Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Remembering A Friend

Today these keys fail heart fails me to find the words struggling to get out.

This morning I woke up to Jay telling me that he had bad news. My friend Dave...who earlier last year had come out to me as transgendered...had commited suicide. Dave was like my brother. All I am left with right now are memories and a wondering why.

The last time I had talked to Dave he was doing well. We were reconnecting after years of living our own lives. During our conversation he told me about the difficulty of facing his decision to transition to a woman...rather not the transition itself but deciding to make real what he felt was an overwhelming imperative. At that time he nearly attempted suicide and he told me, "it was either transition...or kill myself". and so, he embarked on his journey to become Carina.

Changing genders is no small task and it requires extensive counciling and doctor approval. Well,....Carina being herself...had been obtaining the hormones over the internet and had begun to transition herself. She never was a cautious one...she rushed in not only where angels feared to tread...but where they has also barricaded the door and put up big "Danger! keep out or else!" signs. But such was her need at the time. She did eventually get that doctor approval..and had begun transitioning under medical supervision.....none of this is what led to her decision to just shows more clearly how fearless she was

and yes...I will go between male and female pronouns...I feel caught between my memories of him and the "her" she was becoming.

Prior to making this decision Dave removed his blog, closed down all his facebook pages, updated his will, and methodically tried to close down his affairs...but guess what Dave? You can't take down my memories. Those are mine. I remember the weekend you, I, and Kirk climbed into that tiny Volkswagon bug that was a drafty little deathtrap and drove out to the coase. I am ashamed to admitt that I can't remember if it was your grandma or kirk's who had died. I just remember it was tragedy that drove us to the coast that day. We were coming around a bend of twisty coastal road when we saw a huge devil on the side of the road...big red wings and all. and he was masterbating while onlookers took pictures. (No this is not an acid trip readers. It was real. A man dressed up in costume as a part of some publicity thing but we didn't know.) All three of our jaws dropped as we sped by. I remember thinking, "well now I can die because I have officially seen it all." How little we knew then.

I remember 1a.m. drives to the coast listening to Adrien Belew or the B52's. One night near bodega racing down the rural roads to fast to be safe with "planet claire" on the radio....I wouldn't have been surprised had we been actually kidnapped by aliens on that night....or if we had crashed and our bodies not found till morning...we were so reckless.

I remember the ONE time I let you drive me car you crashed it in an open field with barbed wire all around it. That car never recovered though our friendship did.

I lost you for a while as we went our separate ways and built our families. Me marrying my husband and adopting two kids and you, married with two boys of your own. You become a grown up. Much time passed Then I found you again and we started to catch up on our lives as adults. When you came out to me as transgendered and talked about the steps you had taken in transitioning, I had never heard you more happy. I hopped that this would be the answer to all you had been searching for your whole life. I hoped this would end the sadness, rage, depression, and chaos that marked our younger years.

You were there in my darkest days of Junior high and high school. You were there when I came out. You where there when I got married and then I lost you again....and this time you have gone where I can't yet go.

I'm not angry. Please don't ever feel that way. I love you too much. I just hope that all that pain is gone. I hope that in the adventure of whatever awaits you beyond life...that you don't forget about us.

I know that Dave thought long and hard about this decision. He closed down all his life on the internet ...his facebook...his blogs...and attempted to put things in order before he left. While Dave was happy with his decision to transition...his family was not. End the end it was the fact that he was losing his wife and kids that became his reason to go. Not the past, not the hormones or transitioning. It was that he couldn't live keep those he loved in his life and transition. those are the hard choices that people have to make when they come to terms with being transgendered. You face the very real possibility of losing those you love. That was too much for Dave/Carina to bear.

This is not a judgment on his family. I can understand why she felt the way she did. I can't say that I would do any differently. Nor do I defend Dave's decision...I wish fervently that he would have called me. I blame myself for losing touch with him again these last couple of months. If I was talking to him...maybe I would have known and been able to help him deal with the reality that, if he really needed to transition, he would have to let go of his family for a while....but not forever. I would have told him that it was going to be o.k. But I wasn't there and now he isn't either.

I know why he didn't reach out and call. Who was going to be able to fix what was wrong? Could I make his wife take him back as a woman? Could I change the way he felt about transitioning? But that didn't mean that he couldn't have gone through that dark night until another dawn broke and he could begin to build a new life with his family on new terms. Instead, it became just one straw to many and he couldn't carry the load anymore.

