Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I've Got To Do Something....

With all the things that have been swirling around and through my life over the last little while...I need a FUN vacation -- time just for me.

So I am trying to conjure up a trip. Maybe Myrtle Beach....or maybe Rehoboth Beach....or maybe Wildwood/Cape May.....or even Williamsburg and the Tidewater areas of VA!

My only problem is I am not wild about the prospect of going ALONE.

BUT, I will if I have to.

I need this.

I am edgy.

I am hyper.

I'm stressed.

Y'all...send some positive thoughts/prayers this direction.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

I Must Be Clairvoyant!

All the stuff that I said about my son in my last post was on target.

Plain and simple.

He actually came home the morning of his scheduled flight to say that he had called the airline to find out the status of his flight. They said it was cancelled due to mechanical problems and that he would not be able to get out until the next day. He also had some 30 year old woman with him. (He is 24.)

This was AFTER I had spent 4 hours waiting for him -- 4 hours of leave that I could have held onto. Then he said that his flight left at 7:30 the next morning.

I was flabbergasted because I was being roped into driviing him to BWI (an hour away) so that he would be at the airport by 5:30-6:00. This meant that I had to be on the road at 4:30!

The sad part about all this is that when I got to my office on the original day he was supposed to leave, I looked up his flight....and it had left ontime.....and had arrived at its destination on time.

Did he think I was THAT stupid?

That evening I came home and blasted him. He got into his yelling mode....and I told him to shut up. I said that he was now an adult....and why did he feel it necessary to lie to me? "I didn't want you to yell at me for missing the flight!" he responded.

Still a kid.

It is all about him.

I told him that yes, I was angry that he felt he had to spin a yarn as he had in high school...when we are all adults. He's a marine for friggin sakes. He made me burn through leave that I am hoarding because I don't know what's going to happen with my parents.

He also lost the parking sticker that I gave him for the car he was driving during the time he was here. That's a $50 loss!

He always is wacky like this when he spends a lot of time with his mother and her family....and they put him down....

Like they all did this trip.

It angers me.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Frustrations of Being the Father to an Impulsive Son

My Marine Sargeant son is still a handful...even at 24. I am told by those who know about such things that boys are fully mature emotionally and mentally at about the age of 25. I certainly can't wait for that to happen. I've been awaiting this moment for many, many years now.

Our relationship has always ebbed and flowed. We adopted him in 1991 when he was five years old. He already had faced a lifetime of trauma and rejection by then, including something that manifested itself as psychosocial dwarfism. This is what happens when a child misses all of the milestones in early development because of psychological trauma. Because of these issues, the growth shuts down and the child becomes stunted physically.

In our case, we got him in the nick of time. And at that moment.....on the growth charts, he went through a spurt. He virtually caught up over the course of his first year.

Emotionally it has been an uphill battle. Sometimes are good....sometimes are bad. When I came out to him at the age of 16 or so, it was bad. VERY bad....and that was thanks to Lovey -- the victim. She always knew what was best about my issue. But it has exacted a toll....a heavy one that I hope he can outgrow!

So, when he comes for a visit, I never know what to expect. Except that if he has a lot of dealings with Lovey and/or her family, he really behaves erratically.

Sorry to say, this trip has been Lovey-centered....and I am forced to face the fallout. He has spent an inordinate time with his friends here...staying out at all hours....and not communicating what is happening. Last night, I was disappointed that he would not be spending the last few hours in town were not with me. But, I knew this would happen.

He wants me to drive him to BWI Airport this morning to catch is 12:15 flight, but it will probably end up badly. He will probably have one of his friends drive him....and I will have taken time off for nothing.

But I'm doing what I feel dads must do.....you make sure you're available.

Just in case.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Second Banana Syndrome

I have a case of the blues this morning. It's not helping for this to be such a gloomy and rainy looking day.

Not sure where all this came from.

