Sunday, March 22, 2009

Anniversary

Today is hard for me, and I'm going to share it.

On March 22, 1975, when I was 22, I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. It was the happiest day of my life because I was marrying the man of my dreams. And for years and years I knew this was true. When we had no money, and I mean, NO money, I had Ray. As years passed, and all that happens with a married couple, I was happy, and a big part of it was because of him.

We both went back to college and finished, finally it seemed, in 1978. By then we had two kids! We lived in rented apartments and houses, until in 1982 we bought our first home: a hundred-year-old farmhouse with cold rooms and sloping floors. We used an antique cook-stove fueled by wood to supplement the extremely expensive electric heaters. I had gardens and canned a lot of green beans, tomatoes, and corn. I scrimped at the grocery and bought clothes (when we had cash) at rummage sales. By 1986 we had FOUR kids (ALL TREASURES) - and even though we never had any extra money, I was happy.

Besides working full-time, Ray was always asked to sing. This was added income, and Ray never complained about working, although there were some times he wanted to "call in tired." I would work temporarily as a substitute teacher, but having little ones at home always kept me busy. As Ray wrote each new song on our battered, upright piano, he shared what he finished with me. So many times it would make me cry because they were so beautiful.

There was no change in Ray over the years as he became successful - we just got to eat out more, and that meant I had to cook LESS! I got pretty spoiled, but those were good years. Little did I know that all that would change. And I miss that life every day. I miss Ray every day.

Is this too personal? Probably. Is it real? yeah. It's honest and real. I'm leaving out so much, but I think you will get the idea.

So today is my anniversary of that day - and I'm sad. No question about it. I can't write it nicely. I can't say it well. I can only grieve that he is gay and no amount of hoping or praying or waiting will change that. I'm here alone - with kids grown and a big, empty house, lots of memories, and I can't stop wiping the tears from my face.

11 comments:

Karen said...

Carol,

I have been reading your blog for awhile now and have been thinging about posting a comment. That can wait now.

Only you can decide if this is too personal, but I thank you for sharing it. The sin of the church in denying the rich diversity of God's creation brings only pain. I am so sorry you (and your family) are haveing to live with this. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Karen

Kat said...

Sending hugs, Carol! I pray that not only does God comfort you but sends flesh-and-blood people to be there for you in person. The glbt community MUST do a better job of surrounding the straight spouses with love and support. We are severely lacking in this area. While the gay community tends to jump for joy at the one who has 'embraced' his/her gay-ness at long last, the spouse is toooo often left alone with unimaginable pain. Where's the party for them? My girlfriend and I feel a tremendous desire to be of help and to educate others of 'us' as to the need.
Love, Kat

Carol said...

Thanks, Kat and Karen. I'm feeling better as the day progresses, but it never goes away - and Kat, I wish I knew how better to support the spouses. I stand up for ALL of us who are caught in this situation. Some of us look okay, and are still hurting a lot. I'm glad for those who share on this blog - I'm grateful for the support. Immense thanks. :)

Black Sheep said...

Hi Carol,

I'm new here, and I'm a complete stranger, but I love reading your blog, and deeply appreciate your openness as well as the grace and compassion you display.

May God send you the kind of comfort and encouragement that will best meet your need today and throughout the week. Don't doubt for a minute that your willingness to share openly is very powerful, and will surely make a difference.

I'm sorry today hurts. : (

angie said...

Carol,
I can't imagine what you are going through, but thank you for sharing your self and being real. Your blog has meant so much to me since I discovered it. Love to you.

Angie

The Muser (aka Beautiful Mama) said...

This is so beautiful and heart-breaking and authentic. Thank you for sharing it. And thank you for sharing your courage and love as well. That you love Ray enough to be honest about your heart-break EVEN while supporting him and advocating for gay-rights--it is beautiful and so holy.

Mark said...

I'm glad you have the gumption to be honest and to name the hurt and grief that you feel. My first inclination (like I'm sure you've experienced when others are honest about their pain) is to figure out how to move in, come alongside and ease the pain. And we often stumble clumsily in attempting that.

But the pain couldn't be without the years of memories of good -- so pain it is. My heart aches with you.

ohchicken said...

thinking of you today, and sending a whole lot of love.

Existential Punk said...

Carol,

Sending hugs and love your way. i have no idea what it must be like for you going through this but thank you for sharing your heart with us. Through authenticity comes healing in my opinion. i don't have the answers for you but keep up the great way you honestly express yourself and NEVER worry if you are sharing too much. It's your story and your experience and you have every right to share as much or as little as you like!

i am so sorry our Christian culture forces people into the closet and then a by product of that is hurting people like you.

Peace,

Adele

daniel said...

Carol,
You are a very wise woman.
Even though you know that your hoping and dreaming could not change your husband. You know that it is important to be aware fo the pain that comes from borken dreams and hopes.
God's presence is the best place to work through all this stuff.

Brittanicals said...

Hi Carol-

I am late to comment to this, and so sorry. I thought and thought about what to say, how to comfort to you, how to show I understand. But everything I wrote sounded so trite and limited.

What it all boils down to is that you are a very kind person who has been hurt down to the core, but somehow chosen to go on without bitterness and hate. And I am so glad that we get to know you.