A few months ago, our twenty-three-year-old child called us and said they were thinking about killing themself.

After losing one child to suicide, we were distraught and panicked, but we also knew what steps to take to help them. They immediately started counseling which brought to the surface a truth they have known for most of their life but could only verbalize through assistance from professionals.

They invited my husband and me to their home and shared with us that their spirit does not match their body. We listened intently, working to understand this New Normal. She told us she has chosen to live the gender of her soul. We did not argue with her by telling her she was wrong or that she needed to give it more thought. We did ask if she was sure. She told us this is the surest she has been of anything in her life. We physically and emotionally embraced her and told her we love her unconditionally, and we are happy she has found herself. We expressed we are glad she chose life, even if it is in a different shell.

She is taking steps, in her own time, to help her body match her truth. Because we are supportive, interested, and respectful, she answers our questions with candor.

She has adopted a new name, wears fingernail polish, and is growing out her hair. We can see the change in her eyes. There is joy in her spirit and step which we did not know was missing until we saw it there.

Was this a surprise? Yes.

An adjustment? Yes.

But using her correct name and pronouns has been easy because she is our child who we love deeply and intensely. We choose to accept her for who is she is, even if we do not completely understand. We will continue to ask questions and do research so we can support her on journey.

We love you, Gwyn.

And we are here for you.

Kimberly is a suicide loss survivor hoping to make a difference for others through her transparency.