Too my readers who know someone transgendered. Please don't take their struggles for granted. We can't solve each others problems...but the alternative is to lose those we love because they can not bear the burden alone. All it takes is a willing listener....I wish I had been a better one.

I know this post rambled....I am sorry for that....I put what I had on the page the way it came out. Please go tell someone you love them today.


  1. I´m so sorry Bryan.
    I can´t imagine what this is for you, how you must feel. I want to go and hug you.
    I love you and I´m glad you are part of my life.

    Loves. Javier

  2. I am so sorry to hear about your loss! :-(

    Hugs, Christa

  3. <3 So sorry.

    I was thinking about writing something longer, but I think I just said the words you needed to hear.

  4. Bryan,

    I'm very sorry to hear about your loss. Through this blog you shared with us not only Dave's struggles, but also what a special friend he was in your life. You don't know all your followers in person but be sure we're with you in these hard times.

    You, Jay and your children are very special to me, and you have place in my heart.

    You have my deepest sympathies & God bless you,

    Luis Alberto

  5. Hey Bryan

    I am so sorry for your loss of your friend. I did say I love you to my niece Sam and my niece Sarah today!




    I am so sorry for your loss. You and you family will always have a place in my heart. My heart goes out to you and your family.


  7. Hey Bryan, I have been touched by suicide as well. It leaves such confusion in the people left behind.

    It is more than a decade since my own experience and I still think about how and why sometimes.

    You will always wonder I think, even if you sort of know.

    My thoughts are with you.

  8. Bryan:
    Left a comment with the video, but, please know, after reading this blog, my heart goes out to you even more. We can never be prepared for a sudden death and when someone takes their own life, it is impossible for family and friends to cope and understand. Remember her, remember the times you were there for each other, remember the fun and the pain and remember, she was at your wedding and you will always have the video she did for you of your wedding.

    I am happy Jay was with you this morning, together you will face this painful loss and come out stronger in your fight for all LGBT rights in memory of Carina.

    Love and Peace,

  9. Bryan!!

    I am so sorry for your lose. I know that there can't be words that can help you in this difficult time but I have to give it a try.

    Don't blame yourself for what happen. I know there is a lot of things you think you could have done, but going there is not going to help you. Jay and You have done so many things for so many people, you give us hope every day, you give us (at least in my case), and ideal world where I can be who I am, where I can find what you guys have. You couldn't have predicted this, you couldn't have seen it coming.

    Please don't blame yourself for the things you COULD have done. I know Dave/Carnia knew you love him/her.

    I love you guys... and I wish I could do more for you guys since you have done so much for me.


  10. I am so, so sorry for your loss Bryan...if you need someone to talk to or anything, I'm here.


  11. I know nothing I could possibly type would bring your friend back, but know that just by mentioning him in a video or a post... your making Dave's story known.
    And I think he'd be happy to know that.

  12. My prayers are with you and Carina's family and friends at this time.

  13. Kenny in San AntonioMarch 24, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    My dear friend Bryan , know that you and your family are in my thoughts. You are greatly loved by a lot of people, there and abroad and even here in San Antonio Texas

  14. My prayers will be with you and also of course with Carina's sons and wife.

    I don't think anyone has ever been affected by suicide and not felt like you do - 'if only i'd....'. The sad truth is people make this decision and sometimes there really is nothing to be done to change their mind. Even where perhaps they might have, once it's done it of course cannot be undone. I can't even imagine how hard it must be to have to in some sense choose between who you really are and the people you love.

    Thank you for posting today.

  15. I know it is 2010 but I still think that being transgendered is kind of like being gay in 1970. Society hasn't wakened up when it comes to that issue in our evolvement-even in the gay community. It is going to take time but it will happen.
    On a brighter note..he is happy now and he is home. This is a temporary place..he just couldn't take it anymore. I do not blame him.
    So sorry Bryan.

  16. I'm terribly sorry for your loss, Bryan. My thoughts and prayers are with you. As Kenny said above, people here in San Antonio care about you.

