Sunday, January 31, 2010

Good Grief!

For those of you of a certain age, you will know from whence this title comes. For those of you who do not recognize the phrase, this expression was associated with the Cartoon Character of Charlie Brown, in "Peanuts". (However, even I would have to look up where the Cartoon's Creator Charles Schulze found the Cartoon's title.)

I thought of this blog entry's title when I attended a Wiccan class discussion on grief. Everyone had lost someone over whom the attendees were still grieving. I myself had lost an uncle and a nephew this past year. The class, intended to last four hours, extended to five hours and change, so we had a lot to discuss.

It made me ponder how people who undergo Gender Reassignment manage their emotional transition. If their "old" life is now dead to them, how is the grieving process for them? After all, they have laid to rest a shell in which they did not fit. Even when someone who has been a part of our lives, but was unhealthy as an associate, dies, we all must feel something has dramatically shifted. If nothing else, we no longer have that person about whom we can complain, and suddenly we have no excuse, but to move ahead.

What kind of grief existed for Millie and those around her after she transitioned? Her wife at the time lost the "man" in her life, but she learned that she kept her best friend. Her mother, with whom Millie's relationship has recently improved, "lost" her son in her eyes, but, maybe, just maybe, her mother realized she has always had the same child she alway had. Millie's kids may have thought they "lost" their father, but, again, maybe they have discovered they have an even stronger, more centered, parental role model on their side, however they decided to address her after the surgery.

Millie herself still does most, if not all, things she enjoyed before her transition: racing cars, shooting guns, etc., but she does them honestly, as herself. The friends she now makes doing these activities know her as she really is.

Good grief, then, could be defined as grief out of which something positive comes, which in this case, is acceptance by family, friends, and self, along with the blossoming of new relationships from the ashes of the old. Charlie Brown spoke with more wisdom than he realized.

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