Monday, April 30, 2007

The Replacement

I think I have been replaced -- already!

In some respects it bothers me like crazy....but in others, it doesn't at all. That's sounds a bit schizo doesn't it?

Back when #2 spent the weekend with me....and we went down to her Grandma's for dinner near the end of March, Lovey had been "uncomfortable" with my being there. There was also a strange man in attendance who was a doctor. For the purposes of this blog, I'll refer to him as Doctor D. Doctor D spent the evening bending my ear totally off. He talked to me about everything under the sun while I was grilling the steak for our meal.

After the evening was over and #2 and I were headed to the airport, she and I couldn't quite figure out why he was there in the first place. We know that he has been married twice: divorced once.....and widowered once. He has 4 kids...all adults. He's a doctor. His mom died from Alzheimers. Mom O'lovey's only sibling is suffering the onset of Alzheimers and was recentlly placed in an assisted living facility. Doctor D has spent much time with her and Mom O'Lovey....and putting forth his opinions as to the validity of her being placed into an assisted living facility this early in her diagnosis.

This really is all well and good.

However, this weekend Doctor D was seen mowing Mom O'Lovey's yard on Saturday....and spending the entire day there. Yesterday he was at Mom O'Lovey's nearly the entire day. Finally, today as I was on my way to go visit Harper's Ferry, WV, I drove by Mom O'Lovey's around noon, to see Doctor D's SUV parked in front of the house. When I returned from Harper's Ferry, in the early evening, around 7, he was STILL there.

The clincher to all this the fact that my girls were talking to me today.....and made mention that their Mother had also spent the night at Mom O'Lovey's last night. And also that Doctor D and Mom O'Lovey and MOL's sister (with alzheimers) are slated to go visit Lovey next weekend.

It bothers me.

I suppose because of pride. I mean, I spent a hunk of time with's over....but it's all so strange knowing that another man is now apparently in the process of wooing my soon-to-be-ex-wife. It's not any of my business. I just need to breathe and move on.

It certainly doesn't help that I feel so alone. But I am definitely in no shape to look seriously for a partner. I'm not ready for that kind of relationship. If Lovey is, then more power to her.

BUT...I have to tell you. When you've been through what I have, and suddenly you're confronted with what appears to be your replacement, well, it hurts.

It just adds to the cauldron of other hurts and broken dreams.

All bubbling and simmering together.

Why did I have to win the lottery of heartache?

Friday, April 27, 2007


This evening I attended my gay married men's support group.

Yes, I'm still involved with this group although I have been separated for almost two years. I've been a part of this group for many, many years, and I have a wonderful network of supportive friends that I have made there. So, I still go....and plan to continue to go.

Tonight the facillitator talked about how he has known many men who've come through the group who, once they have separated and divorced, go on to thrive in their new gay life.

That stuck with me.

Why is it that I'm not thriving? I continue to "bob and weave" in this experience that I have come to know as my life. One drama leads to another....and another.

All I want is to be happy. I mean truly happy. I want to be surrounded by love and respect from my friends....and maybe from one special person. However, I've got to tell you, I've been wondering if I am boyfriend or partner material. My life with Lovey has nearly destroyed any sense of self-esteem I thought I ever had.

I want to be a good bf or partner. I think I am going to make some man a damn fine one.... But these are only my thoughts and wishes. In reality, all I have is a very poor track record consisting of a very sad bad marriage.

I wonder if I would have been doing better now if I had quite my job....sold my house and moved to another area and just started over again? Are there just too many ghosts and ememories for me here?

I need to be thriving, bt I'm not.

What can I do to thrive?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Happy Birthday to My Brokeback Mountain

Everyone who comes to this blog I hope, is familiar with the story of Brokeback Mountain. I’ve seen the movie a number of times and cry at the end. I now own the movie on DVD and own the music from the film.

I suppose that seeing this timeless film digs so deep into my well of tears because I have a Brokeback Mountain in my life.

For those unfamiliar with the story, it tells the story of two cowboys: Jack and Ennis, who find love among the sheep on Brokeback Mountain during one summer in their youth. For the next 20 years, their love remains strong….sure….passionate…..tempestuous – even through their subsequent marriages to women, the birth of children, and different career paths. They still make time for each other at least onece a year….with Jack always longing for the fulltime…24/7 relationship with Ennis. Ennis on the otherhand is always ready with an excuse and a genuine reason for how this can never be. Then, Jack dies tragically leaving Ennis alone with nothing but a bloodied shirt from where Jack and He had a fight on Brokeback, a postcard, and memories of that carefree life on Brokeback Mountain so many years ago.

