By Wendy Jean
Death is not the end. In this case it was a new beginning.
Thanks to Arwen’s Tears and Sarah Goodwoman for your help.
I was standing in front a bright circular entrance of some sort. I was not quite sure how I got here. A pretty lady who seemed familiar gestured me to come inside, so in I went . All at once I snapped out of my daze as I walked to a very young version of my mom.
“Hello dear,” she said with a tight hug That felt incredibly good. Tim, how much do you remember? she asked.
I replied with some confusion. “I don’t know.” An image of my son Kyle and my wife Sarah crying by my bed came to me.
“Mom? You are dead!” I blurted out.
“ So are you dear, she replied. You just died from the flu.”
I understood, but my head was fuzzy. “So now what I asked?”
Mom said, “You get my old job. You watch and try to protect your family. It can be hard but I think you will do well.”
“How?” I asked.
Mom replied, “Just watch over them and help where you can. You will find people who love you are somewhat aware of your presence, and they can hear you subliminally.”
“Dear I am sorry but I must go now.” Mom said, as she faded from view.
I yelled! “No! Don’t Go!”
I heard “I will be back when you need me.”
I looked around, I was in a small room with a large mirror. I didn’t know how I got here. I looked into the mirror at myself I was wearing a white pullover robe of some kind of thin white material. I thought of my wife Sarah. Suddenly I saw her on our bed crying through the mirror.
I started crying too, I wanted to be with her so badly! I found myself sitting next to her. with no sense of movement at all. I was sitting on our bed but not denting it. I tried to hug my grieving wife but she was insubstantial (or was that me?). I did feel a warmth deep inside pass between us even though I could not touch her, I think she felt something as she stopped crying suddenly and walked away. A few minutes later I heard her talking on the phone making funeral arrangements. Our cat, Piwacket was staring at me from the foot of our bed. She started purring loudly This got the attention of Sara and who smiled as she picked Piwacket up for a hug. Normally Pie was picky about being picked up I saw her still staring at me as Sara took comfort from her loud purr.
I thought about Kyle my 10 year old son. I was standing over him as he gently cried in his sleep. I tried to stroke his head and something odd happened. I felt a tug in a direction I could not describe. I followed the pull and found myself facing a very pretty girl whom strongly resembled Kyle in Kyle’s room crying.
Dad she sobbed “Why couldn't I tell you while you were alive! I don’t want to be a pervert but I am a girl inside”. I dropped to my knees and gathered her into my arms in a loving embrace Again I could feel something flowing between us, her body felt very substantial. I said to my to my newly found daughter. “I will always love you. No matter what. You are not a Pervert but your soul does not match your body.” I felt her tears soak through my thin robe.
She said, “Dad, I want to kill myself and be with you. “
This sent a cold chill through my being. “Dear, I will watch over you and Mom always. Your Mom needs you badly please don’t hurt yourself for her sake. So what is your name? “
“I would like Karen” she softly replied.
“It is OK to be different, I said You are as God made you. If you had told me before I died It would not have mattered. I will always love you for who you are. You are part of me. You are are my daughter We will see each other again, I promise. I am watching over you now and forever. Please tell your Mom how you feel, Ask her about Uncle Kenny.” Everything turned gray as I heard Sarah’s voice from a long distance, I found myself standing next to Karen’s bed again.
Mom! I saw Dad, Karen exclaimed. I told him how I was a girl inside.
“I told you before Sarah said, you are not a girl and can never be one.” Aghast I watched my child deflate. I was shocked by Sarah’s callousness. She had known and not told me.
“So Don’t be silly,” Sarah said.
Who is Uncle Kenny? Karen asked.
Sarah turned as white as a sheet and sat down on the bed abruptly. I suspected she almost fainted.
“Your Uncle Ken was my older brother. He died when He was 15” she said, “He told your grandfather he was gay my father beat him down. Ken then did something bad to himself. You aren’t thinking of hurting yourself are you?” Sarah’s voice quavered as she asked this.
Karen looked down at her feet and in a quiet voice replied “yes”.
Sarah got even paler if that was possible. Dad asked me to tell you and he looked like he was scared too. I hugged my wife It went much like before a sense of warmness passed between us, “
“I am so sorry Kyle. I had promised myself I would not be like your grandfather, and I won’t, I will try to help you though this but I don’t know what to do.
Karen hesitantly replied,"Dad asked me not to hurt myself because you need me. “
Sarah gathered our daughter in a tight hug. I could see a golden glow between them “He was absolutely right dear. What else did he say?”