It's probably from the fact that I had another one of those "Frank" moments on Monday. I spent time with a good friend who lives about 100 miles from me. He's going through a divorce. He's quite younger than me. Then he told me all about his hookups...and how he just can't get enough.

I could relate...

It's called "gay adolescence."

He's going through the exciting period of coming out and discovering himself...and the world of male sex.

He has also met "the love of his life."

That's all he talked about.

His "love" was at work....is 29...about 14 years younger. He kept texting him back and forth. "Wonder if he is thinking of me..." he said incessantly.

Ah...new love.

It's exhillarating.....it makes your heart beat faster.....It's wondrous....

It has been a very long time since Frank has felt this way with someone who felt that way back and it is all catching up with me.

Monday night I met up with a "crush". He wanted to have dinner with me before he left on vacation for Florida. He's the guy that kissed me at gay pride...full on the mouth....in front of his wife....told me that he wanted to spend more time with me.....blah...blah.

We met for dinner...with his wife! She wants to get to know me better. He's making plans for me to see his new house upon their return on August 1. But we go through many periods of non communicating.....he reads my FACEBOOK page....he knows the distance between my house and his new one.....he likes my pictures.....they asked me tons of questions....etc.

But I am beginning to feel that "second banana syndrome." I feel like the perpetual best friend....always the bridesmaid never a bride.

What am I doing wrong?

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What a Weekend!

Well, the weekend is all over. It was filled with quite a lot of stuff... I had all three kids at home with me.. On Saturday morning they did their long lost tradition of waking me up on Saturday morning and climbing into my quee sized bed. There we planned the rest of the day....and simply had a blast.

The girls cooked a splendid breakfast. They actually spoiled the old guy here. Then we all loaded up and headed to shop at Target. Lovey joined us...and I kept a respectful distance, but y'all will be pleased to know that I was very kind and pleasant to her.

From there we headed home for a brief nap...and then headed out to where the birthday celebration was to be. It was interesting to be a part of this family gathering and to watch the drama unfold. Lovey and her sisters staid true-to-form by being in control of everything and driving folks crazy in the process. One of Lovey's sisters is viewed as simply crazy. She drinks...pops pills....and wrecks cars. On top of this, her husband (who I suspect is part of my family), has supposedly hit her on occasion out of frustration.

This is the gossip...

But I'm not sure of the truth.

Drunk sister purchased her mother an Apple NANO....and a SONY boombox for it to play in. The only problem is that Grandma has no computer or an ITunes account to manage the content. So all this fancy stuff is just a waste...and Grandma didn't need or want it. Drunk sister overruled her family and bought it for her anyway.

This is keeping with the fine O'Lovey tradition of when buy presents for people....do get what they want....but always get what you want them to have. I always hated that.

Sunday morning we all went to Grandma's church....and it was stressful for me. It was filled with all those church people I have posted about. The ones that view me as one step below a dung beetles feast. But they honored Lovey...and the fact that she was blessing them with her presence.

We then spent some of the afternoon at Grandma's...and then I had to take one of my daughters to Baltimore to catch her flight back home to Nashville.

It was amazing at all the comments and digs that I heard while sitting as a guest. I'm sure it all troubles Grandma...but what can we do? It's clear that there is serious dysfunction in the family....but as I have said...I always try to put the FUN in dysFUNctional living!

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Fabulous Friday


So here I am sitting at my desk at the office. It has been quite hard to get me motivated to do anything today. I'm suffering from the want of going home....and starting my weekend...and what a wonderful weekend it is going to be.

Tomorrow is Mom O'lovey's birthday celebration. She is going to be celebrating her big 80! She contacted me a number of weeks ago and said that no matter what I was doing, she wanted me there to be with her on her big day! Since she and I have forged a wonderful friendship through the years, and the fact that she does feel like my mom in some respects, how can I refuse.

All my children will be present...as will all of Lovey's illustrious sisters and their husbands save one.

