Another Sunday….

Another Sunday….

254 19

Today I have my sister’s girls.  We’ll be going to the fair in a little while.  I got them up and took them to church this morning.  I saw in the bullitin that the message was to be given by Beth Long-Higgins.  I knew they were from Ohio (hours south and west of where I live in NE Ohio).  But I know them from Dunkirk NY, where I used to go to Family Camp with my friends.  I went the first time about 27 years ago.  One year my brother and his boyfriend and my sisters and my oldest brother’s daughter all came with me.  I had a great time.  Erin, my niece was 8 then and she is 26 now, I think.  Anyway, that was a lot of years ago.  The last time I went Gwennie just turned 2 in March.  Andrea was three.  These are my littlest sister’s girls.  They are 8 and 9 now, so six years ago.  Anyhow, Every year I was there, probably 12 or 14 years, week long camp, Beth and David were there because Beth’s father was the director.  

And since I went when I had the money, I think Beth and David were both ministers when I first started, but I remember when their first baby was born, and the second, and when her father died, and well, it is not like I knew them for a 14 year period, or even new them for a decade when they served our church, it was different.   For one week the camp had, I dunno, 70-100 people, and we had seven days, three meals, vespers each evening, and early program and a late program, corn roasts, bonfires, square dancing talent show, adult classes each morning.  

The last time we were there with Lisa’s girls, they very nearly called children services on my little sister and they had every right to do so.  I went to David and explained what my little sister had gone through and was going through with the little one.  My sister is a good mother, but how she acted that day was flat out abusive.  Worse yet, the windows were wide open and you could hear her all the way to the dining hall.  

Well anyway, they were at the church today, giving the message.  And I have my other sister’s  girls with me.  Of course we recognized each other and I did get a chance to talk afterwards.  They were doing a program on LGBTQ-aging and the United Church of Christ homes for aging people.  So the sermon and the program was about LGBT- aging.  Of course the girls are going into the 8th grade and are not going to leave for the children’s moment so they went through the sermon.  I was sitting there wondering how they are hearing this.  Things are different these days.  In public schools the LGBTQ is discussed all the time.  No big deal.  But they are members of a very conservative church/school/denomination.  So I thought maybe we’d be having an interesting conversation later.  — No problem there, I asked the girls later about the sermon, when I told them what the program was about.  The older said, “Gayness?”  I said yeah, kind of.  She said was it boring.  I said it would have been for you.  She said, two of her friends are gay.  Alrighty then.  I guess we really don’t need to have a conversation about that.  I told her it was about gay folks aging, over 65 and in homes.  

It was hard for me though.  I’m not estranged from my family, yet.  But who knows who will still be around when I can’t take care of myself.  When you haven’t a spouse or children, you are relying on siblings and nieces and nephews.  I don’t even have a gay community to band together for me.  LOL!   Yeah, it was targeting the gay community for being lonely, living alone, not wanting to live, being suicidal, isolated, not wanting to seek medical help.  And for staying hidden.  

One of the things Beth said in her sermon was that this guy’s Mom was dying and the nurse came in and said to him, “well that is nice that you live in NY where people are accepting of gay people.”   The guy asks her into the hall and asks why she thinks he is gay.  She says, because he is single and her daughter also live in NY.  Whatever.  All people have to see/notice is that you are single, and they think you are gay.  The guy was gay and hadn’t come out to his mother.  But I am not thinking about that.  I am thinking about how if you aren’t married, then you are probably gay if you are my age.  

I sent the girls to my parents’ house.  And I stayed for the program.  Very depressing really.  The idea of getting old and having no one to live for.  It is not a new idea for me.  I’ve been considering this for 18 months or so.  Ah well.  I just don’t let things go in one ear and out the other.   


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19 comments

  1. mkyuellig

    Hey solongago,

    The idea of aging in general can be pretty scary, but I also think it’s important to keep in mind that a lot of the things we’re talking about in this context are societal constructs and there’s a lot more options in life than what “most people” do. Just because you aren’t married, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be alone as you get older. There are so many ways that you can meet people to make meaningful relationships. Through church, or through animals, are the ways that come to mind for you. Also, there are really good resources through most libraries and community centers for older folks to meet others and do the activities they enjoy. Western culture kind of sends the message that being old is one of the worst things ever – but that’s very far from true. However, I do appreciate your thoughtful reflections on topics such as these.

    stay strong an be gentle with yourself,
    Keight

  2. Jennifer Suhr Volunteer

    Good to see another update from you! It’s pretty cool that you ended up seeing some friends you met in New York a long time ago. I hope you all had fun at the fair! I’m sorry to hear that the church sermon ended up making you feel depressed, it’s definitely understandable.

