Grace

One of the best gifts about the ten months we had with Ryan before his death was the time we were given to ask forgiveness for the things we had not understood, the things we had said that were hurtful and the ways we had communicated less than unconditional love for Ryan in the years right after he had come out to us. We had done some of that work in family counseling before he started using, but what a gift it was to be able to tell Ryan much more fully all that God had taught us while he was missing. 

And Ryan had so much grace for us. When we are lacking grace for ourselves, all we have to do is to remember that Ryan himself had forgiven us, not only in his words and actions, but in a letter he wrote to Rob on Father’s Day, 2009…only 9 days before we got the call from Harborview Medical Center that changed our lives forever. 

Dad,

I’m SO proud to be able to say that you are my father, and I always have been. When I was little you were my hero. When we had our differences, the pain I felt reflected the depth of my love for you. When we were estranged from each other, I still bragged about my dad, the firefighter. 

I don’t know how it is possible, but today, I am more proud to be your son than ever before. Words cannot describe how thankful I am to have the rare quality of relationship that I have with you. Things have definitely changed now that I am an adult, and the respect which you have shown me upon that transition is almost uncanny, but it is love in its truest form. I feel I should, in turn, show you a gesture of respect, from the bottom of my heart, due to realizations upon my maturations. 

In my mind, it would be a great shame to let you say you have come up short as a father. You are the best damn Father that I know of, and I can guarantee that 99% of the human population would have miserably failed if they tried to walk in your shoes. The responsibility that you have carried in our family has been enormous, and I am at a loss to understand how you are still standing. Well, I do know…it is because of your faith in God.

You have shown me again and again what it means to be a real man. To love unconditionally, to treat people with dignity and respect, to persevere through seemingly insurmountable tasks, to protect those dear to you, to stand up for your beliefs, to do the right thing even when others disagree, to give your best in everything you do and to trust God above all else. You have always loved me deeply, and have done what you thought was best for me. How could that ever have been a mistake?

Dad, you are my role model. I love you more than you can know. 

– Ryan
June 21, 2009

Definition of GRACE

Ryan lived grace. He had received grace. He gave grace. He oozed grace. And this letter is a great example of that. We miss you, our beautiful, beautiful boy.

108 thoughts on “Grace

  1. Pingback: Just Because He Breathes… | Just Because He Breathes

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Hi, Susan! I can’t add you myself, but you can click on the “Follow” link that is in the upper left hand side of the black bar (top of the page), and that will do it.

      I am just learning all this myself! 🙂 I hope I am right!

      Reply
    2. Caren Warren-Davis

      I am so sad for your family from the bottom of my heart. I live in Redmond, maybe near you. I have known my son is gay since he was a year old. When he came “out” to me at 17 I was not surprised but supportive. I feel lucky to have such a sweet and kind son, we have had our moments. He did as your son to “pretend” to have a girlfriend. I always knew…I wanted him to figure it out on his own. He had discovered his sexuality many years before. I am more in love with my son for so many reasons. I feel that Alex being true to himself is the main one. I am so heartbroken for your loss of your wonderful son. I am certain he was a special person to everyone he knew. I wish you only happiness and peace and I appreciate your story and what you are doing. You are sharing a special experience that makes me know that embracing life no matter what it is in important. Thank You…You are an amazing person to share this. Caren

      Reply
        1. Daniel Berry, NYC

          if you think sexual preference is all there is to being gay, you’ve got a lot to learn. Is sexual preference all there is to who YOU are?

        2. Edwin Robles

          no sexual preferences at one, and if your talking about the kid being feminim or something like that then that does not mean the baby will be gay lol. there is no way to knoe , at the age of 1, that the kid will be gay haha.

          and Linda you’re a strong woman, I am 24 now and came out to my mom when i was like 20 , it has been so hard for me since then :/ she’s says she loves me no matter what but she will always pray that God changes that part of me :c i keep telling her that she should accept me just the way I am and pray to God that i am Happy , dont pray that he changes me. :/
          i’ve sent her ur story , hopefully that helps her

      1. louis

        That is a truly an awesome message. I admire you and so wish my parents were that understanding. I didn’t admit I was gay til I was 36 yrs old. I had a rough childhood abused physically by my mother then later my father. I didn’t want to cause more problems for myself so I hid who I was inside. I had secret sexual pleasure without them knowing, but felt so ashame, guilty. I was told playing with myself isn’t normal behavior and I fought the urges for so long. Life was sad, lonely, fearful of them finding out. Bit as time went on I tried to deny the feelings and moved on.being gay was hard and so complicated. I was one of 6 and I always wondered why me. I was very close to God walking, talking to him daily. Served as an alter boy for many yrs. Went to church every time the doors open. I was afraid to lose what I had with my saviour, but as time went by I slide away and walked into darkness. Depression took over me and I hid myself. I hardly came out my home. I was sent to a mental hospital where I had to face my fears. I excepted the fact I was gay because of the love people showed me. I was weak and couldn’t stand, but being excepted by total strangers who really didn’t know me helped so much. They saw me for me when my own family didn’t. After I left there I saw life in a different light. Loved everything around me. Flowers, trees, seasons and their changing just caught my eyes more than ever.a yr later someone came in my life and I decided I wanted to forget being gay and moved on. We had a child which the doctors said was never going to happen. But in 04 I was given a precious gift my baby boy! I adore that boy so much and still do to this very day. He has taught me so much just by entering my life. His mom and I ended shortly after he was born. She couldn’t deal with the fact she was with a gay man and then had a child for him. She tried to take him away from me by using the fact I molested him. She felt she would he able to take him if she said said I was gay and molested my only son. But she didn’t win don’t get me wrong she still tries to this very day. Hut he and I have been together since he was a yr old. Our journey was an unforgettable one, but truly amazing one. He will be eleven in just a few months. Life for him has been tough, but I strive to continue to do what’s best for him as I have always done.

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    3. Bonnie Senftner

      I was very moved by your story on facebook and shared it publicly. I know I will probably get negative feedback from some of my very conservative friends, and I even struggled with the fact (so I can relate to some of your feelings) of people thinking I am posting it because one of my sons may be gay. In truth, I am posting it because I support gays and lesbians, transsexuals, and transgenders. I believe that is the way God created them and it was not their “choice” to be different than the majority of society. I wonder if you have ever connected with Mary Griffith, the gay rights crusader, whose teenage son committed suicide due to her religious intolerance. Her story is so similar to yours and a movie was made about them entitled “Prayers for Bobby”:. She too tried psychiatrists, prayer, etc. Bobby eventually just became so depressed and saddened by his mother’s and society’s disapproval that he ended his life. She too had to reflect on her religious views and what she could have or would have done differently if her religious intolerance had not gotten in the way. As a gay right’s crusader now, I read that she urges people to think before they say, voice, or support homophobia because “a child is listening.” If sharing your story on facebook can save just one life, then it is worth it to me to share with everyone, even if I too have to endure negative comments from closed minded people.
      Bonnie Senftner

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Bonnie. Thank you for sharing this. I would give up so many things before I would ever give up on one of my beloved children or my love of God. I would give up my existing religion. friends and societal approval. God can be found everywhere and will guide any parent who truly loves their child. I believe many parents often hold up their religioup as a shield and as an excuse to not do the ‘real’ internal work it takes to truly love and understand a gay child. I understand. It is difficult and frightening to let go. I have been on this journey for almost two years. This is what I know for certain: I love my son. I love God. My son has taught me more in his 19 years than I could ever possibly teach him. We continue to love and learn from each other and I allow God to be my guide as I continue to love and guide all of my children.