So, since I appear to be dwelling in my happy place these days....it is going to be interesting for me to be with all of them....and allowing all of them to see the inner peace and contentment I have. I can use this celebration as a time of reflecting and silently giving thanks for the blessings I have been permitted to have in my life: my kids....all the temporal things I have.....I survived the divorce and landed somewhat on my feet.......and I have tons of friends....plus I have these men friends who appear to be gaining some momentum in my life as relationship potential.

On top of all this...it will be interesting to observe the interactions between all of the O'Lovey's...with each other and with me. Another sign that I am cruising in brand new good territory is the fact that while there have been times where I've been afraid that the gay thing will become a topic of conversation at one of these family gathering, this time I feel that if they have they nerve to ask or bring it up...then I have the nerve to tell and discuss!

This is a big change for me!

I kind of don't care anymore.

I'm gay.

All the main people that I care about all know and the world did not stop revolving. Western Civilization did not end as we know it. God is still on his throne. The sun still rises and sets.

And I'm here.

All these last few lines of text are of huge importance.....and it has taken over five years to get to this place.

WOW! THIS IS BIG NEWS!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Adventure Continues


Church folks -- you just have to love 'em.

Y'all know that my church life has been very important to me. It always has really and because Lovey was a minister, well, it kind of catapulted me into a totally different realm of "churchiness."

Right now I am enjoying my church life. I am a member of a wonderful church that accepts me for who I am. I don't have to worry about hiding my gayness from anyone. I am not sucked into anyone's game of who is more spiritual than whom. I am just me...and allowed to find my own way to God.

Well, if you are a long time reader here, you also know that during that dark period of my life when I was trying so desperately to regain my footing after the separation and during the divorce, Lovey pretty much trashed me at the large United Methodist Church we were both part of at the time she made her decision to leave me. We all know that it was bad enough on me that she chose to divorce me after so long....but the thing that almost did me in was that she almost gleefully outted me to everyone who would listen -- couching it in a way to make it seem that she was somehow the victim....and just learned of it....and that I had made her life hell....blah....blah....blah... The only problem with any of that is that she had known for 24 of our 25 years....and that I had not made her life hell. In fact, if I were to review things, it was quite the opposite.

But all this is old stuff...not worth rehashing here. (If you're curious...you can go back and re-read some of those sad....forlorn......awful entries I wrote at the time which are still available for reading.)

What is worth writing now about is the fact that my daughter and I ran into two folks from that church last evening at the grocery store. Now, I have seen these two folks out and about in the neighborhood where I live on many occasions. I have always been pleasant and friendly.

Some background:

They are a married couple. She was also on staff at one time at our church. Her husband is some big muckity muck in the church...and I never really paid much attention to them. I respected them for their many contributions, but wasn't too close to them. Our paths just didn't cross very often. The church is humongous.

However, when the long term pastor departed several years ago and the new pastor arrived, they didn't get off on the right foot with him. He didn't do things the same way as the previous man had done them. He also didn't permit them to have the unbridled power they had too. He curtailed a few little things and they got mad.....sowed some discord along the way....and in a dramatic fit....left the church. I thought it was silly....and the respect I had for them began to dwindle.

Somehow, Lovey got very close to them....surprise surprise! Additionally, whenever they see one of my children, they fawn over them...and become syrupy sweet. It is all quite sickening to be quite honest.

But I try to keep a sweet spirit about me....am always pleasant to them.

They have gotten fairly established on Facebook. They are friends with Lovey and all the kids. So I decided to "friend" them just for fun....to see if they would respond. I've done this three times...and they always ignore my requests! In fact, I was at her graduation from Seminary by chance and took some pictures of her (she posed for them.) Through Facebook I have tried to get an address to send them electronically, but there is never a response.

So last night when I saw them from afar in the grocery store, I detoured around them so that I wouldn't have to deal with them. I wasn't in the mood. But I heard that familiar and syrupy....."Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.......How are youuuuuuuuuuu......" as she zeroed in on my daughter.

ICK!

The longer I thought about it, the more I thought how silly it was for me to ignore them.

