The first time I met Lady Beth, I was both excited and a little bit nervous. Justin had told me lots of stories about her, I had talked with her on the phone and via email, and I knew this was a woman I would love. She was one of the most important female figures in Justin’s adult life, and she loved him no matter what stupid or hurtful things he did. It was 2009, and it was a big trip for me in general because I also met Justin’s parents that same trip. It was him bringing me home to meet the family. It was important.
Because we had already spent time talking on the phone, there was no awkwardness to our meeting. We arrived at the house before she did, and were sitting in the garage when she got home from work. Just hugs and “I’m so happy to finally get to meet you in person.” We ordered dinner in, then sat until the wee hours of the morning in the garage talking. I had heard about ‘garage time’ with Lady Beth, and I felt pretty honored to be included in that club. She welcomed me with wide open arms and a ton of love. She was extraordinary.
I already knew I would love her just because she loved Justin unconditionally. When he blew up bridges and left the bodies in heaps, she still loved him. He was her son. And by virtue of that, I became her adopted daughter. Oh, I was not part of the Kindred family, but Beth was my family. She became the woman I try very hard to model myself after. She became my ideal of Leather Woman. She was truly a good person and I loved her.
On another visit, we were set to meet Nefarious. Beth was so happy and proud, it shone from her eyes and was heard in her voice. Poor Michael, he decided to arrive at the house before Beth so that he could schmooze us. We got to spend an hour or two with him in the garage before she arrived home. There was reminiscing and some ‘fatherly’ speeches from Justin. And Michael doing all he could to convince us of his love for Beth. He was in the hot seat all night, but it didn’t seem to faze him. When Beth arrived home, it was off to dinner with the four of us and Kat. It was an amazing time, and Michael was a good sport. He took some razzing, some of it serious. “If you ever do anything to hurt Beth…” was said to him in private a few times, and he took it in stride. It was clear that he adored her and she adored him.
I arrived in Charlotte on Sunday, October 26th, to be with Justin as he passed. I had let Beth know I was coming, and she and her girl had both been comforting me via phone and text all the previous week. Death and grief do horrible things to people, and so in that I was completely and totally on my own. But I had Beth and I had her girl on the phone and via text. We texted and talked a lot while I was there. She held me up when I didn’t think I could go on. She comforted me when someone else’s grief was taken out on me. I wanted to try to see her while I was there, but she wasn’t feeling well, and I didn’t want to add my own grief to her burden. She told me to let her know when I arrived safely home, and I imagine that my text that night was the last. It didn’t occur to me that something might be wrong, as it was pretty late in NC when I arrived home in AZ.
When Lynn texted me asking me to call, I knew it was about Beth. When my phone rang before I could dial and it was Catherine, I knew it was about Beth. I was both comforted by the fact that Justin was there to meet her, and crushed by her loss. Only Catherine heard the depths of that. To lose one of them was hard. To lose them both in the same week has been paralyzing. I feel very much like an entire section of my life is completely over, almost like it happened only in my mind, and I’m having some difficulties figuring out how to move on.
The reality of my relationship with Beth was largely private. Beth, Michael, Lynn, Kat, and Catherine were really the only people who knew the extent of it. It wasn’t public, it wasn’t a family affair, not in the way of the Kindred. We didn’t attend kink events together or plan service projects. We just loved each other, held each other up, supported each other, gave long distance hugs and love, and real ones when we could be together. I still haven’t deleted that last text exchange between us because it’s comforting to read the words we shared the day she passed.
Yesterday, I received an unexpected package. I had heard about the piece of leather and how each family member received a piece of it. I never expected to also receive a piece of it. Or a few other items from Beth’s collection. My piece of leather is currently sitting on my altar. I’ve walked by several times and held it up to my heart, feeling Beth. And crying. Tears have come again. Tears of both missing her and feeling so honored that her girl and Kat sent me these pieces of her.
Beth was my friend, my adopted mom by virtue of my Sir, my role model for all things feminine and all things Leather. She was Southern grace and beauty personified. And I miss her very much.
*Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.*