        Reply
      2. louis

        I saw the movie prayers for bobby and cried thru the entire movie. My life was almost the same except it was my beliefs that was being tested. I was a catholic and I served as an alter boy for many yrs. I never could understand why did I have to deal with this. I was always close to God walked, talked to him daily. I lived in a home where love was never mention. I was beaten, bruised and sometimes near death due to blood lose. I was afraid to add more wood to the fire. So I hid how I was feeling inside. After a while I wanted to feel free so I slide away and followed the wrong crowd, but I didn’t drink, drugs all I wanted was to feel normal. I went club hopping with straight friends. I never told them I was gay cause I wanted that part of me to go away, but it never did I began having these urges to be with one of the guys and it became stronger. I could remember touching myself when I thought of him. But as time went by I stopped following and hid away from the world in darkness depression crept in n life began to change. I was hospitalized for a mental condition and found myself after all those yrs. I learned I was still me just who I wanted to be with was different not me. People loved me before they knew so why did that change? Later my life took a turn in different direction I chose to ignore my desire and live a different life. That life I did not know would cause me to awaken. I wasn’t happy and I felt myself desiring that side I hid from more , more. I later became a father after told it wasn’t ever in my future due to pass childhood surgery for something called high nature. I was producing Siemen at five yrs of age so they did something that would affect me from ever producing children, but somehow I produced a son in 04! I call him a miracle from God! My sons mother and I ended shortly after his birth. I came out cause I now had a son and I needed to be try to myself so I could be a better father to him. I was rejected by family. It was me and my son against all the odds. I worked and took care of my child. I had devoted my self to him. He was a yr old when our journey began together and is almost eleven in a few months. Life wasn’t easy and we dealt with a lot. But our love for each other gave us the strength to keep going. I am still single no partner just me and my lil man. I am afraid his mom would try to take him if I should find a partner. She has threaten to remove him countless times, but he is still with me to this day. Thank God for lil miracles!!

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    4. KRISTEN PARKER

      I sit here numb after reading the story of your journey, your son Ryan’s letter to his father and the personal struggle between your faith and Ryan’s struggle of his sexuality and having to worry about being accepted for who he was. He was a gay man and your son. He was so much more than a gay man. It was part of who he was but it did not define him. I too am catholic and it saddens me that you had to struggle with your beliefs and the Love of your son. I understand every reaction and why. The catholic church and as you grow up listening to the readings inn the Bible it is (black and white) no grey areas. After such a sad story of life and death and what is left behind there is no greater pain in the World. I know, I lost my daughter at 19 on July 26th,2005 from Cancer. I say she had Cancer but it did not define Ashley it was just part of her life. She passed away 10 days after my only other daughter Erika’s 21st birthday on July 16th. The day your son went to Heaven. It was also 8 days after myself and twin sisters birthday on July 18th. Losing a child any age is the worst thing any parent can ever go through. As you struggle with the handling of your beliefs and lack of understanding about homosexuality and that it is not a choice it is genetic. My daughter was born with a genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis in 1986. The medical community new little to nothing about the disorder at that time. I was 24 years old and knew nothing. I prayed, a lot. Cancer was something that I never was told during the many many hospitals we went to over the years. Then after not operating on her at 5 years old removing everything in her pelvis, full hysterectomy, colostomy and bladder removed. I opted not to do it to her she had no physical pain. Then at 18, the tumor that was not operated on was the tumor that became malignant. I blamed myself, even after 9 years there are days I still do, The best Dr’s in the Country at MSKCC,Boston,Washington etc. said “if it was their child they would never have operated on her at age 5 and not went with my symptomatic. The reason I say this all to you is, I went with my faith, and prayed to God to watch over her, I made a decision and I will never know whether it would have changed the outcome. The outcome for both of us regarding our religious beliefs is that no matter what we believe or how we have prayed, we are two mothers who buried young children and until it is our time forever a part of our hearts died with our children and that is truly the hardest thing we will deal with forever. From one Mother to Another I can only say to you this, cherish every memory, remember all the joy Ryan brought to your life, as well as I will remember all Ashley brought to my life. If you ever need me you can contact me. Your story breaks my heart for your incredibly strong son and for you who is so tortured by what you feel you could or should have done different. Sadly, he relapsed because it sounded like you and your family were coming to terms with his sexuality and he sounded happy in the tone of his letter to his father. His destiny which I do believe with God it was just his time as it was Ashley’s. I will pray for you and your family to find the strength to get through the hard days and the tears as well as the smile that you find yourself with just thinking of something you and he shared in a moment. God Bless you and I hope your story just helps other families understand that regardless of our religion and our beliefs,the health of the children we bare is paramount and we must listen to them and find a way to accept them for who they are not who they chose to love…..Ironically,The Pope is even questioning this as I write this to you that changes need to be made to have the Church recognize gay/lesbian lifestyle as members of the Catholic Church. I believe GOD LOVES EVERYONE OF HIS CREATIONS AFTER HIM…..My heart is with you…Fondly, Kristen

      Reply
    5. stocknoir

      You are a beacon of light in a rough world. I am someone’s gay son and had my own struggle with God and with drugs. I can relate to what your son went through as it seemed to echo my own experiences. It has been bitterly hard and often painful. It has also been beautiful and fulfilling. Thank you for sharing your light. This was the most healing thing I’ve read, because there was real love there, and that’s what we all seek.

      Reply
  2. Carole Anderson

    Thank you for sharing this. This has touched me in such a deep way. I lost my daughter 4 years ago (she was 28) and had a few years of restoration with her before she passed away. She left behind her 15 mo. old son who provides us with a beautiful piece of her everyday. She died of complications from a surgery at a point in her life where she was really doing well. I am thankful for every min. I had with her and every memory I have. Your story is something so valuable to so many parents, and I am so glad you have a clear perspective on how much he loved and respected you.

    Reply
  3. KT

    Hi Linda, I posted this comment on your Huffington Post piece, but since I’m concerned it might get lost among the negative comments, I wanted to include it here as well:

    Linda, though I started reading this piece because of my interest in the gay/Christian struggle, I am moved by your words about Ryan’s drug addiction. My cousin (who would be 23 now) died a year ago from an accidental drug overdose. It was incredibly heartbreaking. To think of all he could have been – and I will always regret that he’ll never know what he did to himself. I don’t disagree with some of the previous comments, but I want you to know that you and your husband did what you thought was best for Ryan, and you can’t be faulted for that. Best of luck as you continue to share your (and Ryan’s) story. Everything, however unfortunate, happens so that other things can fall into place.

    I’m wondering, too – do you have any recommendations for videos or books to help with healing? I’m not coming from the Christian perspective, but I’ll take recommendations of any sort.

    Thanks,
    KT in Virginia

    Reply
  4. Lynn Akers

    I can truly relate to your story.
    I am a Christian, and when my son was 12yrs old, he informed me he was gay.
    Looking back, I could have handled it far better when he immediately told me, but I truly believe I was in shock.
    After the initial shock wore off, my faith then took over and now I don’t even think about it anymore, it’s just who he is. He’s now 23 and an absolute blessing in my life. I wouldn’t change a single thing about him!
    He’s a beautiful, kind, generous, spiritual and truly a lovely person that I could not possibly be more proud.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, I’m going to pass it along to my son.

    Reply
  5. Annette

    I am sorry for your loss; but it sounds as though your Angel lives in your hearts and souls. I can only imagine how much you miss him; alas, he is at peace. Prayers to you and your family. I think any family would have reacted as you did to his “coming out” at age 12. Pray God we shall all learn a lesson of acceptance. God bless.

    Reply
  6. Bobi

    Linda, this morning when I left the house for work, I had had a terrible fight with my 19 year old son and told him to get out of my house. I was upset all day and then I came across your story about Ryan. I was literally crying at my desk and had to leave work early. I can’t imagine the pain you have gone through. I think most of the issues I have with my son are ruled out of fear! He was diagnosed at age 7 with Type 1 diabetes and I fear constantly what will happen to him because I KNOW that he doesn’t take care of himself. I actually start to prepare myself for his death. I worry about him growing to hate himself or us because of the huge responsibility diabetes creates and go down the paths of drugs. I know our stories are different, but your article really hit home with me. Thank you for sharing! PS, my son and I talked and got back on the right path (for now).

