Reddit user TheBrotherOfTyler recently shared his slow, heartbreaking realization that his Mormon father, who eventually divorced and died of a drug overdose, lived most of his life secretly closeted.
When I was a kid, it was not uncommon to find my mom playing the piano at our house and my dad standing next to her signing "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables. He would modify the words of the song to sing it from a straight male perspective rather than a straight female perspective, which is how it's sung in the play/movie (i.e., he changed it to "she slept a summer by my side" from "he slept a summer by my side").
When I was 14, my parents separated, and a short time later I put the pieces together and figured out my dad was gay. My dad died just over a year later from a drug overdose.
Fast forward 10 years or so, and I hear the song for the first time in a long time. As I was listening to the song all of the sudden a feeling came over me (it must have been the spirit) and I realized why my dad loved the song so much. It truly expressed how he felt as a straight LDS man living secretly as a gay man. It was touching and heartbreaking at the same time. It made me feel a tremendous amount of love for him. And it made me sad that he had to switch the lyrics to continue hiding his true self.
Here are some of the lyrics:
He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came
And still I dream he'll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed
I hadn't heard the recording of "I Dreamed A Dream" from the original London production of Les Miserables in years. I'd forgotten how tender Patti LuPone began the song.