Friday, March 21, 2003

Cancer Is Not A Gay Disease Day!

I can name at least two people who have died of Cancer but are not gay. That guy in the Straight Story and my almost step-Dad. I say "almost" step-Dad because my mother and he were engaged to be married when he passed. They knew he was going to die (they met before his tumors were found and she'd lived with him and stood by his side as he went in and out of remission for six years) and my mother, though she hated the thought of marrying again, wanted him to marry her so that she could live out the rest of her life as his widow. She was 51 when he passed and she wanted her remaining twenty or thirty years to stand as a tribute to her time with him. She wanted to carry a word with her that defined her existence in reference to her relationship with him. "Widow."

But, and my mother laughs about this now, even though they just wanted the marriage certificate, those familial obligations that start blowing a wedding up way bigger than the couple had intended came into play and the date kept being pushed back because relatives who wanted to enjoy one last celebratory occasion with Len (my almost Step-Dad) had to be considered. Ultimately, Len got so sick that the whole idea was snuffed out after awhile. I love my father and he and my mother get along fine, but Len was the true love of my mother's life. Len wasn't gay.

And neither was the guy in the Straight Story. I know he shot himself, but he shot himself because the pain of his cancer was so bad and he didn't want to just wither and writhe into his grave.

Happy Cancer Is Not A Gay Disease Day!