So I marched right up to them!

"Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.......hellooooooooooooooo.......Frankkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!"...in that sweet and syrupy tone. I could have thrown up.

I smiled and greeted them both. They both came up and actually hugged me too! I fully expected Rod Serling to come from the peanut butter aisle. This truly was the Twilight Zone.

Following all the sickeningly sweet and phony pleasantries, I said, "Oh...I still have your graduation pictures.....you've never responded to my queries."

"Oh....I guess I am burnt out from all THAAAAATTTTTT...." she said. "I have totally blocked thaaaaaattttt from my memoryyyyyyyyy. I don't want themmmmmmmmmmmmm."

THWAAACK....

Okay, I thought. This means I can save some hard disc space.

They then focused all their attention on my daughter. I stood by politely...as they continued their conversation all in sweetness and light. But, shortly I had had enough. I had some other items to pick up.

I smiled and said, "Well, I need to pick up some other items. See ya!"


"OHHHHHHHHHHHHH......it was soooooooooooooo nice seeeing youuuuuuuuuuuuu." She said. "Keeeeeeeeeepppppppp in touchhhhhhhh."

When hell freezes over I thought.

I waved....and then left my daughter in their presence.

Phonieness really gets to me.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Something's Changing in Frank

Just can't quite figure it all out, but something indeed is changing in me.

I went to my monthly Bible Study last night on the campus of Virginia Theological Seminary. It was a small group -- attendance at these types of events tend to fall off during the summer -- but it was still good to be with the men that were there. It added to the intimate atmosphere of the evening.

At one point, I was asked to provide some information about how I have been doing. It's the part of the evening labeled as "check in."

So I spoke briefly about things that have happened. My concerns about mom and dad and the fact that my dad's weaknesses and his fainting have yet to be explained. I spoke of my mother's remission being over and the looming battle that lies before us.

I spoke of how, since I was child -- an only one at that, how fearful I have been about the loss of my parents. As a child, it was a fear of being left an orphan. It's funny that here I am at the age of 52, I still have that fear. But the critical difference is that I have felt God nudge me several times to say that when that day ultimately happens, He will help to ultimately carry me through it. All I have to do is to lean on Him.

He has also gently reminded me that he has provided me with a network of good friends and three wonderful children.

I have also stopped being so fixated on having a special man in my life. God knows that I want someone. But I have grown tired of looking at every gay man as a potential lover. I get tired of the rejection...or the silence.

So I have begun to rest on the knowledge that God knows the desires of my heart....and it will come to pass.

In the midst of my parents' health problems.....and all my fears.....something has changed. I am beginning to feel a different sort of self-confidence brewing deep within me. Many good looking guys appear to be paying attention to me and seeking to spend some time with me. I have shared meals with them. They have hugged me goodnight. Still others have said they have spent a lot of time thinking about me and how they want to get together with me.

One man in particular who I thought didn't give a fig about me....called up out of the blue to say he missed me and wants me to meet him for lunch.

The self-confidence I am feeling....and the waning fear of my parents' mortality have changed my attitude. It is showing profusely.

It's even showing in this blog. Do you see any changes in me?

We went through quite a dead time when no one was reading. It was showing that no one was visiting.

But....yesterday was its busiest day. Readership is way up.

I am very encouraged all around and expecting great things.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Whoah Cowboy...!

I am afraid of doing something really stupid, like using a bazooka to kill a fly, when all that was needed is a fly swatter!

Oh, don't mind me. I always get this way and second guess my feelings and my approach to things when it comes to dealing with Lovey.

I heard from my military son yesterday. Lovey is funding his trip from Texas to here so that he can participate in his grandmother's 80th Birthday celebration this Saturday. Of course, this is her mother's birthday we're talking about....and this is another of those family gatherings that will be the source of much entertainment for days and weeks ahead. It always happens. Love and her sisters are into appearance and control. Grandma is too. So, imagine when the five of them are working to create the perfect social event of the century.

