The Visit

This story is shared with permission from my adult child. Also, I will be using “they” and “their” as preferred pronouns.

A Little Recap-

My 24-year-old child was struggling hugely with anxiety, panic disorder, depression, and gender dysphoria. In April 2016 they came out as transgender. Their struggles heightened, they struggled even to get a job. With help from the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, they started their first job at age 24. I was so proud. Though they still had not come out publically.

I struggled

At this point in the story, I struggled with preferred pronoun and preferred name. I was respectful and didn’t use “he”, I didn’t say the name I had chosen at birth. I would often rearrange my sentences to avoid using them. My child’s birthday came along. That was a hard day, a few hard days. I cried and cried, and cried. I wanted my little boy who was all grown up back. It hurt. I didn’t want this. I couldn’t even bring myself to buy a birthday card. It was too difficult.

So many questions

I was wrestling within myself, is it right? If I used the pronouns and preferred name, was I affirming what I didn’t believe to be right. More on that coming up in another post.
We went from “he” to “she” to now “they”. I don’t struggle anymore.

The Visit

Sometime during the seven months after our child came out as trans, we were told about their partner, male to female (MTF). She would be coming for a visit. This would actually be the first time they both met in person. In November 2016 we met our child’s partner.
I told myself I was going to do this right. They had gone to stay at a hotel for a few days together. I invited them both to have dinner with us. I told myself I will share with them that I don’t believe the same as they do and I didn’t agree with all this. I also told myself I would share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with her while she was here. All while hiding this visit from anyone I knew. Hoping no one came over or found out she was here. But, I could still love them, right?

We had a nice dinner. We talked, and we got along. I shared what my kid already knew, I didn’t agree with this, and ya, I shared the Gospel too.

The weekend passed and she went back home. It felt safer now. Maybe she wouldn’t come back. I hate saying some of this. I hate the mistakes I made through this part of the journey. Months later I was told, “mom, you could barely look her in the eyes while she was here”. Ya, I did the visit all wrong. They already knew how I felt about all this, they already knew what I believed. There was no need to bring that up then. I didn’t need to clobber them with what they already knew. Sharing Jesus with someone-how could that be a mistake? It was. How could one possibly hear how much Jesus loves them when the one sharing with her could barely look her in the eyes? How could she hear the love of Jesus from someone who could barely love her? I hate the mistakes I made during that visit. Today, I look back at that and know it was the beginning of God telling me I had a lot to learn about love. Today, I rejoice in not having my child’s and my relationship broken through my mistakes. Today I am thankful for the grace my kid had with me. Today I rejoice in what I learned through my mistakes.

Thoughts of suicide

Months passed, and the new year rolled around. About two weeks into the new year, one night the doorbell rang. As I answered, there stood a police officer asking if someone by the name of ********lived here. A distant online friend of my child reached out to our local police. Our child was considering suicide that night. We, just in the other room, had no idea of what was happening. Their partner had broken things off with them. That hurts enough. This went even deeper. My child had NO ONE who understood the depth of what they were going through. NO ONE. We all talked with the officer who was a huge help and then he left.

The next month was exhausting

Knowing my child wanted to kill themself. Knowing that the insulin my child pumps into their body to keep them alive every day, was also an easy way for my child to end living, without me even knowing it. Being on suicide watch, watching, and loving your child through this is heartbreaking. It’s scary and heartbreaking together. Nights of laying on the floor of my adult child’s bed while my child slept. Restless interrupted sleep with every move and noise I heard. Prayers of tears. I held onto all the other meds my child took for about a month and a half. I sat in their room at night while they would play their video game at their request and sometimes mine. So many tears. The quiet sadness that filled that room was so loud.

Going to work was difficult. The small company they worked for was so gracious in allowing me to come sit in their small office while my child worked. My child was often there alone during the morning hours. To think back even today as I write this it brings tears. Knowing the heaviness of the hurt my child was carrying and I couldn’t make it go away. All I could do was be there, listen, pray, and cry with them.

I believe this was a piece of the beginning of God working on me. Working on what needed to be changed within me in order to walk this journey with my child.

Time passed
A little over a month passed and it was safe to return all meds to my child. On the same day, they decided to color their long beautiful hair, blue. I loved it! But what I loved more was seeing the smiles begin to return and the deep hurt getting a little less with each passing day. Though my child still missed her. They missed their partner deeply. Now, though they didn’t want to die, most days they didn’t want to wake up and live either. There was a longing to have her back. I was thankful for my child’s effort in the midst of their deep hurt. I was thankful for what smiles that came in the midst of that hurt.

But I still needed help. How do I do this?

October 21, 2016     Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.  -Barbara Johnson.

Coming next….Things to remember and where I got some help.

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