Teresa Vincent was always close with her grandmother Marjorie, but 20 years ago when Teresa’s mother passed away and not long after she lost her father, Marjorie’s counsel, support and love became all the more important, for both Teresa and her brother, David.
That Teresa was in her early 30s at the time didn’t lessen the impact of grief, and in those early days of loss, much of her life changed. The fragility of life came starkly into view, and the need to follow her own heart prompted her to come out to her loved ones and let them know she was gay.
“With my grandmother,” Teresa says, “it just didn’t ever make a difference.” If the subject ever came up, Marjorie would point out that Elton John has a Canadian boyfriend (now husband), and that was all she’d say. Teresa’s lifestyle was never a point of conversation – it didn’t need to be. The love Marjorie holds for her granddaughter is the only thing that matters.
During Pride Month, visitation resumed at Coleman Care Centre, where Marjorie came to live in 2019, and Teresa and her grandmother were able to spend time together after months apart due to pandemic restrictions in long-term care. “I have to say that, until this morning, that is the only time that we have ever talked about my lifestyle in our entire relationship,” Teresa says on the day of the visit.
“She sees me as a person,” she adds, “not necessarily as gay or straight or whatever.”
If only the world could get to that point.
Marjorie remembers the challenges of 20 years ago amid the turmoil of loss and grief as she mourned for her daughter and Teresa for her mother. There were “testy” times, she says, but they grew closer through the process, and they would eventually travel together on road trips and deepen their bonds with every conversation. They ventured across the country together on a VIA Train trip so Teresa could see the west, for example, and it’s one of Marjorie’s fondest memories.
That Teresa is gay never factored into her thinking, she says. “I love my granddaughter no matter what.”
In this day and age, she adds, people should move past judgement and see others for who they are inside and the gifts they bring to the world; the person they choose to love should always be accepted.
The life Teresa has built with her wife, Laura, is a point of pride for Marjorie, and she’s as grateful today for the love she has for her granddaughter as she as ever been. She’s looking forward to the day she can hold her in a warm embrace, and that is the most important thing on her mind. Gay or straight, it makes no difference to Marjorie, for love flows well beyond any type of label.
As we celebrate #ElderWisdom and Pride Month at Schlegel Villages, Marjorie’s perspective is certainly worth highlighting, and we thank Teresa and Marge for sharing their story.