I think you get the picture.

My son was not interested in coming to this event in the first place. But Lovey is making him come. As a condition of her paying his way, he is flying into her area and spending two glorious nights with her. Then he is driving up here with her. He HAS to attend the birthday bash and he also HAS to attend church Sunday Morning with his mom, Grandma, and assorted others.

Poor guy. I know him....and this is going to be sheer torture.

Well, the spot where I am tempted at going nuclear is based on an email I received from Lovey this morning. Here's what it said:

"Frank - do you have room for the man to stay a couple of nights? I'm sure he will probably spend a few nights with his friends. I told him that I expected him at the party and at church on Sunday morning, July 18 (would you like to join us for church that morning also?)

Also, he will need a ride to BWI Airport on Thursday, July 22 for a 12:15 pm flight back to Texas. Are you able to help or help him make arrangements for this? (I realize you may not have the time to do this since you have your parents to care for more these days - could you perhaps help him out by getting him hooked up with the shuttle? I have to return home on Tuesday. I hope this is a good trip for him and not any inconvenience for you.

I'm glad you're coming to Mom's party. We will have an opportunity to get photos of our three and of each of us with them (and a couple of the five of us if you would like). Please bring your camera!

I need to get some sleep. Getting his plane ticked worked out so that it fit his schedule and my "budget" took a couple of hours, but I think he's glad to be coming.

I hope you are doing well.

Lovey"


Of course I will take care of my son as I always have! My daughter from Nashville is also going to be "home". So, this will be the first time in 5 years that I will have all my children under my roof at one time!! It is quite exciting for me.

Based on previous contact with Lovey I have seen innocent emails like this contain sub-text...and hidden meanings. It angers me. Given my track record with my kids over the past 26 years, why is it necessary to ask if a child of mine can stay at my place. Then, putting stipulations on his visit....well...I'm kind of frosted. The girls and I are not going to be at church on Sunday....we're headed to Six Flags in Maryland for the day! But now my poor son is locked into church.

I'm sure he loves that.

So based on these issues...and a lot of past history....my inclination is to explode....which will send her back to her therapist.....she would cry....and be the victim.

But, don't worry friends. I am going to soar above my feelings. I'm gonna be nice. I'm gonna enjoy my family....take tons of pictures of my 3 kids together...
Have a home cooked breakfast on Saturday morning at my table.

It just doesn't get much better than this!

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Thoughts On Being Gay and Married


Frank was a busy boy this weekend. I had two dates: two honest to goodness dates with two separate and "available" men.

Friday night was a date with a very nice and gentle man that is two years younger than me. He works in the IT profession, has always been gay (no apologies), been involved with a few relationships and now he is looking for that special someone with that special spark.

Saturday night was a date with a very nice and attractive doctor who is in his late 50s. He is currently married and has been for over 30 years. The wife knows and is supportive of his finding that elusive closed loop relationship.

As I spent time with the good doctor, it was fascinating to me to hear how his past relationships with men have worked and how his wife has reacted to them.

It wasn't that long ago that I was married and looking for the same thing he is looking for with the blessing of my wife. After the divorce a number of straights told me how disingenious(?) that was and that I was wanting to "have my cake and eat it too!"

I used to hate hearing that said to me. I never felt there was any cake. It was just a way for me to survive. I wasn't out to intentionally deceive my wife....or set out to lie to her about who I was. It was just a tortured path of trying to gain insight and understanding into who I was.

The doctor and I had a long discussion. It seems like she has total control of him. If the man in her husband's life does not act or behave like she thinks he should, then he is aggressive and she isn't happy.

He had a three year releationship with such a man. His wife did not get along with the doctor's boyfriend or the boyfriend's wife because they didn't go along with some of her seemingly goofy ideas. She wanted details of her husband's and his boyfriend's romantic life. The boyfriend told her it was none of her business. The boyfriend kissed the doctor in front of her. She didn't like that and had something to say about it. The list goes on and on and on. I asked the doctor if he was affectionate with his wife in front of the boyfriend. He says no.

