Tuesday, September 13, 2016

New Dawn Fifty

I arrived at Valley Forge Park at about 5:45.  The sky to the east was just beginning to turn a couple shades of orange grey.  There's a Mist across the Grand Parade. I'm sitting in the parking lot very close to where, all those years ago, I got on one knee and proposed to my Wife.

Me in the Dark.  The light is the dashboard lights reflected off my glasses.

Approximately a quarter of a mile from where I'm sitting is where I last tried to kill myself back in 1990.  That parking lot has been uprooted, and is now a field.

On the way here I was listening to the Grateful Dead Nassau Coliseum, March 1990.  Eyes of the World.

"Wings a mile-long just carry the bird away."

I posted that lyric on Facebook last night.  Professor Jenny Boylan understood.  She knew what I was talking about, and she posted the phone number for the Trans Suicide Hotline.  About an hour ago I called that number.  I received a message saying that there was "No one available at this time.  Please call again later" and then the phone went dead.  (I tried again after 8 AM.  Same result.  Guess they just don't have the people.)

Today was it.  I've been planning for months. Today was the day of days.  You see, Lisa was right.  If you do it on a day that has some import,  when people will be thinking of you anyway, if anyone is thinking of you at all, then the survivor's Pain will not be spread over two days, just one (not that anyone would care, save a very few.)  Lisa chose her anniversary. I chose my birthday; not just any other birthday, but Fifty.

Fifty. is a nice round number and I figure it's at least twenty more years than I should have had in this world.

A Birthday Gift to myself: Peace.

Von Steuben Statue

Yesterday, I worked 12 to 8 at the bookstore, and I remember watching the sunset through the windows thinking "that's final sunset.  That was the last time I see the sun." I didn't expect to see it again.  Last weekend was my final weekend- the last Saturday. The last Sunday.  I worked both.  And Saturday was to be the last time I saw my Daughter.  Last night, my Wife called me. It was a little after 10. She'd been watching Dancing with the Stars.  That takes priority over everything.

And so it was that, for the last time, I spoke to my wife and daughter.  They both detected sadness in my voice. I told them I was just very tired.  It was not a lie:  I am tired.  Very tired.

I planned in advance for everything.  I'd written final letters.  I'd written a final blog entry.  All of these I set on timer that if I weren't back in 4 hours, they would be emailed and in my blog.

And unlike Lisa, for whom we could only guess what she was thinking in those final minutes,  I didn't want there to be any guesses, and that's why the plan included this entry, which justs puts the lie to the other one, because the other one says It's the final entry, and maybe would be.  But, I wanted everyone to know why.

And now I'm standing outside of my car.  The sky is getting a little more light, but there are heavy clouds: a grey cover.  I planned for everything.  My method was ready.  I knew the Where, and I knew the How, and I lived the Why.  But they came down to one thing:

In the end, would I have the courage to do it?

Would I, Sophie, who has run into burning buildings, who's done so much else, and destroyed her life by declaring her True Self have the courage to end her life?

To end the God Awful Pain.

After all, it's my life, and if I should choose to end it, that's no one's business.

My life- My death.

The traffic on Route 23 through the park is beginning to pick up now, as there are breaks in the clouds and the Sky grows pink.

A jogger in a headlamp ran by.

Yes, dear reader, I had this planned completely right down to the minute.  I had method. I had reason.  I had a very good plan.

I lay in bed this morning before dawn, unable to sleep. Linda had already gone to work.  We exchange texts.  She even suggested I come to Valley Forge to watch the dawn, and when I read that, I smiled.  It's like she read my mind.

So all these plans; all the tears; all the letters I've written; and as I sit here and watch the sun come up, I'm not thinking of my daughter, I'm not thinking of my Wife.  In fact, I'm not thinking of anyone here on this planet.

I'm thinking about Lisa.

And I remember how horrible I felt almost 3 years ago to the day, when I found she was Gone. Today was the day that I was to be reunited with her.

I was wondering if she would be waiting for me on the other side of the Veil. If my dog Nittany would be waiting for me as well.

The sky is losing its pink, turning a pale sickly Orange.  The Mist is already burning off.

With Lisa.  August 2013

Yes, today would be the day that I saw Lisa again, and I'd be reunited with my best friend. I started to deviate from the plan. Originally, was going to wear one of her dresses, and wear the necklace that her wife, Sandy, gave me that has my name.  As Lisa wore hers on Her Day.

But unlike Lisa, those would be the only totems that I would carry with me.  I have no pictures of family or friends with me, and, in fact, I'm not wearing one of Lisa's dresses as planned. I'm wearing a favorite of my own that only took a second to throw on. The necklace I'm wearing is the silver four leaf clover that I gave Lisa for her birthday 3 years ago.

I'm sorry Lisa. I never found the Clover.  The Magic Clover.  The one that would make Life and Everything all right.

Because there is no such thing as a Magic Clover.  Our childhood dreams lied to us, just as all dreams lie.

I know some of my friends don't believe that I will be reunited with Lisa on the other side, to explore the Light together.  They believe, as Lisa believed, that Death is the end. That's their prerogative.  Free thought- free will.  I believe differently.  In fact, I know differently.

The sun continues to rise.  The sky is a pale sickly yellow grey, with heavy clouds, and here I thought today was supposed to be sunny.

Yes I had everything planned, and I started to deviate from that plan, if only for wardrobe.  But there's another small detail:

I didn't bring the Method.

Because in the end, I'm a Coward.  I have no Heart; no Spine; no Guts.

As I sit here in my car, the sun is now up.  It's a new day. The sky is gray and heavy.  Lisa's going to have to wait. Nittany will have to wait. Because after all the plans; the months of planning; I simply don't have the Courage to do what is necessary.

