Letter to the in-laws
My in-laws were very recently told about the situation and as many parents would be, are struggling. I have not spoken to them myself since they found out because I have not been in the right place emotionally, for a variety of reasons and therefore are unable to offer them any support. I also have concerns about how their current stage in the grieving process, which is somewhere between denial and bargaining, will effect me. Since I have grieved and am now accepting I find it daunting and challenging on a level I cannot describe, to cope with others in more difficult stages of the grieving process. They need to grieve, but since I have been in this longer and have grieved I have some wisdom to share, but am not ready to have this conversation face to face and have therefore decide to write them a letter… Dear Bill and Lori, I do not know how you feel and I will not pretend I do. I do not know what it’s like to have your son tell you that he is going to become your daughter, however I do know what it’s like to have your husband tell you he wants to become your wife. I’ve known about this for 5 years, you have just found out. I have lived with it everyday, I’ve watched the song and dance of Nick becoming Emily day after day. I’ve taught him to apply make up, bought him clothes, and painted his nails. I have gone through the stages of grief and am now have come to accept what this is for what it is and am ready to stand by Nick, as he permanently becomes Emily. I support you as you grieve the loss of your son and I hope and pray for his sake as well as your own that you will be able to find acceptance in the end. The stages of grief are painful and my life improved greatly when I reached acceptance so I want to share with you somethings I now understand in order to try to assist you in moving on faster than I did…
- This is not a stage-Nick first came out to me in 2010, we made it “go away”, but it did not go away it was just percolating. In the back of my mind I always knew I was living on borrowed time until it came up again so it was no shock when he told me he needed to talk to me 4 years later. No matter how much he suppresses her, she will NEVER go away. She is always going to be lurking around the corner.
- Nick is not just a cross dresser-I wanted more than anything in the world for Nick to be a cross dresser. That was my stage of a bargaining. I could live with him wearing dresses at home once in a while. He needs more, he is not a cross dresser.
- Nick is not using a trans lifestyle to mask a deeper issue-Nicks’ issue is he feels like a woman on the inside and wants his insides and outsides to match. There is not another issue.
- Back and forth is hard-The switch between Nick and Emily is confusing to me. I do not always know whom to expect and I am often shocked by who I am going to get. It is also hard on Nick since his mood is dependent on time as Emily.
- Emily is happier and more fun to be around than Nick. Emily is outgoing and easier to get along with. I hope that you can get to know Emily so that you will be able to see this as well.
- Quentin will be ok-My first priority, as you know as a parent, is my child. I have done the research; I have talked to other parents. The hardest time for a child to have a parent transition is in the teen years. Quentin will not remember Nick, and therefore will not be able to miss him. It does not matter to Quentin if Nick is Nick or Emily. He has never flinched when Emily walks in the room and he does not treat Emily or Nick differently. He will grow up in a time when alternative lifestyles or modern families are more accepted. Yes, he will come to a time when he is teased, or not accepted, but how will that be different than if he has a “normal” set of parents? We have all been teased or not accepted, and we will address those specific issues as they arise.
- I will be ok-My plan is to stay, but what the future holds no one can tell. If for some reason at some point I make the decision that I have to leave, I can do that, I am not being held against my will.
- If you hurt your son it will be detrimental to your relationship with him, your grandson and me-It is easy to get caught up in your own feelings and say and do things you do not mean, but in this case you have to be careful. Nick needs love and support and that is all. Saying or doing things that could hurt him, will cause problems they may not be able to be fixed and could result in an estranged relationship with all of us.
At the end of the day s/he is your child and a parents’ love is unconditional. At the end of the day Nick and Emily are the same person on the inside and you will come to understand that and hopefully accept this very large change. I love Emily the same way I love Nick. I am here if you need me, although I need you to understand the effect this has on my life and that its difficult to help someone else cope when I am coping myself. I wish you luck on your journey through grief, I know how difficult and lonely it is. Love, Amanda