Testaments to tolerance offer hope for our future

DEAR ABBY: I am writing to respond to "Grateful Mom" (July 13), the widow who, in her time of need, was invited by her son Neil and his partner to live with them despite having rejected Neil in the past because he is gay. I have a gay son, too, and I would not trade him for anyone. He is the most loving and caring son any parent could ever have. I consider myself very lucky.

When it was time for me to relocate, it was his partner who first approached me about moving across the state to be near them. My son helped me find a cute little house to buy. My two dogs and I are very happy.

I will not have grandchildren, but I do have granddogs and another wonderful son. I am blessed.

"" ANOTHER GRATEFUL MOM IN FLORIDA

DEAR ANOTHER MOM: I am pleased that things are going so well for you. The responses to "Grateful Mom's" letter were heartwarming. They serve as a reminder that acceptance, love and recognition of the importance of family can triumph over intolerance and fear. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I was touched that "Grateful Mom" was able to reconcile with her son and forge a wonderful relationship with him. My oldest brother was gay, and my parents welcomed his life partner into our family. We all have open minds and hearts about individuality.

I was saddened to read that "Grateful's" other children denied their mother a place in their homes. I took care of my mom in her final years, and although it was difficult for me to watch her health deteriorate, I was honored to be able to spend her last moments with her. I cherish those memories.

"" CATHY IN RENO, NEV.

DEAR ABBY: I am the father of three boys, one of whom is gay. "Grateful Mom" had forgotten the most basic of things &

that your child is a part of you, and we must love, support and participate in our children's lives. This is what's missing in our society today, and it is causing all kinds of issues for the next generation. I love all my sons, and I am proud of them. I hope "Grateful" continues to enjoy her son and continues to share the lessons she is learning.

"" PROUD DAD IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR ABBY: My mom came out to me and my brother about five years ago. She had been with men her whole life and, while we were shocked, we understood we could react in one of two ways. We could either accept her and her girlfriend, "Daphne," or disown her and have to explain to our children why they couldn't see their "nana." We decided to accept my mother for who she is and welcome Daphne into the family.

It was one of the best choices my brother and I ever made. Daphne loves my kids and can't wait to see them (she lives in Australia) later this year. My kids call her "Nana Daph." She is the best thing that ever happened to my mom, and I'm thankful she's in our lives.

I'm happy that "Grateful Mom" learned to accept and appreciate her son and his partner exactly the way they are.

"" JENNIFER IN INDIANAPOLIS

DEAR ABBY: Thank you for recommending P-FLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) to your readers. It is an organization that provides understanding and support to both gays and their families. I have a lesbian daughter who has brought me much joy and pride. I went to P-FLAG when she first came out, and it was the wisest thing I ever did for the two of us.

"" BENITA IN SAN DIEGO

DEAR ABBY: "Grateful" said her two daughters and one of her sons "married well." Sounds to me like Neil is the one who married well. Her letter made me cry. If only the world could be half as tolerant as Neil and his partner, Ron. Because of their good hearts and generous spirits, even that intolerant mother was able to change. How hopeful!

"" BERKELEY, CALIF., READER

Dear Abby is written by , also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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