I have a Brokeback Mountain in my life.

He is someone that I love dearly…..unconditionally…….and will never have completely. He’s married and has commitments upon commitments. His job takes him virtually all over the world. We hardly get to spend any time together whatsoever. Probably soon it will turn out to be one time per year that we may get to meet for lunch.

But it doesn’t matter really.

You see, I love this man with all my heart…. Probably about as much as any man can love anything. But I love him enough not to make demands. I love him enough to overlook his faults….and he is human folks and has a few….just like me. Sometimes I wonder if he really knows the true depth of my feelings. Does he fully understand the times that I’m guilty of hanging onto just a possibility of getting to spend a few seconds with him with great anticipation? Does he know what it feels like to have that little morsel taken away in the blink of an eye because of a misunderstanding or a last minute priority that must take precedence?

I won’t make demands…..I know better. I’m not pushy. I don’t beat my chest. I don’t scream at the top of my lungs.

He doesn’t have to do a thing to earn or maintain my love, but breathe.

Well, April 26 is my Brokeback Mountain’s birthday.

I probably won’t get to see him. It's ok.

But I just wanted my cyberbuds everywhere to know…the my Brokeback Mountain exists. I want my Brokeback Mountain to know that I am here...and love him with everything I have.

And that I love him with all my heart.

Happy Birthday.

The Phone Message

I know....I know....this is going to sound so silly. But, I have to share it's my way of being authentic and letting you see the real Frank.

The sentimental Frank.

The sensitive Frank.

It's funny....writing that last sentence reminded me of something I haven't thought of in years. Teachers in my elementary school back home always referred to me as being sensitive. I guess I am and always have been "that way."

When I hurt, I tend to cry. Especially now. As I've stated in earlier posts, I can cry basically anytime and any place now. I'm very raw..and one does not have to dig too deep to strike that well of tears and get a gusher in return.

Such is the case tonight.

My mom and dad are planning a trip up here for the next little while. They'll be arriving on Saturday and staying a while. I'm hoping for two least long enough to get us through my birthday on May 1st and Mom's birthday on May 9th......and even Mother's Day on May 13th. It's a long shot, but I'm still hoping.

Well, Mom and I were shooting the breeze on the cell phone as we do every afternoon. I always check in to make sure she is okay....and she does the same and besides the talking is for we talk about everything. Dad's hearing is shot....and he can't do mom passes my greetings onto Dad.

At any rate, Mom is on the cell as I come into the house....and I notice that my answering machine is blinking. I play the message....

It's from Lovey's mother. This is after many weeks of no communication. After all, Lovey has said that she wants me to keep away. So, I have.

My former mother-in-law's message was somewhat guarded as my mom would say. She didn't refer to her self as "Mom O'Lovey" but by her first name. Said that she would like to know how I am doing. Blah....blah...she has some mail for me.....that I can come for. "Just don't do it tonight...I'll be at church."

The distance.....the formality.......the aloofness and lack of familiarity bothered me.

Yes, I know I am sensitive.

But jeesh.......25 1/4 years is a very long time to know someone as your second mom and then to have it come down to a cold first name basis. THWAAAAAACK..... It feels like a 2 x 4 has just been hit up the side of my head.

Can anything really hurt any worse than that?

An Awakening...

Monday afternoon I got sick.

Really sick.

So sick in fact that I was almost afraid to drive myself home.

I can probably count on one hand the number of times that I have felt as bad as I did Monday. I had chills. My joints ached. My stomach hurt and on top of all this, my weak shoulder was also giving me fits. It ached like an oversized toothache.

So, I went home around 1:30….took a hot bath and relaxed in the tub. My joints loved me for that. I took some advil…..some muscle relaxers and I was gone for the rest of the day, the night, and most of the following day.

I woke up close to noon – still feeling like I had been run over by several freight trains and dump truck.

My dog, Davy, stayed right beside me the whole time. It was like he sensed that something was wrong. He curled up into a tight little ball and got right next to me. I suppose he was telling me in his own little way that he was there for me.

But it did raise the specter of my having to develop a better support system. I suppose as a single man, I need to have a network of people who check in with me at a set time every day to make sure I’m okay.

On Monday I was so sick I was a bit frightened. Yes, a 49-year-old man can get frightened about such things. I was the poster child for being frightened about this.

