“Mom? I can’t do it. Please don’t make me go to school tomorrow.”

Jeremy looked up at me from zir bed, where zie lay cocooned in blankets; eyes wide and body tense. I sighed.

“How about you go tomorrow and miss Thursday,” I suggested. Thursday was the provincial literacy testing day and most of the school would be absent. “You’ll be fine. I know you can do it.”

Zie nodded slightly but zir expression wasn’t very hopeful. I wasn’t hopeful either although I tried not to show it. Instead I kissed zir goodnight and headed off to bed.

This morning I got myself ready then went to wake Jeremy up… then woke zir up again (and again). I could see actual consciousness the third time around and with it came zir anxiety.

“Mom. I can’t go to school today. I’m so dizzy. I don’t think I can stand up. Can you please call the school and tell them I won’t be there?” Jeremy’s voice was shaking by the end.

I patted zir shoulder and promised I would call. Then I promised myself I’d call our family doctor and make Jeremy an appointment. And I did. For the 23rd of April… the earliest appointment available. His receptionist did put Jeremy on the list for cancellations.

Every single week I have friends share pictures of yet another transgender teen who’s committed suicide. The latest was a young man who was popular, well supported, crowned home-coming king, and a known activist. Several people commented on how he’d spoken to and encouraged their own children. He’d been an amazing kid, a real inspiration.

I listened to Jeremy play zir video game while watching the latest episode of The Young Turks. Two weeks ago we were walking home and Jeremy commented that if zie died, all zie’d be remembered for was playing video games and being trans. I assured zir that if I’d died at 17 years old, I’d only be remembered as that quiet girl who reads a lot of books; that zie has years to grow into talents and memories. I read through the article and wished I had a pair of handcuffs so I could clip Jeremy to me and keep zir safe. Jeremy couldn’t kill zirself if I was right there 24/7.

But that’s not living (not to mention using the washroom and showering would be beyond awkward). And so I head off to work knowing that Jeremy’s going to be home alone. Reminding zir to take out the recycling while I’m away… and hoping zie at least remembers to eat and change out of zir pyjamas.

I panic every time I call home after work and zie doesn’t answer. I know full well Jeremy loves to crank zir music and will call back as soon as zie sees the “missed call” light flashing but there’s always that cold shiver pushing out from the pit of my stomach… inching up my spine to tap relentlessly against my brain. And it doesn’t stop until Jeremy’s Doctor Who ringtone plays.

Tonight Jeremy’s at zir UU Youth Group, happily eating nachos and discussing censorship with like minded peers. Tomorrow night we’ll be at PFLAG where zie’ll be eating pizza and chatting with other trans teens. And in between I’ll be at work and zie’ll be alone. And I’ll take another deep breath and hope to hear from zir on the way home.

kitty cuddling

19 thoughts on “Fear…

  1. Very nice post. You seem to be a rather good writer, I honestly felt emotions just now. I have to admit I smiled when I realized you might live rather near me (literacy tests). It’s nice to know there might be people like me in the general area. Maybe someday we’ll end up at the same group by coincidence- who knows, Not to mention I kind of envy zie. All trans kids want and deserve a parent like this in their lives. Thank you, and I hope that you’ll both be okay in the coming days. I’ll be sure to keep up.

    • Emma went to the Pride Prom a couple of years ago so it looks like we do live in the same general area 🙂 We missed PFLAG in the “shwa” tonight but we attend there regularly.


      • Sadly I’ll be missing Pride Prom this year. I did just come back from an LGBT youth group at the Ajax Youth Center, though. We aren’t the most serious group, but if you’re ever free and in the area on a Thursday, we’d humbly welcome you 🙂

  2. I understand your panic. I think it’s a good thing that you can make statements to Jeremy about growing into his talents and letting him know about your 17 year old self. Sometimes kids don’t understand this because they have no frame of reference.

    Does Jeremy know about the “It Gets Better” campaign? itgetsbetter.org. Maybe watching the videos would help him to understand his value in the world.

    Is it possible to talk to his doctor privately? Run it by the doctor first, but I’ve heard that simply talking about suicide (by an outside person) does not put the idea into someone’s head and in fact, knowing that people care about them may cause them to discard the idea. There’s always a fear, though, and you and the doctor will know best whether or not to broach the subject.

  3. 😦
    I wish that it could get easier, but I agree, zie will do amazing things in time. I can tell, because zie is already so amazing now. Love the kitties. hugs and love ❤

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