My daughter Grace passed away in September 2010.
There wasn’t an obituary. There wasn’t a funeral. There wasn’t a casket or even a body to put in it. No one sent me sympathy cards. No one brought me casseroles. But that wasn’t because no one cared. It was because my child was still alive.
That fear and longing to save my child overtook everything else. I forged ahead into a new life and helped her transition. I didn’t expect to feel such grief. C.S. Lewis said, “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”
I had to put away all the girl pictures. I had to get rid of any sign that Grace had ever existed. I had to remember to call my child by the name that she had chosen: Chris. I had to replace “she” with “he.” I had to start calling the child I thought was my daughter my son.
I distinctly remember crying one Saturday afternoon in bed, mourning the loss of my daughter. Grace came in and hugged me. “Mum, if this is going to be so hard for you, I won’t do it,” she said.
I looked into her eyes and saw such fear. I knew that she needed to transition to alleviate the pain in her heart. But she was willing to keep going through that pain to spare me pain. I thought about what a great kid I had, and about the fact that what I loved was her heart and soul, not her gender. “No, I know you need to do this,” I said. “And I’ll be OK. Just give me time.”
She looked so relieved. “Thanks, Mum,” she said. “And we’ll get you help too.”
Grace slept in bed with me that night. When we awoke I found her staring at me pensively. “What are you thinking about?” I asked.
“You have a really big nose,” she said.
I burst out laughing, and so did she. She and I had always used humor to get through life, and I needed it now more than ever. I realised that no matter what, my child would be the same honest, wisecracking kid I’d grown to know and love. I knew in my heart that we would both be OK.
Over time, as my child blossomed into the young man he was meant to be, my grief lessened. But the tears didn’t end; they just changed. Instead of the tears I’d cried when my son got his period at age 12, I cried happy tears when his puberty-blocker implant was put in. It put an end to the misery that his period had brought him.
I cried happy tears when his name was legally changed to “Christopher.” I cried happy tears when his school changed the gender designation on his records to “male” and allowed him use of the boys’ room. I cried happy tears when he began testosterone treatments and a slight mustache began to appear.
Georgie Stone recalls the moment she knew she was meant to be a girl with her Mum, Rebekah, and Mia Freedman on No Filter. Post continues after audio…