Tag Archive for remembering

The Gift of Death

One of the earliest memories I have is from when I was 4 years old.  I remember my mother being very upset and then leaving for several days.  I remember her explaining to me that my great grandmother had died and that she was going to go back home to go to her funeral.  I can still remember my mother’s face; her puffy tear filled eyes looking searchingly at me.  I remember feeling like it was all okay and that I understood that she needed to go. I felt that death was important. After all, I knew what death was since I had had several pet frogs and a cat die. As much as a 4 year old can, I understood that death must be attended to and honored.

By the time I was 10, I was living with my father and his second wife hundreds of miles away from my mother.  My mother called my father in a panic and explained that her father had just died and he needed to send me back to Indiana to attend the funeral. He refused and they had a huge fight about it. I remember he told me my grandfather died as part of explaining to me why it was so unreasonable that my crazy mother would expect him to foot the bill for an airline ticket. That is how at 10 years old I learned that death causes anger and frustration.

When I was 15 my father took our family on a sailing trip for several weeks.  When we returned to our home dock, the harbor attendant was waiting for us anxiously with a note.  My father called his sister from the club house at the marina and found out my 17 year old cousin had died in a shooting accident.  Dad left for the airport without changing clothes and went to be with our extended family. It turned out that my cousin had been playing Rambo style roughhousing with several of my other cousins and thought it would be funny to get out my uncle’s service revolver as a prop.  Somehow he managed to trip down a flight of stairs and shot himself in the head.  He died in my cousin’s arms within moments. The family was devastated.  I was confused by the whole tale.  How was this a ‘shooting accident?’ Who thinks an actual gun is roughhousing fun?  I was dismayed that my father seemed to carry on with this ‘shooting accident’ explanation of the events leading to my cousin’s death and so at 15 I learned that death is often shrouded with false history for the conveniences of those still living.

At 18 I gave birth to my first child.  He was born after a long drawn out dramatic process that ended in an emergency C-section late in the evening.  In the morning, as I fumbled to figure out what exactly a new mom was supposed to be doing to care for a newborn my stepmother arrived at my hospital room. I asked where my father was and she did not offer an explanation. This was striking because through the entire trials and tribulations of the prior day, my father had been present and more than accounted for.  He was constantly asking doctors and nurses ten questions and stressfully hovering over me and eventually my newborn. So where the Hell had he gone?  I couldn’t imagine why he would be absent.  He called me a few hours later and broke the news that my 16 year old cousin, the youngest brother of the aforementioned now deceased cousin, had committed suicide in the night as I delivered my son. Several weeks later my aunt, mother of three sons, two of them now dead, came to see me and my new baby.  I thought it odd that she would be up to traveling so soon after burying her youngest child until it became painfully obvious why coming to see my baby was so pressing.  She had decided that her son had committed suicide so that he could be re-born as my son.  Wow, talk about creeping out a too young mother who was already pretty freaked out by the totality of the situation. This time at the ripe old age of 18 I learned that death can make you crazy with grief.

When I was 24 I got a call one morning from my mother’s brother.  In a ragged voice he told me, “She’s gone, she died, your mother, she died in her sleep, she’s gone.”  I remember falling to the floor and wailing, collapsed from the weight of the shock and loss. I was undone in that moment like never before. I had just had my second child, a daughter, and my mother was scheduled to come and visit her for the first time just two days from then.  I was grief stricken and suddenly understood that phrase was more than a poetic term. That was when I learn that death strips you naked and has its way with you. Death is overwhelming.

At age 32 I had just entered into my final semester of undergraduate school.  I had four children by this point and was working my ass off to finally get my act together and be a responsible member of society as my father would have put it. Dad called me one evening and explained that he had stage four lung cancer.  The doctors had decided they could not operate and Dad was going to try an experimental chemo. I once again felt Death the Great Overwhelmer clawing at my sanity. I pulled myself together and offered to come to help.  He declined and said he would be fine. He was unable to attend my graduation. I sent him photographs. By that summer he was admitted to hospice care and finally asked me to come and help him.  I spent the last weeks of his life with him as he died.  I watched the care and service that the hospice team provided to our family.  When he died, I was devastated but not broken.  Dying can be done well. Love can transcend death. That is when I learned death can be comforted.

After my father died, I changed my graduate school plans from research to clinical and went into hospice work.  Death and I had spent a good bit of time in each other’s company and I felt it was the right place for me. As I have worked with the deaths of others and their families these lessons have come in handy.  I have been able to comfort and empathize with others.  More importantly I have served as witness to their grief because I have learned that death can be so very lonely for those enmeshed in it.

So what does all of that mean?  Well for me it has meant that I have learned to accept the gift of death.  The gift is the knowledge of how precious life is.  I have learned that no matter how old you are when you die, you are still too young. I have learned that you can do nothing to extend your days beyond what you are given. Fate stands ready with her scissors at some unknowable point in your personal timeline and nothing you can do or say will stay her hand from cutting you off. This is the gift that lights up each day for me.  This is why I live an authentic passionate life.  This knowledge resides in my thoughts constantly.