Karen replied, “He is watching over both of us now and forever. At this my wife started crying, the tears flowing freely while clutching Karen tightly “Don’t cry Mom, he is here with us now. Don’t you feel him?” This only made her cry harder.
I placed my hand on shoulder, It was like touching mist. “She’s right you know”, I said as I tried pushing my love into her and was rewarded by a golden glow that seemed to flow into her through my hand.
Sarah looked surprised, and said “yes dear I think I do. But you need some breakfast!” She dried her tears and jumped up off the bed. off the bed and headed to the kitchen with Karen following
“I’m not really hungry”, Karen said .
“Neither an I Sarah said, but your Dad would not want us getting sick because we are not taking care of ourselves”.
As she scrambled some eggs and made toast and brought out jelly on the table I told her how proud I was for her being strong for Kyle (I used Karen’s old name because I knew Sarah)didn’t know it). I was sure she did not hear a word I said but her shoulders lifted a bit so maybe something was getting through. Karen gobbled her eggs and toast with a thick layer of Jelly, which I was glad to see.
It was odd, every time I looked at my son I kept seeing the girl I had met. “Run Upstairs and get dressed in your good clothes” Sarah said to Karen. Karen scampered upstairs at this, with Sarah trailing behind, I had a feeling this was going to be a long day as the doorbell rang and people started arriving to offer their condolences. Most brought food which was appreciated. Being a Saturday I knew it was going to be a crowd. Sarah tried to be a good hostess, but I could see the strain on her face. I made a point to touch her and send my love which seemed to help, one of our friends was a professional councilor, whom she took aside to explain her problem she got the name and phone number of a gender therapist who also had a PhD. I was glad for that. Eventually it became late and one by one our friends took their leave. They had helped Sarah but she was exhausted, as was Karen.
As I looked down on the troubled face of my wife as she lay sleeping I again felt that odd tug. I did not hesitate and followed. I found myself in my Hank’s living room, Hank was my father in law, Hank was screaming at a scared teen aged boy who looked about 15 cowering in the corner. A very young Sarah was crying hysterically on the couch. There was something off with Hanks expression, He looked absolutely miserable. But he continued yelling at the terrified child. “No son of mine can stay under my roof and choose to be an abomination. Get out!”At this point the terrified boy ran out the door.
Hank turned to his hysterical daughter and screamed “Get yourself under control! And go to your room!” He still had this odd miserable expression that did not match the tone of his voice.
I could take it no more!”Enough!” I yelled, “You have no power here! Now begone!”
Hank’s expression morphed from misery to relief. And he started moving away as if some unseen force had grabbed him and was taking him away. He went through the walls as if they were insubstantial and disappeared.
I looked at Sarah as she sat with her mouth open.”I’ve had this night mare for years and you stopped it. She cried. “Kyle was right!” Sarah said with a look of wonder on her face.
“Karen I said, Our new daughters name is Karen.” I have seen her soul, and she is indeed our daughter. Suddenly I was being swarmed by my wife who had resumed her adult self and being smothered in kisses and hugs. “I don’t think you will be having this dream again.” I found myself on a beach with Sarah and there was someone who was a younger version of me. I realized we were in a normal dream of when Sarah and had started dating.
I thought of the mirror room and found myself there again. Looking at myself in the mirror I murmured “What just happened?”
My mom appeared in the mirror and said “that was part of Hank’s purgatory,” He had to relive that night Every time Sarah has had that nightmare. You freed both he and Sarah from that part t of Sarah’s life.
“What about Kenny,” I asked?
“Oh you can see Kennith anytime you want if Kennith is willing. You are both on the same plane now. Think of this mirror as a search tool for souls.”
“Dear,” my mom said, “When you took my place I was promoted We are not on the same plane any more. But I will be here for you much the same way you are there for your family. I have other duties I must attend to.” My mother the lieutenant I thought wondering what kind of ‘duties’ she now had, obviously I was one of them, This being a happy thought.
I looked in the mirror and thought about Hank. Instantly I was standing in front of a jail cell, that could have come out a western movie with Hank inside. Hank looked up from his cot and said, “thank you.” He got up and got as close as he could on the other side of the bars. I reached over to put my hand on his shoulder and was surprised to see my hand pass though a bar. The bars are for me, not you. Hank said.. I have always regretted the day I threw Kennith out. When the police came that night and told me my son was dead I almost took my life But I had to suck it up for Sarah and her Mom. I couldn't undo what I did. You don’t know how I have prayed I could hug my son one more time. I only hope he can forgive me someday. I walked through the bars and gave Hank a bear hug .I felt the same warmth flow but somehow it was much less intense. When I stepped back Hank was smiling. “Thank you. It has been a long time since I have been hugged.”
