Friday Fuzz- Sadness

“Every human walks around with a certain kind of sadness. They may not wear it on their sleeves, but it’s there if you look deep.” -Taraji P. Henson
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A transgender teenager threw himself in front of a train. If you know the right people, have liked the right pages on Facebook or follow the right people on Twitter, you have heard about him. It’s a tragedy. Any time a person takes their own life, it’s devastating. That a child who had his entire life ahead of him felt like he had no other choice breaks my heart. As a teenager he was out of options. He felt he had nowhere to turn.

I have encountered his story in news articles, in Facebook groups and even here in blogs. I’ve read commentaries made by parents of transgender children. I’ve read articles written by people who are not familiar with transgender people. In some, the parents are quoted. And in some they are not. Sometimes the correct pronouns are used. Sometimes they are not. It’s driving me crazy!

Here’s what we know- a transgender teenager killed himself by stepping in front of a speeding train and now he is gone. He was obviously suffering greatly.

Are his parents to blame? I don’t know. I don’t have anything to go on. I don’t know how long his parents knew that their child was transgender. I don’t know if they were supportive or not. I don’t know if they were truly trying or not. I don’t know what they knew about being transgender or if they even understood what it meant. I don’t know if they turned their backs on him. I don’t know if they truly believed he was transgender or suicidal or what.

Was his extended family supportive? Did they know? What was his support system like? Did he have one? I don’t know any of these things.

People are passing judgment on his parents. People are looking for someone to blame. People are trying to cope. I get that.

As a parent of a transgender child, it makes me feel scared and angry and helpless. Whether transgender or not, it is very terrifying to hear that your child has thought about suicide. Your blood runs cold. Your heart seizes up. You suddenly cannot swallow the huge boulder of a lump in your throat. In your paralyzing fear, you are trying to get your limbs to move- to race to your child and hold him in your arms and keep him safe.

I know this because 8 months ago I sat in a psychiatrist’s office and heard him ask Kris, “Do you still have thoughts of suicide?”  Wait, what, STILL??? His answer- “Yes.” I won’t share any of the conversation that followed his admission. I will never forget it.

And so, someone’s child is gone. He will never know the full potential of who he could have been. He barely experienced his life at all. And he had a mere few seconds of living in the gender he knew he was. We will never know the great things he could have done, the awesome man he was going to grow into being. It’s his loss. The world’s loss. And regardless of where his parents, family and friends fell in the equation- their loss.

I can’t sit here and judge who failed and where the blame lays. I can only grieve for a child who is gone much too soon.

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15 thoughts on “Friday Fuzz- Sadness

  1. Jeremy told me back in February that he was thinking of killing himself because his life was pointless and meaningless and he was never going to amount to anything. It’s kind of like having your heart ripped out.

    He complained not that long ago that I’m too supportive. He’s just going to have to deal because I can’t bear the thought of losing him.

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      1. I hadda really listen, and realize that support comes from underneath and lifts up leaving the boat uncovered and free to catch their own breeze in their sails…

        …but smothering comes from above down, and blocks the wind, leaving them stranded in the Horse Latitudes…

        …when I picked up on that disgruntlement it was time for me to check myself and see if my support was more about me than our children.

        As you said, Kat…fine line indeed!

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      2. Very well said. I equate it to knowing when to say something, when to do something and when to stand nearby letting your presence being felt. I tend to follow his lead and only shift into over-drive when warning bells go off.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this. I’m getting ready to start the school year and will keep this in the forefront of my mind throughout the year so I can offer support as needed. I see a lot of students struggling with various choices and will hang a LGBTQ Safe Space sign on my door again this year. Kris is lucky to have YOU as his mother.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for saying that. You know how mothering goes. Ups and downs.

      I think it’s fantastic that you will let your students know you have a safe classroom. It’s important that kids know that there are people out there who are understanding and will help- even if it’s not someone they know that well.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw that. I’m trying really hard to keep an open mind about this. I think about the early days after Kris came out. Not everyone who was close to Kris was able to join the journey. Some came later.

      I’m not excusing the parents. I just don’t know them.

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      1. Dearest friend…I don’t know if this will comfort you or not: suicidal thoughts are simply a part of my life. For me, in some weird way, they were/are like a pack of cigarettes in my purse unopened to prove that I could rise above?

        What I am trying to say is that there is a vast gulf between the thoughts, and the deed itself.

        Sadly, I have been way too close to the edge in the past, but not for a long time now.

        The fear you mention…the shock in the question and then the word STILL…and then the answer…that you were present for the question being asked, and that it was answered with you there is really the greatest badge of honor and gift that you could be given.

        This means that Kris expressed to the therapist the central core you are for him…and wanted you to know of this struggle…or the whole thing simply wouldn’t have come up with you there.

        I know…from experience.

        When I almost did it, no one knew…no one.

        Years later, and I do mean years, I told my baby about it…and why? Cus I wanted to tell her how it haunted me, how I was so glad I never did, and wished I had it over…all at once. And in the telling, the revealing of this I revealed myself to her and invited her into my life in a place I allowed no one to be, and I mean no one! Not even myself.

        When I told her, I hoped that she would never bring it up again, and I also hoped that she would notice, and track me out…which would affirm me that I was wanted and needed…

        …so…my friend…be gently bold and casually direct…Go ahead and ask directly and look straight into his eyes and let your love be seen as strong and your heart be seen as tender and he will be honest with you if you ask him please.

        Your direct compassionate involvement is the greatest affirmation of him, the deepest NORMALIZATION of him.

        take it from me, dearest friend…from my heart pouring out to you in the last few days, from the desperate fear, and from the shelter I found in your care…

        Oh, I should say this…now? Yeah I still think about it from time to time, but more as a bit of absurdity as I recite “run run run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me just because I am trans!!” lol

        As an aside, to cis readers…please do not think you know what it is like to bear the constant and continual full frontal assault on our well being that occurs in our time and place…

        …words and actions small and insignificant to you loom large and of ultimate import to us…seeing ourselves in mirrors, pictures going forth, being chided about our self image and how you see us different…

        the most innocent and well meaning remark from you can reify and rebound and gain momentum and become a full blown trigger.

        Instead…simply relate to the person as they relate to themself…do not tell them what they are not (“you are NOT ugly…you are NOT awkward, etc etc). Instead, tell them what they ARE, what you see…sensitively and yet with utter conviction.

        So much love to you, Kat…so much love to Kris.

        Holding you both always deep within my heart…
        Rissa

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      2. Thank you, Rissa. This is something Kris and I have talked about- in his pre-transition days as well as following that appointment. While he assured me he would not do it….that it was a thought…..that fear lingers.

        You know. He has gone through so much. He internalizes so much. I need to really study him to get a read on him. He has 18 years experience of burying his true self. I watch him. And I try not to groan when he texts me from the next room. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. omfg that drives me freaking CRAZY!!!

        On another note…he has 18 years of burying…and you.

        I had 48 years…and you.

        See a common denominator??? giggles…

        No, sere I have my counselour and a few close friends along with my baby…but if I HAD had you at 18??? 30 freaking years ago…just ohhh.

        You keep being you…you are more than enough, even in all the ways you are finite and limited

        Liked by 1 person

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