Extended family / Family / News & Politics / Parenting

Story Corps Outdoes Itself: Please Listen

Ok, I admit it, I’m a geek. My favorite kind of “music” is NPR.

In moments like this morning, I know why. This morning, Morning Edition ran a Story Corps segment that made me cry in my car. While I was driving.

The interview was between a 14 year old girl and her mother. The mother, Sue Hyde, told the story about how hard it was to grow up in rural Illinois in a large nuclear family, knowing that she liked girls. At 19, Sue came out to her own mother, whose first reaction was to ask “what did I do wrong?”

I’m sure many of us can relate.

Several years later, Sue’s mother became gravely ill. Sue and her partner sat up with her the night before she died, and during one of her last moments of being awake and aware, Sue’s mother told her and her partner that she wanted them to be happy. (Listen to the story. I am NOT doing it justice.)

By this time in the interview, Sue is crying and telling her own daughter, Jesse, that she doesn’t want Jesse to have to wait so long for her blessing. And Jesse, in turn, assures her mom that she knows, and she is.

It was one of those moments that are almost indescribable – it was the universal story of how much we want our parents to love and approve of us, and the joy and relief that comes with getting that love and approval after uncertainty or even denial. To listen to it being shared through yet another generation was so sweet. I wish I had enough money to give those StoryCorps geniuses a million dollars to keep up the amazing work.

Possibly the most surprising thing about this interview is the fact that the word “lesbian” is never even uttered – perhaps especially remarkable since Sue is a professional organizer in our community. But this story is all about being a human being, a daughter, and a mother. And yet, the fact that Sue is a lesbian is critical to her human struggle, and clear in the context of the interview.

Please listen. Don’t read the essay, or do, but don’t stop there. The written version doesn’t begin to convey the touching, difficult, love and loss in the interview.

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  1. Wow. I totally know Sue Hyde (my other half works at The Task Force) I’ll have to read that essay.

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