I replied,”I am sorry but I have to go now.”
As I returned back to of the mirror room hearing, “Please don’t go!”
“Don’t worry I will be back”, I said knowing somehow he heard me.
I found myself in the mirror room again. I thought of Ken and a his image appeared before me. He was talking with a woman I recognized as Sarah’s mom, Pam. I had seen pictures of her on the wall at Hanks house while Sarah and I dated. I willed myself there and found myself on the porch of Hank’s old house. I rang the door bell. Ken answered the door. He still appeared as a teen aged boy I had net earlier. His eye widened in shock/
“I saw you at Sarah’s last night mare”, he exclaimed!
“She won’t be having those anymore, I said.
“Good! Ken exclaimed! Come on in Ken said stepping aside, I walked in and saw a pretty young lady who strongly resembled my wife, It was Pam.
“Hello”, I said, “my name is Tim.”
“I know , I was allowed to attend the wedding.”
“I am glad, Sarah had said she felt like you were there.”,I said.
Pam replied.“I was still helping Ken recover from his trauma at the time. “
“I am not allowed to watch over Sarah.” Ken said, I offered both Pam and Ken my hands, which they took. I thought of the mirror room, We three found ourselves there. You can come here whenever you wish It will help you find people and look in on them. I thought of Karen. Still looking like Kyle she was sitting quietly next to her Mom in the mirror while her Mom talked to someone I guessed was a mortician. This is Karen, your niece and granddaughter, I said, she is going through a rough patch at the moment, I died 3 days ago, she is also starting to deal with being transgendered.
“I am not allowed on earth” Ken said looking sad. “My grand mother told me I was not ready after I died,” An image of Hank appeared in the mirror, “Can I visit my Dad?”
“Yes”, I said, just make the wish.
“I will stay here” Pam said, “I am not ready for that yet.“
Ken took my hand again and we found ourselves in front of Hank’s jail cell. I watched as a look of shock appeared on Hank’s face, He rushed forward, Stepping through the bars as if they were not there and embraced his son in a massive bear hug. He was crying, as was Ken. A golden glow lite the room. It was so bright I was partly blinded by it, Hank kept murmuring “I am so sorry, over and over.” Judging from the intense glow I’m sure he meant it.
The funeral came and went, while people said very nice things about me I stayed with Karen and Sarah. Somehow my presence seemed to calm them both. When they went home, I listened as Sarah called the therapist, a Dr. Frank Steel, to make an appointment for Karen. After a long talk she took Karen shopping and bought her some age appropriate girls clothes, Including several training bras and panties, a pair of Mary Janes, and some tights. Fortunately I had a decent life insurance policy so they would not be hurting for money.
Karen’s hair was a silky blond and had grown to the point as Kyle it would have needed a haircut, so Sarah took Karen to a Salon where they turned it into a pixie cut. I watched Karen preen in font of a mirror obviously pleased with her new appearance. I was quite happy to see my new daughter becoming the person I had met in her dream Her blue eyes and soft blond hair complimented her looks nicely, she made a pretty girl, Not that I was biased or anything.
“Why couldn’t I wear a dress at Daddies funeral?” Karen asked.
“Because I didn’t feel it would be the right time to announce you were becoming our daughter,” Sarah said. “However, Dr. Steel said it might be a good time after the stress of the funeral to allow you to start presenting as a girl and I agreed.”
“Thank you mommy!”, Karen exclaimed as she gave her Mom a hug. Again I saw the glow between them, Karen’s glow seemed brighter than before. Sarah smiled as she hugged Karen back.
I was with Sarah and Karen in the waiting room with another bored looking gentleman while we waited to be called, An attendant had taken Sarah’s and Karen’s information for the docs files . When she told us the doctor would see us we trouped into his office.
My family sat down and I stood in the corner, Dr. Steel was a middle aged gentleman with a mustache, piercing blue eye’s and a kind face. Before we begin I would like to explain how this will work. Looking at Karen he smiled, “are you Karen?” he asked.
To which she shyly answered yes.
“Well” said the doc, “you are a very pretty girl!”. Karen broke into a wider smile. “I would prefer your mom to be with you most times, When that may be impractical due to therapy requirements will have a female intern watching both of us. “ Looking at Sarah he asked. “will this be a problem?”
