I need a sign to let me know you’re here
‘Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear
I want a reason for the way things have to be
I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me
I love my dad.
My dad has always been an incredible person to me, a person of deep integrity, pure motives, and kind humor. As a child I worshiped him, as an adolescent I idolized him, and as a young adult I sought to emulate him in every way I could. Over the years, our relationship matured and mellowed into a deep friendship that I valued above almost any other. Even though we were separated by thousands of miles for most of a decade, we spoke several times a week and emailed almost daily. I’ve never known any father and son who were closer than we were.
I didn’t get to come out to my dad the way I wanted to. Events moved in such a way that I had to do it by email, from a distance, and with the help of my sister and step-mother. After my dad found out that I was transgendered, we didn’t speak for almost a month.
As the days passed, I was surprised at how much I wasn’t hurting over it. I’d feel around in my heart and find no real pain or anger or anything. “He’s just getting used to the whole thing,” I said to myself. “It’s hard when your only son says he’s going to become a woman and asks for your acceptance as a daughter. He’ll come around. It will be like it used to be again.”
Then one day (as I was driving to see my therapist, coincidentally) I this song came on the radio. “I need a sign to let me know you’re here.” And I thought of my dad, and I missed him so profoundly that I could barely stand the hurt of it. I wept so hard I had to pull off the road.
We did talk again, the first thing he said was, “I want you to know that I love you as much today as I did the day you were born. I don’t understand, but I want you to know that I love you.” I got the sign I was looking for.
Today things are better, though we still have a long way to go. Maybe things will never be the same again. But I choose to hope–I choose to hope that someday, they’ll be even better.
Lesson learned: Sometimes the words we don’t say can shake someone’s world as much as those we do.