When I was a child, I thought if I stared at my mother’s pictures for hours and weep, I could bring her back from her eternal sleep. I joined the ranks of the motherless children who rode their bicycles in the night, in tears, with their mother’s memory still in them. An only child, I witnessed the pain in my grandmother’s eyes; the agony she carried from the loss of her children. She told me long held secrets before her transition; in my young body and receptive mind, I sat quietly and intently listened. Early in her marriage she had suffered a miscarriage, and through her life, she had endured tremendous damage. That evening I became a man; holding back my own tears, she knelt and wept, and let out all the pain of the years. I took my grandmother’s hand — and kissed her, and held her, and told her that she had become my mother, and that she was all I had, and that I loved her. In those moments nothing else in the world mattered; and on that night, oh that precious night, I swore an oath to myself in a small room under the heavens, that I would die to protect her, and stored that night in the depths of my soul, so I could always remember.