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.