It was a blustery and breezy Sunday afternoon that Joanne and I found ourselves taking a few hours to escape the world for a quiet walk through the woods along a path around the shores of a mountain lake. The serenity and the sunshine dappling through the leaves brought a peace to my ever-restless soul. In a flash, the nature of that day changed when my cell phone's ring interrupted it abruptly. Looking at the display, I could see it was my youngest nephew “M”....my sister's youngest son. I hesitated for a moment to answer it as I thought of what this call would be about. I knew I never heard from him unless he needed something or unless he was upset by something. I thought, in that instant, of what likely lead up to this call.

It had been about 3 weeks prior when my father called me to let me know that he had an unexpected visit from “M” out of the blue. Apparently he stopped by, according to my father, without calling ahead. I would have thought that with planning out a trip from Las Vegas to Boston where my father lives, that he might have called first....but he didn't.

I asked my father what the visit was about and he explained that it was simply a visit to say hi and to see how he was doing.

“Really?”, I asked my dad. “He doesn't even bother to call you after a year has gone by to say 'hi' and just pops in suddenly without even mentioning that he is coming east?”

“Well”, my dad admitted, “There is something else.”

He faltered in his words for a moment as if not wanting to continue....

“He mentioned that he knows I am holding several thousand dollars in bonds for him that have not matured and wanted to know if he could have them early before they matured to help him pay off his bills”

“I knew it!”, I said. “This is all they think you are good for is money. They don't respect you for anything you have done for them and simply find fault in everything they can to dismiss the positive”.

I recall that my dad was the person who paid for their education and took them on vacations that their parents never did. They spent more time living with my parents than they did their own. They were well taken care of beyond that of most children.

I thought it was odd that he was here out of the blue to see my dad after a year of no contact and thought it even more odd that he felt the need to come to my dad for this money. His dad was now a very successful businessman grossing over 1.5 million in the last year at the company which he founded. Their large house in Las Vegas and membership in an upscale country club were harbingers of that very fact. So I thought it odd that he was there.

I logged into Facebook to check on my oldest nephew's page and found that he had posted that he was excited that his mother (my sister) and his brother “M” were flying to Boston to visit with him and to see the new Star Trek Movie coming out that Friday.

Here again, I found that my sister and nephews would have nothing to do with me and had failed to contact me....meaning that I would not know that they were here. I learned later from “M” that my sister felt “uncomfortable” around me....although she told me differently to my face.

I spoke with my dad about this and explained all that I have just written here and he became infuriated that he felt he was being used and taken for a sucker for his money. They didn't care about him....just that he had something to offer.

He got off the phone with me and called “M” to tell him he would not be giving the money ahead of its maturity. “M” became very angry with my father and told him he would be over shortly to “talk”. When “M” rang the bell of my father's door, my father answered it and he came upstairs to have it out with my dad. He called my father some very nasty things and punched him in the arm when my father told him to get out of his house.

Shortly after my phone rang..... while I was walking in the woods of that serene fall day.

I looked at my phone and thought not to answer it.... but knew if I did not, that this would fester longer..... and this was something I didn't want to deal with later. Better to get it over with now I thought to myself..... and I answered....

It was “M”

He started in on me right off, telling me how I was the spoiled son who wanted all the money for myself and that I had no business interfering in his visit with my dad.

“You know...” I replied to 'M', That money is in your name. You are going to get it. I simply asked my father what he thought of the fact that you never call him to see how he is doing and you never stop by unless you are looking for something from him. This isn't about the money....It's about you”

“M” went off the handle at that point and started a verbal assault on the phone. He lashed out and the truth finally came out of his mouth in that moment's rage when the filters in a person are down. He blurted out, “I was going to tell everyone and your dad that you are a cross-dresser and a freak”.

“Go ahead”, I said calmly in reply. “You can say what you want. Everyone around me in my life already knows I am transgender. You can't use that to hurt me because it won't”.

I continued on....
“I want you to know that I am already out, and that I am well respected within the greater community, within high reaching circles within the state of New Hampshire as we work for legislation and am viewable all over the internet.... so go right ahead and have your fun if you want...it's pointless.”

I told him that I have given lectures at universities and public venues and am well known as and who I am.

He backed off at that point saying that he thought it was good that I was trying to make a difference in the world. I didn't believe a word he said in that un-heartfelt sentence.

Then he started in that if I had a problem with his going over to my dad's that I should have talked with him first before talking to my dad....so that he could work things out.


I need to talk to my nephew first before I talk to my dad? I'm sorry but my dad comes first and if “M” needed to clarify things, perhaps he should have given me a call to let me know he was coming in the first place.

Joanne was getting pretty irate with this conversation she had been hearing as it blurted out over the speakerphone while we walked through the pine forest along the lake. I was so burnt up inside and flustered that I failed to notice just how far we had come in our walk. Joanne took the phone from me in that instant.

“You know 'M'”. she started, “You are only here for the money. You never call when you come to town because you want to try to sneak in and sneak out without our ever knowing you came to Boston. You have a father who is making millions and you come to see Christen's father simply to get money off of him”.

M lost it at that point and called J nothing but a bitch and a whore.

He apologized a moment later but it was too late. The words meant nothing because in the anger, the walls were down and truth came out. They were caught in the act.

Usually my sister would call after such a blowout to try to cover up the mess but no such call ever came. We left the call with “M” saying that he would like to make amends and to visit us one day. That day have still never come. He said that his mother, my sister, would love to try to get together with me still.....even in the face of his admitting that she was uncomfortable with who I am.

I have not heard from them again since and my eldest nephew blocked me from his Facebook page. Until the reading of the will of my father, I dare say that I won't be hearing from any of them ever again. It's sad really, because I spent a lot of time with them in growing up and to see that they have come to this and to see my own sister being insecure enough to stand up for her own brother in the face of what her friends might think of her having her “brother who thinks he is a woman”. I have lost all respect and although they are gone from my life, the hurt will always be there until the day I pass on.

Our talk ended as our walk ended. The peacefulness of that day was shattered and the walk in the woods was one that I didn't even sense happened when I arrived back at the car. Blinded by the intensity of a conversation needed to learn the truth, I lost that day....and I realized finally that I had lost much more.


  1. Two roads diverged in a wood,and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

    Loss of any kind -of even that of toxic relatives - is painful for us. For what we had and for what we thought we had and for what we wish it may have been. It is all painful. For me the loss of what have been is most haunting as the things we have experienced may be fondly remembered.

    Thank you for sharing the pain of your loss. In those moments we all experience disappointment and grieve, what is most helpful for me is knowing others are there who care and hold me in their heart until I can heal.

  2. We can't choose our biological family. And very few can hurt us more than they can.

    You and your wife were correct in your evaluation.

    I don't know your dad. He sounds like an amazing person (which may be why you are also one.) Still I wish he could cut those gold-diggers out of his will. He won't- but I an wish.


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