Tom is an artist, a professor, a dad and husband living in Jackson, Michigan. He grew up in Toledo, Ohio and attended the University of Toledo and the School of Design at the Toledo Museum of Art for a degree in Art Education. Tom and his husband Tod were married in California in 2008; they have two children with two legs and two children with four legs. The four-legged children are often times better behaved than the two-legged children.
For the past month I have listened to my parents talk about the decline of a former member of their church, the church I grew up in. I have grown used to this as my parents are in their seventies and their friends from the church are even older. Once or twice a month, my mom will share the passing of a person from the congregation, a church I left almost 30 years ago. The man they had a great deal of concern with was my first bully. He wasn’t in the halls of my school or on the playground, but he was at their church. Several decades later, his bullying still rings in my ears. When we visited my parents with the kids for the holidays, they brought up the fact that he was now in hospice and not expected to live much longer. I shared with both of them his bullying actions to me and my friends growing up, but they didn’t seem to care. My dad shrugged his shoulders and mumbled something about him being an old friend and my mom commented on how rough this all was for his family during the holidays. I addressed this man and his bullying in my book. The following is an excerpt adapted from that book.