Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Blog Day Afternoon
(Ken booked ended by my folks on the left, and his folks on the right.)
It's a funny thing to be gay and fall in love in one's early thirties. Your personality is pretty much fully "baked". You know who you are for the most part, and have an established group of friends. This was the case when I met kenan. We both lived in Chicago, away from our families (coincidentally) so it took quite a while for me to meet all the members of his immediate family, and likewise for him to meet mine. What's even odder, that after almost ten years our sets of parents had never met each other--due mostly to geographical complications.
We'd talked for years about how well our folks would get along, and hoped that it would happen at some point--presumably our wedding or some kind of celebration. Their first meeting occurred in January 2010, and was under less-than-ideal circumstances. Both parents were present at the hospital during kenan's hemipelvecotomy surgery which was the big event that kicked off the most recent occurrence of cancer. On the one hand, it was so wonderful to have the families come together to easily to support us through such a serious situation. On the other hand, kenan wasn't able to witness their meeting or ensuing conversations, and I'm not sure I even remember much of it since I was preoccupied with worry about how he was doing, and wondering how many Xanax I could take without passing out or technically be considered an addict. I recounted the story to kenan as he recovered as best I could. It made him so happy to know I was being looked after by both our parents while he was undergoing surgery.
With his most recent diagnosis and coming home for in-home hospice, we've had the benefit of an incredibly strong support network. Our friends and family have stepped up behind any expectation to help us and support us. Ken's folks came immediately after he got home to stay with us in order to help out and spend time with us. When I speak with my mom she is a rock of support and knows when to discuss the matter at hand, and when to distract me with her razor-sharp humor and ridiculous and humiliating memories from my childhood. I am instrument she plays beautifully.
So it happened that while his folks were in town, mine were also coming to visit! I wish I'd had the time and wherewithal to be excited for days in advance. I did get excited the day of the gathering. I'd carefully crafted a meal (with some help from Costco) of chicken alfredo and spinach salad. The weather wasn't being as cooperative as I would have liked, but it was sunny for the most part. Unfortunately, it was only going to hit the mid-50s. That didn't keep us from getting outside though. When my parents called and said they had arrived, I scurried to collect Ken and get him outside to greet them. The last time they'd seen him was the day we came home from the hospital. He was not very coherent, and I was freaked out beyond measure. I was glad they would get to see the kenan they knew and loved. A short while later my in-laws arrived, and as soon as they entered the living room, both sets of parents got along famously. I would sneak sideways looks at ken as we both enjoyed watching the four of them getting on so famously--especially considering how painfully aware we were of each and every one of their flaws, faults and idiosyncrasies. But it was a great day, and a memory I will always treasure.