I am Sean Kennedy’s mother, Elke Kennedy, and I am reaching out to other moms who might or might not accept of the fact that their son or daughter is gay. Most of you do not know what it is like to receive a phone call like I got at 4:30 a.m. telling me that something had happened to my child.
The worst thing every mother dreads hit me two days after Mother’s Day in 2007. On that day, May 16, 2007, my youngest son, Sean, was taken away from me by hate because of his sexual orientation. When I got to the hospital that morning, I had the sickening feeling in my stomach that this was serious. When I finally got to see my son, he was already on life support. His hands were so cold; I wanted to warm him up. I told him that everything would be all right now, because Mom was here. I prayed to God to please let him be OK, and to let me take Sean’s place, because he hadn’t been able to live his life. Of course, it doesn’t work that way, and we hoped and waited for the next 17 hours that Sean would be all right. But it wasn’t meant to be that way. We gathered at Sean’s bed in a state of complete exhaustion and shock as we were told that he was brain-dead. Sixty young people had been with us at the hospital all day and night, telling me so many stories about Sean, about how they loved him and needed him. Now I had to go out there and tell these young people that their friend had died, but that he would live on in others, because he’d donated his organs. Each of the kids got to go back and say their goodbyes. It was so difficult to hear their goodbyes and see all their emotions.
Now I had to plan his memorial service, and our church told us that we could have the service there. Then, that Friday, after everything had been communicated to family and friends and the newspaper, we received a phone call telling us that the elders of the church had decided that we could not have the service there after all, because Sean was gay. After many phone calls back and forth, they allowed us to have the service there in the end. However, afterwards, we were no longer welcome at the church