Quick Stop on Planet Earth

The great Harriet Rasaka left the world yesterday at nearly 97 years of age. We passed by this fact during our stopover in Ashland and then later for lunch in Eugene, on our way up to Portland.

Even at 97 years old, death is unplanned. Those of us who can be are flexible, dropping or taking our work with us on the homing path back to the place of services — the place of saying good-bye. But good-bye feels so incomplete. I still see Harriet in my dad’s car, borrowed again for this trip, in the parking lot at Fred Meyer’s with the door ajar. How we laughed when the police called my dad, thinking that she was stealing the car.

I see her reading “One Fine Day” on the couch in Seattle to her great-grandchild Lucy. The same book my mom used to read to me.

I wear the shirt she gave me for my birthday just this year. I see her in the picture Leanne took just a couple weeks ago — sharp as ever, beating Leanne at tri-ominos.

I wish I could see her more and I wish I could have known her for more of her incredible life, but mostly I wish I could see what she’s seeing now, in the unique way she experiences it through her own self, as she continues her journey after being incredible and much loved during her stay on Planet Earth.

Love You Harriet.

Thank you Dad: I think I understand now

Me & My Dad

Originally uploaded by moyalynne

Thanks Dad

Originally uploaded by moyalynne

In my last post, I shouted-out to my mom – who brought our recent wedding to life with flowers (and in many other wonderful ways). In this post, I’d like to thank Dad. Because of him, I think I understand something I’ve been working on for awhile.

In 2004, when Leanne and I were walking down to City Hall on that beautiful Valentine’s Day, we were so excited — we were calling our whole family on our cell phones and telling them to get down to San Francisco as soon as they could to watch us get married! It was a spur of the moment — not exactly an elopement — but a real wedding. Not exactly legal though, as was determined later that year in August.

And my dad was not exactly thrilled. “Oh — You’re getting married,” he said, dot, dot, dot… His hesitance threw me. My parents have always been my biggest fans and love me and Leanne and our relationship in every way. I was confused at his reaction, and they didn’t make it down to San Francisco that day.

People asked me why was that? Why did he not come? We love your dad; he loves you. I puzzled too. Until just recently. Dad and Mom and family and friends turned out in flying colors for our wedding on October 5, 2008. And now I think I understand.

Of course: They don’t ever want to see their daughter hurt, neither by prejudice, nor by categorization into something lesser. Getting married on Valentine’s Day in 2004 was very special, but it wasn’t planned ahead, it wasn’t a party in front of all of our friends, and it wasn’t legal in the end. That’s not what they wanted to see for their daughter.

As Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the NCLR, said recently:

“Marriage is the institution and the vocabulary that we use to denote the highest level of a commitment between two people. It is what we do… This is about us and our relationships being able to be validated in the same way. No dad ever said ‘I can’t wait to dance at my daughter’s civil-union-domestic-partner-commitment ceremony.’ We dance at our children’s weddings. We get married.”

We quoted this passage at our wedding on October 5. My Dad can be heard laughing with joy at it in our wedding video. We played Sunrise, Sunset; I danced with my father. It was a beautiful day in every way, and it marked our legal marriage. And, I realize now, it was just as important to my parents as it was to Leanne and me.

I believe people know in their hearts what is right – even if they have to go through pain and discomfort to get there. It may take time, and it will take compassion, but we’ll get there, world. This is a simple message about love.

Carried in my heart

We were married last Sunday, October 5, out near Ocean Beach, surrounded by beautiful people, flowers, skies, and the great ocean.

There is so much to say about the ceremony and reception, but allow me to refer to my wife’s story, and also copy my brother’s picture, and just sum up the sweet conclusion to our wedding. After we wrapped up the poetic ceremony and fabulous reception at around 4p, the most die-hard guests came down with Leanne and me at last to Ocean Beach. Though we missed some people who had already come to the beach — and could have been walking further down while we frolicked — it sort of felt like we were part of the common tide. I took Lucy’s pocket kite out of my pocket and had a good run with it, actually getting it airborne — a nice metaphor for how I felt! The Enders family joined us and brought their own kite! Rob and Sam and McKenna and Will all tumbled around in the waves, of course pushing each other in. Loret scooped up Aislin from a scary encounter with a big wave, and Andy and Kristin watched bemused as I dipped my dress into the ocean while trying to fly the kite. Opting to spare their shoes, Alicia and Janice enjoyed the view from the Promenade while Leanne and I had to run rescue our shoes and purse, which were almost swept out to sea in that same huge wave!

family and kites on the beach

family and kites on the beach

A beautiful day that showed us many fortunes indeed.

Now that it’s been just over a week since our beautiful wedding day in the Tulip Garden, I’m still in a bit of a fog with all the things I’ve experienced, and all the things I still find to be mysterious.

Here are a few things I know about being legally married:

  • It takes a village. Of people — and places. To put together a party so big. And we are awed with gratitude for everyone who pitched in to make it a great day.
  • Every wedding dress should have pockets! Pockets rock.
  • Anyone should be lucky to have their child hand them flower petals while they recite their vows. It made our hearts melt.
  • It makes a huge difference to be a family recognized not only legally but under the general term of “marriage” — as Therese Stewart said, the word “marriage” matters; as Kate Kendell said, no father ever said he wanted to dance at his daughter’s civil-union-domestic-partnership-ceremony. “We dance at our children’s weddings. We get married.” It’s so much easier to describe ourselves now.
  • It’s all about love — within and for our community. I thought a lot about people who couldn’t make it for various reasons, and almost all of which mean they’re going through some sort of pain. I wished I could reach out and touch everyone who wasn’t there and let them know that they are indeed “carried in our hearts.”

Here’s what I DON’T know:

  • I still don’t know the mystery of how we became a family — I love how the Rev. Jerene Broadway and Rev. Jim Lowder, who performed our ceremony, described that as the work we’ve already done ourselves. Their work was merely to officiate the recognition of it.
  • I don’t know whether Prop 8 will pass and take our legal marriage away in November
  • I don’t know how to let people who would take it away know about our family, know just what this means, and above all know not to be afraid.

Maybe it will just happen slowly, naturally — well, with a bit of effort, as the kite lifts into the sky at dusk on a lovely fall day.