I sat in an uncomfortable chair, my body hunched over her bedside as I held her hand to give her strength.
Her eyes, normally vacant, looked directly into mine, pleading. She squeezed my hand. She let out a small cry of pain.
I smoothed her hair off her forehead to soothe her: “It’s going to be OK, I promise you. Be strong for a few minutes longer. We are getting you some medication so it won’t hurt anymore.”
I spent ten hours in this position, waiting for medication to arrive, feeling helpless. I read from the Bible to her. I sang songs from my childhood. I told her she was the best, and that I loved her. I straightened her bedsheet and served her sips of water on a sponge.
This was the second to last day I spent with my mother, who has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for six years. Her condition had deteriorated rapidly, hospice had been called in, and they told us she had 1-2 days left. Morphine had been ordered but was yet to arrive. My mother was visibly suffering.
As I kept this vigil with her, I realized what a heartbreaking position I found myself in.
Not only was I losing my mother, but I’m also losing my daughter.
While Alzheimer’s slowly stole my mom from me, trans has likewise been eating away at my daughter. It is insidious, aggressive, and pervasive. It affects her cognitive abilities. She can’t distinguish between reality and fantasy. She can’t be reasoned with. She picks and chooses things from her past that suit her and forgets or abandons everything else. Trans has many tentacles that wrap themselves around her and squeezes her until anything BT—Before Trans—is dead to her.
The vigil I keep for my daughter is not at her bedside. It is in my mind. I pray. I remember and stand witness to every moment of her childhood, even as she pretends to forget it. I will her to be strong enough until she matures out of this. Every ounce of my being yearns for her health. I continue to be the best person I can for her—taking care of her when she is sick, planning for her future education, and cheering her successes.
But, unlike with the vigil I kept for my mom, I hope the medication never arrives.