Monday, May 04, 2015


Later in the week I am returning to NY for the first anniversary of my mother's death. Things among my siblings have not been good in the interim and I am not looking forward to this visit.

Sign? While making coffee this morning I had a flashback to her cremation. Things were already tense and while we sat in folding chairs in front of her coffin, one of my sisters suggested naming a secular charity for people to donate to, while another mentioned the religious charity she had contributed to for almost fifty years.

One brother, normally a sensible guy, objected to that because he works with a lot of Jews and "they wouldn't want to contribute to a Catholic organization."

I said nothing, not because I had no opinion, but because what would have come out of my mouth would have created a rift that would have been pretty hard to fix. Although readers of ExC might be surprised by this, one of my gifts in real life, is shutting the hell up when what I want to blurt out is likely to create more trouble than the things I want to blurt out about.

This is true in my family, especially of late. One way I try not to contribute to the proffered hooks on which one could hang a variety of hurts and angers is simply to say nothing or to change the subject.

My anger at my brother was twofold. This was my mother's death, not his colleagues'. Second, the now common instinct for White Christian self-erasure in face of a privileged minority and its imagined sensibilities...that really pissed me off. Cause God knows, no Jewish family whose mother had contributed for a half century to a Jewish charity would have wiped that out to avoid discomfiting some Gentile strangers.

Yeah, it's gonna be a great trip.



Anonymous said...

Good God, do I know how that feels. I have had to hold my damn tongue more times than I care to admit when it comes to self-righteous family members. No wonder you prefer to be all the way on the West Coast. I wish you peace, inner strength, and some fine visuals. Maybe a naked man or two will traipse past your bedroom window and wave at you with their penises? It is New York. One can hope.I wonder if most gay men with a real conservative bent and a tendency to traditional religion have these problems as a matter of course? Or maybe just traditionalists in and of themselves?


Anonymous said...

Not so with my family. All of us seem to have a combination of strong opinions and mulish tempers. We will say what's on our mind, and we will take it back only very reluctantly. Entire branches of my family refuse to speak to certain members, other branches, and each other over arguments and petty disputes decades past. There also seems to be somebody in each branch, each generation, who essentially forsakes the family and starts over somewhere else. It hasn't happened in my generation yet...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...