This is the first time I’ve gotten sick since I have been alone. Always before I’ve had a family member within earshot.

But this time, I didn’t. This time I had to make my own decisions about how to treat my symptoms. How to take care of my back and my stomach.

I returned to the office today, a bit tired. I visited my stomach doctor before coming in. He was very confident that I had a stomach virus…one of the nasty ones that are floating around now. He says my colon ecology could be messed up from the colonoscopy, so he suggested some items to help get things back in balance. So we’ll see.

Could it have been that the impending health problem was the reason for my period of black sadness this past weekend? Although I have a problem with loneliness and with being alone, generally I can handle all that. This time, I felt like I were being pulled into a black hole that was way beyond my control.

It was scary.

I think my physical illness was beginning to manifest itself then.

Now, at least, I’m able to deal with the overall loneliness without feeling the need to burst into tears.

I need to be mindful of all these issues and take appropriate action for future episodes.

First, I need to establish a buddy system with those in my sphere of influence who will check in with me on a daily basis to see if I am okay.

Second, I need take better care of myself physically by eating well, resting well and getting plenty of exercise.

Third, I need to monitor everything going on. If it overwhelms me…or I feel myself being sucked under…then I need to get help.

There is no crime in seeking help. The crime is when you need help, don’t get it and something bad happens.

We don’t ever want that to happen.


Monday, April 23, 2007


It's dawn....

Spring is in the air. Birds are chirping and the pollen is billowing. Everywhere!

I'm glad that this weekend is OVER. It felt as though I might go under this time.

I spoke with the girls several times this weekend. They always buoy my spirits -- regardless how low I get. I feel they are there for me.

Oh, I didn't go into any detail about how bad I was feeling. I camouflage pretty well. But I did level with #2 somewhat after the fact. I told her that I was overcome by sadness. I won't call it depression. It was profound sadness that had me this weekend...and there is a difference.

At this time in my life, I detest being alone. I'm used to the noise a family makes. I'm used to the petty arguments of children. I'm used to the fights and strong discussions I used to have with Lovey when I was asserting my boundaries.

None of that now.

Just the snoring dog beside me.

The birds chiping and the rustling the neighbors make as they begin their morning rituals and head out for the day.

Will this never end?

I'm so tired of this drama. Folks have warned me for the final upheaval...the way I will feel when all is said and done. I'm nearing that point now.....and from the looks of it....

it's going to be a doozy.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

On Being Gay

I've been gay for as long as I can remember.

Yet, for the longest time I refused to say the words, "I am Gay."

It's as if that as long as I kept those thoughts to myself, I cold tell myself that it was only a thought. I could be wrong. I could change.

But beginning in 1997 I realized that I had to learn to accept me. I had to realize that I wasn't going to just change. Sexuality is a core part of your life. It can't be changed.

So, why did I get married?

Well, I was told by a well meaning minister that every man has these feelings but that it takes a good hot roll in bed with a woman that serves as the "master reset button" that puts a man on "the right path."

I believed him.

I felt it was God's will to marry Lovey. I gladly did it.

Because of the love I had for her. Yet, my efforts were not enough.

Lovey wanted a divorce....and she's getting it.

But why is it that folks have to assign blame? Why do they feel it's the man's fault? Or that the men were "using" their wives as a a that they can appear straight.

In my case, Lovey has played the martyr. "Frank's gay," she would intone when quizzed as to why she would dump such a nice guy...after 25 years. "He made my life hell. I'm so raw inside."

But what she has never bothered to tell them is that it was never a secret to her. I confided in her on our first anniversary....24 years ago! She struggles.....she knew my feelings.....she knew my thoughts of suicide. Yet, she was the victim....she was "lied" to.

She tells this story and people believe her. I suppose that's what really bothers me the most. People believe her. They don't try to find out my side of the story. They don't care to know what Frank the Fag has been through.

Being gay is not easy. Lots of guys know this and they aren't trying to mislead anybody. They're just trying to come to terms with this. They are just trying to be good husbands in spite of it. They're just trying to figure it all out.

I'm lucky....I've come to terms with my gayness...... It's just that I'm trying to figure what all this means for the rest of my life. Many have said for me to look at this season of life as new beginning. This is so much easier to say than to do.

How do I begin this new life?

Is there a defining starting point?

Gosh this hard.

The Death of a Dream

I don't know what that was all about yesterday. Today I'm some better, but a bit wiped out by it all.

