Saturday, June 21, 2014

Telephone

I saw that I'd missed a call on my telephone the other morning.  The ringer had been off while my mother and I were in a meeting at the bank, taking my dad's name off their checking account.  It was not a happy morning and yes there were tears.  This whole experience of losing my father is really wearing me down.  People tell me that with time it will get better, but right now as more time passes it is getting worse.

There was the initial shock of his passing, that whole tragic week from the time he fell and went into the hospital and then the morning he died in his sleep.  There was a lot of grief and then we had to plan the funeral, have all the visitors and then the actual funeral.  With so many people around, many of them strangers or people I hadn't seen in years, a sort of sad numbness set in.  The word surreal does not begin to describe that whole experience, but having lived through it I somehow expected things would get easier on the other side.  I was wrong. 


At least for the time being, the grief is worse than ever and I am afraid depression has set in.  I haven't been drinking thank goodness, as that doesn't appeal to me any more except in social situations, but I have been eating horribly including consuming 8 donuts in the last 14 hours.  I'm looking for comfort.  Something has got to come along and make this all better and it is better when my baby is here.  He'll be visiting again tomorrow.

I've got so much to write about this whole experience and much of it is uplifting, really.  It's just been difficult to share right now.  But I will tell you about this phone call.  There wasn't a message left but after awhile I remembered and recognized the number.  It is the number of the fish farm where I used to work and I think I can figure out the scenario behind the telephone call.

With my dad's obituary being in the statewide as well as local newspapers, a lot of people we were out of contact with read it.  Writing that obituary was not easy but in some ways it was a joyous exercise in that I got to recount my dad's life.  Many of the things I wrote about I remember him telling me as I was growing up, especially the experiences he had before I was born.  The obituary itself took up half a page in the paper.

So I am guessing that my old boss at the farm read the obituary and called me to offer condolences over my father's death.  I worked for this farmer for 8 years managing his new indoor fish facility.  He had experience with livestock and a degree from State University in crop science but my degree and expertise was in fisheries.  We are the same age and got along well, although like almost everyone else during that part of my life, we never became really close.  Don't let them get too close and maybe they won't figure out what's wrong with you.

The farmer is a big, tall man but has a gentle, soft spoken way about him.  His country appearance and rural associations belie his wisdom, education and general open mindedness.  I really believe he would be very accepting and possibly even understanding of my transition, if he knew.  My dad thought a lot of him and he thought a lot of my dad.  I am sure that's why he called, as well as to see how I was holding up.

One thing about my father's obituary has been interesting.  Because I wrote it there was no mention of my former name or existence.  All references to me, even in the past, were to Tammy.  We've had people ask, "what happened to his son?"  Well, now you know.

So I have considered calling back my old boss, the farmer, and talking to him about everything.  Honestly I would send him an email today but as of 6 years ago when we last spoke, he didn't use email.  If he does now I don't have his address and I looked but do not see him on Facebook.  Like I said, he is an educated man but someone who is sort of set in the old ways and maybe that is a good thing.

I will probably call him one day or just drop by for a visit.  I'm sure that he isn't the only one wondering what happened to me, with my name not being in the obituary.  And who is this Tammy Ann Matthews person.  He did know me well enough to know I didn't have any brothers or sisters.  Maybe word has gotten around, past the limits of my city, and now he knows all about me.


It's been very interesting, to say the least, to see how people reacted to me at the visitations and funeral.  My dad being such a public figure really made me want to keep a low profile and try to live a life that wasn't right for me for most of my years.  Having to see all the society people in this city really was not as bad as I thought it would be. I can say that everyone except two male cousins treated me very well and most expressed some positive words about my transition or new life, as well as their condolences over my dad.  No one sad an unkind word, the two redneck cousins were simply silent although Mitchell said one of them was giving him disapproving looks. 

I have so few friends from my old life that, with a couple of exceptions, no one contacted me about my father.  My new friends are a different story and I must say that we got several flower bouquets and cards during this tough time and a few of my friends even came to the funeral.  Stay tuned for all the details on this and how interesting it has been to be in the spotlight in this little city during such a terribly difficult time.   Right now though, I just need time to heal and I appreciate your patience and all of the love that has been sent this way by people who knew my father and people that know me but didn't know him. 

Truly I am blessed now to have such great people in my life and I was blessed in an amazing way to have a father who loved me so much his entire life and accepted me fully when I came out in 2012. 

The shadows of my old life are as faint as the dim ring of a telephone in the distance.  The shadow that my father cast before me will lead me to be the great person he always knew I could and would be.  I'm just so sad that he isn't here with me to share my future


but really, in an amazing way, he is and will always be with me.  Daddy I will always miss you and thank you for being here for me.  You are going to be proud of me!

but then again you always were.....