Becoming whole again

"My parents kept me from children who were rough, And who threw words like stones and who wore torn clothes."
(Stephen Spender)

My friends, my employers, my workmates. They all knew I was gay, and none of them had a problem with it. As far as I was concerened, anyone who did have a problem with it wasn't worth knowing. But families are different, and as far as I was aware, no-one in the family knew I was gay.

I'd heard too many stories of men and women, young and old, rejected by their families because of their sexuality. This troubled me. I wanted Mum and Dad to know. I loved them, and wanted them to know everything.

My cousin Chris visited me in London regularly, as his work brought him to the city once a week. We always met up for a drink. It was during one of these visits he paid me the honour of asking me to be Godfather to his and Penny's newborn son Nicholas. I was honoured to be asked, but had reservations. It was inevitable that soon Chris was going to realise that I was gay. I couldn't say yes to being a Godfather without first telling him, so I did. It made no difference to him, and I am proud to be Nick's 'Uncle' and Godfather. I'm also very proud and moved that Chris and Penny named their second son, Richard, after me.

Some months later, after much thought and many sleepless nights, but on the 'shaking' spur of the moment I told my Mum and Dad that I was gay, and that Simon was my partner and I loved him. They were brilliant, and from that day on accepted Simon, and we became a whole family, spending weekneds, and holidays together.

Shortly before he died ten years ago, my father made one of the most touching gestures of love that I have ever felt. On a visit to him in hospital, in respect for our privacy, Simon stayed in the car while Mum and I went in to see Dad. Despite being seriously ill, Dad asked for Simon to be there as well, because he was part of our family.

A few months later, at Dad's funeral, Simon made an equally touching gesture. As I escorted Mum behind Dad's coffin out of the church, Simon touched the back of my hand. He was, without words, telling me he was there for me.