I disliked my father for 25 years, rather hated him, I guess. I felt as if he had little to do with my life, but offering up his sperm. I lived in NYC city then, and we had just hung up from our regular monthly call, in which I was always the initiator. I never got an “I love you” from him or any kind of praise. He simply would prattle on about what he ate for dinner that day and about the weather in Western Pennsylvania. Nothing supported me in his banter. I accepted that, but decided long before that my life and my success could have nothing to do with him.
At midnight that evening, the phone rang again. His favorite nephew had gotten killed in a motorcycle accident. He asked me if I would fly home to Pittsburgh the next day. I had been very close to the wife of the man who died. He understood that my presence there would be comforting. Also, at that time I was a minister, but Daddy knew I was gay, too, and was an embarrassment to his 8 very Catholic Italian brothers and sisters, who were completely anti-gay, for the most part—actually, more uneducated, as this happened 25 years ago. Some relatives even snubbed me, after the news got out, so trips home were rare. However, I wanted to help. So, I boarded a plane the next day on my father’s dime.
When we got to my cousin’s house, his wife sat on the sofa, swiftly looking through wedding pictures in a large brown photo album. “I can’t believe it. This isn’t happening,” she repeated, over and over. I went to her side and gently caressed her shoulder. I didn’t say a word. I knew she didn’t need me to express that everything would be okay, because it simply wasn’t. Life sucked, right then. She needed someone to share her grief, not challenge it, like most of the family had been trying to do.
After a couple of hours of looking through the wedding album, I said something funny, unexpectedly, and she burst out laughing. Then, suddenly, like her laughter had stirred the hot lava within, she burst into tears. We hugged for the longest time. When the initial surge of grief subsided, we began to talk about the funeral arrangements, which everyone wanted to get accomplished, but was afraid to broach. She asked me to sing at the funeral and help her with many of the exhausting things, like picking out a casket and arranging the service. This would be the first time I would be in front of all of my relatives as a out gay man.
Their church was an orthodox sect that didn’t allow anything but singing—no instruments. So, I sang a cappella “How Great Thou Art.” At the end of the 2-hour funeral, with priests a-chanting and an out-0f-tune choir reciting endless banter that I didn’t understand, my father stood in the parking lot smoking. I hadn’t seen my father cry since my mother left him when I was eight. His eyes were red, and I could tell he was holding back his own tears. I went to him and asked him if he was all right.
When I touched him, he pulled I away, like I could somehow give him HIV, which I didn’t have. I pursued him with caution, not caring, now, how he felt about me being gay; more importantly, how I felt about him not accepting my decision to come out. I simply was one human being concerned about his sadness. “Dad,” I said, “I’m here for you, if you want me to be.”
In that moment, without hesitation, he grabbed me and hugged me, bursting into tears. “Son,” he said, “I have never been more proud of you in my life.”
I didn’t think I needed my father to be proud of me. But from a place deeper than my skeleton, a grand sense of relief swept over me. I had no idea how important my father’s acceptance would be; and even more so, his praise. We hugged unabashed for a short while, then, suddenly, his scared feelings crept back and he gently pushed me away before his relatives could see us in the parking lot. But, he couldn’t take back my one moment of healing. That, I would keep long after his ugly death from prostate cancer.
You see, we all have a need for one or both of our parents to honor us, to listen to us, to cherish us, and, especially, support our adult decisions. When they don’t, we try to find surrogates. Sometimes, we overwork to gain the attention of a boss. Sometimes, we find some older friends to hang out with who aren’t afraid to express their feelings. Other times, we just hide our need underneath eating or a habit.
Surrogates are great ways to fill the emptiness in our subconscious mind, if they are healthy replacements for our needs. But, you must remind yourself that the reason you need these surrogates is because of the deep wound that your parent left you with. So, if you have garnered a bad habit as a result of this part of your past, recognizing your unhealthy pattern, can sometimes lead to its resolution. It certainly did for me.
Check out my new book: (New Promo YouTube Video—important for all GLBT friends (When you go to this link, if you have already seen the promo, look for the discoveries, as I have been posting new discoveries every week on YouTube):
Uncommon Gay Spiritual Warrior: http://www.amazon.com/Uncommon-Gay-Spiritual-Warrior-Authentic-ebook/dp/B00KPIVOIY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401708367&sr=8-1&keywords=uncommon+gay+spiritual+warrior .
I am moving to Southern Florida to begin a new small imprint publishing company called: Finding Authentic You Publishing: findingauthenticyoupublishing.com. I am accepting submissions now for my January 2015 bookshelf. If you or any friends are interested, please go to the website and read the submission guidelines. Thanks.
Finding Authentic You is my brand and is also aself-help guide, which I wrote, with 365 Discoveries, meant to aid you in facilitating some of life’s most difficult challenges, like sleep. But, the discoveries also lead you to what you believe spiritually, understanding your goals, learning to believe in your self, discovering the most distinct you, unlocking all of your negative thinking, and helping you replace it with positive, creative thought using many different modalities, including hypnosis, prayer, and psychology. Once you know yourself, then relationship with Spirit and people is a fairly easy task.
For much more information about finding out about the psychology of the human mind and being your authentic self, self-love, and self-esteem, check out my new book below. “Finding Authentic You” will answer many of the questions I propose above. The book also has many discoveries about health, both mental and physical, as well as spiritual discoveries to lead you to your highest and best! Thanks for being a part of my tribe and helping get this book and all of my media below into the right hands, helping the right hearts.
Buy the Book
Finding Authentic You: With 365 Daily Discoveries & 7 Steps to Effective Change
* Bo Sebastian is a Hypnotherapist and Life & Health Coach, available for private sessions to QUIT SMOKING, Lose Weight, New Lap-Band Hypnosis for Weight Loss, CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR LIFE! at 615-445-8861 or http://bosebastian.com/Home_Page.php Please feel free to comment and/or sign up to receive your blog sent to you directly or stream with an RSS Feed. Please spread the word by liking the page or sharing this with your friends.
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