In this episode:
Sally met a rugby player at a bar. She fell in love with this rugby player – also a firefighter – when she witnessed his compassion at the scene of an accident. They married and have two incredible boys. Sally and her husband were true partners in raising their boys; their lives were filled with joy and quality family time. Camping with their boys a special memory.
Her husband began having panic attacks, shut down, and ceased communicating. Unsure of how to navigate her marriage, and because she didn’t want it to be over, Sally stayed for another 8 years “before it all blew up.” Although she wishes she would have opened the lines of communication at the earliest hunches of her husband’s sexuality, Sally is thankful for the years they were together as a family.
Upon learning her husband was gay, Sally felt completely untethered and doubted everything she knew to be true in her life. When their boys were 10 and 13 years old, her husband moved out. Several months later he told them he was gay. This was a confusing and chaotic period complicated by his addiction and alcohol.
Initially Sally didn’t know how to guide her children, herself, and her husband through this uncharted territory.
As she began hearing stories like hers, she realized that she would “get through this.”
Resources critical to her healing were walking her dog, Starbucks smoothies, journaling, reading, talking with close friends, counseling, and a mentor who was a PFLAG President.
Discovering her strength and confidence and being able to support others have been the biggest gifts of Sally’s journey. The depth of conversations when sharing life experiences has enriched her life. She’s inspired by freedom, friends, travel, and learning to live in the moment, unafraid, and on her terms.
Sally’s greatest hopes? That her children live lives filled with love and confidence in themselves. That she creates a life filled with love, joy, and honesty. Sally hopes people in similar situations hear our stories and feel reassured that with vulnerability, honesty, and hard work, they will get through it and come out stronger than ever.
PFLAG has been saving lives, strengthening families, changing hearts, minds and laws since 1972. Our family and ally voice is integral to advancing equality.
Melody Beattie is one of America’s most beloved self-help authors and a household name in addiction and recovery circles.
Thank you for listening!
May our stories help forge your path forward. I hope you’ll stay tuned for our next episode and in the meantime, learn more about my story on my blog.