My heart is heavy. I cannot help thinking of our kids—all of our kids. Another suicide, another life lost. Blake Brockington, a transgender homecoming king – recently took his life. What a horror. And you remember Leelah Alcorn. Tragic. And so many others.
Several years back, as my kids were finishing high school, one of their classmates killed herself. Her mother found her hanging in the closet. Can you imagine?
The mother was hospitalized with a nervous breakdown. My heart ached for her. All I could picture was walking in and finding my own precious child, hanging. For weeks afterward, that horrifying image haunted me. I don’t know how I would ever recover.
You want to know what’s really frightening here? One of our children did have suicidal thoughts. They had despaired, had felt like they were at the end of the road. They were carrying secrets alone. Our kids are carrying secrets we don’t even know about… (that’s what makes them secrets…). Bullying, threats, being ostracized for defending someone who’s being hurt, for being different — we really have no idea.
Those are just the “regular” troubles.
But suicidal thoughts are alarmingly common among people who are LGBTQ – especially youth, especially those who have experienced rejection from home. Usually, we don’t know until it’s too late. And then it’s, well, too late.
Fortunately, extremely, endlessly, fortunately, our child did not act on it. From the endless bottom of my heart, I will always be grateful. When I see them smile, when I see the impact they have on others, when we laugh and cry and share life together — I will be grateful. I will never stop thanking God for my infinitely amazing kids who are in their lives doing their thing.
The stakes are higher than we can possibly imagine.
Moms and Dads, there is so much riding on how we treat, love, accept and affirm all our children – especially our gay children. We have more of an impact on our kids than we can ever possibly imagine.
Parents, please. Hang in there for your kids. Hang on to your kids. I don’t mean in a smothery way—I mean hang on to your love for them. Hold them. Kiss their heads. Ruffle their hair. Even if they’re twenty-five or forty-five. 🙂 And tell them how much you love them. And mean it.
Whatever comes up. Stand with them, stand for them.
Please. Don’t require them to meet your expectations. It is SO much more important that you just be there for them. It’s the very least, and very most, any parent can do. If you are going to err, err on the side of love. Always.
I’m a much wiser mom now that my kids are all grown. I could list you the mistakes I made. But what Rob and I did learn to do right was to let them be who they are. Whatever differences we have had—teenage moodiness or messy room, even—nothing, NOTHING, would be worth jeopardizing our kids’ lives.
I will take them any way they come. I just want for them a long and happy life. I want them to love and be loved – for who they are.
We will help you love them when you feel like you no longer have it in you.
God bless all our kids and keep them safe. And let us love them the way God loves them: unconditionally.