My sister recently ended a fifteen year relationship with her same sex partner. They had grown apart . . weren’t speaking the same language any longer . . their dreams had different futures and so the end became apparent before the words made it official.
It’s funny how that works, huh? How gay people endure many of the same struggles as heterosexuals. Of course, that doesn’t pertain to marriage in most every state because lawmakers hide behind preachy slogans like ‘family values’ when voicing their opposition to such unions.
Sister would have married her a long time ago. Something simple with fresh cut flowers, string music and a beach. Close friends and family from opposite ends of a very broad spectrum. My conservative father who thought Reagan to be a God on the one end and my liberal cousin who quotes Chomske on the other. It would’ve coalesced just fine. The odd pieces would have worked evenly thanks to the harmony of two people who ended up making things work for a longer period of time than just about anyone in my family.
I borrowed more knowledge about relationships from my sisters than I ever returned. We laughed and celebrated together. Cried and consoled together. Our only diffences came in the minutae of interior paints and television shows, which only made the conversations better anyhow.
My sisters were never estranged from the family structure. Never freaks to our sense of established method. They were our sisters and daughters and friends. And they never asked or cared to be more or less than just that. And their parting is not simply a pain felt by them, but by all of us who have known and loved them in the union they shared without official papers.
But for the outside looking in, none of us would have taken the time to consider the rules they were always up against.
They had to write up papers to make my sister’s partner a legal guardian to their daughter, because as the law stands, she had no more right to her child than a complete stranger in the event of my sister’s death. And should there be an emergency involving my sister and their daughter, her partner MUST bring these papers with her in order to prove the relationship. There was also the matter of my sister having to buy separate health insurance. It was too bad for them that the sweetheart deal her partner’s company offered didn’t include same sex couples.
Saddest story of all was the time my sister bemoaned the idea of sleepovers because there were going to be parents who didn’t care for the set up and how was she going to explain this kind of ignorance to her little girl.
As for that baby girl who loves music and dancing and her two mothers, understandably she is not taking to the news of this separation very well. But she has two amazing parents who will do whatever it takes to make this difficult transition work for her.
The sisters struggle with what comes next, of course. They experience shallow moments of relief followed by the crush of sadness followed by too many questions without answers. It happens to gay people the same way it happens to everybody else.
Simple minded laws can’t change the fact this feels a hell of a lot like a divorce.