Sunday, April 26, 2009

my story

I got an e-mail from another wife of a gay man, and it came to my attention that I've not shared how it happened when Ray came out. Sometimes I've written so many words that it seems I've run out of them, but I want to share what I wrote to this new friend of mine.

Dear (*******),

I'm so glad I checked my e-mail tonight. I'm actually kind of addicted to it - I check e-mail and facebook several times a day. But I nearly didn't, since I am just getting home from a little study group we have every other Sunday night, and I want to get to bed. But I HAVE to write to you and let you know that I do know very well where you are, and that loss...Yes, I'm glad my writing effort came across to you. I'm just so glad that I checked this e-mail and am hearing from you tonight. I'll try to be brief :)

About the kids, yes, they were older a little bit. Karen was the only one married at the time Ray told us. It was actually at her house, and we gathered there to get Ray to say he would see a counselor. We planned a type of "intervention," because I was so worried. And each of the kids had their own ways to confront him. I'd asked them to help me get him to see someone - I was so worried that he would commit suicide. He'd been acting strangely for several months, and I didn't know how close he was to dying every day. There was no way to get around it - and I'd done all I could to get him to talk. It was so scary - and had been for months - and I was afraid we would lose him.

So, we had dinner at Karen's. And when Liz, who was a sr. at Taylor University (a Christian college where all our kids went) spoke up, she said she would be afraid to come home when no one else was here, because she was afraid she would find him...and that got to Ray. And he decided to tell us - it was all of the kids, and me, all at once. I thought at first, for only a second or so, that he was kidding when he said, "I'm gay." And I didn't even know what it meant, because for all I knew you couldn't be a Christian and be GAY. I cried, we cried. We hugged, and we cried all the way home.

None of the kids knew what to think. I mean, we raised them very conservatively. We had our "liberal" ways - like being open to Karen having a wedding in Nepal, and we listened to music other than Ray's! (lots) :) But we were a very strict family when it came to being fundamentalist.

I didn't know what to think - we loved each other!. Ray was a Christian. I had all these questions going through my head: did Ray take a lover? (and I don't like even saying those words, calling a boyfriend a "lover.") Was Ray cruising gay bars? Was he wanting to cruise gay bars? Did he want someone else? Was he lying to me? Had he always lied to me? Had he EVER lied to me? Did he love me? Did he still love me? You know the questions I think, and they went on and on and on.

I rolled them ALL over in my mind: Were there clues? Was this something I did? I figured out pretty quickly that it was NOT! But all the self-doubt was there, and I just about lost it. Then there were all the questions about, WHAT IF SOMEONE FINDS OUT? And that whole line of questions. Plus, there was the fact that I'd always believed that God put us together, God led us in using Ray's music, and that God did all this with a reason. And all these questions went through my brain without words. And the big thing I didn't think I could handle: Did he want to leave me? Did he want a divorce?

We talked the next day. We both cried for about the next ... well, until recently we both have cried, I think, every day. And it has been 4 years, 4 months to the day since Ray told me. I don't cry all the time now, and I can even tell people and talk about it without crying - even though many days I feel terribly, awfully lonely.

Our divorce was final about a year ago, and then he decided to do the interview with the Washington Blade. He felt like he had to do that in order to begin to sing again. And he had been writing, and he wanted to be honest with his old fans, rather than let them assume he was still who they thought he was (straight). He knew he could have kept quiet, but he felt that to do that would be deceptive, and he isn't a hypocrite. The article was published online on Sept. 12, 2008, and then the *&^% really hit the fan. Letters came to our post office box, e-mails FLOODED the website, and people even found Ray's unlisted address and sent him boxes of his own CDs, along with mean, judgmental notes that demanded refunds.

I get all the correspondence, which is okay. I can disregard most of it - even though I sometimes want to lash out. That wouldn't do anyone any good, and it wouldn't show anyone the heart of me or of Ray. We still love each other, Ray always believed that God would change him, and Ray always thought he could live out his life without ever acting what he was feeling in his heart. But the depression, the self-hate for just who he was, not for anything he DID, was killing him, and he is now honest, real, and himself, if you know what I mean.

And I can go on, but it's hard. It's sad on both parts. I'm sad for you and for your husband - and I know you need someone to talk to. I would welcome talking to you in person ANY TIME. You are welcome to continue writing, or I will call you, or you can call me. There are not many secrets any more, and I would love to talk to YOU. Perhaps there are ways you could help ME! I'm still working through this - and expect to be for some time.

If you decide to call, here is my cell number: ### ### #### It's just a temporary number, so call me soon. I'd love to hear from you.

Bless your heart - for all that we are going through, there must be some good come of it. For your kids, for my kids, I know it will make them more understanding of people with problems. Nothing works out like we were told, but all our kids are still Christians. I'm thankful for that - and they are closer with their dad, even though he lives far away. They talk often, and we all keep in contact. While I was typing this, Ray called me to fill me in on his new record. Things are so different - but I'm okay. :)

I don't know how to close this - there is more to say, LOTS more, but it's late and I'm going to finish. Please write again, or call me.

Your friend,
Carol Boltz

10 comments:

Existential Punk said...

Thanks, Carol, for sharing part of your story with us! i am so sorry it is still ahrd at times for you. Again, THANK YOU for your love and support of our community.

With admiration,

Adele

Tim Morris said...

Thanks for your openness
It makes a difference

thechurchgeek said...

Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

I am so saddened by the reaction of those who won't listen to stories like yours and Ray's but who instead express disdain toward those who find the courage to come out.

Cindy Morris said...

Keep sharing your story, Carol. You will reach more people than you could ever imagine with your honesty and love that comes from your heart and soul. I admire your strength. You, your family and your story have made such an impact on our lives. Love and blessings!

T. said...

Hey Carol,

We're listening, hearing and loving you. Your courage is amazing and you know... we think you're AWESOME!

Christine & Theresa

Black Sheep said...

Carol,

I agree with Christine and Theresa. You are awesome!!!! You have a truly beautiful heart, and the world needs more people like you!!! Thank you so much for sharing that email.

Carol said...

You folks need to get something straight (no pun intended). I'm not super-anything, but simply have lived through something I never imagined. Somehow the being we call God saw fit to keep my heart open and in a learning mode. I've reaped the benefit of meeting so many people I never knew before, nor did I respect. The grace I'm receiving is truly amazing. Thank you - to every one of you.

hillsideslide said...

Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your family's journey.

much love

Anonymous said...

Please keep sharing your story. I just read it and am amazed that someone else has had the same feelings that I have had. Someday when I have worked through more of my feelings and responses I hope to be able to help other people through this incredibly difficult time.

Carol said...

To Anonymous - as more of us speak out, telling our stories, others will be free to do the same. One day, people will not go into mixed-orientation marriages unknowingly, and hopefully, there will be no more "straight spouses," married to gay ones.

It was encouragement from Peterson Toscano that I became bold enough to share my story through this blog, and you are welcome to post yours. My thoughts are with you.

<3 (that's supposed to be a heart)
Carol