Archive for February, 2016

Maybe it’s because Tuesday will mark the third anniversary of my father’s death. And by “anniversary,” I mean the third week, not year.

Or maybe it’s because one of the first posts I saw on Facebook this morning was a link to a story in the Missoulian newspaper, “Community mourns loss of 2 Missoula transgender people who struggled with depression.”

2016 certainly won’t go down in history as a banner year for the transgender community. We’re still being killed at an alarming rate, and now the GOP (Grand Old Perverts) want to check inside our underwear before we’re allowed to use bathrooms. This, despite the fact that Republican lawmakers have a higher arrest rate for sexual crimes committed in bathrooms than the entire worldwide trans* community combined.

But I think the main reason is that despite the fact that I am in therapy and on medications for my depression, there are still times when I ask myself, “Is it really worth it? Will I ever truly be free to be myself?”

And that only leads to the most deadly question of all: “Why bother?” Is it worth it, in the end, to continue to fight what all too often seems to be a losing battle? Or should I be a Hamlet, and

[T]ake arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die- to sleep-
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks 1755
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die- to sleep.
To sleep- perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub!
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, 1760
Must give us pause.

But no. I still don’t want to chance the dreams that may come, and so, again, like Hamlet, I say “Thus conscience does make cowards of us all.”

Yet, still, to be safe, I have various suicide hotlines on speed dial in my cell phone, as well as the local on-call mental health crisis team.

So yes, it’s hard. And yes, it’s exhausting. But ultimately, I still have fat too much work to do to quit now.


Posted: 19 February, 2016 in Death, Family
Tags: ,

If there was ever a time when I felt less like writing, I can’t remember when it was. It has been a little over a week since I attended my father’s memorial service, and until yesterday morning I felt completely numb. Finally—thankfully—I started to feel the pain.

It was the pain of loss: loss of a father, loss of my last living relative of his generation. Wait…that’s not quite true; both of my mother’s sisters are living. Still, by any dictionary definition, I’m an orphan. And the only good thing about being an orphan is that whatever size of any product you buy, it’s “family-size.”

The pain of rejection: despite my reconciliation with my father, my step-mother still introduced me to strangers as “Henry’s oldest son,” and I could feel the contempt from her daughter, my step-sister. Is it too harsh of me to say that I am glad I won’t have any more contact with them?

It was—still is—the pain of the normal grieving process. I know it will come and go over the next several days, weeks, months: it’s natural. And while I know I’ll be able to ride it out, it’s one thing to know something intellectually; is it quite another thing to experience the emotional ups and downs.

At least I saw my therapist yesterday.

And so I offer today’s entry. It isn’t much, but if you follow my blog with any regularity, the least I owe you is an explanation of why I haven’t been posting much lately.

Thanks for stopping by.

Robyn Jane

When A Parent Dies

Posted: 6 February, 2016 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

My father and I have been estranged for the better part of 7 years, ever since I was outed to him as transgender. Over that time, I have made several attempts at reconciliation, only to be rebuffed every time.

Today my daughter called me with the news that my father—who had a stroke almost a year ago—is dying. She said that she had spoken to my stepmother who informed her that he was going to be 88 on his birthday—“if he makes it that far.” And since his birthday is next month, well, you can see the implication.

This evening I called to see if my father would speak to me. My brothers were there with him, and he accepted my call. I told him that I loved him, and much to my joy, he said the same thing. We had a mostly-good talk (I say “mostly-good” because I was on my cell-phone and he was on speaker phone, and his speech has been adversely affected by his stroke), and we ended on a positive note. I asked if I could call again next week, and he assented.

I finished by speaking with my brother, who said he’d call me tomorrow and we’d talk about what’s going on, and what I can expect.

I’m trying to keep it together long enough to write this, but it’s hard. Hard to sort out the jumbled thoughts and mixed emotions, hard to see the screen through my tears. Hard to realize that the man I’ve looked up to and idolized for such a large part of my life will soon be gone.

But I’m trying to stay positive by concentrating on the fact that we are in fact effecting a reconciliation. My daughter and her mother (my ex-wife) will be flying out to see him soon, and I wish I could afford the air or train or bus fare to see him one last time.

It’s been hard these past few years, but he’s my father, and I love him.