Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

But did they respect me in the morning?

For the sake of honesty, I should say that Kerry never did ring my bells, but I voted for him. It seemed too hypocritical to campaign for him or put up yard signs, but I was relieved every time I saw a Kerry bumper sticker or button or sign. If nothing else, I knew that he would make better decisions about the Supreme Court, and SCOTUS was probably my greatest long term concern. Annihilation of the current decisions on affirmative action, abortion rights, and sodomy laws don’t even start to put a dent into all of the damage that could be done by the three justices likely to be replaced. I’m angry. I’m terrified. Frankly, I want my mom.

Gay marriage bans passed in eleven states. I’ll be moving from one of those eleven to the state that elected Barak Obama in a landslide. Brooke just needs to finish school, and while she’s doing that, she’ll apply for jobs out of state. We’ll sell the house and buy one there. I’ll find a new job.

I grew up here. Save for a brief stint as a river rat in North Carolina, I’ve always lived here. The marriage ban means no hope for second parent adoptions. No hope that Brooke and I will both be the legal parents of our future children. We both won’t be able to enroll them in school or make medical decisions for them. We may not be able to provide them with health insurance. Only one option for second parent adoptions exists in this state right now, but if it doesn’t work—any judge could deny it—we would both have lost our parental rights.

I feel like I’m being kicked out of my own home. In literal terms, I never was, but I had friends who were. One’s parents told her that as long as she was gay, she couldn’t live under their roof. She moved out for several months, and since she was a student, soon ran out of money. She lied and begged to move back in. That’s what I feel like. I can be here and be gay, but it has to be a secret. No one can know. I have to lie because someone else has convoluted ideas about what my life should be.

After I voted, I drove to the commuter lot and waited for the bus. As I put my keys into the breast pocket of my winter coat, I realized there was something in there, leftover from last winter. It was soft. I pulled out a small handful of red and purple yarn, the yarn I had used to knit socks for her grave. At the funeral home, I had woven in the ends and trimmed them. The yarn went into my pocket and was soon forgotten.

That yarn was so soft and so comforting. It was my own little security blanket, my reminder that someone was watching out for me, and it was going to be okay. My hopes for the outcome of the election were raised, but I guess I was wrong to be so hopeful. It seems more like a comforting blessing that it’s okay to pack up and leave.


At 11:39 AM, Blogger k. said...

i suppose i shouldn't presume to speak for an entire state, but, at least based on myself and the people i know, i can say that illinois welcomes you and brooke with open arms.

i, too, grew up in another midwestern state that will always be home in certain essential ways, but from which i've come to decide i must keep a safe distance.

take care.

At 11:46 AM, Blogger Emilin said...

Hey, I appreciate it. It'll be Chicago for us, mostly because of the second parent adoption laws, but also because I love the lake.

At 11:52 AM, Blogger Kim said...

We are seriously considering Illinois as well. We are in CA, but my DP could possibly get transferred there. Despite the extreme weather differences, I really would welcome the change...who knows. Maybe we'll end up neighbors.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Emilin said...

I'm a fan of the weather, myself. If you're serious about moving, drop me a line and I can recommend some neighborhoods.

At 8:29 PM, Blogger flea said...

Come on home to Illinois. We'll leave the light on for you.


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