    Thanks for keeping us updated,
    Jenn

  3. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,

    Thanks for the update. I’m sorry that hearing the sermon stirred up uncomfortable thoughts about your future. It’s great that you were open and willing to have a discussion with your nieces, especially on a topic that can still be quite taboo in conservative circles. It can be scary looking into the future after you’ve began healing from childhood abuse, especially when that healing involves setting boundaries that often end up alienating your family. As long as you’re here, you’ll never truly be alone. We’re always here to support you in anyway that we can. Take care, have a wonderful week and I look forward to hearing from you again soon.
    All the best,
    Becca

    1. Solongago

      This exactly: “It can be scary looking into the future after you’ve began healing from childhood abuse, especially when that healing involves setting boundaries that often end up alienating your family.

      I did talk to Angela on Wednesday. We talked about this, which led to the relationship thing. I desperately want to be in a relationship that will lead to marriage. I want to be one of a couple. For all of life’s hurdles left to me. I want them to put two seats out for me at events, and know that I will definitely know at least the one person I am sitting next to. I want that someone who will apply lotion to my hands if I am unable to do it (something in that documentary/program at the church). That is someone who wants to do something for me to make me feel cherished. I want someone to buy for, to come home to, to call home if I am going to be late, to be there when I put a dog down, or have to hear a diagnoses.

      When I bought my house about 20 years ago, my sister was going to go with me to sign the papers. She called my mom and she told her there was no need. So I was alone making the biggest purchase of my life, and so many things went wrong. They did the survey on the wrong property. I had to call the bank and let them tell me to sign the papers anyway, and it will be fixed later. I had to have my mom give me a “gift” to pay of a c.c. so that I could manage the loan on my own. I was so nervous. I would have liked to have someone there. For moral support. Mom did not think it necessary. Lisa did not come. Ok. So I can do things on my own. I don’t always WANT to.

      Ok, so maybe that isn’t enough reason to have a boyfriend/husband. But I want the whole nine yards. I want a guy I can depend on, that we can share everything, who I can be intimate with.

      At the same time, I am petrified at the very thought. Angela said, “you can take some time to get to know the guy before getting naked.” That filled me with fear. We talked about that guy, Jeff, I dated a hundred years ago, who was 32 when I was 17 and when he found out I was 17, he wasn’t seen for 2 years. We went out again, and he wanted to have sex, and I just couldn’t. He wasn’t heard from again. Angela said my instincts were good, you didn’t give out and he left. But I left her thinking that I was afraid of not being able to have sex. But the thing is, I am terrified of being in a relationship, being expected to be intimate, risking the hurt of someone I can’t control or just never see again.

      Karen had suggested (back when I was seeing her) that I could have a relationship where neither wants to have sex as a part of it. I told her no. That wasn’t what I wanted. She said that surprised her. Well, I figure one or the other of us will want to move forward with the relationship, and if we do not, it will end.

      For years I have tried to just relax and not worry about it, the idea that, until you’re comfortable with yourself in your own skin, the chances of having a successful relationship – too much riding on this one person, all that. But somehow, instead of getting to a mature point where I can be happy with or without a relationship, I am just more desperate, and will probably be that much more likely to fail with the first guy I manage to go out with. Angela says, try it anyway, so what if you fail, you will be alone. Well, you are alone now. And she is right on that.

      But the fear rears up in me with the very idea of sex, bodies, being unclothed in the presence of someone else. It is all so hopeless.

      And so, I have to accept that I might be totally alone through aging. And yes, I have to either stay hidden and not allow my uncomfortableness or anger at members of my family out, ever, or maybe losing what family I have. My brothers have their kids, who will most likely provide grand children, and all the things that life expects. If I choose to take a break from having anything to do with my brothers, my sisters may find that so uncomfortable that I will become further isolated.

      It can be worse than being the fat, elderly, maiden aunt in the corner at baby showers and graduation parties, the one the nieces bring their children to visit in the home. I can be totally forgotten, shunned. It’s sad, it’s infuriating, it’s whiny, and a choice.

      Angela finished by saying how unpleasant being in a relationship can be. Never being able to just do something. Having someone critiquing every thing about you.

      Ah well. It’s all so messed up. This getting old crap really sucks.

  4. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,
    I hope you and the kids had fun at the fair. It’s okay to be gay. A lot more people now are very open about this and it doesn’t matter how old you are when you want to come out. It’s good that your nieces are accepting too. Thank you for the update. It is always good to hear from you.
    -Alyssa

  5. Leximcclelland Volunteer

    Hey!
    Thanks for the update, it’s good to hear from you. Being able to spend time with family is wonderful. How was the fair?
    Being alone in age is a scary thought. Its nice to hear that children these days have an open mind and are willing to accept people for their sexuality.
    Thanks for sharing, I hope you are well today.

  6. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    Hey Solongago

    Thanks for coming , and sharing with us. i am glad to spend time with your nieces. i am sorry and please let us know if you need anything!

