Thursday, February 24, 2011

documented life

A few day ago I received a copy of all my fathers 8 mm film that he had shot during his lifetime. There were about 50 rolls and although some were label there were a few that weren’t and my brother made the decision on how to sequence them before he sent them to be converted to a DVD. Two hours of classic family fun it is good to have pictures of your extended family and especially one’s Grandmother. A visual documentation of the changes in one’s childhood and life. Pictures of me as I had just graduated for basic training, going off to my first duty station, leaving for my assignment to Vietnam. Pictures of family reunions in Arkansas with my Aunts and Uncles, of my wedding.

All vivid reminders that life goes on and time waits for no one. I lost my father a few months before his first grandson was born when he was 51 years old from a massive myocardial infarction. After experiencing 2 hearts attacks while he was in the hospital, they could not revive him and he passed away before we could all say goodbye. I lost his fatherly influence and advice, which was both good and sad. He never had to meet me as Sarah, and at the same time his death saved me from his criticisms and his judgement.

My life was shadowed and governed somewhat by the fact that he passed away at 51, and that was my bench mark and my fear in my life. Fear that I would die like him in my early 50’s was the greatest hold on how I decided things. But as I celebrated every year after that barrier, I feared that I would die without having lived truthfully, and I became painfully aware of my need to transition.

So in my late 50’s, my children off on their own I began to explore ‘my feminine side’ as it were. As I turn the magic age of 65 this year, Sarah’s life didn’t go the way I expected it to go. My daughter has returned to her father, we are still working on her brothers (more difficult, I think). Developing breast cancer and transition without hormones is certainly not the path I foresaw for myself, but it’s the one I blazed. I don’t expect too many sisters having to go down that path so it will disappear all to soon.

I am happy and my ex is much happier, my daughter keeps telling me; and my expected years and future life could not be better to live it as Sarah.


Halle said...

"as I celebrated every year after that barrier, I feared that I would die without having lived truthfully"

Carpe Diem



Mel. said...

I didn't lose my parents until they were a little older than yours. It is sad they never knew they had a daughter, but also a complication I've been spared that I never had to explain my transition to them. However the death of a close friend made me very of the importance of seizing every opportunity and not to prevaricate.