Went to church and was surrounded by all my other queer brothers and sisters. I can't begin to explain the affirmation I receive when I'm in a group of people that knows all about me.....and they actually like me. They really like me....for being me. I don't have to hide. I also don't feel like a piece of "new" meat either. The guys are loving and gentle and kind. I feel that I can be real.

For the first time in my life.


A bit overhwelming.

I went forward for communion today alone. The ministerial intern took her time.....and prayed for me in a way that I have never been prayed for before.

It was so personal....that I tear up when I think of it. I can't even share it with you, dear readers. But the message from her heart was sent by God. It was work.....and letting me know that I'm okay...and on the right path.

Another dear lady came up to me after church......hugged me....and asked if I were okay. She then gave me a bear hug and said, "We love you Frank. You're in the right place."

I had to leave and catch my breath. You see, I am such a sensitive man these days. It's as if someone looks at me funny I will tear up.

Where is all this internal emotion coming from? The sensitivity....the tears.....they pour by the gallons...down my cheeks......down my nose......during the car during rush the garage at my office......behind the closed door of my I walk at lunch time......EVERYWHERE!

I thinik this is the last gasp of emotion I have concerniong the demise of the awful relationship with LOVEY. I remember the wedding so vividly....the white tux.....the lace.....the excitement of a new life......the feelings of wholeness...completeness..... They've all died......and I'm mourning their loss.

And you know something? I have to go through all this. There's no bypass.....nothing to numb the pain. I just have to live with it. Process it.

You see, I don't want to "patch it up"...or have our relationship be renewed. I don't want anything from her.

I just want it over.

I want to move on.....move past the pain......

Be happy.

Live contentedly and quietly.

I need some successes. I need some good things to happen for me.

I need to take care of me.....big time. Not just endure me.

Dreams die hard.

Here come the tears again.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Bad Day

Today has not been a good day.

I'm not sure why it has been such, but it hit me all at once mid-morning like a cold slap in the face. It settled in to the bone.

So, I showered, got dressed and took my camera and headed into Washington to photograph the tulips and the monuments. I even got to the new Air Force Memorial....and I took my time. It was a beautiful day and as you can see from photographs here, they came out beautifully.

I left and drove to lunch and then headed home.

But then, getting home the cold sadness began to settle in for the long haul.

I hurried out back and got out the lawnmower, mowed my front yard. I cleaned up the clippings and was tired. So, then I went upstairs and crashed beside my dog. I slept for two hours....and then woke up, but the sadness still clung to me like a London Fog.

I don't know why this is. I should be happy. I should be carefree. I should be looking forwrd to my new life. I should be enjoying my freedom as a gay man.

But today, being gay feels like weight around my neck....pulling me into an inescapable abyss.

Unless you're gay, you'll never understand the abyss. You'll never understand its alluring pull.

Tomorrow will be another day.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

We Have Growth!

I have been a very busy guy these past few days. I’ve only been able to “think” about this blog rather than contribute anything.

My life continues to have its little dramas. However, I seem to be dealing with all of them. When I compare the Frank of today with that guy who started this blog, I can see 1000% growth.

Growth means I’m alive. Growth sometimes is painful. My one consolation is that only living things grow.

So, I’m definitely headed into the right direction.

Day before yesterday I was commissioned to take some photographs for a university in Washington. At day’s end I was able to give them 473 shots. I’ve not gotten any feedback from them, which I think is good news. They have secured my services for commencement in early May. So, I’m having fun doing that.

An interesting thing occurred that day while I was running around. I was in the chapel taking photographs during a special service when I looked up and saw Lovey seated several rows ahead of me.

It took my breath away.

I sat and observed her. Having spent a significant period of time with her as her husband, I can read her pretty well. When she is under stress she exhibits a unique breathing problem that cause her to gasp periodically and take a deep breath. We’ve had it checked on numerous occasions and the doctor can offer no solutions.

But, still it happens.

And on Tuesday, it was happening.

A whole lot.

Her whole appearance was surprising. Something is happening.

But I can’t really ask…..or talk to anyone about my concerns. All I know to do is to observe and to pray for her.

As I was circulating and take pictures, I did run into her one time. We nodded our acknowledgment to each other. No conversation…no words were spoken.

But when I first saw her…..a physiological event took place. My problem shoulder knotted up……my stomach hurt………and my right leg began to tremble.

Not in a good way.

