It’s been almost five weeks since Justin passed away. I’ve realized over the last five weeks just how much grieving and stress I’ve been under for the last two years, since his heart attack and brain injury. I’ve had a couple of people say to me things like, “but you were getting divorced, wasn’t your relationship over?”. The first time someone said to me, “I know you were broken up, but…”, it was kind of shocking to me, because I had never really thought of it as a ‘break up’ in the normal sense. It’s difficult to explain all the things tied up in all of that to someone who hasn’t been a presence in our lives over the last six years, particularly the last two years. Without seeing it for yourself, nothing I say could really create an accurate picture for someone who hasn’t been here. And so I’ve stopped talking about it. I’ve stepped back from most things social, from blogging and posting, even mostly from talking about the things I’m processing and going through, except to one friend who is probably getting sick of hearing me repeat myself over and over again. I’ve been feeling guilty about heaping it all on him, too, and so have stopped over the last week seeking him out as well and just handling it myself.
Before October 20th, I always had this thought in the back of my mind that Justin would escape the depression like he had so many times before in his life. To me, the ‘break up’ didn’t feel permanent. It felt like something we had to do for him to find himself again. It never really felt like a ‘break up’, it sort of felt like a ‘break’. After 17 months of being his full time caregiver, which came after almost four years of being his slave, my emotional well had run dry. I had done everything I could think of to give him everything he could need for his own recovery. And so, moving to NC was, to me, another step in giving him options to find something I felt I wasn’t able to provide. But it never felt permanent to me. Which is, in some ways, funny to me. Since divorce papers had been filed and there was a picture to the outside world of moving on. I said all the right things to give the impression of me moving forward. But I kept feeling this limbo, this sort of treading water feeling. Waiting, for something, but not really knowing what. Making the pretense of seeking a new partner but not really following through with it. Trying to convince myself as much as those around me.
And while all this was going on for me, Justin was making a pretense of finding someone to serve him. I had even encouraged him in this, asking regularly about how things were progressing. Funny thing about that was it wasn’t only one person, but was several people, although apparently each of them thought they were the only one, and I was only aware of the one. Having access to each other’s accounts and having agreements in place about what to do with those accounts should something happen didn’t change because he moved to NC. So I’ve been cleaning things up for him. Closing things out. As his legal wife, it’s certainly my legal job, but as his slave, it was part of the deal. And so there has been some emotional difficulty in trying to clean things up, close things out.
A big part of me knew that Justin went to NC to die. He was pretty clear about that in many ways. But of course, there is also emotional denial. Throughout it all, though, Justin continued to call me his property, his wife. He continued to wear his wedding ring, and he held the collar I had worn in a special place among his things. And a very large part of me still felt ‘attached’, still property, still married and collared. Baby and I had a conversation about it when I returned from NC where she told me that she and Sir John had discussed it back in May and June, the fact that I was waiting and not moving on. Yeah, you get to see things when you live with people that others don’t get to see. Even things you sometimes wish they didn’t get to see.
Yesterday, Thanksgiving, was a difficult day. It was also a joyous day. That dichotomy of emotions has been with me since his heart attack in 2012 – the expectation of a new grandbaby, celebration of new life, while also grieving the way too early loss of another life. (One grandchild was born January 2013 while Justin was in the hospital the first time, another was born on Wednesday, the day after Justin was put on life support.) And so yesterday was filled with the joy of family, new babies and love, but also of loss and someone important missing. My brother, who always leads the family prayer before dinner, began the prayer but couldn’t go on, getting choked up when thinking of Justin missing from our family this year. My other brother took up the slack and continued on, voice cracking and tears freely falling. The candle we lit remained burning until everyone was leaving, sitting in the middle of the table throughout the day’s gathering. It was hard not to see him everywhere I turned. It was hard not to miss him while holding my babies, our grandchildren. It was hard not to lose it each time someone in my family hugged me and told me how much they missed him, too. Each time one of them said, “How are you really doing?”. Because if I tell how I’m really doing, someone will want to check me into an institution. Plus, who wants to listen to that anyway? Not too many people really mean it when they ask that question. So I just say, “I’m okay,” and leave it at that.
I’m trying to find the ability to release, to let go, to find forward motion. To let go of regrets, to let go of grief, and do something. I can be going through my day just fine, and something out of the blue just slams into me and I become a mess. Just like in the previous 5 months, I still rush home after work, as if I have a Master to attend to. There have been many things I’ve lost over the last two years that I miss but tell myself I can exist without – being held and knowing I’m safe, being of service to someone I love, sex and SM, having a partner who gets me, feeling sexy and sexual, feeling like a woman, having this person I can tell my deepest and darkest secrets to. And I sit alone in this room, this temporary sanctuary I’ve created, my cave. Often feeling like I can’t breathe, wondering what it’s all for. What direction should I be heading now?
I’m not sure where I fit anymore. Not just in the BDSM world, but in life as a whole. I have an ‘empty nest’ now that Bratgirl is out and on her own. And so with that and Justin’s death, I’m only responsible for me. The last time this was my life was 27 years ago. Everything is open before me, I can go anywhere and do anything I desire. And that thought is paralyzing. Overwhelming. Too much.
I’ve had this recurring feeling that something important is coming. In a recent Reiki session with a very dear friend, she told me that something big is coming, important, a new role for me. I told her that it was interesting that she felt that since I had been feeling it for awhile now. I had a reading a week or so ago, and the reader told me the same thing. She said that I have to clear these emotional blocks I’m carrying from my grief and sorrow because I have a role to play, a spiritual one, and it’s important. I wish there were a viewfinder we could peek into and see what’s on the horizon. I wish I knew what that meant.
I’m not sure where I belong anymore. Yes, I’m repeating myself. Because it’s an overwhelming thought that won’t seem to go away. Do I still belong in this BDSM world? The idea of going to a play party is completely distasteful, and yet, thinking about the conferences I’m signed up for – SWLC, SITC, Desire – and others I’d like to attend is still exciting to me. I’m teaching at APEX on December 8th the full version of our class we did for the M/s contests with some new information. I’m a bit apprehensive about it, but I need to do it to get over this hump. I’m leading a new APEX EDGE in 2015 that I’m totally excited about – Back to Nature – and have lined up a cohort to help me out with it. I’ve got class outlines that have been in the works for awhile now that I’m excited to be able to schedule and teach. And yet, I wonder what my role in this community is supposed to be. The desire for SM play continues to entice me, but the thought of actually finding someone to play with freaks me out. And sex, OMGosh, the desire for sex – hot, rough, fucking – is just…wow. But actually going out there and finding someone to have that kind of sex with makes me want to burrow under the covers and never venture forth again.
Life, no matter what, my whole life I have been someone who gets it done, keeps moving forward, no matter what. I need to feel life again. I haven’t for a very long time. No, not just the last five weeks, but in many ways for the last two years. I’ve been in caregiving space, pure service space. But I need to find that spark again, that ‘thing’ that keeps me moving forward, that lets me see that I’m not just this body going through the motions of life. And I have no idea how to make that happen. I feel frozen in place. Treading water. Seeing only water all around, no horizon in sight. If I could just find that one speck, just one tiny speck. Maybe then I wouldn’t feel so lost and alone.