with love and respect, the question, "How does this affect your family?" I tried to answer the best I could but my answers were short and probably not well thought out, and some I don't think I answered at all because I was too raw to go over it all again.
I will tell you this, I have cried more since November of 2015 than I have in my entire life. Tears will just start leaking out, as I go over and over and over this in my mind. To say it's a hamster wheel would be a kind way of putting it. I have wanted to share what I feel but I just don't know how to put it into words.
Sometimes I wish there was a way to communicate spirit to spirit, to truly have a "Heart to Heart" conversation. This life would be so much easier if that were possible. Don't you think? But that is not to be. All I can do is share and hope that a sliver of what I feel comes through. And in sharing I also put myself out there for ridicule and judgement. That's scary.
And because it's scary (and because of some judgement that has already occurred) I am still reluctant to share exactly what it is I am feeling.
Let me be perfectly clear. We have been surrounded by such love and support from family, friends, and our new ward. It's truly amazing. Our family has been lifted by your love and we have felt your prayers.
And I still hurt. My heart physically hurts.
I wish I could explain it but I can't. I want to explain it, but when I try to put it down there really are no words that can describe the pain.
Since November of last year, in just three months, there have been 32 suicides in the LDS LGBTQ Community.
That is why I hurt. People are dying. The average age of those 32? Seventeen years old.
Children are dying.
Because they feel unwanted and unloved.
Because they feel unwanted and unloved.
Today this article was published in the Deseret News. It's a good article. I HIGHLY recommend taking some extra time and reading it thoroughly.
The church leaders mourn but what about the general population of the church? Do you mourn?Sometimes, and I don't know why or where it comes from, but the feeling that comes through when someone who is gay commits suicide, is a Scrooge like one of...
"If they'd rather die, then they had better do it and decrease the surplus population."
So, yes, I hurt.
We have so far to go. I have so far to go when it comes to showing Christlike love.
Please, please, please...
I AM BEGGING YOU!
Be kind to those around you.
Speak words of love and acceptance because you never know who is listening.
You could have a child who is gay and is too scared to say anything because of the words they hear you speaking or the jokes that you tell. There may be someone in your ward who has a child who is gay but is too afraid to say anything because they know they will find no support or love. There may be a member of your Young Women's or Young Men's group who feels lost and alone and worthless because of lessons that are being taught. You may have a brother or sister that is afraid to come forward and feels unloved.
Reach out to people. Love them. Treat them with respect. Be Kind.
And if you are someone, gay or not, who is struggling with feelings of in inadequacy, loneliness, heartache and despair. Please know you are loved and important and wanted.
Don't hurt yourself. This world needs you. I need you.
Even if I don't know you, know this...
****And if you really would like to have a conversation with me we can go to lunch or for a walk or a drive or even talk on the phone (although I hate talking on the phone) and I will do my best to explain. If you will do your best to just listen and understand.