My internist said that this was all due to my stress at seeing her. “This is what you felt like all the time Frank, when you were living with her,” she said. “The reason it affected you so profoundly now is that you have a quiet and peaceful life without her. You now see clearly the negative effect she had on you!”

Yes, I’m definitely seeing how much better living can be without Lovey in my life 24/7.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Mystery That Is Lovey

Well, y'all.

I have a sense that all is not well in the land of Lovey. I can't seem to get away from it and it was confirmed by a flurry of email traffic that I received last Friday from her. I'm going to run the key passages here for you all to see. Then, let me know what you think. I'd be curious of your reads. This is a long post....because I've included so much....

I sense some things brewing here....and I'm not about to ask. After all, her issues are really none of my business. But still, knowing her as I do, and her use of the cryptic comments have me a twinge concerned. Here are the passages.

ME: I got the draft documents for the final decree in the mail yesterday. In the process of reviewing them. Just a reminder about the Vanguard account....see item Didn't want this to slip through the cracks. Also, I'd really like to have the lead crystal cross that I got at the men's retreat in 2004. Could you drop it off at your mom's the next time you're in? Many thanks.

HER: Thanks for the note. I am glad for the reminder about the Vanguard account - I will go ahead and take care of it once I am certain that have approved of the final documents. I will gladly bring the cross to you - I didn't remember where it had come from or whose it was. Is there anything else you can think of that I might have that you want? Also, do you think that after things have settled a bit, we might be able to get together and go through some of our boxes of photographs? (They may be in your possession, but I do consider them to be "ours".) Most of the time, we got duplicate sets of photos, so sharing them should not present a problem. I do want to make a scrapbook for each of our children at some point in time, and perhaps you'd like to help on that project (you could do some of the writing, incorporating the great letters you wrote while the girls were still in utero, I think). I think you have the letters there somewhere. Thanks, Frank.

ME: As my life settles, I do plan to scan all the photographs into one centralized location and merge them with the 15,000 or so digital images I have accumulated since 1998. Keep in mind that a lot of the duplicates we had were shared with other family members at the your mother may have a lot of them does my parents. I also will provide you copies of any of the discs with the images so that you will have a full set of the entire library. I also plan to give sets of them to each of the kids. Currently I am working to transfer our collection of videotapes to DVD and will be glad to make copies for you of those as well. So, I have been quite busy. BTW...I've heard that I make you uncomfortable at family events. I'm sorry about this and it isn't and has never been my intent. I wish you nothing but the best in your new life. So at some point after things settle some....and we both continue to heal, I'd like to have a heart to heart talk about where we go from here..... If I make you and your family uncomfortable then I can back away. I just need to know the rules and/or the boundaries for future interractions with you or them, if any. Thanks.

HER: I would appreciate having a copy of any of the family footage you transfer. I am so sorry that #2(well meaning though she was) said anything to you about my discomfort. She caught me off-guard when she was home last and assumed that you would be coming to dinner with her to Mom's. It was not so much that I minded you joining us for diinner, but I wanted and needed some one-on-one time with #2, and I really didn't get it. I also want to be free to just be myself when I'm home, and I don't want to feel on edge or anticipate a comment I might not welcome at this time. I'm hyper-sensitive right now and feel raw and vulnerable - and I did not expect to at this point. I thought I would further along in the healing process, but I guess I'm not. Somewhere down the line, we'll talk. Meanwhile, let's just leave things as they have been. Thanks.

ME: Consider the video footage to be yours....just give me some time to get it together. #2 said nothing..... The comment about your discomfort came from #1 about a year ago....which took me by surprise. I guess I don't understand your comment about not feeling free to be yourself around your family when I'm present. After all, I've known you and the usual suspects for over 25 years. It seems to me that your comfortability should be greatly increased. But, then, what do I know? Going forward you know how to find me....While I have you....I was somewhat surprised by your decision to revert back to your maiden name given your email to me saying otherwise. I know it's none of my business.....but it seems like such a hassle to go through given everything else. I mean....your driver's license......your diploma.......blah...blah. ICK! I'm just glad I don't have to do anything like that.

