Last week Sweet Tea lost her mother after a long illness. Despite the fact that her mom had been ill, her death still came as a shock. Even more shocking was the way her family treated her in the aftermath of her mother’s death. She hadn’t been close to anyone in her family for sometime, but this traumatic event in their lives should have opened doors and brought them together somewhat. Instead, they chose to use hurtful, hateful words that drove an even bigger wedge in the already fragile relationship.
The day of the funeral dawned, and the family gathered together. The biological family, who called the deceased mom and grandma, daughter and sister talked quietly in small groups around the gravestone. They looked like cookie cutter versions of each other…no one person standing out in the crowd.
Another group gather together as well. Eclectic must be the best word to use to describe them, but it doesn’t really fit. That word seems almost too normal somehow. There were 9 all together. Nine. There was the long-haired drummer who spends his days making money for Harley Davidson. The petite, drop-dead gorgeous woman of Japanese descent who owns a couple of adult bookstores and jets around the globe on a whim. A wide-eyed, red-headed, redneck, teenage cowboy. A 16 year old girl who was there because she loved and missed her grandmother. A teenage boy wearing a dark suit with wide, purple pin-stripes and a purple satin tie. His shoes were shiny with purple accents as well. There was the guy who had been in an accident and had amnesia. His 9/11 tattoo that said “I’ll never forget” served as an ironic reminder that he has forgotten. A woman with an exotic Egyptian name and braided hair that framed her friendly face. Then my Sweet Tea, a lesbian who had returned home to grieve the loss of her mother. And there was me. A missionary turned lesbian who enjoyed the camaraderie of this group of friends who came together to be family to one who had been turned away by her biological family on this important day. This day that was set aside for paying respect to the memory of her mother even though her mother often showed no respect for her in life. Her chosen family came to stand by her and stand with her. Her chosen family did what her biological family refused to do.
And I thanked God that I was one of the chosen ones.