    Reply
    1. Maralyn

      Don’t worry too much about him not taking care of himself. We joke with my brother that is why he has lived so long. He was diagnosed at 11 mos old and just turned 50 and he never and still only halfway takes care of himself. Drinks a case of regular mt dew a week!

      Reply
  7. Lori

    Linda, I read of your journey with great empathy and a real sense of the yearning for peace you prayed/pray for ceaselessly. My heart could not bear to see our son’s self-loathing and total disconnect from life at such a tender age (17). He could not say the word “gay” when I pointedly asked him if he was, he nodded his head yes then asked between sobs “Am I going to Hell”? I was totally caught off guard that this thought was consuming him and said the only thing I am sure of which is “That’s between you and God”. I struggle with how to communicate to people who inquire about my feelings of homosexuality from a Christian view. It always seems there aren’t enough words to make them understand. You have given me the only words that could describe to any parent who has the privilege to love a child of God’s with the simple statement “I love him just because he breathes”. Thank you for this gift, you have touched many with your brave act of sharing. God bless you and your family!

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Lori

      I have tears running down my face with what you wrote and shared about your son and how Linda’s story touched and helped you with yours. Being a Christian and believing God’s Word makes it difficult to say anything. But hearing you say that now, after reading about Ryan’s story, you now say when asked for words about your son…”I love him just because he breathes” is a gift Ryan has left his mom for her to give to the world & you just received it. Praise God for his Love & Grace!!

      Reply
  8. Rainard Pearson P

    Hi,
    Linda, Being a hospital chaplain and a Christian counselor, I had always tried to correct people. it is encouraging to read that you prayers for Ryan was that he would know that God loves him. Your article is re-assurance of God’s grace and love. May you, as family, continue to be a blessing and bring comfort in many people’s lives. God bless your ministry. May the Lord of all Comfort continue to comfort you. When I lost a 11 days daughter of mine, this is what I told myself, “I have not lost her, only miss her for a while, will have a reunion again in Heaven’
    God Bless you,
    Pearson,

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Thank you, Pearson, for what YOU do!! Our chaplain was, literally, a GODSEND to us! Jesus used her powerfully in our lives!!

      Can’t wait till that day when we will ALL be reunited!!

      Reply
    2. Dora Garland

      Be careful where you get your knowledge about God….. too many of us put God in a box we design so he fits in our lifestyle. He is bigger than that! Our knowledge of God must come from the Bible. The TRUTH will set you free. God does not need to fit in our world…..we need to fit in his world…… Every person needs to know they have an enemy who does not want them to know the TRUTH! He is the deceiver and he does that well….. he lives to deceive you, but his days are numbered. The enemy will always try to break strongholds……you can be sure that many of our so called churches are NOT bible based churches……

      Reply
      1. Linda Robertson Post author

        Dora, if God is truly bigger than the box we put Him in, He should surely have the power to speak directly to us. Couldn’t that “Box” come in the form of the Bible sometimes?

        Reply
  9. Benjamin

    Dear Linda and Family:

    I stumbled upon your post on Huffington Post today, and I can say with all honesty that it left utterly speechless and in tears.

    I am deeply sorry for your loss, but your grace and courage in the face of it is truly a testament to “love casting out fear.”

    I am a 48-year old gay man who spent most of my adolescence and early 20s filled with self-loathing and hell-bent on killing myself largely throught drugs and alcohol. At 25 I discovered reparative therapy and worked valliantly to become straight, almost marrying a woman, but like Ryan, it was no use. Luckily, I managed to find positive gay role models and begin the process of coming out as a gay man. It’s been a difficult process, and I’ve certainly wrestled with God and my faith. Perhaps I always will, but I don’t see that as a bad thing (Israel was born out of struggle)!

    Today, I live in Massachusetts, where I am married to a wonderful man–we have 3 kids and a family that loves and supports us. Neither of my parents lived to see this, but I was able to have a day of reckoning with my mother that helped to mend my relationship with her profoundly.

    To say that all is now well would not be entirely true–I still struggle with voices from childhood that haunt me, the trauma of sexual abuse and being bullied in school, and that profound sense that I was not worthy of love because I was different, gay. Like Ryan, I am a recovering addict, and I have had some measure of sobriety, but I know it’s only a daily reprieve. I work with a wonderful therapist who understands the impact of childhood trauma, and I attend a weekly group of other survivors who understand and love me fiercely.

    Then there is my faith–broken, battered, but never entirely extinguished. These days, I try less and less to label God and more and more to experience Its presence in my life. So, when I stumble across “Just Because He Breathes,” I experience that Presence, and I know that there is something much bigger than me. There is Grace!

    Please know that what you are doing is living the Christ-experience–it is resurrection work. Because you are doing what you are doing, Ryan lives. I hope that is some consolation to you, and I know that you would do anything to have his physical presence with you, but know that what you are doing will potentially spare others such devastating grief.

    Thank you so much for your testimony, and if there is anything I can do to help you further your work, please don’t hesitate to ask.

    Peace & Love,

    Benjamin

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Benjamin, your words are a GIFT. May we copy them and use them to help others in our straight, Christian world understand what is at stake here??
      We thank God for you!! Jesus used you to encourage us today!!

      Reply
    2. Liz

      Benjamin,

      I know of a wonderful online support group of lgbt people who survived reparative therapy and are now living authentic lives if you are interested in being a part of a group like that. In fact, if you saw the Lisa Ling special with Alan Chambers recently most of the lgbt people telling their stories are in that group. It is a Facebook group and so you would need to be on Facebook in order to join the group. Let me know if you are interested and I can get you added. It is a secret group and completely confidential so you wouldn’t be able to find it on your own. The man who runs the group is Michael Bussee who was one of the original founders of Exodus and who has spoke out against Exodus and reparative therapy for years now. (They also allow some allies to join which is why I am in the group.)

      Blessing and peace to you, Benjamin!

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    3. stocknoir

      Benjamin, I’m trying right now to make it through all this stuff. I would really like to hear more from you because that was some beautiful writing you posted.

      Reply
  10. Blossom

    Am just speechless. I really thank God for the opportunity of having Ryan in your life. From all indication he was a loving, blessed and wonderful chap. Its so painful that when it was believed he was healing, you lost him but above all I believe that what you experienced was part of what God wants you to share so that people will be blessed. My prayer is that you will find inner peace and healing. You have the hope of seeing him again in heaven. Do take solace in God. May God continually keep, strengthen and comfort you. It is well with you and your family.
    Love you lots

    Reply
  11. Liz

    Linda, I have a son who is gay. I didn’t handle it too well when he first came out (he waited until his second year of college to come out) but somehow we got through the rough beginning and today my husband, my other son and I have a wonderful relationship with him. I regret that my son didn’t feel like it was safe to come out when he was younger and had to go through so many years keeping his orientation a secret while he begged God to change him and yet, I think he was wise to wait as I think I may have inflicted harm on him if he had come out when he was younger. However, I am fully aware that things could have gone differently with my son even when he came out in college because of the way I initially reacted and so I am always trying to get the word out to parents about how important their reaction is when their child comes out. I want parents to know how important it is to make their child feel loved and accepted and empowered to be who they really are and so I am so very thankful to see that you and your husband are working to do the same.

    Anyway — what I really wanted to say in response to this post is that I am so glad you shared this letter from Ryan to his dad. One of the things that impresses me about my son and so many other gay Christians (which I have had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know over the last few years) is the amount of grace (perfect title for this post) they have to offer those who ask for their forgiveness.

