Each morning, out of habit I turn on my computer. It means I can see the time and as the day gets going and the morning routine begins I play music on youtube. I open all my regular sites – I usually have at least five open at once – and it stays on most of the day, even if I am not sitting in front of it. Some things I absorb without being really aware of it; things on my home page, stuff I scroll past on my newsfeed. This morning however I was stopped in my tracks. A page I have ‘liked’ on facebook, which is for a website that I enjoy called ‘Mamamia’ had shared a story about a mother whose child had transitioned from female to male. 

Regular readers will be aware that I am extremely open and accepting of diversity. I celebrate all colours of the rainbow! In a little while I will be going to the wedding of one of my dearest, oldest friends and my friend and her wife to be have asked me to do a reading as they formalise their commitment in celebration of their happy home, gorgeous family and ten year partnership. So, any article about a mother’s acceptance of her transgender son would only be a good thing in my book, ordinarily. Except, and it’s quite a big ‘but’ really (I like big butts and I can not lie!) the story made statements about her female child having died and been reborn again as a male. Ok, metaphorically I get it. I do not think that situation would not be without it’s own grief and losses. But she lost me when she said things like “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.”

She then, two sentences later, stated the obvious “It was because my child was still alive.” Well, yes. I had lots of food delivered to me. Mostly lasagne. I had a body that was the charred physical remains of my beautiful, intelligent, loving, talented child. I got to plan her funeral not long past her fourteenth birthday. Lucky fucking me, hey?

As the writer went on and outlined her road to acceptance she waxed lyrical about special events that had caused her to shed ‘happy tears’. Um, yes, that would be because her child was still ALIVE. Able to grow and change and develop. To live and love and learn and as his mother she had the privilege of being able to watch that and support him and nurture her child. To some extent, at some stage in our children’s lives we all have to let go of the child we dreamt of and imagined and accept them for the people the actually ARE. This woman’s experience was probably more than most of us would expect but how dare she, HOW DARE SHE compare her child’s transition to losing a child to death. There were NO happy tears shed after my daughter died. Because my Daughter actually DIED. Wasn’t alive any more. I can no longer watch her grow, hear her laugh, hold her in my arms. Never again. Ever. Not in this lifetime. That kind of dead.

The article was originally published here on the Huffington Post site. and then republished here on Mamamia. If you have any thoughts please feel free to go there and share them. Comments here welcome also!

I cannot even explain the white hot anger I felt at the words so thoughtlessly used. I know that unless you have outlived your child you cannot imagine it. I am GLAD for you that you can’t. But in this situation there was no comparison and you’ll be lucky if you get to take my word for that.

Safe onward travel x

photo (10)


Comments on: "GONE, GONE, GONE." (5)

  1. Rather the ultimate in drama queen. It doesn’t appear to even come up to the scale of shunning when the person, though alive, is truly “no longer there” for you. Although, the door is always open. I have lost a child, though not my own very, very close to me. I wrote about it after Sandy Hook; angered by the political vultures that targeted the town within hours. I understand you pain, Kate. Many are often more interested in waxing poetic, or selling an agenda, than the impact the make on fellow beings.

  2. Hi Kate, just came across the article on MM – quite agree with you. I haven’t experienced the loss of a child, but am a parent with Cerebral Palsy to a lovely 2.5 yr old. There was an article on MM recently talking about a little boy with CP the impact on him and his sibling. I found the tone very dramatic and quite out of proportion. It made me quite irritated – all this talking about “I wish we had more time”, aargh – I wanted to say “you’ve got the time, enjoy it – it may different, but bloody appreciate who your kids are, not who they should be in a perfect world”. My heart is with you at this moment, we’ve got the same name after all! Sorry for the rant!

    • kate4samh said:

      Funnily enough I read that article yesterday. To each their own is my usual mantra but the little boy sounded closer to self awareness and acceptance than Mum. We are all different and have things we wish we were better at. To me the sadness was in how Mum saw him, as she has clearly been apprehensive about this for a while, rather than how he saw himself.

      I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. I’d have appreciated it even if we didn’t have the same name 😉 ! Ranting always welcome – makes a nice change when it’s someone else! x

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