Why does it seem that marriage with a woman is about control?

For all the relationships he has had with men, I doubt if he has truly bee "IN LOVE" with one totally. I think he is too afraid to explore that. Oh he hurled the love word a lot in his discussion, but I just feel it wasn't the kind of love I am looking for.

While I had a reasonably good time with the doctor, his wife's control/involvement bothers me. It seems that if her husband becomes deeply involved with a man, she feels she has to keep everyone informed that SHE is the primary relationship with her man.

I've never met the woman....and at this point, I don't think that I do.

I am seeing this from a totally new perspective. I think my preference are for single gay men....whether divorced or single/never married.

I want someone that I can focus on without interference or bossiness......just as I can offer someone the same.

How much more complex can all this get?

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Friday, July 09, 2010

A Glimmer

After I posted that last entry, I received an email message from the man in question. He apologized for his lack of communication. Apparently he has been dealing with the fallout from his family crisis. He wanted to assure me that I am his friend forever and that was special to him. He even said that he valued my honesty and friendship very much. He asked about my parents' medical condition.

Needless to say I do have a glimmer of hope that something may happen here. So, will keep the door definitely open.

Mom says that Dad has been doing much better. I'm not sure exactly what to attribute this to. But we will know more once the doctor contacts them to give the the results of the bloodwork and the MRI.

Still on the roller coaster...

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Rejection

Ah...here we come again. A very familiar topic to those of you in Out of the Ashes land!

A gay middle aged man (GMAM#1) meets another gay middle aged man (GMAM#2). They appear to make a substantive connection. They schedule a time to meet again. After all, GMAM#2 says, he can't wait until the next time.

GMAM#1 receives a phone message the next day from GMAM#2. GMAM#2 has a family drama playing out and must attend to it. He is profusely sorry. Says that usually he is not filled with such drama. GMAM#1 texts him to say it's okay...another time. GMAM#2 asks if it is okay for him to call. GMAM#1 says sure.

GMAM#2 calls. Talks for a long while. "Can I call later?" he asks. "Sure" says GMAM#1. They hang up.

Late that night, GMAM#1 texts GMAM#2 to see if he is alright following the drama and receives a terse couple of texts in return, but yes he is okay.

From then on...silence.

I think you get the picture.

In situations like this, one has to ask himself, "What did I do wrong this time?"

This is such a routine event in my life, I have to laugh.

So what happened? I suspect that the other guy became afraid of new feelings.

This is not uncommon.

But to just suddenly go silent?

What happened to manners.

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The Waiting Game

It’s Friday and this is my first day back in the office. It’s been quite a ride for these past few days…and yesterday I was in no mood to return. I did not sleep well in my own bed on my first night back. My mind was racing as I thought about my dad and how much he has lost ground since I last saw him in February.

It’s upsetting to see someone so full of life, shuffling…stoop-shouldered….nearly lifeless and gasping for air.

I’m still bothered by it all.

AND…in the back of my mind, I am remembering mother’s last series of chemotherapy. She was wiped out….but Dad was there for her. This time, if she goes through the same dose of chemo, Dad just is not able to care for her as he had been the last time. So, what am I gonna do?

Do I retire, sell my house, and move in with them?

Mom says, “It will all work out.”

But I am a planner. I need to have plan A, B & C ready with a host of contingencies if these all fail.

But I don’t….

Not in this case.

Yesterday Dad had a battery of blood work. They did the scan of his head to see if there is evidence of Cancer in his brain. Gosh I pray not.

So, today I am on pins and needles playing the waiting game.

I need to focus on my job now.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Gay & Stressed in Huntington, West Virginia

That picture is of my hometown, Huntington, West Virginia! I spent the last week there and it was quite a week. If you are the fan of Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef, then you are already familiar with this city. It was designated as the least healthy city in the U.S. not long ago, and he produced a reality show there to encourage a change in the city's eating habits....especially among its children.

