I have been largely absent from the scene and fetlife now for quite a long time. I pop in on rare occasions, but it’s not as common as it once was. I’ve been hibernating, and not just from the scene, really from life. I feel like I’m reaching a pivotal time in this hibernation, but I’m not sure what that means things will look like. And thus, some heavy processing. Really, the processing has been ongoing for a long time. This post is highly personal. It rambles. I’m not looking for pity. I’m just finding my voice. A way to get some of these emotions out.
The life I was living, the life I had planned, changed on December 21, 2012. After my late Sir’s heart attack, I spent the next six weeks going to his hospital room instead of work. My life focus turned completely to doing what was necessary for his recovery. There was no time for me to become an emotional mess, I had to hold it together so that I could keep up with 8 different specialists, more than a dozen medications, and in-laws. I posted here a couple times a day in order to get people praying, lighting candles, thinking about him. And to get it out, have a voice.
When he came home from the hospital, after 12 weeks in 3 hospitals, I again changed my life to be with him 24/7. My office was accommodating and allowed me to work from home. My schedule was 5am-2pm. I often showered on my lunch break, because we typically had to leave the house by 2:30 for rehab or doctor’s appointments. I learned how to transfer him from the wheelchair to the car or bed and got pretty good at it. Home from appointments meant household tasks. I usually didn’t have free time of any sort until around 9 in the evening. This was life from March 2013 until the end of May 2014, when his depression hit bottom and he took his first insulin overdose.
He had released me prior to doing so, saying I was under no further obligation to care for him. He had already told me in an earlier conversation that he wanted to die, and that he wanted me to then move on and find someone who could take care of me and give me the life I deserved. I spent a lot of time those first few months thinking about that night and the week to follow. Would I have agreed to let him go back to NC with his dad if he hadn’t released me? Probably not, but I’ll never know for sure. Several of my closest friends have said they are thankful he released me so that I would agree to that. I’m guessing they know me better than I know myself in matters like this, since I’m certainly not objective. So I’ll take their word for it.
Once he left, I was lost. I had no idea what to do beyond going to work every day. I had spent the last year and a half caring for him, focused on his recovery, and the four years prior to that as his property, doing what he expected of me. I didn’t have someone telling me what to do any longer, and I didn’t have him to care for. I went to work each day, came home, and went to my bedroom. I was in complete and total hibernation mode. The only time I interacted with the rest of the household was if they came to my room or we were on the porch at the same time. I ate take out every night. I didn’t answer the phone and I didn’t return calls.
Then at the end of July, Sir John passed unexpectedly. That only required my focus for the first day, as baby’s family arrived the next day. And so back to my room I went – there were way too many people in the house for me to begin to deal with. My emotional reserves were fully and totally depleted. I played a good game of deflecting when someone asked how I was doing. The reality is that I was a shell.
I talked to Justin pretty much daily. I kept hoping his kick in the butt would come and he would choose life. But his parents enabled his checking out even further by doing for him. He spent his days on the porch with his mom or dad fetching for him. Things like vocational rehabilitation and psychiatrists were outside their idea of care. He was seeing an old family doctor who continued his medications but not his therapy. And so a couple weeks after Sir John’s death, he took his second insulin overdose. I was worried something was up because of a cryptic exchange we had that night, but wasn’t sure if I should call his parents or not. Turned out, I was right to worry. But again, they revived him and he didn’t even spend the night in the hospital.
We kept talking daily. Nothing I said or did would spur him on to choosing life. Taking accountability. I filed for divorce thinking maybe that will do it. I told him that we were on separate paths, had been for a while, but really, I was just hoping he’d wake up. He didn’t. He sent me presents. He sent me flowers. We talked every day. And the night he took the third and final insulin overdose, he sent me a goodbye message, telling me he loved me and it wasn’t my fault.
The day his dad called to tell me he was on life support, I got the letter of dismissal from the court since I’d never filed proof of service. Two days later, my daughter had my grandson. The day after that, I had to tell the social worker at the hospital to remove Justin from life support. Forty-eight hours later, they did. I arrived the next day.
The scene at hospice was difficult. His dad, whom up until that point I had had a very close relationship with, didn’t want me there. I think it was because he was afraid that I would try to change things and maybe take Justin home with me. Or maybe it’s like everything else and was because I was kinky and he didn’t have to pretend any longer to keep Justin in his life. Doesn’t really matter, but the loss of relationship is one I still mourn.