    I still remember something important that happened within the first few months after Nick told me he was gay…I was reading some stuff on the internet, searching for answers to questions I didn’t even know how to ask after Nick told me he was gay and I read something a young gay man had written about how he no longer wanted to even try to have a relationship with anyone who thought same sex relationships were wrong. He wrote how he was tired of feeling like he was less than others and a second class citizen and not good enough. As I read his words I realized that I would feel the same way if I was him. I realized that if I was a lesbian that I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with people who thought it was wrong for me to date a woman or fall in love with a woman or marry a woman. That was the day that I realized that my son, Nick, was demonstrating the love of God and the grace of God so much more fervently than I was. I thought I was being loving and gracious by having a relationship with him when I thought same sex relationships were wrong. But that day I realized that he was the one showing me grace by still wanting a relationship with me even though I had been judging him harshly. I found an opportunity to tell him how much I appreciated his grace a few days later and that was a real turning point for us. Since then I have seen that kind of grace demonstrated by lgbt people over and over again (in fact, sometimes I have thought they are too easy on their oppressors) and today when I read the words that Ryan wrote to his father I was once again struck by the abundant grace that was being offered. I have to say that I never get used to it. It really blows me away every time!

    FYI – today I no longer believe that same sex relationships are wrong. I have searched and studied and prayed and thought and talked and read as sincerely and thoroughly as I feel is possible and I cannot find sufficient evidence to condemn all same sex relationships. Without sufficient evidence I have been convinced that it would be unjust in the eyes of God for me to condemn anything without sufficient evidence and so today I am completely accepting and affirming of lgbt people and same sex relationships and a strong supporter of complete equality. My own son is in a beautiful, loving, healthy relationship and all I see when I look at him and his partner is a wonderful young couple doing their best to love and honor one another.

    I will be keeping you and your family in my prayers and I look forward to getting to know you a little better through your blog and on facebook.

    If you are interested here is a link to a piece of my story: http://serendipitydodah.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/choosing-love/

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      WOW!! “That was the day that I realized that my son, Nick, was demonstrating the love of God and the grace of God so much more fervently than I was.”
      Boy, do I relate to that!! We are kindred spirits!!

      Reply
  12. James

    This has really touched me. This story, your narrative, means so much to me. And though I may never know you, I love you. I’m hardly religious but I certainly believe in a power greater than myself. I’m a 26 year old working professional & grad student who’s gay. My parents disapprove and our relationship has changed drastically. I still haven’t reconciled with my mom and dad, and it’s so dreadfully painful. Your story gives me hope. That someday we can reconcile. I can’t stand the misery of this estrangement – I love them so much, and you help me to believe that it can get better. My parents are older and I’m deathly afraid of one passing away before we can fix this. I needed this inspiration and I’m so grateful that God led me across the path to find you here, to find your heart wrenching story. You give me strength.

    Thank you again for sharing your life. With all my love,
    James

    Reply
  13. Alexandre Brum

    Linda, I think you could read this book. It’s free to download and I am sure it will answer many questions of your life as well show your mission in this world:

    http://www.geae.inf.br/en/books/codification/sb.pdf

    Before you read the entire book, I think you could read the part about homosexuality and family.

    I am sure your faith will become much more stronger and you will remove your guilty about the past.

    Keep sharing your testimonial. God bless your family!

    Alex

    Reply
  14. Jeff Parsons

    Linda,
    As a boy, age 10, I also knew I was and am gay. I fought it, waking every morning wondering if I was still gay. My biggest worry was what my parents might think. My father was very conservative but my mother didn’t really voice opinions much. As I grew older I married at 21 so I could have a family, children etc. The American dream! Right? We had three lovely daughters, but as time went on my life was like living on a railroad track. The train was bearing down on me and as it did the pressure and tension was becoming unbearable. I knew my life was wrong and I knew I had to change. Then on January 1, 2005 my life changed and would never be the same. My wife found a note and confronted me. I met with my daughters and wife and explained how my life had been and how it had to change. My fears of losing my daughters was unfounded, they all accepted me and continued the love they had. But I knew I had my parents to deal with since I no longer wanted to hide the real me. My wife and I met with my siblings, their spouses and my parents one evening and I once again explained things. My 85 year old father spoke first. He only wanted to know if anyone needed a drink! and we are not really even drinkers. Until this day, at age 94 and 88 my parents continue their love for me and my partner. My heart goes out to you for your family, son and the life that could have been even more. I only hope people reading will open their hearts and understand we are not making a choice. Those around us shouldnt either. Don’t let someone you created slip out of your life and live with regrets. I hope your life is now changing others! My thanks to to my partner, Sean for helping me, understand me!

    Reply
  15. gwen rognon

    I would live to be added to your list… This is a very touching tribute to your son. I am a new Christian and am just learning how powerful God is if we will look and ask. I have turned my life over to God to let him help me weather the storms.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Wow…What a blessing, Gwen! CLick the “follow” button in the upper left hand corner of the screen to be notified when I blog again – probably next week – when I can catch up with all the emails and messages! 🙂

      Reply
  16. Camille Wall

    Thank you for sharing your story. You and your husband honor your son with the work you are doing. Keep it up! The world needs to hear your message of love. Bless you all!

    Reply
  17. Elizabeth Benefield

    Linda,
    I am blessed to have read all you have shared. We have 4 children 3 boys and and a daughter. 2 are gay. They are very special people and we are blessed every day by their love. We love all of our children for their unique special gifts given to them by a loving God. My husband and I have been educators for the past forty years and have seen many tragic situations. Our love for our children is unconditional as our Father’s love is for us. Our son shared your link with me so that I might be able to pass it on as I minister to families and work within our Catholic school community. Our son was hurt once by Brothers who ministered to Catholic youth at Florida State. They condemned him when he needed them to help him. They told him to pray for healing. He shared their criticism with us and I in turn have shared it with other priests who are friends. All of our children have a deep faith. Each is guided by faith in different ways. Please continue to do all you can to share your family’s story. I will continue to pray for all of you and for enlightenment for all those who think their role in this life is to judge others. God bless you.
    Biz

    Reply
  18. Judy Vandusen

    To Ryan’s mom & dad,
    I don’t know what I would have said or done had I been in your shoes.
    I do believe that u only had loving intentions for ur beloved son.
    I moan for u and with u.
    U r living every parents nightmare……
    To lose a child.
    We would all have many regrets for many reasons, since there is no such thing as a perfect parent.
    U have atoned 1k over and again. No doubt, Ryan is so very proud of u both.
    I am so very sorry for ur loss.
    Sincerely,
    Judy VanDusen

    Reply
  19. Helen Baker

    Thankyou for your courage in telling your story. I have 2 gays sons that i adore and am so very proud of but it was difficult for them coming from a deeply religious family. Thankfully, their love for my boys has helped them overcome their prejudice and we remain a close and loving family. We also had 2 straight sons, one of whom died 2 years ago from alcohol abuse. The other is in a drug rehab program. The pain and sadness never goes away but we are counting our blessings and make every day count. I hope that your story will continue to change lives and bring very special blessings to you all.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Helen…my heart breaks for you…You must miss your son so very, very much, as we miss Ryan. You said it well…”The pain and sadness never goes away but we are counting our blessings and make every day count.” That is the lesson parents who lose children learn well..through many, many tears.