The city is also home to Marshall University. It's football team was wiped out in 1970 in a horrific airplane crash that was told in a recent motion picture, "WE ARE MARSHALL."

I was there because Mom recently had some scans to see how she is doing and to confirm that the lung cancer she has been in remission from is in remission. Well two weeks ago, we found out that it appears to have returned. As Mom learned this news, Dad collapsed and was rushed to the emergency room. They originally thought he was suffering a seizure...or a stroke....or even possibly a heart attack. After several hours and numerous tests, thankfully it was found to be a case of dehydration.

Last Friday a week ago, mom went in for a biopsy of her lung to determine what kind of cancer it was they had discovered. In the process they punctured her lung. It collapsed and she was hospitalized for a couple of days. Dad, who has been kind of rattled by all of his cancer treatments was left alone...and I scrambled to get someone there for him.....because no one bothered to tell me until long after the fact.

Last Monday, their beloved boxer, Charlie, was put down because of his cancer. He had tumors growing in his throat, ears, rectum and left rear leg. The cancer on his rear leg ruptured causing quite a mess. He was in bad shape and he was put down. This put mom and dad both in a grand funk.

Also on Monday, dad began his cyberknife treatment, which is a concentrated dose of radiation on the spot on his lung that was the most troublesome. We won't know until a couple of weeks from now if it was effective or not.

I spent the entire week with them last week....and only returned to my home in VA today. But, that was up in the air because, yesterday Dad fainted for no reason 3 times. One of those times he fell down the front stairs of their house and landed on the concrete sidewalk at the bottom. He was totally disoriented and couldn't remembered what happened.

Mother fears the cancer has gone to his brain. We called the doctor this morning who has ordered a battery of blood work for tomorrow. (Dad refused to go to the emergency room.) He also has an MRI scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully by the end of the day, we should know something more definitive.

So, I feel like the drama never ends.

On a more positive note, I investigated gay life in Huntington, WV a bit more. While there, I did not feel like the fish out of water I normally feel like. It seems that there is a sizeable community there....the majority of which are heavily closeted. Still it's a comfort to know that there are places I can go to just mingle with like minded souls. I even found a gay affirming church....with a gay pastor....and they have annual fundraisers at one of the three gay bars in town.

Imagine that.

I also found out that I have got to learn to relax my guard more....when I'm around other single gay men. At one of the bars, (and I am NOT a bar person), in walked a beautiful man that took my breath away. He came and sat right by me and began chatting with me. Over the course of the evening I learned quite a bit about him. He's an only child....former navy man....has three kids...is 6'3" tall and is just a hunk.

We went to dinner....and chatted a number of times.....and he was interested in doing more than just sharing a meal. But when I talked to him more closely, he was very adament that he was not looking for a relationship. AH....but in spite of that...I could detect that he had a very special quality that would not take much for me to totally fall for him. TOTALLY. He kept telling me what a "hot" man I was. (This coming from a first rate stud.....5 years younger than me. WHEW!) or did I know how really "hot" I was?

It showed me that I do have the potential to fall.....very HARD.....if I can just let myself go....and not be so afraid of getting hurt or rejected in the process.

I also made friends with other men...and women..... They want me to feel welcome to come by the church or the bars anytime I am in town. They made it clear that I am one of them.

Speak of affirmation and belonging...this was certainly a good experience...and helped rejuvenate me during the time of uncertainty surrounding my parents.

Finally, as I headed home, I decided to stop for dinner at a nice restuarant in Staunton, VA. While there, I happened to run into a younger guy that I know. He's gay and has just broken up with his bf. He bent my ear while I ate dinner. He then introduced me to others at the restaurant that he works with....and then he introduced me to other patrons who are "family."

I am exhausted from all this....but I am feeling better and better about myself as a gay man. I'm just working to build up a good support system of friends and others when I need them as I journey this path with my parents.

God, make me strong.

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