I woke up this morning with this heavy sad feeling on my heart… again. I try to make sense of this sad melancholy feeling that will just not let go of me. Well, hello again…… Grief.
My own grief
I am grieving my relationship with my children or rather the lost relationship or the relationship that we used to have. As my children got older a lot has shifted. Throw in some devices and a gaming console and all of a sudden we have a lot of other things that is taking up my children’s attention.
I am grieving the loving kind relationship I used to have with my husband. It feels like the tides and currents of life’s journey has taken us in different directions and most of the time I feel that we are worlds apart.
I am grieving the loss of my parents. Even though they both have been gone for years, I grief not having someone that truly care about my well being and interested in what is happening in my life. I grief not having a mother who prays for me anymore.
I feel like there is a lot of undealt grief in my life. You just have to get on with life especially as a mom. Then again I don’t think grief is something that you can just deal with and get over it. It pops its ugly little head out and catch you by surprise sometimes.
I now though have another addition to my grief-load and this one is really hard to deal with. My child just told us a few days ago that he is transgender.
Writing this down black on white is really hard. I think a big part of me is still in denial about this. The grief however really hits home, but when sharing that with him I was met with a cold response – “ that’s your problem’’.
He is right though, that is my issue but dismissing the fact that this is causing me great grief hurts even more. I have lived through grief when someone is still around physically but they are actually gone already. My dad had dementia and it was really hard seeing him still alive but really missing the person who he was. The dad that I know was gone.
A tough journey
I know that this journey will be hard as well because the child that I have known for 16 years are gone and I need to get to know this new person. Not being allowed to say goodbye to the other one is really hard.
Something that I find really hard is the pace at which he wants change. I need some processing time here. I am going through an emotional roller coaster here. This is still early days.
I have a lot of questions still at this point. This is really unchartred waters for me. I know this is my child’s journey but it has such a huge impact on our entire family. The rippling effect of these impacts relationships and brings a lot of stuff to the surface.
I am sure I am not the only parent of a transgender child who question themselves. Trying to go back and trace your steps as a parent to see if perhaps you were the reason for this. It is hard not to try to find someone else to blame for the impact and influence they had on your child in making this decision.
As a Christian this is particular a tricky one for me. This just feels so wrong to me and like the ultimate rebellion against God.
My daily bible reading the next morning after my child came out was from John 8.
A Woman Caught in Adultery
8 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”
I know that God was saying to me that we are all sinners and we all need salvation through Jesus to be in right relationship with a holy God. This made me think of the book Respectable sins by Jerry Bridges.
So for the moment I just sit with my grief but I can lay it down at the feet of Jesus. I can pray and ask for wisdom how to handle this on a daily basis.
I had to really think what I would suggest to another parent dealing with the grief of a transgender child. It is definitely practiced what you preach this time
Tips for parents to deal with your own grief
1. Support from friends
I have a few trusted friends who are praying for me and my family. I can feel the power of prayer at work. I can feel and experience the peace that surpasses all understanding. I love God but I also love my child. Without strength from above this journey is very overwhelming.
Funny enough that my last blog was about self-care. Taking care of you is really important. You can read more about self-care here.
3. Professional help
Counseling or sessions with a psychologist is really necessary to help sort out your mental mess. I have just ordered the new book from Dr. Carolyn Leaf called ‘ Cleaning up your mental mess”
4. Sleep and space
Although my sleep is heavily affected by the sudden news, but I know that it needs to be a higher priority. You will need physical rest. You will need some space as well. I can recall a heavy argument that my child had with me because I said I am struggling with using the new name. It got to a point where I needed to remove myself and get out of the house for an hour. My child has been on a camp for the last three days and it was so good to have some breathing space. I am sure they feel the same way as well.
5. Essential oils
I have mixed this blend after my mom passed away and it had really been an effective way to ground me and help me to get on with my day.
6 drops Geranium oil
6 drops Neroli oil
6 drops Lavender oil
6 drops Marjoram oil
6 drops Bergamot oil
Mix with 30 ml of carrier oil and apply twice a day on the wrist area or behind the ears.
Rose oil is a wonderful oil to help us cope with grief. Rose oil is also quite expensive so often it comes prediluted already, which means it is already mixed with a carrier oil. That makes it very easy to just carry around in your purse and apply a drop behind the ears or on the chest area.
Daily exercise is not only good to keep healthy but it helps to clear your head as well. It doesn’t need to be strenuous at all. Long walks is very calming. Some days though it feels like I need the kick box class instead to get rid of frustration and anger.
Thank you for sharing my journey with me. If you want to connect, feel free to leave a comment below. I am sure I am not the only parent dealing with this.
Take care of you so that you can take care of those you love