      Reply
  20. Yaya

    Thank you for sharing this amazing story of your late son, Ryan, Mrs. Robertson.. I am so touched and I cry a river by now. I kinda have a similar story with you. I’ve been in love with a gay man for about three years by now. I love him no matter what. I love him for the things that he done to me and all the things we share together. Although he had done some bad things, I still can’t leave him. He also said that he doesn’t want to live without me and aske me not to leave him, so I stay. I don’t know for how much long we can be like this. I am not asking him or push him to be normal cause that’s just a waste of time. He’s not telling his family that he’s gay. Our families think that I am his girlfriend because we often hang out together, just the two of us… And we share laughter, pictures together, and the other things boyfriend-girlfriend do. I can’t stand the idea that he will love any other person, a man. But who i am to forbid him, right? I just love him and I can’t expect he loves me back, can I? I love him so much…. Thank you so much for letting me share my story here and sorry for my bad grammar, i come from a non-english-speaking country. I hope my story will have a benefit for the reader….

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Yaya, you are beautiful. And your grammar is FINE! I can’t imagine how hard that must be for you…but you are still choosing, unselfishly, to love him and to allow him to figure out for himself what he wants. Our family believes that we can get through anything with God’s grace, commitment, and a LOT of honest, gracious communication. It sounds like your friendship is worth preserving, and will last, no matter what happens. Love wins!!

      Reply
      1. Yaya

        Sure, it is very hard for me at first, especially when I found out that he is gay because i found it my self. Then after that, he openly told me about himself, everything. No secret. He told me every single person who has made out (or more) with him. I was 19 back then, my heart was really broken but I can’t tell anyone about it. I pretend that it’s okay even if it kills me a little more inside. And I was stupid enough to try to changed him to be normal. yes. i try to change him back then, I thought I was special, but I’m not. So I gave up, and From that day, I tell myself that even if he’s gay, and he ever done something with other gay, I won’t leave him. Ever. As long as he’s not telling me to leave him. I stay. It still hurts until now, two years after he came out to me, knowing that he can never be in love with me, but i take every risk just to be beside him as long as i can. I don’t wanna be regret in the future. You know, it may sound cheesy or cliché, or even crazy, but ever since he told me that he’s gay, my love for him grow deeper and deeper… Yes… I even have a plan to write my thesis based on my story, for the sake of my love for him. I thanked god i have this kind of life story because if i saw it in positive way, this taught me not to be selfish… Loving someone so hard doesn’t mean he’s going to love you back. I still hope for a miracle to happen, but I won’t try to make him normal because I know it was wrong and will make him inconvenience. Now, every time we hang out together, I feel as i am the happiest person on earth. i want to show the world that I, an ordinary person, can be beside him, an extraordinary person. i don’t know how and when it’s gonna be end, all i know is i love him so much and i’m very proud of him.. It’s not easy being gay in our country, he has struggled for a long time, because he already know that he’s different since he was a kid and he survived. that’s why i am so proud of him. but until now, he doesn’t have the courage to tell his mom, the only parents he has, that he is gay. it’s okay, he choses it that way and i very appreciate that. by the way, We both 21 by now. Oh, and he hasn’t been make any contacts with his other gay friends… I don’t know why…. He won’t tell me. Thank you Linda for letting me share here…. And Sorry for such a long comment…. :’)
        And… I hope I got stronger through all this.
        Thank you….

        Reply
        1. zacloud

          You’re very strong and full of love. I think you should sit down and tell him what you told us, but very simple: I accept that you’re gay. You can love whoever you want, you have my approval. Because I love you so much, and I just want you to be happy. I won’t try to change you. Please trust me with your honesty. Because I trust you with mine.

          Praying that things go well for both of you. It might be different than what you wish, but I hope it turns out good in the end.

  21. Julie

    Hi Linda,
    My gay son told me about your story on Youtube. I watched the clip and have now come to read your blog.
    I am so sad for your loss. Ryan sounded like such a wonderful man. Our son didn’t come out until he was 22 as he was terrified about what we might say and what the repercussions might be in our church community. My great pain is that he lived for 10 years with his “secret”. All his teenage years were spent in a dark abyss of fear and self loathing and depression.
    Please continue your great work so that others may see and hear about real families dealing with an issue that has been swept under the carpet for too long. All over the world, churches are full of families with gay sons or daughters, sisters or brothers. It is time that fear was booted out the door and gay people everywhere were accepted as the wonderful creations that they are…perfect and loved by God!

    Reply
  22. Enrique Ordóñez

    Linda and Rob,

    I am so grateful for the words and emotions you willingly share; a sharing and education to the mind and spirit, refocusing the energy we all exude on what matters more in life – our outward love, our appreciation of one another, our appreciation of ourselves, and above all, to be accepting that we are not all the same, but that this does not make any of us less deserving, does not make any of us less than a loving being with a heart and conscience.

    I woke this morning to a text message that my mother sent me (at 12:03am… I mean, hello? I’m sleeping Mother!), stating “I want to send you a link that Angela’s (my sister) friend texted to her, to read, and she sent me”. I replied, “Okay, then send it…”. My 53 year old, single mother replied, “Just Because He Breathes: Learning to Truly Love Our Gay Son”. She continues, “It was very emotional for me to read this. That’s why I didn’t send it last night. Especially the letter his father wrote to him. Your sister’s boyfriend jumped in the pool yesterday with his iPhone in his pocket. He has it in rice now :(.”

    I came out to my mother when I was 15, very unexpectedly (to her, at least), and over the phone – probably not the best choice at the time, however I thought she already knew. My shared news was very difficult for my mother at first. She stayed home for several days, she worried what the rest of our family would think, she worried what the neighbors would think… but deep down, she worried what SHE thought, and she worried for my well being. After a few days of an emotional roller coaster, I was thankful that her long term boyfriend told her, “Debbie, you have a normal, 15 year old son. He is alive, he is healthy, he is a good boy. Please do not forget my own son was murdered when he was only 17. I’d give anything to have my son back, straight or gay, so long as I could have him back to love. Stop acting silly.” The man had never spoken kinder words of me.

    Now, today, at age 26 and a career in New York City, I do not take my mother’s abundant love for granted. I remind her constantly via telephone, text message, even FaceBook, that I love her and I thank her for her acceptance of me being gay. My mother has always remained faithful to her relationship with God, having spent even more time in recent years to learn from him. She reminds me often that God is above the discrimination, that he also loves and accepts me, that I will be accepted into heaven to join her when I leave this life. I thank her for her words, for her love, and for being a role model to other parents who are coping with raising a gay son. I am blessed to have her overflowing, endless love.

    In 2010, my father passed away while I was on a flight from Hawaii to New York. I was returning home to surprise him for Christmas. He was terminally ill, spending most of his time in the hospital and less time at home. By the time I picked up my phone to tell him I would be spending Christmas with him, I was alerted by the local police that my father passed away in his home. He passed away, alone in his home, while I was on my flight from Hawaii to see him.

    My father spent my entire life addicted to his prescription drugs. This, in combination with his cancer, was a lethal concoction. He was 59 when he died. My mother, always compassionate, told me, “I must be strong for you and Angela. Now I need to give you the love of two parents, not only one.” She made that promise to us and has never broken it. She deals with my sister, a single mother of two, and her whacky gay, Gemini son, living away in NYC. Now living amongst a large population of gay men, I hear the stories of men who struggled with their sexuality at home while growing up. If only these parents could stop, hear your story, and reflect this into their daily lives…

    If you have not already heard the song, “Same Love”, by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, I think it would be good for you to hear. LISTEN to the song, listen to the lyrics. I first heard this song last weekend while visiting my mother in Pennsylvania. The lyrics, “A world so hateful, someone would rather die than be who they are.” really stood out to me as I rode in the car with my mother. Tears came to my eyes, and I thanked her once more for her love and her support, that I do not take it for granted.

    Thank you, again, for sharing your story. It is so impactful and was on my mind all day today. I know your story will make a difference in the lives of many, and it is so important that it be heard again and again. It pains me to hear when gay youth makes permanent solutions to cope with their sexual orientation, to take away their choice of giving life a chance. Much love to you and your family. God bless.

