There Are Worse Things Than Cancer

7/10/2011 02:02:00 PM Edit This 4 Comments »
Yesterday was a really tough day for me. And it had nothing to do with my (now no longer an issue) cancer. Yesterday was a day that most people would see as a joyous celebration. It was my granddaughter's first birthday. Precious Addison is the daughter of my only son and his wife. They live just a mile from us, but I haven't seen Addison since October 1, 2010. That was the day that I sat in my son's living room as he and his wife (she did most of the talking - he was choked up) informed me that we would no longer have any contact or be a part of their lives. The reason? Because they believed that I was an unrepentant sinner. They had been praying for me for over a year and I refused to change my ways. And what was this horrible sin that was responsible for the rift? I was (and still am) the president of our local Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
For those of you who don't know, PFLAG is an amazing national organization devoted to education, support, and advocacy for families, allies, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. At this point, I am not going to get into the morality of being in the LGBT community. Suffice it to say that I am a Christian who is active in an open and affirming church. I believe in the equality and dignity of ALL human beings.
I got involved in PFLAG in October of 2009 after my oldest child, then 26 years old came out to me as transgender. The child that we had raised as a son told me that he was really a female trapped in the body of a male. This precious child who had been deteriorating into depression, anguish, and self-loathing for about 20 years suddenly gave me a reason for what I could never understand. It all became so clear to me. The past two years have been amazing, as I have watched the child that I thought was my son (Brian) become my beautiful, confident daughter Bree (confidence is not a term that I would ever have used in the same sentence with Brian).
But transition is long, difficult, expensive, and agonizing. The hormones, hair removal (when she can afford it and find someone who can/will do it), and eventual surgery are an ongoing endeavor. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I told Bree that she was my hero. That what she faced, and had already accomplished with courage and dignity, were far more daunting than anything I might have to endure. In addition to all of the physical and medical challenges, Bree also has to face the scorn, shunning, and possibly worse from those who would judge her as immoral or worse. And, sadly, most of those people claim to be Christian. Their hatred is proclaimed to be love and they say that they are just doing what the Bible tells them to do. And leading the pack are two of Bree's siblings. Her brother and sister will no longer acknowledge her existence, and we are not allowed to speak her name in their presence or in front of their children. And then her brother carried it one step further by cutting all contact with us. Our other daughter does not approve of what Bree is doing, nor does she embrace Bree, but she is civil to her (although she won't say "she" or "Bree").
My husband is completely supportive, but with his own array of chronic health problems, is mostly on the outside of the drama. I, on the other hand, have become very involved in the fight for human rights, equal rights. In addition to being Flint Hills PFLAG president, I am also on the Board of Directors of Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project (K-STEP). I have spoken at numerous rallies and City Commission meetings as we fought for equal rights. I am a mama tiger, and I will fight for the life of my child (and, yes, my child is an adult; and , yes, I am fighting for her life).
Well, that was a lot of background. If you are still with me at this point, I will get back to the birthday. Yesterday, Addison's birthday hit me hard. The last time I held her in my arms and kissed her cheek was eleven and a half months ago. The last time I saw her was ten months ago. And now she is one. I bought her a little gift and made her a card and I called and left a message for my son to ask permission to drop the gift off. He actually called back - he usually doesn't. He waited until after Addison was in bed in case I asked to see her. I didn't. He met me at the door and I handed him the gift and the card and casually asked how the day was. He said that they went to the park. I know that they probably had a party with his in-laws, who also live in town. I thanked him for accepting the gift. That was it. He didn't thank me or ask how I was doing (we had left phone messages after my surgery and path reports, so he knew I was okay; and he did actually call my husband on Father's Day, so we had spoken briefly). I came home and sobbed and my husband and two of my daughters were there for me.
And now you know why getting cancer just wasn't that big of a deal for me. Just another bump in the road. And why I am so very thankful for the multitude of true friends that hold me close when I am down. And I count my stamping friends (even those of you whom I only know through your blogs) among that beautiful group. And my church friends. And my PFLAG friends. And my wonderful siblings, dad, and step-mom, and my husband's father and siblings. And the list goes on. And if you made it all the way through this post, thank you and God bless you.I promise you some more fun and creative posts in the near future.


Curt in Carmel said...
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Curt in Carmel said...

I am just so very proud of you and have to tell you what an amazing person you are. You are the "true" christian and your son and dil are "typical" christians. To disown his own parents and sibling over this is a bigger sin. Their behavior is nothing short of cruel. Not to mention selfish, hurtful, and down right mean. Let's see, isn't one of God's commandments "Honor thy Father and Mother"? Gee, I guess they forgot about that one huh? How very convenient. . .I'm just so sorry that you have to endure the suffering they are imposing on you. I have a lot more thoughts about your son, which I won't say out of respect for you. The fact that you are there for Bree is wonderful. I have always felt that you are an awesome person, and today that was confirmed. Hugs to you. One final thought, even though you are suffering the loss of contact with them and your grandchild, the true loss is theirs. Best, Curt

Audrey Frelx said...

Oh, Susan, our children can be so misdirected and "silly" sometime!!! You know who you are and your soul is beautiful, and you WILL be recognized and blessed for it!!! However, I feel sorry for them, not for you; I admire your strength!!! And I agree with Curt, the loss is theirs!!! Although I do believe they will come around eventually.

Susan, I honestly thought about you while I was away. Before I left I told my cousin about your cancer and when I returned she asked me about you too. I told her I hadn't the opportunity to keep in contact with any of my blogging friends while I was with my family. I pray for you every night.

And please know and believe you are BLESSED!!! You know we are all God's children!!!

Hugs, my sweet friend!

Audrey Frelx said...

Hi, my sweet friend!

Thanks for stopping by! I'm always so happy to have you over!!! And thanks for always leaving me such wonderful comments to read!

I pray each day all's going well!

Hugs, my friend!