I know that can’t be right away for partners and parents and wives and husbands and siblings and children in most cases. You were so close to him or her for so very long. Her memory lingers on that piano bench. You can still smell his cologne on the guitar he used to sing to the kids.
There’s a balance to be had. First find a way to survive without their old name. Maybe something that is neutral that you both can live with for awhile. Avoid gendered pronouns.
Once you’re ready we will be ever so grateful. It isn’t just that you’re showing us your support, although you are. It isn’t just that you are doing us a kindness and helping us adjust, but you’re doing that too. It’s that the old name and gender can cut like a knife and it hurts more from those close and dear.
Last, don’t give into the temptation to call us Sally to our face and Walter to your sister. You really have to change it. First because you’ll slip up to much if you don’t, and why do this at all if you aren’t doing this out of love and respect? More importantly, doing this with your friends and the other relatives sends a clear and unambiguous message that you support your loved one in their transition and you expect them to do the same and to address them by the proper name and the proper gender.
Trust me, they’ll notice, so will we and although we may cry it will be because we are grateful to have people like you in our lives.