My Modern Family

 My twin brother Jim and me.

 My twin brother Jim and me.

I was born into a big family with 11 kids. We lived in South Minneapolis and were on ‘shifts’ for everything—meals, bathing, school, everything. However, everything changed as I was entering my teen years.

My Mother died of an aggressive cancer when I was 12. Our oldest brother was killed by a drunk driver almost 9 months later. These tragedies overwhelmed our family in many ways.  

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By the time I was 16, I moved out of our family house and supported myself with various jobs and still managed to graduate from Washburn High. By that time, I had fathered a child who we had given up for adoption.  From there I put myself through St. Cloud and the U by working a variety of odd jobs at all hours.

Somewhere in that time frame, I came to terms with who I was and came out.  It was much later when I came out to my Father and Step Mother.

Seventeen years later, my daughter found her birth parents and my family life changed in amazing ways.  Today, my daughter, Chris, is a public school teacher and has a family with her husband Jason and their three children--Sadie, Lauren and Charlie--all of whom I cherish. What a great thing to be a grandfather!

Being reunited with Chris has been one of the great joys and journeys of my life.

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As a young adult, I was involved in a long term, 17 year relationship with my partner Mark.  It is hard to believe but Mark was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and we went through a long period of tests, treatments and living with cancer. Unfortunately Mark eventually succumbed to this disease and my whole life went dark.  He was a soul mate in so many ways and I really struggled in his absence.

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Later I met Mark (yes, another Mark!) who was co-parenting a son with his close friend Kate. Their son, John, was adopted from Vietnam and is an amazing human being with a love of music, genetics, computer programming and languages. Mark and I married four years ago and now have one dog at home—Petey!

So that’s my modern family. We have all found each other through interesting journeys, stories and circumstances. But we are a family that loves each other and shares with each other just the way my original family did in that house in South Minneapolis.

Tom Hoch

Tom Hoch