Saturday, August 13, 2016

Death Becomes Her

August 13, 2016  

I have been thinking a lot about death and dying. My daughter and her husband see me as having died and are still grieving, I think, which leaves us in this odd situation. I want to be their parent and grandparent to my grandkids, but right now I don't exist anymore. They haven't told me why they cut me off, just that they want nothing to do with me at all.

When I look back at my life of 52 years, I can finally make sense of all the disjointed experiences I had: looking like a boy, being mistaken as a boy, excelling in traditional male activities, not quite fitting in, lacking in development of Self. As a woman, these experiences were confusing and shame producing, filled with starts and stops and loss of momentum. As a man, they line up and make a perfect pathway, like a racetrack, engines revved with intensity and verve.

Remember the old Christmas tree lights? If one bulb blew out the entire string would not work. My (life) string was filled with light bulbs that did not fire. Now I can look back over my whole life, a long string of light bulbs, and see the burned out bulbs come back to life! Illumination, at last!! It makes me feel whole and in alignment with myself.

This kind of experience is what life is for: to be fully alive. I cannot help what turned out to be true for me. But it brings up some interesting ideas for me. Like what does it mean to be a mother? When are mothering duties over? Does my role in my family depend on my genitals or whether I go through menopause? What constitutes abandonment? Why aren't the love, time and care I invested in my children and family built up like a bank account; rich and steadfast, able to handle this change, yet still together?

Last Saturday was my daughter's 30th birthday. I checked her Facebook page to see if she was having a party and was going to send her a happy birthday message. Instead I saw a Mother's Day montage of pictures of women in her life with the caption: "Thank you to the women who raised me and taught me such wonderful morals and values," etc. Who was in the montage? Two grandmothers, her dad's wife and her honorary Godmother. But not her mother. Me. I had a 22 hour delivery. I breastfed her. I stayed home to raise her. I coached her soccer team when she was 5 (The Cheetahs, with team cheer "Go Cheetahs, fast as lightning, goooooooooo Cheetahs!!!), I made her a layered ice cream cake with a layer for every year until she was 12 and the cake just fell over, I stood by her through thick and thin. And in my time of needing her, where are those morals and values she described? I transitioned into manhood when she was 23 years old; plenty of time to know who her mother was and is. She certainly she didn't get this particular set of morals and values from me after all. The ladies of the montage; a big part of my family and friends who I drew into my daughter's life to strengthen us and one another, including me.

And in my lowest moment I realized that that person who is so easily discarded did in fact die and the whole lot of them can go fuck themselves. We do not share the same values at all. Sometimes people change and when they do new decisions have to be made. They do not like the person I have become; when in fact they do not know me. They think that I am less when in fact I am the same and more. But the point is they do not want to know me, just as they really did not know me before. It's not their fault that I could not fully share who I was; it is their fault that they choose not to experience the full human being I am now.

The woman I was is gone. She is glad of it because her life was filled with an intense underlying sense of discomfort and prolonged, relentless anxiety and depression. If the people in my life prefer me to live in constant pain so they can feel good, there is something wrong with them and not me!

So to my former self, I bid you a fond farewell. You were a brave woman who not only endured your own pain, but willingly soaked up the pain of others to help them on their journey. You are at peace now and free from wrongful burdens. Death becomes you! I love you and am proud to have shared my life with you! You were an awesome mother and now father. Your birth child may not understand but your adopted kids love you and get you, so go forth and prosper, and let what is dead go.


  1. I can only imagine the pain you have endured all these years. If only more people could step back and imagine how it feels to be living a life as the wrong gender, there would be more understanding.