While it's a process for everyone involved, eventually, we realize that the "loss" is not of the person, but of your friend or loved one as you perceived them. They're still there.
In this beautiful video, a mother demonstrates that concept as she shares a touching poem she wrote for her transgender daughter and how she felt about the idea of saying 'goodbye' to her son and used caterpillars and butterflies to demonstrate how the process can actually be beautiful.
Here is the pome she wrote:
In an interview with BuzzFeed, Lorna McGuire explained why she wrote the poem. "It was to make sense of my feelings and the whole situation, and to put them down on paper," she explained. "Paddy is still the same person, but there are things you envisage that child will be like when they grow up, so when you realise that they're not that gender that's all blown out of the water. So it was about the fact you're losing that side of them – you're losing what you thought would be."
I had a little caterpillar, small, cute and blue
He reminded me so much of you
I loved him and fed him, tended his every need
But he wanted to change
I had to follow his lead
I loved and supported still wondering why
'Til the day my boy said goodbye
You spun your silk all round your shell
You wove your web and said your spell
The inside of your soul shone out
And the real you came about
I was amazed, what else could I think?
No longer a shy boy whose heart would sink
But a beautiful butterfly, loud, proud and pink
Sometimes I miss my caterpillar boy
But my butterfly girl fills my heart with joy
She also recalls the moment she first realized Paddy felt like a girl, saying she had begged her to buy her a dress since she was three years old. Finally, when she was five, Lorna got her one. "I thought, 'Well I'll get her the dress and she'll grow out of it, and that will be that,'" she revealed. "But it didn't work out like that – as soon as she put the dress on that's when I knew. It was a eureka moment. A light bulb went on. As soon as she had the dress on and I saw her face, tears came down my eyes and I knew. Her face lit up. She was so happy, I've never seen her so happy in all my life."
Paddy and her family are featured on the UK documentary My Transgender Kid on Channel 4. To find out how you can watch the documentary, check out Channel 4's website.