  7. Breanna Grunthal Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,

    Thanks for coming and sharing with us. I’m glad you got to spend some time with your nieces and they seem to be relatively accepting of LBGTQ+. It can be really hard balancing religious beliefs with interpersonal dynamics. I am really sorry that this stereotype exists with age and marriage. I hope you are able to find some peace managing these complicated facets of life.

    Discussions about aging are often somber and you’re not alone with your feelings in it. But, I have some thoughts on “having no one to live for.” It can be a real empty feeling, and I’m sorry that you may feel this way sometimes. But I’m glad that you still have connections with your family, and I hope that they can be a source for social support. And also, it’s really important to remember that you always have yourself. You can live for yourself, in the way that you can do things that make YOU happy. A potentially-helpful perspective on this is that you can prioritize your happiness during this time in life.

    Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out! We are here to listen, and let us know if there’s anything we can do to support you.

    Sending love,
    Breanna

  8. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,
    I’m glad you were able to spend time with your nieces during the weekend. You’re not alone in the feelings you have about getting old. It can be scary to wonder about what the future has in store for us. Yet I agree with Marissa – I think being with a supportive, caring person is more important than being with just any person. I’ve heard that it can be helpful to have healthy relationships, exercise, mental stimulation, etc. These things can help us enjoy life more and live for ourselves as well as with others. I also think focusing on the present can help us prevent ourselves from ruminating about the future.
    You’re also not alone. We’re here whenever you need to talk, and you can get through this.

  9. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,

    Thanks for updating us. This will be a double response, so bear with me! I read your last post and I’m really glad that you’re starting to feel a little better. It’s interesting to think about how you could apply your knowledge of dogs to a career, and I really wish the best for you! That is honestly one of my dream jobs, being able to work with dogs, so I really hope that works out for you (if that’s something you really want to do.) I think taking things slow with Angela is a good thing. That way, neither you nor her will get too overwhelmed or burnt out with the other. It’s important to establish a relationship first, and that takes time.

    I’m sorry about all of the conflicting feelings you’re having about everything. Growing older is definitely tough, especially if you’re feeling alone, but I promise things are working out exactly as they are supposed to be. Personally, I would rather be alone than with someone who didn’t treat me like I know I deserve to be treated. You’ll be alright – just keep your head up. You’ve got this. If you need anything, we’re here for you. Please don’t forget that.

    Marissa

  10. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear Solongago,
    Whew, this is quite a topic. I completely see where you are coming from about being single and growing old. I live in Florida, near The Villages and see that there are a lot of single people living very happy lives. We have whole communities that have “assisted living” where you have your own space and participate in activities, but you also have nurses there and people who check on you to make sure you are doing well. They are certainly not the nursing/retirement homes my father worked at when I was growing up! It can be scary to focus too far into the future and wonder what will be. I only allow myself to contemplate five years ahead when thinking about it (with the exception of retirement planning). I am not one for fantasizing because I don’t like to be disappointed, but I think of things I enjoy and some of the possibilities that are within my realm of reality. That often helps bring a little excitement and anticipation because I am setting a new goal for myself. It is also something that you could talk with Angela about if you wanted.
    I know that you like to read and I am reading a really good book called, “Born for Love”, by Dr Bruce Perry and Mia Szalavitz. It really gets into brain development, connection, empathy, and nature vs nurture. I get very excited about that kind of stuff, but I also thought of you while I was reading because you mention in your posts a lot of the things he covers.
    I hope you are feeling better.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  11. Solongago

    I’m really not going through a transition, unless it is transitioning to the new therapist. The church is doing this open and affirming thing, and like I told Beth and David, I’m not gay, but my brother is. (They had said that a lot of what they encounter with the United Church Homes being open and affirming is that the parents and family of gay people like being there, because they can freely let their gay relatives/children visit or talk about them.) I don’t want to go to a church where I am constantly hearing that my brother is going to Hell. But I also don’t want to be bombarded with the gay agenda every Sunday.

    25 years ago when my brother came out, I was seeing Nancy. I told her about it, and she was more concerned about him. In those days, homosexuality was either considered a mental illness, or it had just been removed from the DMSV as a mental illness. I remember my first thoughts were that it was a hard life he was choosing, a lot of drugs, unhappy people, and his life would not bring the expectations we all have for life — getting married, having children and the like. I never considered the idea of aging alone, or even being treated badly by medical personnel or not being welcome in a nursing home, or having to hide who you are because of those things.