HER: I'm much more of an introvert than I ever thought. It took me about 5 times as long to make a salad dressing at Easter (at Mom's) than it does at home - too many people interacting at the same time - it really about got to me. I do not plan to go back to my maiden name - it's just an option that I have and the permission comes with the final decree, but I don't have to take it. It's too much hassle (as you correctly pointed out), and besides, everyone knows me as Lovey, so I don't feel the need to change it. It' a good name, after all. If the comment about "my discomfort" came about a year ago, why did you just now raise it? Just curious. I can't explain why I feel the way I do, Frank. Sometimes it depends on what day it is. This is my issue, not yours. Don't try to read anything into it -I can't even do that. I'm glad you don't have to consider things like name changes and so forth -it's hard to even think about such things.

ME: The reason I brought up the discomfort issue is twofold: 1) It bothered me a lot and has continued to bother me all this time to the point of festering a bit and I'm working at relieving stressers and junk that festers me.....and 2)That dinner that we shared with #2 was the capstone.... I could sense your discomfort then. It's why I stayed to myself a lot....or spent time outside grilling. To be totally honest here....this is why when you and I are together these days, I generally don't speak unless spoken to.....for fear of upsetting you. This is also the reason I have turned down a number of invitations for the same reason -- I just couldn't see having fun or enjoying your family at your expense...plain and simple. I'm playing it low profile these days.......awaiting some direction as to what rules I need to play by. I want folks to be glad to see me -- not all tense or bent out of shape.
Life is just too short for such stress!

HER: It's good to bring up things before they fester, I do agree. I really wasn't so stressed with you at Mom's when #2 was in - I was just kind of tense in general, and it's a combination of things, but you are not to blame for it. Like I said, this is my issue, and I'm working on it. I think time will help.

ME: I took a course this week at the office that has been quite valuable to my professional development and personal development. I've already had several AWESOME experiences using the techniques offered. It's called "CRUCIAL COMMUNICATIONS." Very good course. I highly recommend the book. It has helped me to face down some festering-type this one. So, the best way is to confront it head on.....address it....and move on. Holding onto all this for a year has taken its toll....and so, I just decided to deal with it. Life can be just too much fun to allow stuff like this make it a wreck or a living hell. So, that's why I decided to raise the issue with you.

HER: I'm so sorry you held it in for a year. I too know what that's like on so many fronts - very unhealthy!

So, I have decided to "lay low" for a while. I'm not going to throw myself at her mother, even though she lives just down the block. I'm not going to push communications beyond what they are now. Besides, there is another man at Mom O'Lovey's table these days. His car is always there. And when Lovey is there, they are seated together. I think Mom O'Lovey is trying to push things a bit. But again, it's none of my business...and it is okay.

I'm just going to live my life and enjoy it and the peace and overall contentment that seem to be settling in at my house.

It's a GREAT feeling.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Mysteries Keep on Coming

On my way back home from spending Easter with my parents and daughter, I stopped by one of my favorite places in Virginia. It's an old covered bridge. I thought I'd include it here for your enjoyment. I love taking photographs. Hopefully one day I will be able to do this full time as a pro. In the meantime I am just a serious enthusiast.

I'm also including one of my favorite shots of the Cherry Blossoms here last week that I took. Enjoy!

I long for the day that my life settles down into some little boring and humdrum existence.

I really mean this.

All the drama and excitement of keeping Lovey off my back......awaiting the separation agreement.....and now the final divorce documents.......well, they're just a bit more excitement than I know what to do with.

So hopefully, one day, in the not too distant future, I will go about my life....happily.....peacefully......with no cares in the world. And all this sadness, gloom, whining and depression will be just a blur.

The separation agreement was signed in March. Shortly thereafter, I received documentation showing that Lovey was filing for divorce, and wanted to revert to her maiden name. This was a bit of a surprise since she had made such a big deal about wanting to retain the family surname because of our children.

When #2 came for her visit two weeks ago, she told me that her mother said that she planned to retain my surname after all.

I really don't care one way or the's just the incessant vaccilation that drives me nuts.

Today I received a thick packet of information from my attorney. I have drafts of the final document. My attorney has found a few little problems, and will make those changes. They shouldn't take but just a little while to do.

I got a copy of the deposition that Lovey and her mother completed. I was amazed to learn that Lovey had lived in Virginia for 20 years......and I had lived here only 15 years.

For the life of me, I don't know what I was doing during those missing 5 years!

In the deposition, Lovey and her mother both state that Lovey wants her maiden name.

The documents in the package also have the official certification for the name change too.

So, we're back to changing our name again.

I need to pass the documents along to #2 so she can see that I am not crazy....and that contrary to what she was told by her mom, Lovey will be reverting back to her maiden name.