“No.” Said Sarah, “but why would I need to not be here?”
“Because sometimes children need privacy and I will need Karen to be able to speak freely”. After a few interviews with Karen if you and I decide it is in her best interest I will put her on puberty blockers and start her on HRT (hormone replacement therapy appropriate for her age.” Looking at Karen. “What you say in front of me and the intern is private and will not leave this room, If something comes up I feel I must discuss with you mom for your safety I will, But that will be rare. Mrs. Smith. Parents are usually a big problem for children like Karen. I am happy for Karen's sake you are able to do what is best for you child.” He then handed Sarah a bunch of brochures I dearly wished I could read. I realized I knew what was in them as if I had read them. It was a very strange feeling, then the real conversation began where Karen’s wish to join me was brought up along with my dream visits, I t was obvious the doc was trying not to look skeptical, but he kept it under control The appointment ended with the doc telling Sarah I will be writing letters for Karen's school. If you have any problems please call this number as he handed Sarah a card.
“What kind of problems?” Sarah asked, Sometimes school administrators and teachers can be over zealous, and need to be reminded they are not the law. The number I gave you is a lawyer I have on retainer. She is someone I met through Lamba Legal. She can be a very good person to have on your side. Hopefully her services won’t be needed and the letters will be enough. Please wait for the receptionist to give them to you.”
I stayed with Karen during her week back after school. On the surface the administration was very supportive. But I over heard some of the thoughtless comments from the staff and feared for my daughter. The nurse was very professional. He went to each of Karen’s teachers and tried to explain gender dysphoria, His name was Arch Collins and he was a large intimidating man. I was very happy for this fact wen he confronted the principle after the principal made a comment about “that sissy poof” and explained Sarah already ha a lawyer lined up and ready, whom the district had dealt with before to their loss This seemed to get the administrators attention. It was interesting seeing the interplay between Arch and Sarah during their first lunch meeting. I noticed they both kept their distance given that Sarah was a new widow and all. While I could not put my finger on it this bothered me for some reason.
The next session with Dr. Steel Sarah sat outside with the same gentleman that had been there during the previous appointment. During Kathy’s session they talked about her mom’s early rejection of Kathy’s gender identity. Karen pointed out my help in getting her Mom to accept her. The doc frowned slightly hearing this. But when I commented, “Does it matter Doc? Karen is here being treated.,a slight smile killed the frown. Guess I was being subliminal here too. After the session was over he called Sarah in .Evidently she had moved closer to the gentleman in the waiting room so they could talk, She looked slightly guilty doing so.
After Sarah had sat down in the docs office with Karen beside her The Doc. Started talking.”I don’t think there is any question that the young lady next to you deserves and needs treatment for gender dysphoria, With your approval I will put her on a regimen of HRT that is appropriate for her age, at this point it will be puberty blockers and very low doses of estrogen. He said writing a prescription. At this Karen squirmed happily in her chair.
“I thought I would have trouble agreeing, Doctor”.Sarah said, but even since her father's death she is much happier, More alive as Karen.”
“I am going to recommend a program for after school I hope you will agree too,”said the Doc to Sarah “Bullying for Karen will be a problem, She will need some way to make friends and not be left alone at the school. This program is for other LGBT kids at risk from bullying. A van will pick here up after school and deliver her to a safe place where other gender nonconforming kids can hang out .after a year or two no one will remember and Karen will be safer. Sarah looked mildly alarmed at the qualifier, Dr. Steel explained. “Karen it is best if your personal history is not public knowledge. At an appropriate time your Mom, will want to correct your Birth Certificate. Fortunately we live in a state where this is possible. Some people have no tolerance for transgendered people and may use it as an excuse to bully or assault you. Doc turned to Sarah, schools in particular can be bad about turning a blind eye towards abuse, even to the point of outing their students, I had such a case occur previously which I can’t talk about, It is one of the reasons I recommended the lawyer as I did.”
“I talked with the school nurse, an Arch Collins and he seemed very sympathetic.”
“Good!”, said DR. Steel”, “I’ve met Arch and consider him an ally. “He is a good man to have your back.” With this assurance Sarah took her leave. Both my favorite people looked very relaxed on the way home.
“Would you mind waiting outside the office from now on”, Sarah asked?
“No Dear, Why?
“I would feel more comfortable Talking to Doctor Steel alone.”
“No problem Dear, I’ll bring a netbook.”Sarah said.