They had told us that it was going to be another day or two before he stopped breathing. But then, it changed. Tonight, it will be tonight. I was holding Justin’s hand while he breathed his last. Lady Beth told me that she believes he waited for me to be there. Once I arrived, he could go. She also told me that I was the best thing that ever happened to Justin, that he was truly the happiest she had ever seen him with me. I hold those words in my heart. She left this world three days later. I still have her texts and voicemails. I wish I had our last conversation, too. I replay it in my head more often than I probably should.
There was drama in NC. You would think that there wouldn’t be around someone’s death, but there always is. I chose to walk away from friendships that were different than I thought they were. Trust has become hard for me again. Walls have gone up again.
After his death, I hibernated even more. My brain couldn’t really think. I felt like I was in a fog. Just shut down. Off. Checked out. There had been hope before his death that he would return. He went to NC to die, I know that. I knew it then, I still know it today. But I still also maintained hope that something might spark life in him again. It really was never going to happen. I know that. I’ve spent a lot of time second guessing, what if-ing. But those thoughts are pointless. I don’t second guess any longer. I don’t really have regrets or guilt any longer. But there is still pain. A hole that nothing will fill. I miss him and our life together. It wasn’t perfect, but it was ours.
I have a few of his things here with me – some vanilla, some kink. Most of his things were in NC with his parents, his kink things with someone who used to be a friend. She refused to return them to me. I’ve finally reached the point where I have been able to let that one go. After I saw a picture of her wearing one of my kink t-shirts thinking it was his, I had to laugh. And I had an epiphany. It’s not the material possessions that hold my memories, it’s me who holds them.
And now we reach the 10-month mark. When I moved into my new house in March, I had a few moments of anger at him. It was the first time I’ve felt anger in this grieving process. I was angry he wasn’t here like we planned. It was short-lived anger, but I was actually glad to finally feel it.
I keep thinking that I should be past this grief. But I am reminded by those closest to me that I’m not only grieving his death, I’ve been grieving on some level for 3 years, since his heart attack changed our lives. I feel irreparably broken. People have said that I’m the strongest woman they know. I’m not really, though. It’s all an act. A mask I put on. I go that mask when I was about 6 years old, so I’ve had a lot of time to perfect it over the years. There are a very small handful of people who have seen underneath that mask. Some have seen bits and pieces, but no one has seen the mask fully removed. And it pisses me off when people say I’m strong. Because they don’t really know. They only know what the mask shows them. They don’t see the lost little girl behind it.
At one point in our relationship, after months of full transparency and deep, painful excavation of our souls, I told Justin that he was the only person on the planet who had the power to destroy me emotionally. No one in my life had ever held that power before. It didn’t occur to me at the time that it wouldn’t be by his choice. There is a part of me that feels broken beyond repair. I know that isn’t true. But it feels that way. If it weren’t for my two girls and my grandbabies, I would sell or give away everything and pack up the Escape and just leave. The draw for that is strong. But I have responsibilities and I have my kids, and so I won’t do that. But I want to. Badly.
It’s been almost 3 years since I experienced true intimacy. Since I’ve been held. I tend to keep people at arm’s length. I’m afraid to do anything else because the right contact at the wrong time could release the dam. I’m not a crier. But I feel raw. Vulnerable. It’s right there under the surface. I can feel it, and I’m afraid of it. What if it starts and I can never stop it? The broken pieces that are barely being held together would come apart. And if that happens, how will I get those pieces back together again?
And so I continue to hibernate. I come out on occasion, I talk to friends. I even go to an event now and then. And I feel like I’m on a precipice. Between this feeling broken and wanting to feel alive. I don’t know what to do to come over to the other side. The pull to just stay here, in my house, alone, is strong. The desire to be out there, with people, meeting people, maybe going on a date, is there, just under the surface. It comes and I think I’m a broken mess, and it goes away again.
Grief isn’t finite. It doesn’t have a time limit. It shifts and molds. It seems to abate, then rolls back in when you least expect it. There is a hole in my heart, in my life. The hole can’t be filled again. The edges aren’t as raw as they once were, but they are still raw and healing. I wish I could just get on with this and be done with it. Put it into a box, stick it on the shelf with those other boxes, and take more steps forward. It won’t stay in the box, though. I’ve gotten mostly used to that. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to put it in a box that I take out on my terms. Probably not, though. I’m slowly beginning to accept that.