I was thinking of pain and reach and accepting love, squeezed from white knuckles.
At 30, c. had left the hardest coming out conversations for last, including Pop, her stoic Yankee father who she loved intensely but who had always been emotionally distant. The idea terrified her, but her sibling had presented an ultimatum: come out to their parents before his wedding, and bring her partner to that happy event in the full light of honesty. So she rode up on a pleasant September Saturday for dinner, determined. Whiling away the evening fielding questions about her new job and waiting for the “right time,” finally there was no time left at all. She found herself outside, about to get on her motorcycle and ride off, goal unmet. Heart pounding to burst, she poured out her truth to him in a tumble. She doesn’t recall his words in the moment, just the wash of relief at being met by gentle kindness and radiating love, allaying all fear. Pop’s letter arrived a few days later, and has served as a grounding element in her life since.