I’ll start by saying that hindsight is a wonderful thing. If I had known then what was ahead of me, my feelings would have been so different.
When I discovered that two of my three children were gay, to say I was devastated is putting it mildly. My secure little cocoon fell apart. I was no longer heading in the direction that I had anticipated.
I was 50 years old and had arrived, as I thought, at a great stage in life – family reared and looking forward to spending more time with my husband and ultimately grandchildren. But this was not to be – at least for two of our children.
Seventeen years on it’s hard to recall how badly I felt and why, but one can only deal with where we’re at, at the time.
Some years later my lovely husband was taken from us after a short illness of five months’ duration – at the age of just 60. I was 58. We could have had at least another 20 years together. He was the rock of our family on whom we all relied, but the worst was yet to come.
Edel was diagnosed one year later with breast cancer at just 27. She fought like a tiger to live, but sadly lost her battle just over three years later, aged 30.
To all parents of gay children, I would say CHERISH them while you can. We cannot know what is around the corner.
I had difficult times with Edel and couldn’t relate to the butch image she was portraying, being very feminine myself, but we both mellowed throughout the years. My son Martin was different. He didn’t seem to want to shout it from the rooftop, which was easier for me as I realise parents live in closets, too.
I still have some friends I haven’t told and probably won’t ever now – I don’t feel the need – but I suppose they know anyway.
My big problem was fear – fear of my children being attacked by an intolerant society, and this fear remains for my son.
Most people seem to think that homosexuality is a choice. My god, who would choose it? But if there were more gay people in the world, it would be a much better place.