  17. Artjommm (Youtube)March 25, 2010 at 2:30 AM

    (After watching the video on Youtube)
    Dear-dear Bryan, I'm sittig here in front of my screen and weeping. I'm weeping for her, 'cause the poor Corina could not bear it any longer, could not see the light that IS there even in the darkest places and cound not find strength or reason to carry on. Those moments ARE indeed awful.
    But I'm also crying for you, Bryan. Please don't torture yourself with the thought that if you had cared enough he would have stayed alive. Dear-dear Bryan, the thing is that if you had called him he might have stayed here a bit longer. But without professional help of a psychologist, I'm writing this once again, without a PSYCHOLOGIST and a VERY GOOD THERAPY he would have had huge difficulties to bear all these changes, the loss of his family and hatred from strangers on his own, even having his friends around. His death ISN'T your fault, Bryan. It IS NOT. You'll be in my prayers, boy.

  18. I am so, sorry for your loss Bryan.

    I know It dose not help much but you can't beat your self up over not knowing, but I will not lie and say that you will not stop wondering they whys and the what ifs, just that they will get better.

    If you need some one to talk to I am always here.

  19. Thank you for your writing. It's made me cry, but it's worth it to remember. Dave shared your blog with me several months ago. He and I reconnected in a similar way to what you mention above, after years of very little contact. I too can't help but feel that I could have done more.

  20. Bryan, please don't blame yourself. This isn't your fault. All of the things you think you could have done you are turning over in your head with 20/20 hindsight. You had no way of knowing. We lead busy lives in the West; we can't be all things to all people. I'm sure you are a better friend than most.

    I am so sorry for your loss and I am thinking of you and your gorgeous family. Thank you for everything you do. <3

  21. Thanks for the love and encouragement. And even though it may be true that I couldn't have done doesnt change the fact that I wish I had. Even though I think he made a conscious effort to lock everyone out when his mind was made up.... Little makes much sense right now but I want you all to know that your comments get read and appreciated.


  22. Damn that sucks...These are issues I don't even think about until they come up. You have my condolences. It's so tragic to lose a friend and for a soul to suffer that much and be put in such an impossible situation like that. =(

  23. Oh, Bryan. We have been friends so long and it was through you that I even meet Dave (as I never meet Carina, I have only ever thought of him as Dave. This is not to say that I am resistant to his transformation. You know that I even dated a couple of transgender individuals. Dave just never transformed in my mind as I never saw or heard Carina. But I digress)

    My mind keeps going back to the day that we pulled apart that VW Bug engine. ("Is that hole saposta be in the engine block????") I had worn shorts and a tank top, having never worked on a car before. Black grease quickly crawled up my arms and legs. You felt so bad that you took off your black shirt and put greasy handprints on your torso. Dave came over not too long after that. You two talked "guy" and I felt like the fly on the wall getting all sorts of dirt.

    The times that the two of you would pick me up and we'd go play in "Gerbil Town" at one in the morning or so.

    Then there was the time that he saved me from my own stupidity and brought me home from Merced. (I'll never chase after a man so hard again -- oh, wait, one chased me down and wore me down into marrying him....)

    I'm still trying to wrap my head around this. I can't seem to find the humor in it like I did Mom. No voices have been heard here before, but I heard a male voice in my ear on the night of the 12th. I wonder, but then I ask "Why me?"

    I just wish that I had made more of an effort to renew the friendship with him after your wedding. Mohi asked me why I didn't invite him to our's. I'll just let my girls comfort me and cry some more into my pillow. He was on a very difficult path, but it doesn't make the waste any less.

    May Allah grant his soul the peace that he never seemed to find here on Earth.

    I will always love you and be here for you, should you need me.

    Your "little" friend with many names.

  24. Bryan - I missed this when you posted it, although I do subscribe. I guess I was too busy dealing with details. Thank you for writing it. I stayed with Dave/Carina only 3 days before she died. I have so much more to share with you - will do so in private. Thanks for sharing your memories.
    In sadness...

  25. Thank you for this!


    Dave's little sister

  26. I remember him telling me about that devil- he was freaked out (I would be too)- you were/are such a good friend to Dave



  27. Bryan thank you again for this-you are a gifted writer! anyone above who knew dave please contact me- I don't want to post my e-mail on here- but I guess you can add me as a friend on FB through this site- karen holleran-
    - especially his old VW gang!

  28. BTW the devil thing was a stupid independent film that I heard about later- this was before all of us had internet- I'll try to look it up- if I remember correctly this guy did this in rural areas all over the USA and filmed peoples reactions- vaguely remember reading an article in the Chronicle about it- Dave was freaked when he told me about it- and he wasn't one who was easily freaked-wish i could have been there!