Monday, 3 November 2014

Pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard

For someone who loves to write I've found it really difficult to do that recently.

I've managed to do just one of the weekly writing prompts from Laura's Writers Roadmap over the last few months. I've struggled to write any posts for this blog and after agreeing to put together a webpage for our companies intranet site that will be used during our Diversity and Inclusion Awareness week I've really struggled to come up with a suitable introduction to the subject of Transgender.

I've got to get that done today or tomorrow as they are putting together the webpages for that week soon. I have managed to pull together something which I've uploaded to my own website. Hopefully I can get something together that I'm happy with. With it being such a wide subject area its hard to do it the justice that it deserves. (If anyone wants to take a look at the Transgender section and give me some feedback that would be most welcome as the website is a work in progress and I want to expand on a lot of it anyway.)

So why am I struggling with writing?

This year has been a difficult one for my family. My son has been in and out of hospital with the tumour operations and radiotherapy. He's had quite a bit of stomach pains as well, although that seems to have eased since I put the sign of the cross on his forehead about two weeks ago, using Holy water that one of the sweetest old ladies from church brought back from Lourdes.

Over the summer my partners Dad passed away and we've had to deal with that.

And then to top it all my Mum hasn't been well and we've been told that she has cancer and that its spread throughout her body so there is nothing that the doctors are able to do. We don't know how long she has got left, could be anything from weeks upwards.

We saw her about a fortnight ago and she wasn't too bad. Yesterday we went up to see my parents again as my sister was down to visit. Mum looks worse, she's so weak because she's picked up a chest infection. She's got antibiotics so hopefully they will sort that out and she'll be able to regain some strength.

Yesterday was hard, I managed to spend some time with her on my own. She asked me if I was happy now, I am I told her. She told me to be me, never mind what others want or think and then she says that she wants it to be a celebration. I wasn't sure what she meant until she said that she doesn't want black. I knew then that she was talking about her funeral.

It was hard trying to keep things together. My sister was almost in tears at one point. My partner was in tears. My son has been around death all his life and saw his grandfather in his last hours during the summer but being like me he doesn't show his emotions as openly. I spent so much time yesterday wanting to let the tears come but I held them back because everyone else is going to need to get through the days, weeks and months ahead. Someone has to be the source of strength that gets them through it all. As the eldest that will be me.

I sent my sister the following the other day when we were talking via email
"If it sometimes seems that I'm not upset by Mum's illness and what we're facing that isn't the case. I might not cry when I'm around people but that's because I'm so used to dealing with Rhys' illness and being a source of strength for everyone else to get them through the tough times. I might not openly grieve in front of people but that's because I need to do that my way and at the times and places I feel I can do that."

Once we've dealt with Mum we will have to rally round Dad because he is going to need so much support. Mum says he's stronger than we think but even so I don't know how he's going to cope with losing the person that has been part of his life for half a century. The time ahead is going to be one where I will have to dig so deep into the strength that has sustained me through everything that life has thrown at me. In a way I think being transsexual and dealing with all that entails has been training for everything that life seems to chuck my way.

So I'll apologise in advance if some of my posts seem to be a bit depressing over the months to come, or if they seem infrequent. There are going to be bright spots, I know that. For starters I've got to find something suitable to wear to Mum's funeral, something that is not black and it classy because when she was looking at some of the pictures from the photoshoot we had done earlier this year she said "don't wear so much makeup, go for the classical look." So classy and bright for my Mum when we say our final goodbyes it is.

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