this photograph is called the Gateway To Heaven
A childhood friend of mine and I reconnected when I was in medical school.
Her oldest son was gay. They were sending him to one of those 'camps' to 'straighten him out'. They were very Christian.
I did a research project on 'what makes us turn gay'. There were no answers, but in the culture, sometimes it was accepted (the greeks sent teens to live with an adult homosexual to be made 'manly'), and sometimes it was not (listen to some radio stations on the air now with the insult, 'that's gay').
I sent it to her, but it didn't do much good.
When I was thinking of her, many years later, I saw his deceased photo as her Facebook picture. We reconnected again.
Every year, except for this one because of my own family circumstances, I have fulfilled Ryan's request to me: to send her flowers on the 21 June in memory of him.
You see, he had me write her a letter for him from beyond. I sent it. I put our friendship on the line.
'It doesn't sound like him' their Charismatic Christian Counselor said. 'It is not of the Spirit'.
I hurt. I talked with Ryan. If you look, he is in a few chapters of my book on this blog, Messages From My Patients.
I am so pleased and delighted that his parents have opened their hearts and learned the growth that Ryan so graciously stepped up to help them do.
Here is some of their blog:
One day I hope they will embrace my gifts of the Light and not condemn me for who I am too.
(At the high school reunion, we are very loving and close as always. We just 'don't talk about this', you see? I am okay with it. Just sad that Ryan never got listened to. He helped me pick the flowers and everything, each year. I spent over seventy dollars each time I sent them. I hope he is pleased and content with my efforts. I hope my love for them shines more than anything if they ever read this post.)