A friend's funeral

DylanLewis

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I've just been to the funeral of a friend. I'm all over the place. He was in his late seventies and a staunch Catholic. He didn't say so in so many words but it was clear he was sexually attracted to men and deeply conflicted about it. He never referred to any romantic relationships with women. Separate from his family, he had a second life amongst male friends with a same sex attraction who didn't openly identify as gay. His conflict was expressed, I believe, in his sometimes archly conservative social, political and faith (pre-Vatican II Catholic) views. He was a contradiction; a warm-hearted kind man, a shirt-off-his-back friend, a devout man - humble in his faith, who disavowed all pretension and snobbery, a patriot, a racist, transphobic.

In his final months his family's loving care for him was everything to him. I think it healed something deep inside him. But, as far as I know, his same-sex attraction and the life that went with it were never acknowledged. Most of him and his life was edited out of the funeral. I don't think I was saying goodbye to the same person they were. The funeral was about proclaiming that he was now safe in heaven. I think that was about assuaging his family's unspoken fear that his same sex attraction and salvation were mutually exclusive.

I'm heterosexual, married, and progressive. My friend and I jousted about politics but he trusted me and my wife to let us know without so many words about his same-sex orientation knowing we loved him for the dear friend he was.

I am left with a deep sense of loss and sadness. I hate that we still live in a society where so much of my friend's character and life had to be edited out. I loathe that he was taught to hate part of himself. I think because of that conflict he could never contemplate an openly-avowed, life partnership with another man, and so was denied anything resembling a marriage. I loathe that his generation was taught to hate love if it wasn't for the right person. The personal costs of this is so much pain, so much hurt, so much despair. For those who profess not to see the cruel harm their bigotry inflicts on some of the most warm hearted and kind hearted people, may God forgive you.
 
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geka

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DylanLewis said:
I've just been to the funeral of a friend. I'm all over the place. He was in his late seventies and a staunch Catholic. He didn't say so in so many words but it was clear he was sexually attracted to men and deeply conflicted about it. He never referred to any romantic relationships with women. Separate from his family, he had a second life amongst male friends with a same sex attraction who didn't openly identify as gay. His conflict was expressed, I believe, in his sometimes archly conservative social, political and faith (pre-Vatican II Catholic) views. He was a contradiction; a warm-hearted kind man, a shirt-off-his-back friend, a devout man - humble in his faith, who disavowed all pretension and snobbery, a patriot, a racist, transphobic.

In his final months his family's loving care for him was everything to him. I think it healed something deep inside him. But, as far as I know, his same-sex attraction and the life that went with it were never acknowledged. Most of him and his life was edited out of the funeral. I don't think I was saying goodbye to the same person they were. The funeral was about proclaiming that he was now safe in heaven. I think that was about assuaging his family's unspoken fear that his same sex attraction and salvation were mutually exclusive.

I'm heterosexual, married, and progressive. My friend and I jousted about politics but he trusted me and my wife to let us know without so many words about his same-sex orientation knowing we loved him for the dear friend he was.

I am left with a deep sense of loss and sadness. I hate that we still live in a society where so much of my friend's character and life had to be edited out. I loathe that he was taught to hate part of himself. I think because of that conflict he could never contemplate an openly-avowed, life partnership with another man, and so was denied anything resembling a marriage. I loathe that his generation was taught to hate love if it wasn't for the right person. The personal costs of this is so much pain, so much hurt, so much despair. For those who profess not to see the cruel harm their bigotry inflicts on some of the most warm hearted and kind hearted people, may God forgive you.
I’m sorry about the loss of your friend, your words you wrote are Beautiful and so true. Far too many people life is edited out in the end.
 
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Kirisin

To Be Forgiven First You Must Forgive
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My religion LDS only just recently opened up to same sex attraction and acknowledged it. There answer to it was "its ok to have these feelings but it's not ok to act on it". I am BI and had a big crush on my best friend when I was 12. My mother thought I had a crush on his sister lol. Anyway I know a lot of Mormons are closeted because of the church's stants on acting on the attraction. It is something that is hush hush and not talked about. I have some 4000 conference talks (Sermons) for lack of a better word. Just the other day that topic came up but this person has never acted on it and as far as I know may have never been married. I don't think any religion will ever accept it. This will always be hush hush in religious circles.
 
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stinkape

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It’s a complex world, nothing is ever fair or free but good friendships are to be cherished and although he may not have obtained a true peace with himself at least it sounds as though he had some great friends to help him along life’s journey .
 
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dogboy

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I just watched episode 9 of Netflix: "The Midnight Club" and that episode deals with accepting oneself as gay. It was very moving and made me cry. The entire series deals with death and dying.

Death and loss is difficult to experience. I'm sorry your friend had to hide his true self. None of us should have to do that but we live in a world that at times, thrives on cruelty. This is why I stand up to being treated equally, when someone says something contrary to what should be all our God given rights. But the world can be a cruel place and very judgemental. Perhaps where we go after death will be better.
 
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