‘Is It Bigger Than A Bread-box?’ So went that ever-present question on ‘What’s My Line?’.
My mother died in 2002.
I knew that because I periodically browsed Social Security’s death index and saw her listing for myself.
My sister Kathy withheld that direct information of our mother’s death from me until 2010.
Following Kathy’s nasty exchange to me when I challenged her in 2010 about her lack of corresponding with me, she wrote that she would send a box of my mom’s items to me. I finally received this magic box a couple months ago. Fourteen years waiting: from 2002 to 2010 in Kathy’s possession, from 2010 to 2016 in Bev’s possession.
Bev whined to me that she could not be bothered in all the six years she had it either to take her precious 30 minutes time to drive a few bits across town to deliver that box to me or to call me and ask me to come collect this box at a neutral site of her choosing. Yet Bev makes annual trips from Phoenix to visit Kathy at San Diego and frequent business trips all over the nation. I asked her what her supervisor would say to her if she refused to deliver product to a customer for six years; she has yet to reply.
What was in this magic box?
Actually, my first decisions were whether I was interested and when would I be ready to open this box. If Kathy and Bev could not be bothered to deliver this box to me or let me know where and when I could obtain it, then they probably gave little worth to what was inside the box. Or there’s the opposite, there would be small gems worth re-visiting and Kathy and Bev deliberately withheld them from me as their retaliation against me. (It would be the latter.)
I discussed my quandary with friends. I decided that I needed to await a special day, or time, or event to open this box and discover its contents – whether good, bad, or indifferent.
That day, and time, and circumstances of the opening came this past week: Tuesday, 23 Aug 16.
- It was the anniversary of my mom’s death.
- I had my 6-months gynecology appointment.
My friend Alana and I planned dinner at Souper Salad, our favourite buffet hang-out, to celebrate and commemorate. I decided that I would open the box with her and we would share the moment of whatever came of its contents.
There were some mixed items:
- The plaster hand-print that I made during Kindergarten class.
- Photographs, negatives, and slides through many years of my life.
- My mother’s Will and her Death Certificate document.
- Letters that I sent to my mom during much of my lifetime.
- The cassette tapes that I sent to my mom in 1977 telling her that I had been corresponding with Stanford.
- Copies of the Stanford and Janus letters and brochures that I sent to my mom.
Among the missing were my Huckleberry Hound Dog wrist watch and my Mickey Mouse wrist watch – the former a gift from my father, the latter a gift from my mother. My mom took possession of both on the guise that she would be getting them cleaned. She never returned them to me.
I shall share some of those items here (if this site’s gremlins will allow without getting that ‘Aw, Snap!’ screen).
My mom was quite bitter toward me at the end of her life; her final words that she wrote to me were caustic. She apparently stewed over her lack of her own awareness of my life and blamed me for her problem.
Kathy wrote the same. She pointed out our approaching ages of 60 and yet she complained she knew little of me. Apparently she does not read my e-mails and texts that I have been sending to her during these years; she is the one who does not reply to me.
I had been doing my ‘Rock Club Rising’ video shoot for the ‘Punk versus Ska’ event at Party Gardens (Phoenix, Arizona – August 1995).
My mom called and left a voicemail on my telephone answering machine (those were the old days of land-lines, folks). Obviously I did not answer – I was not home. Then she left another voicemail; then another and another and another. Each message more and more angrier at me for not answering her call. I was not home the entire weekend of the show; I had no idea she was calling til I returned home and listened to her voice-mails.
I wrote to my mom but those letters were of no use. I do not recall that she wrote to me but for one more time (later 1990s) – she sent a letter to me through her lawyer containing a list of her possessions she was leaving either to Kathy or to me upon her death. She noted in her letter that she knew how Kathy stole from our dad’s estate; our mom did not want to let Kathy take advantage of me with her estate property.
Short-lived was that.
Whatever were my mom’s moderated perspective in the late 1990s, Kathy surely influenced her by August 2002 to change her Will a week before she died. The last of her last Will was written leaving all property and possessions to Kathy.
Be careful what you wish for, Kathy.
Curious then that Kathy was angry at me that she found herself solely responsible for the disbursement of our mother’s possessions, the settling of all her finances, and the cremation and scattering of her ashes at sea. Kathy could not complain enough to me having to manage being executrix of the estate while concealing all of these issues and events from me as they occurred during 2002 and 2003. Gee, Kathy, had you bothered to include me in family then I would have been more than pleased to have contributed my effort. Too bad you became your self-fullfilling prophecy: you excluded me from family issues and events, then you complained at me for obligations imposed upon you without me to assist you.
That is the 60 years story of Kathy and me.
Let’s remind Kathy that she deliberately denied me the opportunity to attend her wedding in 1990. She denied me the opportunity to know her children yet complains to me that I am not in their lives.
Ok, my family squabbles bore you, Dear Reader. The point I make here is that these are divisions that occur in the life of a trans-person who proceeds with their transition.
Many people find self-doubt, question themselves, and de-transition when confronted with the loss of family and ‘friends’; they would rather live a lie as someone who they are not while keeping hopes of some imaginary love from these false family and ‘friends’. The pain is too great for some to transition and lose your family and ‘friends’ in the process. Be strong. Make your own family; find new friends who love you for being you, not a fake you.
As I also make clear, I am female by inter-sex, my transitioning to female should have been accepted in family as correcting the error of the birthing room doctors – no different than correcting a disability of an arm or an ear. Instead, my family shuns me from their lives. That’s okay; I have learned to develop my own family, my own sisters and brothers, my own friends.
It’s difficult to know what Kathy wants from me.
A few months ago she demanded that I provide a complete psychological analysis to her. She wrote to me that she considers my mind totally wasted and wants proof that I am sane. Yeh, coming from a pot-head.
Then she wanted proof of my anatomy. I would not drop my shorts for her and send digital pictures. I did offer to show cousin Bev my hysterectomy scar and then she could report to Kathy what she saw. I can’t fake a 30-something years old hysterectomy scar and it does not require revealing my private anatomy.
Then she wrote to me to never mind, she was asking too much.
My latest medical appointment seems to report me in normal health, eh, Kathy.
Actually, let’s use my latest report to cover a different element for trans people as my gynecologist and I discussed last Tuesday – one’s base anatomy.
- If you are otherwise a typical M-F, your physician will require you to endure regular prostate screening.
- If you are otherwise a typical F-M, your physician will require you to endure regular pelvic exams unless you had your organs removed.
As for me, hey, I ain’t got one – either one.