Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Family Changed Forever - One Year Later

A year ago, during Sukkoth, our son announced to us that he is gay.

A few weeks later I began to express my feelings in this blog.

It has been an incredible journey.

We have learned so much. We have met so many people. And we have changed.

As parents, the world as we knew it shattered, as soon as our son came out to us. Our dreams came to an abrupt end. The world of our daughters irrevocably changed as they were forced to come to grips with their new reality.

Our faith in God has come into question and the trust that we thought we had in our friends has diminished.

But we were able to pick up the pieces and rebuild around our new reality.

We sought advice from our rabbi. This turned out to be a dead-end.

We joined a local chapter of PFLAG. We became friends with some nice people who have been through this journey in their lives. They have shown us how to celebrate the positive aspects of our new reality.

We reached out to whoever we felt could offer us assistance. Rabbi Steve Greenberg spent a few hours talking with me right after our son came out. He was a tremendous source of strength. Dr. Naomi Mark gave me the courage to continue writing in this blog. Dr. Linda Freedman willingly offered her services to me whenever I needed it, and there were times when I really needed it. Rabbi Michael Balinsky gave me his encouragement as a dear, old friend.

We chose to tell some of our friends in a cautious, deliberate manner, over the space of this past year. Those with whom we shared have been a source of strength for us.

Only some members of our family know.

And this blog has exposed us to a new world. The postings have elicited responses from gay men and women and their parents. We have become close with all who have chosen to have a dialogue with us. There are many emails that are written in private between us and we all have grown as we used this blog and its instruments as a forum to share our thoughts and our stories.

Our family has changed and grown. We have grown closer together and as individuals we have all grown stronger.

During this past Sukkoth, as we sat around the table, the discussion turned to this blog. My son turned to me and said that it is time to take a less lachrymose approach in the blog. I told him that I agree with him. I said that the mourning period has drawn to an end and that it is now time to move from sadness to advocacy.

He nodded and the discussion moved on to another topic.

The waters remain uncharted, but we can navigate knowing that it will all be good.

Be well.


Saul David

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your wonderful support of your son has made me proud to be a Jew.

Jusrangers said...

Yasher Koach. Your strength and desire to learn is inspiring.

heblish@hotmail.com said...

(I accidentally posted this comment under the wrong entry, here it is again)

SD-

I apologize that I've never thanked you for your blog before. I've been following it almost from the beginning, and have enjoyed the ride.

I am a frum, gay guy living in Israel. Out to my family, and friends. I'm struggling to find a place for myself in the Jewish community.

My biggest challenge has been struggling with -- not the Jewish Law -- but the Jewish community that insists on excluding their own. The Tradition is so easily malleable (and I say this from the Orthodox perspective) in so many regards (think: agunot, mamzerim, etc) but there is total halachik obstinance with regard to the issue of homosexuality.

Thanks again for the blog; I hope it continues to provide you an outlet, and its readers strength.

Looking forward to Year Two.

Anonymous said...

SD-
I have been following your blog since the beginning and really appreciate it. My brother is an Orthodox gay man who has not come out to our parents yet (nor anyone else for that matter). When I read your blog, I am aware of how hard it will be for my parents to deal with the news when they are told. But I also hope that they have your strength and ability to love their son as you have been able to do for your son. I am saving the link to this blog for when my parents are going to need support. I feel comforted that there are parents like you out there.

I hope that the process continues to get easier for you.

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog. We also are Orthodox (MO) and about 18 months ago our son announced he was gay, about 10 days before going off to yeshivah high school. He went anyway; we hoped for the best. Wrong decision but we wouldn't have known unless we tried. Now our son lives at home, goes to public high school and is still feeling his way through his religion. For the most part, he can't rectify his life with the Orthodox lifestyle. He finds little meaning or comfort in religion at the moment. I don't blame him. I don't know how to rectify it yet either.