In about 10 hours, I will be at the church for J’s memorial service. In all honesty, I should have been in bed hours ago and I just didn’t make it there. Though at least I’m not going to bed as late as I did last night.
I got all the pictures selected and framed for display tomorrow. I also got the cards written out for the priest, musician, and the committee that’s sponsoring our small reception afterwards. I also put the money in the cards. My parents said I was giving too much to the priest but I didn’t care.
His priest is a wonderful woman who really got to know J personally. She’s not just some rando who didn’t even know him, you know? I also know that she only works part-time because the church isn’t very big. Being generous with her is actually very important to me both because I love the work she’s doing and also because being a member of that church brought J a lot of peace.
Then I also had like a 2-hour conversation with J’s half-sister Erin and I have to say that I love her already. She shares my last name and probably one of the best things I’ve discovered since J’s passing is that the genes he got from his dad were some of his best qualities.
Even more than that, I discovered the other side of the story. Apparently Russell (J’s dad) actually did pay child support regularly, contrary to what J and Kris had been told. And he actually tried to sue for full custody after a car accident—one that was so bad, J had scars on his face from it that remained all throughout his life—claiming that Sue was a negligent parent.
So then Sue fired back with more and more outrageous stuff that he had done (which I honestly don’t think were true at all) until she finally got full custody.
But even more than that, she threw away every letter or card that Russell ever sent, making it look like he wasn’t interested in being a father. Unfortunately, J and Kris always believed that their biological dad just had no interest in them.
Finally, he just gave up because he knew he couldn’t win against Sue. Honestly, that doesn’t surprise me at all.
But apparently he was so traumatized by the whole ordeal that he didn’t talk about J or Kris for years.￼
When he found out that J had died, he was sobbing and saying “oh no, no, no” and he was a wreck. In other words, he reacted much more how I would have expected a parent to act—much more appropriately than how Sue and Denny reacted, actually.
The good news is that Erin says he wants to make contact with me. And he already knows that I have 2 trans kids and he supports them absolutely. (A lot better than Sue’s fake-ass pretense of support only while J was alive, and then she went on to deliberately misgender them.)
J wanted to believe that his mom really loved him until the end but sadly that hope was grossly misplaced. And if only he had known that his biological dad still loved him and always thought about him. I swear I don’t know how many more lives Sue can destroy. 😞
Russell always wanted to get in touch with J but he had so much guilt and anxiety about it. He didn’t think he’d be forgiven. I really wish he would have tried. But I also understand being scared of the boogeyman that is Sue. Honestly even though I never have to see her again and we’re separated by over 1000 miles, even I don’t feel safe from her yet.
But I also see that the fact that J and Kris turned out so well is likely due to the influence of their dad. Erin said that her dad is gentle, artistic, kinda depressed, and very kind.
The kids may come through this without having a relationship to Sue anymore but they may get a relationship with their grandfather. I would really like that a lot and I think the kids might too. It honestly gives my last name more meaning.
I really want to try to help J’s dad heal from his guilt and shame. Erin said that he’s reading the things I’m writing about J and it brings him some healing and I’m so, so glad about that. Like I can’t even put into words how good that makes me feel.
And one other thing: Erin has taken it upon herself to get lots and lots of donations in J’s name to the Trevor Project and there are apparently going to be a lot more tomorrow. I asked her point-blank if she knew that I had 2 transgender kids and she said yes and it was intended to be a show of support for them.
Lots of complicated feelings and emotions, especially with J’s memorial being tomorrow, But I suddenly have some new people in my corner and that feels really, really good.