And so it went. I noticed a change in how Sarah treated Karen. She started teaching her the art of being a woman asking Karen’s help in cleaning the house and doing laundry, and showing her how to cook for two. I always advocated the latter but this was a bit more extensive than I had advocated. Sarah showed Karen how to mix and match clothes to make herself. attractive. She also promised Karen makeup lesson when Karen became older This pleased Karen.. Their mother daughter shopping trips were beyond boring (not even death could change that fact for me), though they both bonded and enjoyed them immensely.
Karen’s school life was mixed, Many girls had no problems befriending her and in some cases stepping between her and would be bullies, even other girls. Arch kept an eye one her. Surreptitiously videoing an incident where a teacher got out of line with Karen on his phone.
He again explained to the principal How expensive the consequences would be if allowed to go unchecked mentioning other cases he had been involved in, then stepped back and let the Principal do his job, The principals earlier attitude seemed to have vanished as he explained to the teacher zero tolerance applied to her too. The video was never brought up.
Meanwhile I watched and advised my daughter subliminally where I could. It seemed to help her from doing something rash most of the time and helped her emotionally. I was frustrated much of the time, yet happy to see my daughter’s positive emotional growth.
The after school program was interesting One of the other kids refereed to themselves as gender fluid, but seemed more feminine than not. The kids networked on their phones promising to be there for each other if one of them got into trouble. I overheard one of the older boys telling to the youth adviser (who was gay) hoping that Karen wouldn’t get beat up like he had. It was a good place for all the kids.
The sessions continued with Doctor Steel. Karen mention in great detail how the other kids treated her. The doc seemed very pleased how she handled herself and took a lot of notes when she mentioned the teacher misgendering her and the other disrespects she was shown by that person. He suggested she see Art, the Nurse, When she mentioned it had stopped I saw him write in his notes “Call Mr. Collins”.
When I walked through the door of Dr. Steels office like the ghost I am I found Sarah holding hands with the gentleman who had been there when we arrived. I was surprised to see a glow between their hands, Sarah and he quickly disengaged. when Dr. Steel opened the door for Karen ( I had noticed the Doc was quite the gentleman even with youngsters) and his intern Janet, who sat and monitored the sessions per the Docs earlier explanation.
When they got home Sarah told Karen the were having Pizza from buffet which was well known and liked by Karen. Sarah also mention they would be meeting someone there. Karen liked to dress very girly when she had the chance but Sarah suggested She not wear her nicest clothes because of the pizza sauce flowing free. Karen would have grumbled but the prospect of Pizza and games was too exciting. So a kitten tshirt and jeans with colorful tennis shoes were adequate. When they got to the Pizza place. They waited until the guy from the waiting room got there accompanied by a very masculine woman. Sarah made the introductions.
“Honey this is Bill and his sister Liz, and this is my daughter Karen. Karen solemnly shook Bill’s hand then hugged Liz, which obviously pleased Liz. I listened as Karen whispered to Liz,”are you like me me?’ What do you mean dear?, Liz asked, Do you have birth defect that is an an outy instead of an innie? Liz blushed, then said, yes, dear I’m afraid so. That means we’re sisters! Karen squealed while giving Liz another hug. I saw the light between them. As the two girls, Liz and Karen got up to fill their plates with Pizza
Bill asked Sarah “Have you thought about what I said?”
Sarah hesitated, indesision on her face,”It’s too soon,” she said.”It ‘s only been a couple of months since Tim died.”
Bill took her hand. There was that glow, some of from Sarah's side. “Dear, I’ll wait as long as you need” he said “I think Karen and Liz like each other, I’m getting us some Pizza, Any favorites” he asked,
“Pepperoni is fine.” She replied. Something clicked in my head. So I sat across from Sarah. Her eyes had a faraway look.
“Sarah”,I said, “Our weeding vows said till death do us part. You are free. I just want you and my daughter to be happy!”
A look of peace passed across her face, and I heard her murmur “Thank you Tim, as if she was talking to herself.
Bill sat down on me, “Wow!” he exclaimed, “Is it cold here?”As I scrambled to get out of his spot and out of him.
Liz and Karen came back chattering like old friends. Since their was nothing to do at the moment I returned to the mirror room.
I was surprised to see my mom staring at me in the mirror with a gentle quiet smile on her face. “I knew you could do it.” As she held out her hand through the mirror. “You will be allowed to keep an eye on your family of course, especially Karen. If you are willing there are other people who need a caring person to watch over them. Ken will keep an eye on Sarah with your assistance. Welcome to my world son. I think we will enjoy working together.”
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