This past week has been especially difficult because of the second coming out of 'Marcy' Michael's female alter gender identity. My strife is entirely internal. She is not dressing more, she has not come out at work (yet), she is not asking our son to call her mommy (yet), she hasn't even restarted hormones (yet). She just made a declaration of intention and my weary soul is numb with grief again.
"Hope" is the thing with feathers - (314)
By Emily Dickinson
Grief. My old nemesis. We meet again. Last time I went through this I didn't make it. Grief is hard. I felt as though the pain would never end. I felt no one could ever understand the loss and pain I suffered. It was slow loss like terminal illness but without the kind words from friends and family. I suffered without people stopping by to hold my hand or bring me food, without the time off from work, or school. The very special grief feels very private and shameful.
People understand grief over death. But I hear time and again of quiet suffering of people who endure loss of a different kind like fertility, independence, ability, or even their homes. These losses are misunderstood and seem like less, because everyone is still alive. 'You can always adopt.' 'At least you have someone to take care of you.' 'Plenty of people get by using a wheelchair.' 'You can build a new home somewhere else.' We are foolish when it comes to someone else's loss and pain. We can't know their desolation. We shouldn't compair it. Don't tell me it could be worse he could be dead, that is insult to injury. My life is changed for ever. My grief is not self indulgent whining's. My pain is real, and hot, and crushing.
There is someone in your life who is celebrating this change. I used to say it all the time. She is joyfully attending Marcy's birthday and I can't stop crying because I am at Michael's funeral. I am happy for her, because I love to see her happy. But that can not lessen my grief because it is mine and not hers.
Last time I recall it being very hard to let go of the title. This is my husband. I am Michael's wife. I am Mrs. Reynolds. It seems like a silly thing to cling to. I didn't realize the status it had attached until I lost it. I have a partner now. My partner and I have a child. My partner. In polite conversation who knows what that means. We may have been together for a month, we may be gay, we may be starting a business, I may be the breadwinner, they may be stay at home with the kids. It was hard. That has gotten easier.
I feel I may never have children with my partner again. I always imagined a large family. Marcy told me that she looked into sperm banking already and that it was not expensive. Do I really want to inseminated sometime down the line? I think she should bank before restarting testosterone blockers, to preserve her fertility. But I am not comfortable with the idea of having her babies. Which is funny. I have had baby fever the last few months. I probably just sensed this was coming.
I think what it is is the change in family status is still uncomfortable for me. We are not a perfect traditional couple with a beautiful boy. We are morphing into a new mosaic family with more than one mom, and an unusual history. Like adoption, step families, foster families, gay families, poly families, and friends who raise children together. I have always thought that there was no lesser family structure as long as everyone loved and protected the children. But this wasn't my dream.
That what we have to grieve. The dream. The future that will never be. Like those who suffer infertility. I have to let go my desire to have my family the way I want to and surrender to having a family.
If you are not familiar with the stages of grief or you just want to laugh at this delightfully short and funny educational cartoon visit ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_Z3lmidmrY
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.
By Emily Dickinson
So the poem. My favorite poem. I chant it to myself sometimes to remind myself to listen to the song. I am here to grow. I hope for better understanding, acceptance, and serenity. The times of hope are small in comparison of the times of sadness and anger. I go to church, I pray, I light a candle and I fill my cup with hope. I carry that cup of light and its song with me through-out my week to stave off the darkness of despair.
I don't know if I am more prepared to handle the changes then last time. But I know that I must grieve, I know that I must hope, and that I must grow.
How do you handle your grief?