    Warmest regards,
    Enrique

    Reply
    1. Bonnie Senftner

      Enrique,
      What a nice post. Was so sorry to hear about your dad’s passing, especially the circumstances of being on a plane trying to get there. Thanks for the tip on the song, I will google it and share with those in my life that will be able to Really relate to it as you describe. So happy you had such an understanding mother who received such pearls of wisdom when you came out. Yes, there are things that could be bad… like a car accident, suicide, etc., but gay? Still alive, still healthy, but gay? Well, he really knew what he was talking about didn’t he?
      Sincerely,
      Bonnie

      Reply
  23. Pingback: Just Because He Breathes…. | Spark

  24. tracy

    I just want to thank you for sharing your story about your experience with your beautiful son and his letter to his dad.

    I lost my uncle David when I was 18 to a horrific, senseless murder . David was gay, but more than that, he was a loving father of 3 and would do anything for his family. He hid his lifestyle from the entire family, although I believe his wife probably knew and kept his secret from all of us. He lived in Kansas City at the time of his death, and it wasn’t until after, we found out. David’s death was a hate crime, no doubt. The men that committed the murder beat him, hog tied him, then sodomized him. This changed my life forever. I except and love people the way they are. I joined gay rights activists and became as involved as I could.
    When I was 27, my other uncle came out to me that he is gay. I helped him through it and let him know how loved he is! He is like a brother to me (I am a year older!)
    It was very scary for him, but he made it through and has had the same partner now for 11 years. I am so proud of him!! Some heterosexual marriages don’t make it that long.
    I have always wished that David didn’t have to hide in shame, it cost him his life eventually. I am a christian…who believes in the grace of God. I was touched by your story, and sorry for your loss. I hope that it continues to reach out to people, that they may always be loving and accepting of everyone. I hope that if we know anyone struggling with the fact they are gay. That they will know that God truly loves them. Everyone matters!! God comes to us where we are….he will not leave our side.
    Again, thanks for sharing,
    Tracy

    Reply
    1. Rhonda

      I was raised catholic and I know my parents don’t approve of premarital sex or gay people acting on their desires, although actually being gay seems to be ok. Funny thing is, 3 of us kids had a baby before getting married- before being old enough to buy an alcoholic drink. The girls were denied birth control- even for painful cycles, because we “shouldn’t need such things anyway.” When I read this story I grew angry. I cried and cried. This boy trusted that he would still be loved an accepted by the people who raised him. And he was loved. But not accepted. He was embarrassed and ashamed because that’s what was projected upon him. He died. He’s dead. Yes I think it’s wonderful that his parents have come around and are doing good things. And if I look at things in a broader light maybe I can try to understand that we each serve a purpose here on earth and his was to teach his parents grace, shame, acceptance, unconditional love & humility. If that was his mission on earth, he accomplished it. But it still hurts me to my core that he became an addict and died because of how his parents made him feel. I’m just a grain of sand among billions of grains and my view won’t impact many. But damn, nothing could make me hurt my kids and shun them for something like that. I will pray for understanding and enlightenment instead of the anger and anguish I now feel

      Reply
      1. louis

        Some parents beliefs cause them to ignore things as such. I did try to ignore my feelings cause I believed in God and my relasionship with him I was so afraid to lose. I spoke with him daily, walked, talked to him. Hearing being gay was a sin hurt me deeply. So I began praying for God to take it away. I laid in my bed in tears at night crying and pleading with God make me different., bit it never happens. I so wanted a child since I could remember but was told time n time again I would never be able to father child not cause of being gay but because I couldn’t. Well as time went by things change I fought being gay and met someone she and I had a child, but then the gay part kept pushing its way back stronger than ever. And shortly after our son was born I admired to myself and faced who I was. I am now a single father raising my son alone. He was a yr old when our journey started and now he is almost eleven. It wasn’t easy getting this far the odds were stacked against us, but our love for each other is what helped us thru the rejection from family. We stayed to ourselves most of the time it was me, work, him. We learned to live our lives for ourselves. They that don’t won’t to see us well its there lost. Life changed as time went by family became closer cause they saw me for me. My father who said I was a disgrace to his friends now respects me for rasing my child and doing what’s best for him.

        Reply
  25. Danish dog

    Dear Linda and Rob,

    Apologies for my English; it’s my fourth language. And then I hope this is not a double post; it looks like wordpress ate my long reply after I couldn’t remember my password. Anyhow:

    I found this via Janed Reid’s blog (see http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.dk/2013/08/powerful-writing-example.html) and then clicking on.

    Tomorrow, Saturday, is Copenhagen Pride Parade. I will walk there, thinking of your Ryan, thinking my last boyfriend who was thrown out from his home and mosque after his family found what what really was our relationship, thinking of the LGBT people in Russia, thinking of everybody who is told they can’t be christian/muslim/jewish/zorastian/atheist/whatever because of their orientation.

    But, I will also think of people like you who are willing to listen, to learn and to change and then to be vocal.

    Thank you for you being honest – without you, our message would never have gone so far it has gotten today.

    /PT, Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Reply
  26. Michelle

    I’ve arrived here via a similar video posted on Upworthy where your video came up in the annotations. I am in tears, especially after reading the letter above. You raised a wonderful respectful young man, and I am so sorry for your loss. I have long maintained that God doesn’t make mistakes, we are all how He intended us to be, so who on earth is in the position to sit in judgement above God? Being a Christian is about unconditional love, respect, inclusion of all people, not segregation. I’m a mother of four children and who knows if this is something I’ll ever have to go through. Maybe, maybe not. But I know how I’ll be facing it if I do, with love. Much love to you all x

    Reply
  27. Quinn

    I am blown away by the grace, love, compassion, and mercy that you showed Ryan, especially after he came out to you, and even though he did, you finally realized, he’s still Ryan.

    My Dad says that he loves me. But every time I bring it up again, and tell Dad, “I’m gay,” and try and open up to him more about what it’s like for me, he says, “You can change if you really want to change. All you’ve gotta do is pray and seek God’s Word. I don’t want to discuss this any further,” and he walks away.
    –Quinn Carr–
    quinn_michael_carr@yahoo.com

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Oh, Quinn…my heart is breaking for you. You are trying so hard to move toward your dad, by making yourself incredibly vulnerable, and he is shutting you out. He is missing out – big time. Quinn, you have a spirit about you that comes through this comment that is going to carry you through all this – Don’t lose it! God is crazy about you and wants to use you…exactly as you are. Thinking of you and praying for you today, Quinn!!

      Reply
      1. Rhonda

        Quinn,
        It is very hard not to have our parent’s approval. I felt their back turn for other prejudices but my parents did come around. I just kept marching & holding my head up because I deserved to. I didn’t live for my parents. I lived for me. If I needed validation I sought it in other places. Don’t deny yourself what you deserve. There’s another set of parents somewhere that will love exactly who you are. I would.

        Reply
  28. Stephen Thomas Garvin

    Linda,
    I am writing this with tears in my eyes. Your story has broken my heart. I am so, so sorry that Ryan is no longer with you. I lost my older sister, Beth, to complications from Anorexia on April 24, 2009. She was the last immediate family member I came out to because I worried, needlessly, what she might say. Beth became my biggest supporter and I always did my best to love her and encourage her over the long 15+ years she was sick. Now that she is gone I admit I am finding it incredibly difficult to find much of anything to believe in anymore. My mom prayed so hard for Beth to get better. Beth herself even felt God was punishing with her eating disorder because she wasn’t a good enough Christian. I was blessed to have a very supportive family which helped so much on dealing with almost daily verbal abuse at school because I was gay. I’m sorry this rambles around a bit. Something inside me was moved by your story and I felt compelled to share some of my own. Bless you and your entire family.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Stephen…your story breaks MY heart. I wish, so deeply, that you could know how PASSIONATELY God loves you. It is so painful that Beth died feeling like He did not…but I am sure that she knows differently now. Much love to you, Stephen!!

