The Story I Like To Tell About My Father
January 6, 2021 10:47 PM   Subscribe

Charlie Jane Anders writes movingly about the end of her father's life, his dementia, and how he came to accept her transition.
posted by brainwane (14 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
 
That’s seriously tears for me. Thanks for posting it.

Every trans person has their own story to tell about family relationships. I doubt I’ll ever be able to tell my mother, who doesn’t have many more years left. The fact eats at my spirit, to not have been able to open up about who I am to the person from my family I felt closest to.

It’s heartbreaking to lose a person close to you, more so in that protracted sort of going-away of the self that she describes.

I wish her all the happiness.
posted by allium cepa at 1:50 AM on January 7 [11 favorites]


Thank you and Charlie Jane Anders for sharing it. I'm so glad he turned around in time and they had these five or six years before he started drifting away. Dementia is my personal horror; losing the world before accepting it as it is would be so much worse.
posted by hat_eater at 2:35 AM on January 7 [4 favorites]


I knew her father just a little; he was a terrifically kind man.
.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:00 AM on January 7 [6 favorites]


Wow, that last line destroyed me.
posted by simmering octagon at 6:29 AM on January 7 [7 favorites]


Best of the web indeed!
posted by AugustWest at 6:38 AM on January 7


Wow. Wow. Thank you.
posted by MiraK at 7:28 AM on January 7


I knew her father just a little; he was a terrifically kind man.

I know someone who was one of her mom's students and has always said the same of her.
posted by a Rrose by any other name at 8:05 AM on January 7


Wonderful piece, thanks.
posted by johngoren at 8:19 AM on January 7


I am a big admirer of her writing. I anticipate a long and impressive career.
posted by zzazazz at 10:21 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]


This is lovely and resonates when I remember how my mother softened as her dementia set in more deeply.

I want to seize this opportunity to say what an amazing person Charlie Jane Anders is. Besides being a terrific writer who is clearly dedicated to ever deepening her craft, and a huge creative mind (shoutout to GodHatesFigs.com for any deep-cut lovers out there), she is just so incredibly and consistently generous. She has been running Writers with Drinks which gives every variety and genre of writer a fun and non-stuffy promotional platform while simultaneously benefiting local nonprofits and independent bookstores for 20(!!) years. She hosted a series of fundraisers to save local bookstores after COVID hit, and the delightful Our Opinions Are Correct podcast, while fun and engaging on it's face, seems to secretly be a way for her and Annalie Newitz to shout out and promote other creative workers, with a majority of their focus being people of color as well as mostly women, queer, fat, or otherwise folks who may have found themselves at the marginalized end of the publishing world. On top of it all, her public presence, both online and in person, is rigorously positive and kind.

I don't know how she got to be such a good person, but I literally feel bolstered by her very existence in the world. Also love her writing. Can't wait to read all the books she's releasing this year!
posted by latkes at 2:54 PM on January 7 [10 favorites]


She's pretty awesome.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:24 AM on January 8


Beautiful essay. Thank you. (I’m not crying at all.)

My dad is losing it, and still in denial. His entire identity and life strategy is based on his intelligence: I got him to complete an advance health care directive last year, and on every line - for how to decide whether to let him live or die - he handwrote “if I lose my capacity to reason.” So literally, a fate worse than death.

I’m helping him to complete a lot of paperwork; he knows he needs me, but once in awhile he accuses me of trying to take control. I’m trying to enjoy the best moments - a snippet of song, an old joke, doing the crossword puzzle together like we’ve done for the last 50 years or so ...

He’s a good father, and I love him more than words can say. If it’s painful for me, I can’t imagine what it’s like for him.

All to say ... beautiful essay. Didnt make me cry at all.
posted by anshuman at 10:10 AM on January 8 [2 favorites]


anshuman... I've spent the last few years going through this with my mother (who for a long time could easily 'trick' providers about how diminished her capacity was because she was highly educated and cerebral), so if you ever want an ear or to talk about this feel free to message me.
posted by latkes at 11:14 AM on January 8


One early clue that my father’s cognitive impairment was becoming more severe was when he started to insist that he had been the first to embrace my transition.

That is perhaps one of the sweetest symptoms of dementia I’ve ever heard of.
posted by bq at 4:02 PM on January 8 [2 favorites]


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