After watching the way my mom’s family had treated her [after she came out], my own coming out was difficult, even though I knew I’d have her by my side through it all. Not only was I worried that I would be treated the same way she had, but I also worried that they might blame her for me ending up gay, and she already felt guilty enough.

My dad and I never talked about it directly, but I knew he had heard through the grapevine that he’d lost another loved one to Satan. He ignored it for as long as he could. He knew that I was dating, but he never asked about it. He stopped asking about everything. The conversations about my mom finally ceased too, along with the Sunday morning texts asking if I was coming to church.

I wondered if my grandma and dad didn’t care about losing us because the Catholic Church had convinced them that they already had.

Not long after I came out, Grandma’s body began turning against her. Her doctor discovered a tumor in her brain, and after it was successfully removed, she dealt with minor memory loss and stints of narcolepsy. After falling asleep at the wheel of a golf cart and running over Aunt Paula’s leg, they took away her driver’s license. The doctors gave her a walker that she refused to use, which resulted in many falls and phone calls from the floor of her kitchen. She convinced herself that she was strong and agile, until her kids had to hire her home assistance for a while — and for the last two years, she’s been in a hospice home, battling dementia.

Despite their history, my mom became my grandma’s most frequent visitor. When someone is dying, we tend to forget their wrongdoings and focus on the good.

Read more on Narratively.

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