We had Theresa's "celebration of life" yesterday. I was simultaneously moved and annoyed by it. There were two groups of people there -- her blood relatives and her lesbian community of friends. I would guess that there was about an even split between the two, maybe 20-25 in each camp, making the total attendance somewhere between 40 and 50. Theresa's brother, her ex-husband, and her two children dominated the service. Only an occasional nod was made to her partner.
I very much wished to bridge the gap between the two camps and let the blood relatives know that we all, in the lesbian crowd of friends, considered her family also.
We often use the word "family" when we describe other LGBT people. I really don't know how that practice originated, but I suspect it had something to do with the harsh reality that many of us are shunned by our birth families, or worse. So, when we find another soul, or group of souls, that accepts who we are unconditionally -- as a family surely must -- we provide that cherished appellation.
Spouses are, by dint of law, family. The fact that Theresa and her partner were together for 10 years meant nothing. Because, despite our best (?) efforts, Theresa had no will her partner stands to inherit exactly nothing from her estate. She is a legal stranger. And yet, in every practical way that matters, Theresa was her closest family.
I have only known Theresa as long as I've known my Girl, but I feel as if I've lost a member of my family.
I promise -- this is my last maudlin post for a while!