As work on editing the book has continued, I have shared it with a few people in hopes of getting their feedback and/or endorsements. It is true that you can buy endorsements these days, but I find that unethical and even if I didn’t, I have no budget for it. I’m getting them the old-fashioned way! One of the most significant sources of feedback so was my mom and dad. I know it’s not exactly the most professional move to publish the fact that “at least my mom thought it was good”, but I would dare say anyone, anywhere in the LGBT+ alphabet would recognize the significance of that statement.
I don’t want to get into sharing too much – most of this my parent’s journey to share, not mine. But I do want pass along some insights I’ve had this last week that I think should be valuable to others who find themselves on either side of a similar journey. Obviously this is different for every family, but I think there are some core truths to this experience that many will benefit from.
I’ve been very close to my parents all my life. We have enjoyed a mutually supportive relationship in my adult years on a spiritual and emotional level. They have been very gracious financially to help out whenever my young family needed it. This past year and a half as I have affirmed my gender identity and reconstructed my faith has been very hard on them. The process is still on going. Over the last week, we have had some challenging, but heartfelt, loving and respectful exchanges that have helped me better understand their journey. Two points came out of that which I will share here.
- They are working through the stages of grief. They have lost a son as they knew him. While it’s not nearly the same as a death, there are visions, thoughts, and plans for future tomorrows that have to be adjusted. The old ideas must be mourned and that process looks a whole lot like any other life grief. Whether it’s 3, 5 or 7 stages – it’s a process that must be given its due.
- They need new memories. Hopes for tomorrow are fueled by memories of yesterday. They don’t have a context as yet for building those new hopes. They are not sure what memories still fit and which ones they need to let go of. We will have that opportunity because they are willing to still engage. Even as they work through the grief toward more whole acceptance, they have never once cut off communication with me. It will be out of those moments of connecting, even from hundreds of miles away, that new memories will take shape.
My motivation for writing the book has been to serve as a catalyst for conversation. The conversation that needs to happen between and within families in our community is perhaps the most signifiant, followed closely by our faith and political circles. (Warning: shameless plug forthcoming!) Please help me keep that conversation going by reserving your advance copy of the book today! (Click here)
If you have any questions about or comments about your own conversations along these lines, please leave them below or send them to me personally. I aways love to hear from you!