Debbie’s funeral is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at 2pm in my hometown. No visitation is scheduled. I won’t be going there, simply because of work commitments…and the fact that I just got home from spending a number of days there.

She was my dad’s eldest brother’s baby girl. Those of you out there with baby girls know that they are special – regardless of the predicaments they find themselves in in later life. This is true if they become drug addicts, prostitutes, or in Debbie’s case, an alcoholic.

My fondest memory of Debbie is when we were all kids. I was about 5 or 6…..she was about 5 years older than me. So, she was about 10 at the time and lived on a street called Overlook Drive. One of my dad’s other brothers also lived on the same street….and on this particular day, we had gone to visit them. As I was playing on their front porch, I remember Debbie walking on the sidewalk across the street. She was headed to her house with a couple of her girl friends.

They were laughing and talking.

I can still see them in my mind’s eye.

Debbie saw me and came across the street to say hello. It was then I noticed the big wad of bubble gum she had in her mouth. Between words or giggles, she’d blow a bubble. I was fascinated. I hadn’t seen gum like that before.

She demonstrated her bubble blowing talent…..blowing the biggest bubbles I had ever seen…..only to have them explode on her face…..and she would begin to fall out in laughter as she would peel the gum from her face….stuff it back into her mouth and do it all over again.

When she saw my interest….she gave me a piece of BAZOOKA gum…..and tried to teach me how to blow bubbles.

Ah….I tried….and I tried….but for the life of me, I just couldn’t do it that day.

She told me to keep practicing and she hugged me goodbye and bouned down the steps….and started skipping down the street on one leg…..following a hopscotch pattern that someone had left on the sidewalk.

And she was gone!

Over the years we both grew up…..she was married and divorced twice….tons of personal problems……no kids. And, sadly, she fell into alcoholism. Severe alcoholism. This is a problem that many in my family have had to face. Thankfully, I”ve not had to face it.

She kept to herself…..I didn’t see her very many more times……but I thought about her ….a lot. I prayed for her. I wish I could/would have done more.

Not long ago, I ran across some very old film footage that I had transferred to video.. There she was….young….full of life….smiling….and …there it was….that laughing face. I’m glad I have that to look at.

Sadly, she’s gone.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Reflections

It was a great weekend….getting to spend it with my parents and #2 from Nashville.

She and I went to a large church for Easter Sunday Morning services.

While there I pondered why it is that people come to church just once a year on Easter or Christimas? Why bother?

The reason I ask is that in front of us on Sunday morning…….there was a whole row of people. Obviously they were all related. There was mommy and daddy, with little boy……and newborn girl. Alongside mommy were mommy’s parents……alongside daddy were daddy’s parents.

When number 2 and I took our places behind this happy family, Little Boy’s face was jammed up against mommy’s mother’s face. He looked as if he could be in pain the way his face was contorted. Mommy had newborn girl in her arms. The newborn girl had on a little pink Easter dress, little socks……and a tastefully matching head band. As mommy watched the little baby, daddy’s mommy took the baby.

The baby was rocked……the baby was jiggled…….daddy’s dad kept talking to the baby…….and making baby noises……baby girgled….. Then, Mommy’s mommy took the baby from daddy’s mommy……. Not to be outdone by Daddy’s mommy, mommy’s mommy proceeded to rock the baby back and forth….rather extensively. If I didn’t know better, I’d bet the baby was a bit seasick from all the back and forward movement……rock…..back and forth…..back and forth…..back and forth………patting baby….back and forth…..back and forth…….. Mommy’s Daddy looked exchausted from all this and he just sat…..even when the congregation stood….he remained unmoving – almost like a statute.

Then daddy’s mommy, took the baby and gave baby a bottle……and rocked her…..back and forth…..back and forth……and the rocking made me begin to feel queasy…..

Just then, mommy’s mommy took the baby…….started rocking the baby even more dramatically……..and this time, she covered the baby from head to toe with a blanket…….. NONE OF THE OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS COULD SEE THE BABY. Daddy’s parents were not amused…..and if looks could kill…..Mommy’s parents would be in existence no longer.

All this drama played out while the minister was preaching about Acts 1:8.

They didn’t hear a single word.

#2 and I got a real chuckle from watching this family in church!

#2 and I had the opportunity to bond more and talk about things that “bug” us. She asked me questions about how I was feeling about the divorce and about her mother etc.

I was honest.