I know what some people are thinking.  They're thinking "Sophie, get help."  To those well-meaning people, I say that 26 years ago I spent 3 days in the mental hospital, and I vowed that I would absolutely rather die than go back. Yes, it was that bad.

Look at me.  People call me an Inspiration. A role model.  And all the other horseshit that's tagged on me- sitting in a car crying, because she can't even kill herself.

I'm still here, Jenny Boylan.  I'm alive, Sandy.

Ally, Kimberly and Kim, you're still stuck with me.

Mel, you haven't lost me yet.  Nor have you, Maureen.

And to my bestie, Linda, I'll still be there when you get home today.  You are stuck with me too.

I think I'll call my Wife.

Today is my 50th birthday. It was supposed to be sunny, but it's not.

That's life.

Be well.

No Makeup.

Won't you try just a little bit harder? Couldn't you try just a little bit more?
Hunter/ Garcia.  The Wheel.


  1. I love you Sophie. I guess you're stuck with me. Our story isn't done yet. I think it'll have a happier ending too. Happy Birthday Sister. <3 Kimberly

  2. I haven't the foggiest idea what to say my friend. I've been there before and I know that words don't help. All I can tell you is two things:
    1 - We do care
    2 - Death is the only absolutely certain way to ensure that you will never find happiness.

    Hang in there

    1. I don't think I'll ever find true happiness. I'll settle for Peace.

  3. I am glad to be stuck with you, Sophie, for as long as we need each other. And I think that's going to be for a long time to come.

    Linda, your bestie! :)

  4. Well my friend I personally believe you chose the hardest path. It's easy to check out when you're hurting so. I've been where you've been a couple of times. So much pain so much heartache it's hard for a body to stand. But I believe we were put on this Earth for a reason sometimes takes a lifetime to figure out what that reason was. So my friend I don't consider you a coward I consider you very brave. Have a drink on me today and I'll raise one in your honor hugs. Dorlen

  5. Sophie:
    You were an EMT. What would you do with you if you were the first responder to you, the suicidal woman? Figure it out girl, because you will always be your own first responder. Today you chose wisely. The last time you chose wisely. We want you to stay with us for awhile and not find yourself again where you have to make this choice.

    I sat reading today, fearing for you, mentally preparing myself to get packed and head to Pennsylvania to try to stop you, or to join in with those who knew you, as they mourned your foolish death.

    You don't know me, although we spoke briefly at Keystone a few years ago. You were nice, intense, and exuding confidence on steroids. A couple year later, when I was last at Keystone I wanted desperately to speak to you, as I hold you as a woman of success who has wisdom that many of us only aspire to, only to sense that you were only looking to be with those you already knew. I hated myself for not being more assertive and injecting myself into your inner circle -- at least for a short while. You were (are?) someone I admired and looked up to because of you amazing blog, and your life upon which it is built. Like Kimberly, you have a story of boldness -- of going where no transwoman has gone before, blazing a trail for us to follow. What Lisa was to you, you are to many others. Just because you don't know us as you knew Lisa doesn't lessen the bond we feel with you. That you are unaware of us feeling and sharing your pain doesn't lessen the pain to us reading of your pain.

    Picture yourself sitting in the park, in your finest dress, wearing gifts from Lisa, Linda, and all your closest friends. Picture them surrounding you. Picture all of Keystone surrounding them, picture all of your sorority sisters surrounding them. And finally picture alll the other transwomen surrounding them -- you're in the middle of all of us. And we are all reaching in to lay our hands on your head and shoulders and let you feel our strength and love flow to you. You are not alone, and you should not consider acting alone when you are hurting. You need to draw on our strength and love.

    I don't know what else to say, but don't leave your friends like Lisa left.

    1. Rhonda, the way I selected, there was no way a paramedic could've helped. But your point is well made.
      And i say again, dammit! Say hi!!!!

  6. I was really worried that you were up to something and I am glad that you did not go through with it. I would come to your funeral, but trust me I do not want to...I think it may be time to stop visiting that park. I've PM'd you my number...please call me some time...

  7. Sophie,
    I was so worried for you reading that.
    I'm relieved that you couldn't go through with it. I believe you have all the things you say you don't; courage, heart, spine, guts; all of those in spades. To feel so down, to see no other way out but to end your life but to make the decision to carry on knowing what you still face takes courage.
    Somebody said they believed we are put on Earth for a purpose. I believe that too, I have to when I watch the pain and suffering family and friends go through, people that don't deserve what they get dealt. It might not be obvious as to the reasons and we might not find out in this lifetime but we will find out eventually and it will make sense.

  8. "Every time that wheel turn 'round
    Bound to cover just a little more ground."

    Keep rolling, Sophie. Have faith, be strong. Don't give in.

  9. stay strong I read your blog you have done something in life I will never have the courage to do wishing you all the best

  10. I have followed your blog for years now and for reasons unknown to me, you have a special place in my heart.
    I would like to contact you privately. How can I do that?

  11. Hi Sophie! :-)
    I just discovered your blog a few days ago (I believe from T-Central) and have been feverishly reading it to get caught up. (I'm also one of your newest followers).
    I feel like I know you so well because you write so eloguently. I know it's tough to fight the pull of the Darkness (I've fought it myself as well), but you MUST continue and some day you will be triumphant. The Darkness will be off in the distance, unable to detract from the joy in your life and the love of family and friends (even ones like me you haven't met). Keep strong and keep smiling - that frown in your last photo doesn't suit you.

  12. I don't know what to say other then glad your still around. You are an inspiration to so many.