      Reply
  29. Scott Dion

    I’m very sorry for your loss. I hope that you can get your story and experience to as many people as you can and it helps countless other people find peace within themselves, and teaches parents the importance of understanding and acceptance of your child.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Bless you, Scott! That is exactly our hope and prayer – and the reason we are participating in a documentary on our story. You can look it up on FaceBook – search for Just Because He Breathes – The Movie.

      Reply
  30. P.E. Ward

    To the Robertsons, and especially to Rob: What a wonderful letter Ryan wrote to you, and how generous he was in forgiving you both for your greatest failure as parents and recognizing all your wonderful traits. How ironic it should have become his premature terminal benediction on you. Such should have been his eulogy for you, but instead it is emblematic of the hardest of all things, a parent burying a child.

    Reply
  31. Henrique

    Hey Linda, My name is Henrique, from Brazil and i just read your story and I am very moved by it. I just want to say that your son now is an angel and he’s caring and protecting you and your whole family. You’re a brave and strong woman. Never let anyone take it from you. That God bless and comfort you and your family every day in your lifes. Much love to you all 🙂

    -Henrique, 20 years old 🙂

    Reply
  32. Irene Ortlieb G. Cacais

    Linda, I am Irene from Brazil. I just red your “depoiment” and the letter of your son. Moving. I have a gay son of 36, and I love him dearly. I belong to a group of mothers who try to help other mothers who have dificulty to accept their homossexual sons and daughters. You serve as a great example for us all. And I am sure Ryan “up there in heaven” will be a great help to us all, parents and sons and daughters
    receive a big hug
    Irene

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Irene! What a blessing to hear from you! We, too, have a group of moms who are encouraging each other to love our gay kids well…How exciting to hear that you have one in Brazil! If you ever want to come visit ours, find me on FaceBook (Linda Mueller Robertson). Much love to you, my friend!

      Reply
  33. Chrissi

    This is all very touching… i wish my mother would have been like this… now im not too sure how she feels about me.. i feel like i have disappointed her as well as God… im trying my best…but im not sure… i came out or was found out idk what people would call it the way it happen but my mom found out when i was 13 going on 14… i struggle a lot today… my mind is always battling thoughts… i Jist want to know for sure that if i keep believing in God and having faith that i have a chance at going to Heaven when my time comes… this story brought tears to my eyes… there have been times when i felt like giving up.. my life. Just so i could make the pain and thoughts go away… i failed though… but i still find myself falling back into depression and my suicidal thoughts… this is a lovely movement you guys have created. Thank you…

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Dear, dear Chrissi…There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord will WELCOME you, with all the love He has (which is way more than I can comprehend), into His Kingdom. You have far more than a chance – You have a HOME. If you are a reader, there are several GREAT books that explain how it isn’t true that you are condemned by God for being gay…quite the opposite. I have some of them listed on my resource page…and look up the Gay Christian Network…they have TONS of wonderful resources.
      No matter how your mom feels about you being gay, your Heavenly Father adores you, dear friend.

      Reply
  34. Pingback: This Evangelical Mom Lost Her Gay Son, and She Wants You To Learn From Her Story -

  35. Peggy

    You gave Ryan the gift of courage as you are demonstrating so eloquently with your words. He would be so proud of how you are honoring his precious life. You’ve endured your greatest loss and with your faith can thrive amidst the angry words of others. Hate begets hate, love begets love. You choose to love , I do too, it always wins. God bless you. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  36. nicola keyes

    Dear linda and family. Iam so sorry for the loss of your son. I’m sorry for the negative comments you havery had directed at you. I have two small kids, have probably made lots of mistakes already but If I can be half as good a parent as you and your husband in terms of thoughtfulness, ability to reflect and most importantly learn. I will be lucky person.

    Reply
  37. Carolina

    I really wish my mom could read this, but not only because she doesn’t know a word of english, but because since I came out to her, two years ago, I can’t say any word related to my sexuality. I pray god every single day to help us to have a better mom and daughter relationship, I feel a horrible pain when I have to tell her lies about my life.. I don’t live with her any more and thank god I have a good job that provides me what I need, but I miss my mom.

    Greetings from Colombia, I know that Ryan will be always proud of you two from heaven.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      I am praying for you and your mom tonight, Carolina…you sound like a truly beautiful, wonderful daughter. ❤ I sincerely hope that she doesn't miss out on loving, knowing and celebrating you completely.

      Reply
  38. Loving Mom

    Our 17 year old son just told us he was gay. I’ve known since he was 4 years old. It was not a shock to us. When he told us (sobbing) he said he did not want to go to hell. My response was that we all sin every day of our lives and that God looks at all sin the same. I told him that I was no better a person, in the eyes of God, than he was. I’m so glad I read your story as we were headed on the same path with our son. Not any more. God bless you.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Loving mom, I am so thankful that your son had the courage to tell you…and that you have responded in love. I would love for you to join our private group of Christian moms with LGBTQ children on FaceBook…I think you would find it really encouraging. Find me on FaceBook (Linda Mueller Robertson) so I can tell you more about it, if you’d like. Much love to you!

      Reply
      1. Always a Mom

        My heart aches for you. I’m so glad you had that 10 months with your beautiful boy. He died knowing you accepted him and loved him unconditionally. I am grateful to you for sharing your story. I know that it is saving lives and saving what could be very damaged relationships. I know I look at this completely differently now. My belief is that Ryan knows what you are doing and the lives that you are changing. And each family you touch with your story, he feels that much more love from you. Thank you so very much.

        Reply
  39. louis

    Hello I read tour story as tears flowed down. I always knew I was different from other, but I could understand why me of six. I always was close to God talking to his constantly. I served as an alter boy for 6 yrs. I faught with my feelings and never wanted to deal with them. We lived in a small town where everyone new my parents. I didn’t want to bring shame upon my parents. My dads family all lived I. That small town and it wasn’t easy bidding it, but I did and struggled with it. I thought of suicide many times, but guess that lil voice in head kept me from me doing it. Life became harder and things came about I wish they didn’t. I sexual desire took over me and I had sex with people I knew and was very ashame of it. I took baths trying to wash them off, but it did t work no matter what I did. I later moved out my parents home and had my own place. I met this nice guy who adored me but I was in bidding and afraid my family would know. I kept him a secret but all things come out eventually. Well needless to say my life went a bit more other things kept piling up. I attempted suicide by gas in my home, but a friend came and stopped me. I was placed in a mental hospital and was forced to face my fears. I got out with a different view of life. I adored every single thing. Flowed, sunshine, n life. I hid I. Darkness for many yrs with depression. After a while I met a girl I wanted this gay life to go away. I wanted a child and family and that’s what I got down the line. But I wasn’t happen. My feelings became stronger and my so called straight relasionship was starting to fade. We then had our son but shortly after his birth I announced I was gay. My live changed people resented me family was not so happy. I heard friends of my dad say I was a disgrace to him. It hurt so bad, but I had a son and felt it was time to face who I am so I become a better father in future. I focused on my son and relasionship with his mom ended. She struggled to take my son from me, but I didn’t let her I faught for what I loved. To this day I am a single father, no partner just me and my child. I so want to find love, but afraid cause of the pass mistakes. So I devote my time to easing my only son whom I have grown to love more than anyone. He was a yr old when we began our journey together. He is almost eleven now and I still love him and strive to protect him. Check us out on face book. Til then God bless your family. So sorry for your lost know your not the only ones who made a mistake. We all make them but the love we carry pulls us thru. Take care n stop by my page and see the life o share with my son.

