Mum wasn’t going to come to my wedding. It was hard, but I’d made peace with that. My girlfriend and I would get married without her blessing.
Then, two days before the big day, when we were already in New Zealand, I got a frantic call at 11pm at night. I answered it and it was her, crying and asking if she’d still be welcome. We said yes, of course, and she booked herself last minute flights to get to New Zealand.
When I first saw her outside the registry, all dressed up with her hair done and holding flowers, I burst into tears. She came up to me and touched my face, saying, “You look so happy. Both of you, you look so happy,” and gave us these roses.
They’re more than flowers to me.
They’re given to me by a women to cried and shouted and refused to talk about my sexuality for seven years after I came out to her. It may not seem like much: but she had to walk into that flower store and buy these. She had to choose roses - the symbol of love - for her gay daughter and her gay daughter’s ‘friend’. There’s an admission in that. There’s acceptance in that. These roses say, “I know you love each other,” and she gave them to us at our wedding, which she flew three thousand kilometres to attend.
I sobbed as she placed them in my hand.
Because nothing will ever touch what it feels like to finally, finally know your mother loves you just the way you are.
You know what? Part of what makes Lord of the Rings so great is that Tolkien knows how to end a story. You’ve been on this massive 1,200-page adventure and it has been sometimes joyous and funny and sometimes dark and hopeless, but crucially the story doesn’t end with everything just going back to the way things were before–because the world can’t come through a story like that unscathed and neither can the people who took part in it. It’s a good ending because it’s not a completely happy one. Momentous events should have consequences, and if you don’t let the reader have those along with the happiness and hope you’ve done them a sort of injustice. So take that lesson on storytelling from Tolkien. Write good endings. Write whole endings. Write real endings. Happiness is only part of that.