Saturday, 29 June 2013

Farewell, Karen ...

In our life there are often many guides, those who show us the way forward, accompany us sometimes or allow us to take the next steps into a vitally important growth phase. If you are transitioning this is especially true. I have been fortunate to have many guides in my life, friends mostly, who have guided me further along the journey, making further living possible.

This weekend, I lost one of those guides, my electrologist and dear friend Karen Miller. Those of you who are regular visitors to this blog will have likely read my posts on the trials of hair removal; Karen was the invisible star behind those posts. I came a long way with her skill, support, advice and friendship.

Back in 2010, when I was still trying to make up my mind on the way forward, a friend gave me a referral to Karen's office. A year later, after transitioning for nearly six months, I booked my first appointment with her. At the time, I had much work to do, and some sessions, truthfully, were a baptism of fire. Karen, literally, held my hand during those times. I learned patience, self-discipline, self-care and steadfastness over the next couple of years. I, in turn, brought many hours worth of my music collection and radio podcasts to have playing on her office computer while we worked away, sometimes until well after midnight. Those were some special times. Karen was also a transwoman, in her sixties, who carried a lot of wisdom with her. She also spoke very fondly of her colleagues, her fellow golfers and curlers, and of her children.

Eventually, as my facial dwindled, the sessions became shorter and less frequent. By the end of 2012, I was going once a month for just over and hour each time. She said on more than one occasion that she missed my visits. When she spent a short stint in the hospital over the Christmas holidays, I felt concerned for her health, but she seemed to bounce back fine in the new year.

By springtime, I was going every six weeks for an hour each session. Recently, after she had just come back to town from visiting her daughter in northern BC, she proudly showed me and her other staff photos of her holding her baby grandchild. She was glowing. We agreed to meet for dinner before our next session. When the next Friday evening arrived we had forgotten, but promised to firm up plans for the next appointment in July. This evening after dinner, I got news of Karen's passing, and felt shock and numbness. I have lost others this year, but losing Karen does not seem real.

And so, I, and many others including many transwoman whose transitions were greatly assisted by Karen's services, and friends, and family, have lost someone very special indeed.

Karen, I miss you so very much. My deepest condolences go out to her other friends, families and staff.

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