It has been a weekend of tragedy and hope. About a year ago, my nephew, Alfonso, married his long-time boyfriend Joris in the Netherlands in a small ceremony with Joris’ family. Since most of our family is in Seattle they decided to have a second ceremony and reception this summer with all of the family. Unfortunately, Alfonso’s father succumbed to kidney cancer in January, and for a while the ceremony was in limbo. However, our family has had to deal with a series of losses over the past two years, and it was felt that it was important to celebrate the love that we all shared and in particular, the love between Alfonso and Joris.
Not everyone in the family has been comfortable with Alfonso coming out of the closet, and then marrying his partner. Many were worried that Alfonso’s father, Rick, would have a hard time with it, particularly with him getting the news after his cancer diagnosis over three years ago. Rick knew his son better than most. His love for his son outweighed any concerns he may have had. Although he wasn’t with us physically on Saturday, he was most definitely with us in spirit and in our hearts. His example of his love for his son, new son-in-law and family showed in his children as they came together to celebrate.
Losing anyone is difficult, particularly when violence is involved, and my heart goes out to those who lost loved ones and survived the horrendous attack on Friday, in Aurora, Colorado. Sometimes it feels like shadows hang over us all, having lost so many loved ones in the last few years. But Saturday’s wedding was an affirmation of love and life, even in the face of hatred and prejudice. On a beautiful sunny day, my nephew was able to celebrate his love for Joris, and the life that they have together. One can only hope that all states in the U.S. will one day show the tolerance of the Netherlands and allow them to make their union legal in Alfonso’s home state of Washington, just like they ultimately made it legal for interracial marriages like mine.