keiths letter

For Christmas, my son wrote me a letter recognizing our difficult year. Keith wrote it with his therapist, who helped edit from three pages to one. Perhaps it was a therapy exercise. I don’t care if it was an English class assignment, because

The letter is framed in my office. 

On Christmas morning, he took me in his room and read the letter to me. No breaks, no stops. I listened. The kid can write.

He talked about the vigil, the funeral, and the trip to Disney following the funeral.

And dealing with Uncle Timmy.

“Then, you got an extra bonus! I came out, which just left you confused.” This is the year Keith transitioned, from female to male.

He said I’ve tried to support him, thanked me and told me I’ve stayed strong — maybe the best compliment.

He listed his teen faults: Sullenness, aloofness, and shutting me out. Being a teenager.

He said “our relationship is changing because we are changing.” That’s pretty wise for a 15-year-old. He’s happy I’m trying in DBT. He’s happy that I’m open with him about my feelings, that I’m less angry. That I tell him about my “depressed moments.” And I do.

It’s a shift away from Pop’s modeling for me. I decided back when Keith was in the mental hospital that I’d be strong, but recognize that this was not normal and I shouldn’t act like it was. I do talk with Keith about my feelings and when I don’t agree with him, I explain why.

Writing the letter is a big deal for Keith. The kid can’t order from a waiter and now he has to write down — and then read — how he feels.

And he finished with “I love you very much.”

For Christmas, I also got a couple of sweaters and a box of Mike and Ike’s. I’ll always keep this letter.

Thanks, Keith. I love you, too.

– Tom Sakell

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