I told her that I wasn’t sure that I could be friends with her when things become final. She is toxic for me. Just hearing her voice makes my skin crawl and my stomach ache.
I don’t think that friends have this effect on people.

I also found out through #2 that Lovey changed her mind again….this time about attending the annual Easter dinner at her mother’s. She did drive in to join her relatives….and the Dentist. (With any luck, she and the dentist will hook up…..and get married…..and live happily ever after….and my alimony will cease! YIPPEE!)

Near the end of the evening, I got some sad news. One of the cousins that I grew up with called an ambulance to come pick her up and take her to the hospital because she was not feeling well. When she got to the hospital, she was immediately placed into ICU, where she died this afternoon.

As I have said before, I’m an only child, but these cousins were like brothers and sisters to me. When they pass away, it pulls a part of my heart out.

Debbie had had a long history of alcoholism. Her life was filled with much drama and turmoil. My only consolation is the fact that she is now with her dad and older brother. She’s safe….and will never have to experience the pain, suffering, and drama ever again.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I think old Frank is beginning to heal from the wounds suffered during this painful time of separation and divorce.

It seems like for the past 6 or 7 years, I have done nothing but bob from one crisis to another or try to heal one drama or another or keep fences mended or try and be a peacemaker in my family. Finally after the false beginning of the end in late 2003, the illness and subsequent death of Lovey’s father in 2004 and the ultimate separation in 2005…I’ve done nothing but bob and weave through the dips, twists, and turns now known as the roller coaster of my life.

It’s been truly a time of terrible pain, anger, hurt and grace…all wrapped up in one big and ugly package.

I’ve processed a lot of my feelings here in this blog over the past 200 or so posts. It’s hasn’t been too pretty. You’ve seen me at some amusing times and some really bad times.

Now, I’m beginning to see some glimmers of healing and of hope for a very good future.

Last night I had a wonderful evening with a married couple I know. They, their two small children, and the wife’s mother called me up out of the blue to invite me to go to dinner with them. Rather than meet them there, they said they would be by in about 10 minutes to pick me up.

And there they were in their black van. I actually was able to enjoy a comfortable ride without driving for a change! WOW!

Over dinner, we talked. We talked about everything. We talked about kids and about foods. I even found out that the mother-in-law grew up in Peru and used to have pet alligators and that her daughter (my friend) was stung by a scorpion at age 3 and nearly died.

They asked about the divorce and how I was doing.

And then it happened.

I made a joke about the divorce.

AND I laughed…..a very good and hearty belly laugh. You know the kind, the ones that erupt from deep inside.

After we stopped our laughter, I turned to them and said, “You know, it has been years since I have laughed!”
And it has been….many years.

I’ve also been helped spiritually by getting reacquainted with the spiritual Frank. During my years of drama, I sort of let that one slack off too. At my new church I’m trying to become comfortable with the concept of unconditional love….gentle love….

With my many years of church work and experience….this is a very TALL order. I find myself waiting for the drama to begin….or the other shoe to drop…..or something…..

I have so much to learn.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A Trip to Church

I went back to church this morning -- my new church -- MCC.

It meets in a townhouse in a commercial development near the center of Fairfax, VA. As you get to the front door, it's great to see the massive rainbow flags that flap in the breeze as you open the door.

When I'm there I can't explain the feelings that wash over me. I feel safe. I feel secure. I feel genuinely loved.

Isn't this what one is supposed to feel at church?

I've been very active in church for over 30 years. In all the churches I was involved in, I was guilty of not being authentic. There was always a part of me that was guarded....closely guarded. That's the gay part.

So, in those situations, when people told me that they loved me, I accepted it, but in the back of my mind I always wondered what they would think if they only knew the real Frank.

Today, Palm Sunday, was a very special day. There was a membership class and we spent four hours learning about the history of MCC. We also learned about MCC NoVA and what membership means. So, now, I'm thinking about joining.

Why the hesitation?

I think it is probably because I detest change. My grandparents were members of their church for over 50 years. They never waivered. But here I am, I joined the Church of God, Cleveland, TN in 1976. I remained a member in good standing for almost 25 years. Then I followed Lovey to the United Methodist Church and have been a member of that organization for 7 years.

But this church is like nothing I have ever experienced. There is unconditional love and acceptance. For the first time in my life I can be authentic and be the real Frank. I can say openly "I am Gay" and no one is going to send me to hell. There's nurturing....there's faith.....and it looks like there is a nitch for me.