An Update, of sorts

I'll tell you everything in person next time we run into one another

An Update, of sorts
Viola and Margaret, at Pride, before the wreck

On Sunday, I sent out a letter about my daughter, Margaret, and a very bad wreck. I said I'd delete it! And I truly planned to. But my daughter read it while she was in the hospital, while I was still trying to get home to her. She even sent me screenshots with suggested edits. I'd missed words and spellings in my distress. Which is great! Because Margaret has always coped with pain and fear by imposing order. So you're welcome, kid! I am happy to be your distraction!

It now makes sense to me to keep the post up. I might even go in and make her suggested edits.

Over the past couple days, I've been told by lawyers, insurance agents, police officers, and victim advocates that I should not write or post details about the wreck or its aftermath. Why? Because insurance companies look at all the social media posts and online activities of victims and their families. They often use what they find to try to justify less coverage.

I asked one of these people, "Okay, but like... what if the person is really hurt and the post is about that real hurt? Like, if the post is just true? How can that be a problem?" The person just smiled ruefully and said, "You'd be surprised how this stuff can be used against you."

I know that no part of our society is structured to protect victims! I know that! But I am still shocked by it.

If this concerned only me, I might just say, "Well, fork it. I am not playing by their rules!" But it's my daughter. So I am going to listen to the people who know how this all works. Still. So many of you were so caring after Sunday's post. You are worried. So I do want to update you, at least a little.

I can tell you she is in a lot of pain, a lot of mental anguish and that she is currently out of the hospital. I've shared all your lovely notes and comments with her. They are so appreciated.

On Sunday and Monday, some of you left me donations via the link on my newsletter footer. Your notes were so kind. Usually, I use those donations for things like research materials and childcare.

I used the most recent donations to: buy things to help my daughter feel a little more comfortable, send groceries to Daniel, Jessie and baby Henry, send a favorite treat to Margaret's friend. Thank you, thank you for your generosity. It's touching so many people.

I will share the photo of the wreck, the same one I shared on my IG stories earlier this week. I'll put it at the end of this post, so that people who don't want to see it, don't have to. The car on its side is the car my daughter was in.

I may not be able to write more about the wreck or its aftermath. But I can share what happened just before the wreck. And that was really special.

I don't share photos of my family on here very often. But I think this time, it's okay. (And I got permission from everyone!)

Last Wednesday, Riley and I left town for our first trip together in years. We were basically revisiting all our childhood haunts - Laguna Beach, Disneyland, Los Angeles. My sister, Lindsay, brought her three kids to our house to watch our three kids. Yes. One woman and six kids. She is a superhero.

On Thursday, while writing about overnight oats subscriptions in the Rivian South Coast Theater, I got a text from my oldest daughter,

"Mom! It's Pride on Sunday! You won't be home in time!"

I texted back, "You can still go! Lindsay may not be up to taking a bunch of kids by herself. It gets so crowded. So text Uncle Daniel and Aunt Jessie! I know they will take you!"

And then I started crying. Next to a Rivian. In a refurbished 1920s theater. (Life is strange!)

You see! Lindsay, Daniel, Jessie, my husband, me - we'd all been raised in the LDS Church, where the highest rites of the religion and access to the highest reaches of heaven depend on hetero-marriage. We'd been taught that queerness was a trial that was supposed to be met with celibacy or mixed-orientation marriage.

Dating someone of the same gender, marrying someone of the same gender, building a life with someone of the same gender, that was a grievous sin. The kind of sin that separated you from your family, forever. To a greater and lesser extent, at much earlier times in our lives, we'd all believed parts of what we'd been taught.

Take me: I knew I was attracted to boys and girls from a pretty young age, but I didn't even know there was a word for that until I was in college. When I learned the word, I tried to forget it. I didn't want to be kept from heaven, because heaven was where my family was going to be. All I have ever wanted, my entire life, is to be whereever my family is.

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I didn't come out till my early thirties. I was still in the church at the time. And a part of me still wondered if I was risking heaven, by being honest about myself.

My daughters never had that concern. We'd left the church by the time my two oldest girls came out.

My middle daughter, Viola, came out first, one day on the way home from school. She shared it along with updates on her latest school project. I asked about her crush and school project, in equal measure. I was trying to match her casualness. But I teared up with relief. She wasn't wondering if she'd lose me because of how she loves.

My oldest, Margaret, came out over dinner, she told us and then asked her dad to pass the sriracha. He did, with tears in his eyes. All he's ever wanted is for the girls to feel safe and at home with us, always.

And then this! I could tell my little girls that their aunts and uncle would take them to Pride, without wondering if that was true. If their Aunt Jaimie, my youngest sister, lived in the state, she would have taken them too. That feels pretty heavenly, you know?

Before Pride, Margaret did Viola's rainbow eyeshadow and mascara.

Lindsay said the mascara portion was a little touch and go, and sent the video to prove it. In my life, this is flipped. This is exactly what it looks like when my two younger sisters try to help me with my makeup.


Lindsay's oldest kid stayed home to babysit some of the younger kids. The rest of the group went to Pride in two cars. Lindsay drove Viola and one of her sons. Daniel drove Jessie, their baby, Margaret and Margaret's friend. Throughout the day, Daniel and Lindsay sent me pictures of the girls.

I teared up again when I got a photo of Daniel and Jessie posing with the girls - Daniel wearing rainbow socks, Jessie wearing their little boy, Henry, his little legs sticking out of the carrier. They love my girls so much! How could I have ever believed anything could ever keep this family from being together? We all just want to be wherever our family is.

They group left Pride in two cars. Lindsay drove Viola and her son. Daniel drove Jessie, Henry, Margaret and Margaret's friend. Lindsay got home. I got a call from Margaret, screaming.

(This next photo is the wreck. Stop scrolling if you'd like to avoid it.)

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