I have been sitting on this story for several weeks. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share something so raw and personal. But I am a writer at heart, and I feel compelled to share my life with others. If for no other reason, my life can be a teaching tool for others.
My son, let’s call him Ricky, was my easy-going child. Born at nearly 11 pounds and 26 inches long, he was a happy baby. All he needed his first year was breast milk, mama, and a pacifier.
He did well in school. Ricky was the type of student that didn’t have to study and would make straight A’s. He would do his homework right before class and get 100%. I expected great things from him.
He let his grades slip somewhere between the seventh and eighth grades and started having trouble in school. Finally, he confessed that his teacher was harassing him and making him feel uncomfortable. Apparently, his PE teacher referred to him as the “gringo kid” (we lived in Miami, Florida). It hurt his feelings as then the other students would join in.
I only mention this event because that was the first sign of any trouble with my son. Before that, he was such a happy little boy.
Two years later, and now living in Kansas, Ricky had what we believed to be acute appendicitis. They wheeled him to surgery to remove the inflamed appendix, sending it to pathology to determine the cause of the infection. His doctor told us that was routine, and it would likely come back as an undetermined cause.
I sat with Ricky in his room with very little sleep, worrying about his recovery. He wasn’t getting any better. His intestines seemed backed up, and his skin color was turning greenish. The doctors agreed that something was wrong.
His pathology report came back, and he had cancer. His appendix was full of cancer. They suspected his intestines had cancer cells, too. So they suggested my sweet boy go back to the operation table to insert a camera to see his intestines. They removed the cancer cells and inserted a tube to drain the pus from the infection.
The entire ordeal lasted two months. At that time, he dropped 40 pounds and was barely 130 pounds. He stood over six feet tall. Slowly, he recovered. He was weak for about a year. Ricky gained weight and looked stronger than ever. But his depression still lingered.
Adulthood Caused Tension
Ricky turned 18, and he wanted independence. He moved out on his own and barely spoke to any of the family. We all tried to text and call, but he rarely replied.
He reached out to my mother, and she became his support person. We all thought his connection to her was a bit strange, but we were glad someone had heard from him.
Ricky expressed his anger with me but never revealed what I did to upset him. Even so, I tried my hardest to repair our relationship. I knew what bothered him about his dad. Ricky claimed his father sexually abused him. It came out when he was 18. Of course, my ex-husband and his girlfriend deny it ever happened.
Several weeks ago, Ricky called his father to tell him he was gay and in a loving relationship. My ex threw a fit. He called me, upset that his son had come out to him. I wasn’t upset. It suddenly made sense. He felt a connection to my mother, his grandmother because of her lesbian status.
My ex asked questions like:
How long has he been gay?
Is he a bottom or top?
And why is he gay?
I felt like Ricky did. These questions were inappropriate.
Love Endures All
All I know is Ricky is happy and feels freedom in coming out. For that, I am thrilled for him. He deserves peace, love, and someone to love. But his father doesn’t feel the same. Honestly, I feel like his dad will disown him and not want to talk to him until he denies being gay.
I never taught my children being gay was wrong. I always felt that being loved and authentic is more important than being straight and pretending to be something you aren’t.
As for Ricky and his father, they have a rough road ahead of them. Not only do they have the tension around the sexual abuse claims, but his dad added the homophobic slurs to the mix.
I am not entirely sure what they said between them. I only know it upset Ricky. I know my ex well, and I can imagine what vile things he said.
My ex asked me what we did wrong for Ricky to “turn gay.” I asked him why does he think we had caused this. He had no answer. I am just happy Ricky found himself and decided to live his life authentically.
What more could I ask for?
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Originally published on Medium: https://medium.com/the-memoirist/my-ex-husbands-homophobic-slurs-ruined-his-relationship-with-my-son-9f66033757de
About the Creator
Chrissie has spent the last 20 years writing online for several major news outlets. When not writing, you’ll find her watching a Lifetime movie, wearing her favorite PJs with a frozen soda in hand.