Thankful — Are You Really Looking?

"Dear Son Terry" -- Letter from my mother, August 25, 2005

“Dear Son Terry” — Letter from my mother, August 25, 2005

I was going through boxes of old photos and mementos again today.  I found this letter from my mom, typed on a “Thinking of You” card after I transitioned from female to male.  Now she did make a lot of bad decisions and hurt me a lot, but in the end, she did accept my transitioning, and used the right name and pronouns, and I’ve discovered some things today.

Through many scraps and sheaths of papers, I found a 3-page typed letter, legal-size, that my mother had written to me 12 years earlier, after I had explicitly come out to her as lesbian.  A sincere and genuine apology hidden in plain sight, amidst other misunderstandings and her own limited conception of what it meant to be gay:

My mom's sincere apology -- August 14, 1993

My mom’s sincere apology — August 14, 1993

And I shuffled through the fading mementos and pulled out the following 2nd grade handwriting assignment I’d been given just before Thanksgiving while I was still at the Arkansas School for the Blind.  I don’t know why it scanned as purple, since the paper is yellow.  I could only scan letter-sized portions of the pages:

2nd Grade Handwriting assignment before Thanksgiving, ~1963 - Page 1

2nd Grade Handwriting assignment before Thanksgiving, ~1963 – Page 1

2nd Grade - Part 2

2nd Grade Handwriting assignment before Thanksgiving, ~1963 – Page 2

2nd Grade Handwriting assignment before Thanksgiving, ~1963 - Page 3

2nd Grade Handwriting assignment before Thanksgiving, ~1963 – Page 3

I am mindful that I’m coming up on the 3rd anniversary of my serious suicide attempt in the UK, and also mindful of the fact that I will have been without my mother for 3 years come February.  Some people never apologize for the wrongs they do.  To my mom, I’m sorry I didn’t see the forest for the trees, and I’m sorry I didn’t perceive the apology with its flaws and caveats, and I apologize in turn for my own blindness.  I know you are looking down on me from Heaven, and I hope you know I love you.

It would seem I had, and have, a lot to be thankful for, more than I knew.  So….

As Thanksgiving approaches in the United States, I hope you recall the true meaning of the holiday, and take time to really see what you too have to be thankful for!

Bonus picture from one of my “memories” boxes:

Cover of "Weekly Reader" -- November 1963

Cover of “Weekly Reader” — November 1963

Important Note:

If there are any FTM or transmasculine-identified folks out there who have stumbled across my blog, are on Facebook, and if you have been a victim of domestic violence, rape, or abuse, and if you are seeking support from survivors who’ve been there, please go to my “About” link and shoot me an email.  I’ll tell you how to find a supportive resource.  For starters, you can go to the Trans-Masculine Abuse Project page, but we have a secret group where you can seek peer support and be assured that your privacy is respected.

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About DogDharma

Dog Dharma is written by a human who loves dogs and who believes dogs have attained enlightenment. The human behind Dog Dharma came from humble origins, has faced many trials, enjoyed many adventures, and taken a path less traveled. He claims no special privilege or expertise, and remains humble. Dog Dharma‘s author has learned a few things along the way, and has much yet to learn. He has been told by many people that he has a talent for writing, and aspires to write a book, but is a little too lazy and disorganized, so his blog will suffice for now. He opens a window into his life in the hope that some of his words may be of comfort, some may be a beacon or warning, and perhaps he will connect with like-minded souls. Everything shared comes from a place of openness and honesty, but with no claim that he possesses the Truth. People and places mentioned should be taken as pseudonyms. In many cases, details may be an amalgamation of actual events disguised to protect the “innocent.” Nothing written is to be taken as actual fact, but as the author of Dharma Dog‘s limited understanding. From the mouths of the Beatles: In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make
This entry was posted in FTM, healing, JFK, JFK assassination, lesbian, memories, mother, mothers, thankful, Thanksgiving and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Thankful — Are You Really Looking?

  1. Lesboi says:

    I guess we receive the messages when we’re ready, eh? How wonderful that you heard her words now…it’s like she’s speaking to you from afar. My mother came to me in a dream shortly after she died and told me how sorry she was for hurting me so much and that meant the world to me. I’ve been missing her a lot lately. This time of year always makes me miss her…holidays and also she died in early December 17 years ago. Cherish the good and release the bad as you can.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. DogDharma says:

    Lesboi, I’ve shared some of the stories with you, and you know, my mom wasn’t perfect — by far! She said in that part of the letter that she didn’t have the “nerve” to address the lesbian issue, and there were many more issues she didn’t / wouldn’t / couldn’t address. She may well have been a narcissist, I don’t know. But reading through that letter, and some of the others I found, I think she really *did* love me, despite all the weird things that happened — even her later claiming she “didn’t know” I was a lesbian at the time of my uncle’s funeral in 2003. Confused, unable to express things well, her own hardships — but there *was* love beneath it all. I’m so glad I have managed to save most of my precious mementos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lesboi says:

      I’m sure she did love you in her own way. I am sure mine loved me to the best of her ability. I knew my mom loved me but I also knew she was selfish and narcissistic. I don’t think the two things are contradictory. I do think that narcissists can love and can show remorse. Like many things in life there are degrees to narcissism and I don’t think our mothers were sociopathic to the point of not being able to love.

      Liked by 1 person

      • DogDharma says:

        I honestly didn’t think / feel that mine loved me. I began to think she actually did after she died, and then looking through the old letters, I’m *sure* she did in her own way. Those degrees and gradations are hard for a child to maneuver when we just need hugs and understanding. I wasn’t mature enough to see the forest for the trees. But my goodness, what a gift on the eve of Thanksgiving!!! I am feeling very blessed indeed!

        Liked by 1 person

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