    Reply
  40. Anonymous

    Just Remember that when you share to the world, that God loves all in ways we do not always know. That he still will love despite one sexuality. It all is how the heart lies within, that God see, even if we do not see as human ideas. That sorry the journey has to end for you. Just Remember with a letter and heart like this letter. That shows you the who he was never changed as a person, except a sexual preferences. That if you look beyond the sexuality, you will see the same kid you always knew. That God works with those who have the Love of God within.

    Reply
  41. June

    Your SON Loved you Endless. You Loved Your SON Endless…A terrible tradgedy with Drugs. The 10 Months I Believe repaired your relationship more than you realized. You did something right with your SON years and years before since he was born. Afterall he Made that phonecall one day to come home. That should tell you your SON missed you horribly. Just got caught up in a web of confusion and his struggles for him was too hard to handle. No blame on either side. Human Error Not understanding what your SON was experiencing was all your Fears and his and your(s) Fate. RIP Ryan- God Loves all his Children and forgives our Sins. To me, being Gay is Not a choice. No more Fear Mom and Dad- you will see him again someday. He will always be with you in spirit. X0

    Reply
  42. Anonymous

    I found your story because the local paper had made a typo in printing a story that featured yours the day previous. I don’t, as of yet, have any children that are gay. Although I have never put it out of my mind as a possibility in the future. I do maintain what is considered a “neutral” line when it comes to discussing gay issues with fellow believers. No, I don’t believe scripturally it is “okay”…I don’t even think it has anything to do with what I think at all. The Bible is quite clear on this topic and doesn’t ask for opinions or taking votes. But the Bible is also quite clear on what MY responsibility towards others, including my children is: to love them. That’s just as simple. I am incredibly speechless by the journey you and Rob have had to endure. And I am so very sorry for you and your family. I thank you for taking this enormous amount of pain off the shelf every day and displaying it, touching it, letting others look at it, talk about it, likely discourage it and encourage it…the amount of courage God has given you, the amount of healing he has poured on you is just enough. I applaud your courage.

    Reply
  43. Carolyn Wheeler

    Dear Linda, I am so sorry for your loss, but dismayed at your response of embracing the very element of life that took your son. I know you tried everything to change the way your son was going and I don’t know if this included a through study of the Word of God which would have shown how GOD thinks of this sin. The Word of God clearly shows GOD HATES THIS SIN!
    The only time God destroyed a city was for this sin – HE HATES IT! See Genesis6:5-7,11,12;18;20,19;1-25; Leviticus 18:22;20:13;Deuteronomy 23;17,18 ; Judges 19; 22,23 and of course Romans 1:18-32 also 2 Peter 2:4-6 Please read this and reconsider any involvement with the homosexual lifestyle.
    Praying for you and family, Carolyn Wheeler

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Carolyn, our family has studied God’a word thoroughly, and all Biblical scholars agree that God did NOT destroy Sodom because of homosexuality…nobody in the story was even gay. The story is about power, violence and rape.
      I could say a great deal more, but Carolyn, Jesus never said a WORD about homosexuality. And the Romans 1 passage is actually about not judging…see the beginning of Romans 2.
      You and I clearly read our Bibles very differently…I discover a God of great love and mercy in the pages, and even more so in the person of Christ, who is, the Bible tells us, the EXACT representation of God Himself.
      If you care about this topic, please read Justin Lee’s book, “Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs-Christians Debate”…it will help you understand how better to love like Jesus did, and why the things you have written here are so deeply painful to LGBT people and those who love them.

      Reply
  44. Carolyn

    Wow! I am saddened by your response surely you have not read these scriptures in context because they all clearly show how God feels about this sin. Why do you think He destroyed this city? The Scripture clearly points out His anger with this sin in the Genesis passage as well as Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Romans. If you would read these in context they clearly show God does not approve of homosexuality because He made humans male and female. No matter how you try to change it all these Scriptures truly speak against homosexuality. And as a medical doctor who has reported on this I think it is Dr. Frank Joseph reports on the kinds of sickness and disease homosexual men get because of the misuse of their bodies seeking pleasure in a perverted manner

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      And I am deeply saddened by your response, Carolyn. We love the Bible and have done a great deal of research about what it actually says, and does not say, about homosexuality. We, along with many other Christians, don’t think it says ANYTHING about committed, monogamous same-sex relationships. And Dr. Frank Joseph is obviously very misled, as my brother & his husband have no more risk of a health problem in their marriage as Rob and I do in ours.
      I wish you the best, Carolyn…and I pray that you’ll be open to learning to love the gay people in your life, and truly getting to know them. There is nothing more powerful than God’s love in breaking down prejudice and judgement.

      Reply
    2. Rhonda Buchheit

      Carolyn, Did you choose to have the color of eyes and hair that you have? You did not choose those things but you learned to enhance them and work with what you have. But you cannot change what was given to you. You can mask them with makeup, lenses and dye but they are what they are. What is your personality? Stubborn? Generous? Patient? Short tempered? A jokster? Shy?  Those things can be shaped and altered throughout life. But some things are concrete. Sexual orientation is one of those things. You can choose your religion. Everyone thinks their religion is the right one and the only one. You can recite the bible and have as many arguments about your interpretation of it as you want. But it doesn’t change sexual orientation. Just because a doctor wants to air his belief that sexual contact of same sex partners is the root of some bad diseases doesn’t make sense nor is it scientific. Every single disease gay people can transmit can also be transmitted by straight people who haven’t had contact with a gay person. Explain that. Some say being gay is a mental disorder but doesn’t make it any less true that sexual orientation is not a choice. Let’s say it is a mental illness-does that make it ok to condemn God’s child because you believe they are sinning? Where is the medication that assists with that mental illness? There is a med for nearly every mental illness known. When I first read this blog some years ago I was very angry with these parents for shoving their chosen religion so far down their child’s throat that he turned to drugs to kill the pain of something he could not change. They had personally condemned him and that made him torture himself and condemn himself. But God knows what he is doing and he shoved it down their throat. You can try and try but you don’t get to turn God into what you want Him to be. You are not bigger or better than Him.  We could sit and debate our interpretations of the bible for days on end. I’ve read sections that tell of men laying with their servants but didn’t read about them being condemned. Do you think God will judge you-His child-something he personally created and instilled His abundant love into-by your interpretation of the Book? Are parents supposed to be that shallow? What about judge not? What about God being an all forgiving God? What about sexual sins that heterosexuals commit (porn, cheating, coveting, voyeurism, lust )? Are they also mentally ill? Where’s the med for that? Heterosexuals can seek help for sexual deviancy but they are still heterosexuals. And gay are still gay. And bisexuals are still just that. And you still aren’t bigger or better than God. As hard as it is for me to hear Ryan’s story and see his ending pictures, I choose to believe that Ryan lived the life that God intended for him. He breathed life into him-every corner of his mind, body and spirit, and He knew how this scenario would play out. Every step of it. Because he created Rob and Linda too-Every intricate part of them-And knew the decisions they would make long before they even knew they would have children. Ryan was here to teach us. Not everyone will learn from him. Maybe their lesson will be about something else some day. But guaranteed ,Ryan is sitting with his Father and his duty is done. And he will embrace even the ones who condemn his life and his parents. In Heaven there is no prejudice. No anger. No opinion. No bible interpretation classes. God will greet your arrival with a smile because his child is present. And when you look into Ryan’s eyes and walk into his welcome home embrace, neither of you will judge the other. So as you breathe and condemn and reject, he lives free and blissful and patiently watches and waits for your arrival so you too can understand and be wiped clean of your human mistakes and the judgement you imposed on others.  You are not bigger than Him

      Reply
  45. Pingback: Dad, You Are My Role Model. I Love You More Than You Can Know, Ryan Robertson. Gone Too Soon – A Heart Breaking Letter on Love, Forgiveness and Grace. – Seeker of Truth

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