I too have experienced this grieving phenomenon. Attending your own funeral, day after day, narrated by a sometimes bitter partner hoping against hopes you’ll slow down and, perhaps, change your mind and leave transition in limbo a bit longer while they adjust to a new reality or grieve the loss of who you once were.
It’s not exactly like “It’s a Wonderful Life” – but some parts are. I did get to see who moves on “as if I am dead” – that’s fun (not). And I do feel a bit like George Bailey at times, watching things crumbling around the vacuum that was once me in my prior gender and not being able to do a damn thing about it.
Then there’s the “moral lesson” hidden in that movie somewhere that still haunts me – George Bailey learns that giving into despair and dying won’t solve anything (and actually makes things worse).
And here’s where my transition story diverges from “It’s a Wonderful Life”… For me, transition was the only alternative to giving into despair and dying. But, ironically, transitioning is like dying – at least partially. And it does inevitably impact the people around me.
Someone once told me she thinks people who transition are selfish. That kind of pissed me off but, yes, we have to be selfish to get through it.
It’s a dark path – and, unfortunately an easy one – that has led me to thinking, like George Bailey, that others around me would be better off if I was dead. This path can be very inviting when I hit rough patches in transition. I imagine the high suicide rate in the trans community reflects, in large part, the seduction of this dark path.
Sometimes the people who supposedly love me have helped set me off on this dark path by “grieving” my transition in inappropriate ways. Grief is not an excuse for saying or doing things not easily taken back – things like “I’d be better off if you had died…” or “You’ll never be a real man who are you kidding…” or “You’re being selfish – it’s all about you” or “You’re too impatient, give it more time…” or “The hormones have altered your judgement so that justifies anything I decide to do if I don’t agree with you…” etc. etc. etc.
Grief is not a “abuse at will” ticket – if you are transitioning and someone in your life is using it that way don’t let them get away with it. Your life could depend on it. If you can, be there for other people who are also going through transition. We may not have Clarence but we do have each other!