The burden and anxiety of the decision of whether to come out to someone or not is taken away from you when they die. My mum killed herself when I was 16 before I told her I was bisexual. One thing I’ve noticed is that all the resources about coming out never touch upon bereavement or the impact never being able to tell someone has on you.
The biggest thing I struggle with is that nagging thought at the back of my mind that I stumble on from time to time. If I’d have told her, would she have been OK with it? Did she guess, or have any suspicions from the way I behaved as a child? I’ll never know. Sadly telling a gravestone doesn’t give you any resolution!
There’s also the sadness that someone so important to you, someone that you loved so much, never knew about such a huge part of who you are.
Sometimes I feel relieved that the choice was taken away from me. I’ll never have to deal with any biphobia, rejection or unease she may have had about it. Then I feel sad again, because if she would have been OK with it, I’ll never know her acceptance either.
My mum was a very kind and generous person. The sort who would visit someone who was too ill to make it to church again that week and take them flowers. One of my favourite memories of her is when I walked in the living room one day and found her watching an interview with Marilyn Manson on TV. I commented that I was a bit surprised, as I didn’t think that would be anything she was interested in. (She was more of a knitting and church choir kind of person.) She explained that the young adult (N) staying in her psychiatric ward for a while liked Manson and wore a t-shirt with him on. So she was watching the interview to find out more about him so she could talk to N about him when she went back in to hospital on Monday. I asked mum what she thought of Manson; “Well he seems like a nice man but I don’t think I’d invite him round for tea!” Fair enough mum. Fair enough. But what touches me about that memory is when she encountered someone who was very different to her, she was bemused about what they liked, but tried to learn about something she didn’t know in order to reach out to them and make a connection anyway.
I don’t think she would have completely OK with my bisexuality, but I am comforted by the fact that she would have probably googled ‘bisexual’ in order to try and understand it better. She was cool like that.
4 thoughts on “Bereavements & Coming Out”
Sympathy and a little bit of empathy. I was a smidge older when my mum died and there is a lot that… well, we’ll never know. Not just about being bi (and other gender / sexuality / relationship things), but all the stuff that those sides of me have led to me getting up to. I can imagine how some of it would have led to a proud photo on a mantelpiece even if there had been some airbrushing when visitors asked about the details. Some of the things you’ve done in the last few years, and I reckon will go on to do, I’d like to think likewise of your mum.
As whatsisname nearly said: of all the words of pixel and of keyboard the saddest are: it might have been.
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Sending some love your way too. *hugs*