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.”