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Archive for the ‘change’ Category

Well, President Obama recently made good on a promise to the LGBT community. Did he repeal D.A.D.T.? No. Did he repeal D.O.M.A.? No. What did he do?

He ordered hospital visitation rights for gay and lesbian couples. When did he pledge to grant this “right”? Well, it may have been more than one instance, but I remember it from Brian Williams’ interview with Obama on NBC tonight “Inside the White House.” That was the interview where the President skirted around what issues he would take up for LGBT Americans and offered the carrot of being able to visit their partner in the hospital.

I’m not sure I had ever given that “right” much thought until I had seen the movie “If These Walls Could Talk 2.” Near the end of the first vignette one partner has taken her partner to the hospital. She waits quite a while–having heard no news–then asks to see her “friend.” The nurse tells her that “only family members are allowed.” She tells the nurse she is going to stay right there in the waiting room, and asks the staff to let her know if anything changes in the condition of her “friend.” I’ll let you watch the clip from the movie to see what happens the next morning.

Suffice it to say, I see the immeasurable value of being allowed to visit one’s partner in the hospital–and I am grateful our President has taken this step. However, experience has shown that this “order” alone is not enough. In Oregon when the governor made domestic partnerships law including all the “rights afforded to marriage,” gay and lesbian couples found that they still had to prove their connection when trying to see their partner at the hospital. Can you imagine any straight man and any woman going to the hospital and being asked to see the marriage license before being allowed to see the person they stated was their husband or wife?

Yes, this is an important first step the President has taken. But many more steps are still to be walked on the path toward LGBT relationship recognition and equality in America.

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This is not a political piece per se. In that I am not going to even go into what I do, or do not, think about the health care reform debate in America.

What I cannot believe is what I have been seeing on the news recently–especially since the health care reform bill was signed into law by the President. We are seeing sanctioned, recommended, threatened, carried-out, backlash in the form of vandalism by “conservative” people against  individuals who supported health care reform.

Bricks thrown through Democratic office buildings all over the country, death threats left on answering machines, individuals encouraging US citizens to “take up arms” and be ready to point them at the hearts of the “tyrants.” What the hell is going on in America? Can’t civilized human beings have differences of opinion without taking up arms and using them to throw bricks, pull triggers, or even detonate devices? “Don’t retreat, reload” a delightful quote by the former half-governor of Alaska.

Wasn’t America supposed to be the shining light to the world of what individuals could do/be if they actually leaned toward the better angels of their nature?

Just say no to hate…

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Seems like the heavier my heart is the less I say… the less I even breathe. And yet, I think tonight it may help to find some words to express what has been going on in my world.

Members of my family are currently grieving a huge loss. One of the last really good men on the planet. A man who took responsibility for himself, his own actions, his ex-wife’s welfare (until the day she died). His three children, his beloved 2nd wife’s 3 children. Their many grandchildren combined.

This was a man who was a 10 year veteran of the USAF, instructing on the T33 and T38. He flew the F4 Phantom on over 100 reconnaissance missions over Vietnam, earning a Silver Star, 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 11 Air Medals and a Purple Heart. He was a pilot for a commercial airline for over 30 years. Most importantly, he was husband to my sweet partner’s amazing Mom for the last 25 years.

They were an adorable couple! It was within the last couple years that they were visiting our home, and we found some 20 year old pictures of them dancing at a family member’s wedding. I commented that they looked like they were so in love. Jack took the picture and said “Were? We still ARE in love!” ♥ That kind of love is so rare in our world today. ♥

There is nothing he wouldn’t do for his family… as long as it was within his power. About 3 years ago, something happened that was beyond his power to fix. He was diagnosed with 2 kinds of Leukemia. ALL and AML Leukemia. He started receiving various treatments and was given up to 2.5 to 3 years expectancy.

This November (2009) was near the end of that expectancy window. He had a close call in the hospital and my family went down to see him (I am usually the one here at home holding down the fort and taking care of the pets… as well as the kids when the get flown back home after a couple days). I’m the behind the scenes support person. Thankfully my partner is extremely good at frequently articulating her gratitude and acknowledgment that she could not be doing what she needs to do without me at home taking care of everything else.

This last week my partner got word from her Mom that things were declining quickly. She then traveled to help her Mom through the last few days of Jack’s life. Those last few days of life are in no way shape or form easy. Leaving this mortal coil is not at all peaceful. I always wondered when people would say “well at least they went peacefully.” I don’t think that is hardly ever the case. Jack decided around Thanksgiving after that last trip to the hospital to come home — since there was nothing else the Doctors or hospital could do for him. He wanted to have some sort of control over how and where he would spend his final hours.

In the end? No control. All you can hope and pray and plan is that you have been a person of such love, integrity, care and humility so that you have been able to surround yourself with the kind of people who will not only care for you right up until the very end… but will lovingly protect your dignity right up until that last moment… the last breath.

Someone I respect once told me that when we are hoping to help someone in need, or someone who is grieving a loss — that is most important is being… not doing. My partner is so very good at that with her family. She has been invaluable throughout these last three years in her ability to just BE there for her Mom. While we all miss her at home this week… we also know that Jack was so special a man that we would gladly do without her while she lovingly and respectfully helped her Mom take care of Jack during his final restless and relentless hours on this planet. She has the gift of being… and I have the privilege of being a part of her family.

We will all miss you Jack!

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…seems to pack an extra wallop of a “case of the Mondays”…

Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful to be off to my job today, but I am just saying that my little diesel TDI is not the only slow starter this freezing cold Monday morning! 🙂

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