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Thrive Newsletter - Issue #26 - "Ten Years Of Missing Our Beautiful Michael" Edition
The horror of what happened will never soften, but what is done with the memories now is what matters...
Trigger Warning: While pointing toward life and light, the following post touches on topics concerning suicide and depression. If you need help, please contact The Trevor Project, The Trans Lifeline, or NAMI. All are excellent resources.
For immediate help, call or text 988.
We are coming up on the date (next week) when beautiful Michael succumbed to his struggle with several issues and took his life ten years ago. So before reading any further, please be mindful of the trigger warning under the artwork at the beginning of the post.
Your health and safety are so much more important than this post. So please take care of yourself and utilize the resources linked above if you need to do so.
With that said, this year, while remembering Michael…
Anyone who has lost someone to suicide can attest it never gets easier. It doesn’t. And while the horror of that moment in life is seared into my soul, I will not let the darkness drag me into depression again this year.
Of course, I will mourn. How can I not? This year, however, I willfully choose to remember his boisterous laugh, quick wit, and sharp intellect. I will remember my dream of him a couple of months after his passing. In the dream, Michael, with compassion in his big beautiful brown eyes, came to me singing a sacred song while we took a seat and held hands on a park bench.
Whether this vivid dream was my subconscious seeking relief, Michael’s energy coming through to comfort me, or both, I feel like that dream is a gift from the Universe. A gift I will never let go of. Ever since that morning, I can’t pass by a sunny park bench without taking a seat and remembering Michael’s beauty.
So if you ever see me sitting on a sunny park bench with my clenched hand off to the side, laughing and crying at the same time… leave me alone unless you want to hold my hand and laugh and cry with me.
Michael and I dated before we went into the church closet and were friends for the next twenty-three years. However, the ideology we both adopted in the ex-gay world was the tipping point in his decision to leave us. Michael took his life because he thought God was punishing him for “going back” to being gay. Compounding that horrible stigmatizing theology with other mental health issues and difficult relationships became dangerous. But, regardless of all the details, one is obvious. Ex-gay ideology was the tipping point of why Michael took his life.
That realization, confirmed by a mutual friend, destroyed me and is why I am free of that cultish world today.
I yearn for others to leave that world without having to experience such tragedy. I lament that some, like Michael, didn’t make it out of the church closet of shame and condemnation. While I am a survivor of the same toxic beliefs, I am ashamed I promoted them and was a leader in that world for so long.
To honor Michael and for many additional reasons, I will never stop seeking the end of conversion therapy and its “pastoral” manifestation known as ex-gay ministry.
My memoir and a potential second book will be essential parts of that effort.
I love and miss you, Michael. Please keep singing…
Speaking of writing, I have another meeting with my editing team on Monday. Today, after this post, I am working on some significant edits in the middle of the book. There are seeds for a second book mixed in, so my current editing focus is determining what should stay, be expanded, or be added in the memoir and what should be saved for a potential second book.
Any prayers, positive vibes, and feedback are welcome if you are inclined along these lines.
Thank you for reading.
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