    Since my brother came out as gay, several of his friends/lovers have died. He was with Billy for years, and he died of AIDS. Doug was a real jerk and took out credit cards in my brother’s name and ran them up, but then he killed himself in his jail cell (my brother did not put him there, he was a drug dealer/abuser not sure what he went to jail for, probably some type of fraud trying to get money for drugs). Another friend died of meningitis. Many of his friends have died young either by suicide or illness. My brother nursed Billy through his illness, and was there when he died. And Billy’s family started out as supportive, but then turned on my brother. Billy was homeless when he met my brother, but they came in and tried to take all of what my brother and Billy had accumulated. They called the sheriff to try to embarrass my brother. My brother went back to college to get his Bachelor of Nursing after Billy died. And now he is a nurse practitioner. I am very conservative, but having watched what happened when Billy died, I am not against gay marriage. I think two consenting adults should be able to have the benefits and protections of marriage if they want.

    But for 25 years I have been in the periphery of the gay lifestyle and gay concerns because of my brother and I have come up with some conclusions of my own about it in spite of my religious upbringing. I think some people are born that way, and some people have had environments/incidents in their lives that have pushed them in that direction, and it isn’t up to me to determine which is which. I believe that they are loved by God, and as Christians we are called to love them, not to fix them, not to judge them.

    At the same time, the church stuff has me feeling in two ways about this open and affirming process. I understand that to market ourselves as a safe place for people who are LGBTQ+, people in our community cannot harbor negative feelings that are going to spill out at folks. So the constant barrage of LGBTQ+ discussions are necessary, but I am just a little irritable that these folks have a place where they can be who they are, where they can be “out.” Whereas, I still feel that I have to stay hidden, alone and isolated. I know that makes me a horrible person. But I listen to what they said about aging. It is all true for me as well. Not having children and grandchildren, I will most likely be living alone, as I am now, long beyond when I can take care of myself. I dunno. There was a lot of stuff I related to. You do not need to be gay to be lonely, single, unwilling to seek medical help, and so on. Angela said that I am not borderline. She sees me more as one who avoids. I don’t know if that is an avoiding personality, or just that I avoid relationships because I am afraid of romantic relationships, and afraid of being hurt.

    Ok, it is getting late. I wrote this in response to Gracie22, but it is really more thoughts on the topic and a response to all the responses. Thank you all for responding. I do read them all and appreciate them.

  12. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,

    I’m sorry to hear that your sister almost got child services called on her, it’s not great to hear that she was being abusive to her kids. Its good to hear that you are no estranged from your family. I’m glad you can rely on your siblings to help build you a community. I don’t think that not being married means that you are gay. Some people choose not to get married, or don’t meet the right person till later in life! Growing older is tough, it’s really important to have hobbies to keep yourself busy. Volunteering is also a really great thing to do!

    Stay strong,

    Tyler

    1. Solongago

      Well, she did get child services called on her here. But that was for something rather stupid. She had sent the girls to camp and one of them told a story about their dad yelling about a bag of potato chips or something. Now, to be sure the older girl is still having trouble with her bladder and she’s nine, and that is something you can’t hide from camp officials. But even so. They call you up and tell you they’re coming and they cleaned their already clean house and were all nervous and embarrassed. I think they have toned the fighting down some.

      The idea of having them called on her when we were out of state was even scarier though. In Ohio, you can near enough kill your kids before anyone does anything.

  13. Kayla Volunteer

    Solongago,

    I’m glad to hear you got to spend time with family, it’s particularly cool to hear that your nieces are aware and accepting of LGBTQ folks.

    Megan said it well – you are certainly not alone in these fears. My advice would be to not dwell on the future so much, you never know what may happen, as cliche as I know it sounds. Try to focus on the present and on self-care. We are always here for you when dealing with these difficult and complex feelings.

    Thank you for continuing to share. We appreciate you.

    Kayla

  14. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thanks for coming back to share. I hope the visit with your nieces was nice. Let us know how else we can help.

    Erin

  15. Megan Volunteer

    Hey Solongago,

    It’s cool that you got to spend time with your sister’s girls and that they seem to be accepting of LGBT+ individuals. The thoughts that you are having are things that I think a lot of people struggle with. I feel like getting older and still being single is something a lot of people are afraid of, so you’re not alone in your feelings and worries. I’m not a very religious person, but one thing that I’ve noticed to be a recurring message from religion is that God has a plan for everyone. As it seems by your post that you are religious, it might help to remember that maybe where you are in your life right now is part of his plan so it’s right where God wants you to be.

    You are not alone and you are loved, even if you don’t see it sometimes,
    Megan

  16. Amysue43 Volunteer

    Your thoughts are very real and I’m glad you shared your story with us. These feelings can be very confusing, complex and frustrating sometimes. I’m sorry you are encountering these awkward interactions. It can add to the frustration I’m sure. I think writing down your thoughts and feelings -similar to this but in more detail- would significantly help in validation and clarity with such. You are strong and it shows in your post.

    Stay strong <3

  17. Graciegrace22

    Hello,

    I am sorry that this is such a hard time to go through and going through a transition in your life. I hope you are able to find the resources you need.