It’s been reported by the America Psychological Association that up to 1 in every 10 people identify as being gay? What should a parent do if their child is that one?
This is my experience of discovering my oldest son Tyler’s secret, and how it impacted my life.
10 years ago, for some unusual reason I awoke at 2 am, picked up the phone, and heard two male voices, one of which was my sons, obviously talking to someone he had met online. I was horrified, devastated, and angry! My ‘knee-jerk’ reaction was to storm down the stairs to scream and shake some sense into him.
Here I was in the midst of a horrific divorce, having recently fled our small town in Idaho, literally taking my children from their beds at 4 am to escape a volatile situation, while at the same time fighting a life threatening brain tumor. How could Tyler do this to me?
Through my 18-year abusive marriage, Tyler was my right hand, my rock. He was kind and tender to the younger children, bright, talented, an over achiever who excelled in everything he did. He had sacrificed so much when we drove away that night, leaving his senior year leadership position, the starring role in the play, the jazz choir and his Latin ballroom partner and coach with whom he held a world ranking. He was a model child, what every mother would hope for in a son…. I knew he was different. He had an amazing spirit and I was sure God sent him to me as my angel. I believed he would someday be the prophet of my church.
What do I do? As an extremely devout, proud, 5th generation Mormon, I could not recall ever being taught how to deal with this situation. So in my moment of terror, I fell to my knees. “God, help me find the words. Please don’t let me screw this up. Do not let me say the wrong thing… You had better intervene here because I just want to tear into him!” I was reeling; my body was shaking as I made my way down the stairs. The instant I opened the family room door, he turned, his face full of fear as he abruptly hung up the phone.
I motioned for him to come to the couch. As we sat down a peaceful feeling took over. I felt loving arms embrace us both and I heard someone else’s words saying, “I love you. It’s okay. I love you.” We sat together, with what every fiber of my being knew was God, enfolded in His arms. We cried. Engulfed in the purest love I had ever experienced, that moment lasted for hours… with the only words spoken, “I love you, it’s okay, I love you.”
I wish I had I completely transformed in those moments, with total acceptance of my son’s homosexuality. No, Tyler endured days, weeks, and months of my probing, bombarding him with, “Are you sure it’s not a phase? What about your girlfriend? Is this because of your dad? Did I rely on you too much? On and on I tried to make some sense of it… to make it fit, but there was no place in my religious reality for it to go. Yet I kept remembering Gods words, I love you, it is okay. He knew my son … all of him… and now, so did I.
Linda Williams Stay is currently working on a new book, that will share her emotional journey as a former devout Mormon mother of two gay children who becomes an avid accidental activist for their rights. Her family is featured in the documentary “8: The Mormon Proposition” which has put on the heat to get the book done. Subscribe to her blog www.MomsForEquality.com, to stay posted on her progress, receive new content and updates about the documentary. Please share this post in its entirety.