By John Crofts
When I was a student at BYU I was given an assignment to interview my grandmother (Gay Marriage among the zillion questions).
My grandmother was an amazing woman. Her mother died leaving my grandmother to raise her younger siblings. My grandmother cared for her sick father during the 1918 Pandemic… luckily, her care of my great-grandfather allowed him to survive–and she and her younger siblings were not left as orphans.
Grandma grew up suffering loneliness from not having a mother…. but Grandma nurtured and helped her younger siblings. Grandma helped her single father and family survive anyway. Grandma left her homeland (after her siblings were adults), fell in love with my grandfather, moved to Utah and started a family–raising my mother and her other children Mormon.
My grandfather passed away–leaving Grandma with eight children (the youngest still in diapers). Grandma finished raising her children–alone.
Grandma told me during my interview that she had no idea she would be alone (without a husband) for 40 years. She said that had she known (when her husband died) that she would be alone for 40 years–she could not have tolerated the deep loneliness.
Grandma told me suffering loneliness is the harshest of God’s punishments. She told me that she could not think of a worse punishment from God than to be without someone, and to be alone.
My Grandfather was the bishop of their ward and they were at the center of the social hub in Utah. After his death Grandma was pushed to the outside of the social circle. She not only lost her husband, but lost friends, social involvement, and the support from the Mormon culture.
I asked Grandma about her opinions on Gay Marriage (part of my assignment). Grandma said she lived without a mother and lived without a husband for over 50 years. She said she felt the sting of loneliness more than most people. Grandma said that she was better qualified to have an opinion on Gay Marriage than anyone else in our family–because she lived loneliness.
Grandma said because she suffered loneliness so much she thought it would be all right to be gay because nothing is worse than loneliness. She said if being gay and being in a gay relationship would stop loneliness that she was in favor of Gay Marriage. Grandma said she didn’t understand “gay”, but if it helped others to avoid the suffering she endured that she was all for it.
Grandma’s compassion, understanding, experience, and life are not included in the current Gay Marriage discussions. I was looking at the photos of all the Mormon couples who showed up at the State Capital to demonstrate against Gay Marriage. The women in the photos were all beautiful women (with highlighted hair). They were all the “pretty people” who have spouses. It was apparent they all had families. It didn’t look to me like they go to bed alone or suffer any degree of loneliness.
The Mormons and everyone who are so against Gay Marriage enjoy intimacy, love, and happiness from having a spouse. It seems to me my Grandmother’s compassion, empathy, and suffering (from loneliness) is absent in today’s discussion.
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