A note: This post talks frankly about life and its messiness.
This autumn my dad asked me to start a project with him. I suggested we write letters to each other based on how he used to write me cards as a kid. We’ve sent a few back and forth. It’s been beautifully healing.
We’ve both agreed to share them publicly. We feel it may bring some insight for others.
Below are a series of three letters. The first two are written by my dad. The last one was written by my. Dates are included below.
More? Who knows?
Received: December 7, 2020, 4:22am PST
Good Morning Jason!
I woke up early and meditated upon my prayers and thoughts of my presence and our journey. Not just yours and mine, but our family. It seems the energy to expound and go deep is waning, but still important. I want all of you to feel how precious you are and that separately we’ve had real, heart felt, good and bad experiences that we have grown from. The one thing that stands out to me, is the Goodness we all want in this cosmos we call our world. It will never be solved just by existence, but will be better off by our efforts! I realize more and more each day that I am just a “simple man, with simple ideals!” I’m Fully Human, Fully Alive!” I remembered the book Ernie Gulner gave me. Siddhartha by H. Hesse. On my one on one parent teacher meeting he recognized something special about you, I didn’t. I know it follows your thinking.
Received: December 17, 2020, 4:13pm PST
Do not regret anything! Jason, I feel your emotions completely! I would want nothing else than to have you next to me. Really, I feel your presence deeply each day, thanks to our relationship. Your depth of love, care and physical care is so precious and tangible! I think of others that may not have this relationship and it makes me cry.
The Universe has blessed us. I believe with all my heart, it is because of where you and I have been placed and blessed others. Without these circumstances, we may have missed some obvious creative shape forming. I think you know what I mean. Your support and family there is so important. And for that I am deeply grateful. The deeper familial experience will come at a later time. Collaboratively. Some how, some way, I believe it will be beautiful and meaningful. I want to believe that I will experience it together. It’s been my prayer. Not to edify my life, but to affect positive change and bring life together (good luck, right?)!
I am so proud of you. You are on the right track and please do not regret where you lie. You are where you are destined!
Love, Love, Love You!
Written: December 23, 2020, 1:30am to 6:45am PST
I am so amazed by you. The way you hold people so close and dear. The way you feel absolutely everything. The way you exude love. These are the inheritances I've received from you for which I am eternally grateful. I hope I can honor you by living them each and every day.
Last night's moments of joy and beauty watching music videos together over Zoom is yet another example of how you bring us all together. Singing Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" was especially delightful. And damn it! You even got me singing Christmas carols. Now, I'm going to have to enjoy them because they'll always remind me of you.
Thank you for your letters these last two weeks. They have helped me try and find peace with not being able to be by your side. I so just want to hop on a plane and make the journey to Minnesota. And then I read more about COVID-19, and I just cannot risk the possibility of infection or being away from John should he contract it. We've already had one scare.
All these calculations and considerations about health make me angry. It brings back memories of being 18 and learning how HIV/AIDS devastated my queer and trans siblings. I remember reading some articles in the Star Tribune about the LGBT Pride Parade in Minneapolis while I was still in high school, and the public library was a wonderful source of piecemeal information. But when I was 18, I found myself doing research on a paper about HIV/AIDS for a speech class while in seminary. Learning our history compelled me to come out. I couldn't be silent while witnessing the way our government as a reflection of our society let my queer and trans siblings simply die. It enraged me into action.
Yesterday, I watched a documentary called United in Anger: A History of ACT UP. I often watch documentaries when I feel depressed and overwhelmed by the cruelty caused by political disregard of those most suffering from governmental inertia. That's how I've been feeling a lot lately; I know you can relate. I've found that documentaries when I'm in this state sometimes help me cry and discover truths I hadn't seen before. It transforms the depression into something a little less debilitating.
As I watched United in Anger, there was a banner hung at an ACT UP meeting from 1987 or 1988. It read, "80,000 DEAD US AIDS CARE: A BLOODY MESS." I sobbed uncontrollably and even had to pause the movie. It is 2020, and as of today 314,099 have died of COVID-19. These deaths, like the 80,000 dead in 1987/1988, were preventable. The United States is a bloody mess.
The documentary continued, and it documented the die-in at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City in 1989, the take over of the Food and Drug Administration offices in 1988 and the National Institutes of Health in 1990, and the interruption of the CBS Nightly News in 1991. Each of these actions made change that's still seen today. In fact, my high quality, public healthcare, Healthy SF, that is not insurance is partly an inheritance of my elders and ancestors. I am literally alive because of their direct actions in the past.
How and with whom I live is on my mind and in my heart these days. Being able to be there as much as I can for you all fall and winter while not being able to be physically there has changed me. I am finding myself again more comfortable amidst the uncomfortable, the messy, the painful. Being here now is different than when I was younger and had no way to navigate overwhelming anxiety and depression. I am able to now be among it and let it be. Yes, it can overwhelm because there is such immense suffering and pain. It can also reveal, and revelation is liberation.
Today, I am reveling in family, of blood and of choice.
I started an art project during the Witching Hours of Winter Solstice, December 21, 2020. I built an altar on our table and lit a candle inscribed with a rune cast during a ritual I did with my dear sister Rhiannon Evans MacFadyen as the sunset the night before. I am still working on that project and the candle still burns and the altar is still on my table. I shall finish that project today for it is a gift I will be giving to my family.
I, too, shall actually go into my kitchen today and try my hand at a puff pastry. I've been putting it off because learning something new while being depressed feels all too much. BUT!!!!! The kitchen is my expression of family, and I need to express my love. I need my hands to touch flour and butter and to make dough. I need to knead. My hands are what most remind me of you even though we use them differently.
I look forward to our call tonight, too, when we as a family can gather and just be present with one another free of any expectation to be a certain way or do a certain thing. It is a beautiful thing to experience unconditional love and joyous laughter and even tears with you and our family.
Last night you mentioned being a broken record, letting us know that we are loved over and again. I want you to know that that record is not broken. It is simply on repeat for it is beloved, and we'll all gladly listen to it again and again.
Love you more every day,
Son of Your Inheritances, Jason Michael Wyman
PS. Here is a sneak peek into the art I'm working on. I want to share it with you now because time is precious.
IMAGE NOT INCLUDED BECAUSE IT IS A GIFT.
PPS. Here's a photo of my yawning because I woke up way to fucking early today. Like way too early. (I hope it makes you giggle.)