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Writing is Brave - Rick Prashaw on Soar, Adam, Soar

Adam, my late son, the boy who started life as Rebecca, inspired Soar, Adam, Soar – his fierce yet funny quest to be who he is and love who he loves. Coming out, coming in and coming home to the “boy in the mirror”.

Hearing of my book, a Toronto Star journalist told me, “Writing is brave”.  


Any bravery I mustered to write this book is anchored in Adam whose courage defined his story through all its tomboy, lesbian, transgender, and epilepsy chapters, capped finally by a “Shakespearian cruel weekend” and then remarkable organ donor news. It’s a unique story that Adam tells himself too through dozens of social media posts. Together we share “her and his” 22-year rollercoaster ride — in the crease as a goalie in girls hockey, healthcare, parenting, new pronouns, acceptance, grief and a surprising gratitude, when a heart recipient appears and Adam shows up too, reminding me that we are still father and son. I am totally OK with and use on the book tour the preferred “their, them” pronoun for individuals in this diverse community but did not use that pronoun for book as it was foreign to Adam. In his final year, he started posting his Rebecca pictures too, perhaps a recognition of how far he had come.

The title of the book is in my Facebook post on January 24, 2016, following a precious 36-hour vigil at his bedside after my red-eye flight home from California.

“Soar, Adam, Soar! Some family and friends know my son. Some did not know the latest chapters of his life although they picked up hints. In 1993, when Suzanne cheered my heart with news that we were having a baby, my first, she was certain we were having a boy, given that she carried this child like her last child, David, and so different from her first two girls. We began to refer to this life in Suzanne as Adam. When the intern announced a girl, Suzanne, gobsmacked, sat up and asked whether the doctor was sure. We named “her” Rebecca Danielle Adam Prashaw. That is my child’s legal name. And boy, did “she” like having Adam in the name. I have few “girl in a dress” pictures. She came to believe she was lesbian. It would take a few more years before she recognized the boy that was in her all along, the guy his mom and dad named 22 years ago. Adam began his counselling, trans meds and legal name changes. He was growing into all it meant to be Adam. Despite two courageous brain surgeries, epilepsy snared him in the end. He drowned in a hot tub. His friends, including the trans community, have taught me so much the past forty-eight hours about love, faithfulness and solidarity…. In the early years, Adam and I loved Lion King. Mourning his death, we would point Lion King out in the stars at night. There is a bright new star tonight. You, Adam. I love you. I am so proud to be your Dad.”

I was my son’s “Friend” on Facebook. Click “Like” and resist calling 911! After his death, I read 7 years of Rebecca and Adam posts. It left me exhilarated and exhausted, admiring his writing, wicked humour, his getting up off the canvas. His courage pushed me through the terror of agreeing, finally, with my sister, Jude, that I could not end the story abruptly after Adam’s Celebration of Life. “Adam didn’t live or die in isolation. You cannot remove yourself from this story. Remember, many struggle with these same painful, heart-wrenching circumstances. Your story is their story,” she said. Cue five more chapters, shining a light on the grieving alongside the heart recipient joy and many more tender mercies.

Adam, September 10, 2015

“If only people could see through another’s eyes and truly understand what they go through, think

and see. It’s not always as easy as it seems. We all need help, love and support. No judgment.”

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