Families Can Be Together Forever
Originally uploaded by Daniel Greene.
This is dedicated to a colleague’s son who died suddenly last week at the age of 4. I attended his funeral at a Mormon church yesterday. The first order of service was singing a hymn called “Families Can Be Together Forever” whose lyrics resonated with me, a gay Jewish man:
“I have a family here on earth.
They are so good to me.
I want to share my life with them
Through all eternity.
Families can be together forever
Though Heavenly Father’s plan.
I always want to be with my own family
And the Lord has shown me how I can.”
(Words: Ruth Muir Gardner, Music: Vanja Y. Watkins)
It is interesting that I heard this song the day after watching the movie Juno and being struck by a line spoken by Ellen Page’s character: “I just need to know that two people can be happy and stay together forever.”
I do believe they can, and it doesn’t matter what religion or sexual preference they are. My grandparents were married for over 64 years before my grandmother died. Andy & I married for life. We’ll be married four years in August, and we intend to stay together “forever” (on the question of life after death, I’m agnostic). In the short time that Andy & I have been together, we’ve seen couples comes and go. But we’ve also known couples, both gay and straight, who have been together for decades. So, although families don’t always stay together forever, they can, and I dedicate this image to the little boy who brought me to a moving reminder of that truth. The little boy loved bubble gum, so that’s what I used to spell out the word Families on our neighbor Elva’s green grass lawn.
Here are a couple of valuable links I came across when searching for the lyrics to this song:
1. The sheet music on the LDS Church Website.
2. The perspective of an LDS woman who taught primary school yet grew up in a broken home. It’s called When Families Aren’t Forever.