People often question my decision to live as a slave in a full-time lifestyle. For me, this life, the life of empowered service and loving devotion, is the life that I will never regret. We only get so much time on this planet and I know in my core that I will never wish I had one more day of being a vanilla wife.  I will never long for an extra hour of a standard American pastime. I will never long for one more moment of selfish motivation.  When I am attending my own death, I will only long for more time to serve him, to sit at his feet, to be fucked by him, to be undone by his pain and lust.  The gift of death is that I know I too will die and so I choose to live each day fully surrendered to my beloved Master with no regrets.

Why I Love Teaching About M/s

I was asked today, “Are you not allowed to…?”  The question was about something small, I don’t really remember what it was that the person was asking if I was ‘allowed’ to do but when the question was asked I felt several emotions at once.  I was surprised by my emotional response.  At the time, the question was answered in a fashion as the conversation went on its merry way without any notice of my emotional response. No big deal but I find myself thinking about it again.

What emotions did I have? Well, first I guess it was defensive.  Not personally, but defensive of my Master.  I felt as though I did not want him or his way of managing my life to be seen as wrong or bad.  There was nothing in the way or words of the question that should have caused this emotion, but there it was anyway.  Why?

I also felt a bit embarrassed.  Not shameful, but more like when someone asks you a specific question about how you like to have sex. The blushing sort of “that is personal” kind of embarrassed feeling. Again, why?

The last emotion was confusion.  I didn’t know for sure how to even answer the question.  Was I ‘allowed’ or ‘not allowed’?  The short answer I gave was, “Well it isn’t that I am not allowed but sort of.”  That was pretty well a non-answer but that’s what I had at the time. Yet again, why?

Why did the question elicit defensiveness, embarrassment, and confusion? As I think about it, the answer seems simple but meaningful to me.  I couldn’t answer because there is not a paradigm in my world of ‘allowed’ or ‘not allowed.’ The meaning to me was in why the emotions I felt were there at all.  I realized there is a history in my baggage compartment associated with what M/s ‘ought’ ‘should’ or ‘is’ supposed to be.

The baggage that actually generated the fuel for those emotions include the following ideas: Masters are assholes that demand their rules be followed. Slaves are under a burden of rules and protocols. Master’s rules must be followed or to the curb with the slave. Slaves are without rational logical personal decision making skills. Masters are jerks and slaves are weak.

“Really, personal baggage, does that make any sense?” I ask myself.  Is that all still stored up in my attic somewhere?  Wow, I thought I had long ago tossed those notions out.  But there they were, lurking.

There was a time years ago before I was owned by Master when I was in the BDSM community but not in an M/s dynamic.  I knew people who used the terms ‘Master’ and ‘slave’ but did not understand what that meant.  After a little while I thought I came to an understanding of M/s because I had talked with some people about it, read a few things, and been to a few events.  I thought that pretty much Masters were assholes and slaves were doormats.  I didn’t know a damn thing but that is ok.  It takes time to learn about new things in life.  Growing up in kink is natural and we all had to do it sometime. I learned more, I listened more, and I opened my heart and mind to the people I met.

Time and experience led me to come to a place where I know that Masters and slaves all are different. Maybe some M/s couples are like that stereotype but all the folks I know in M/s now are certainly deeper, more vibrant, and wonderful than those first silly assumptions falsely led me to believe. Now I know that I am a slave and not at all a doormat.  I know Master is a loving, generous, intelligent, and encouraging man who has dedicated his life to protecting and fostering me into my best potential. Now I see the beauty and wonders of living my life as an authentic and fulfilled woman who has chosen to enter into a 24/7 commitment to serving his will above all else.

So back to the question that raised internal hackles. Why? Why is because I forget that to other people my choice of lifestyle does seem like an ‘allowed to’ vs ‘not allowed to’ continuum.  Internally, there is no ‘allowed’ or not, there is only this is the way it is because he says it is the best way.  I forget that the external expression of rules and protocols does look a little like I saw it when I was a new person in the lifestyle.

I have benefited from the time others further along the path took to teach me.  I will always be grateful to those folks and the hours they spent talking with me. Without them, I might never have arrived at this place in life. This is the reason I enjoy teaching and presenting about M/s so much.  I want to give my time, my energy, my love to those who have questions.

Life and Time

This week I will have another birthday. Click off another year of living. I love my life. I know it will go by much too quickly.  In my professional life I have worked with death and dying a good bit. In my personal life, I have buried several cousins, all of my grandparents, my mother, and my father. Life is always shorter than we imagine it will be and I keep this consciously in mind every day. I make choices based on this reality.  This is in many ways the greatest gift that working with grief has given me, the power to live with that knowledge. I do not see it as morbid and it does not depress me, but it does change me.

This week is I will have another birthday, my 40th to be precise.  That sounds old to my mind. I count the years that have gone by since high school and am amazed to note that it has been 23 years. That is more years than I was old when I graduated. I can remember talking with friends about “the year 2000” and how old we would be by then. It seemed a million years away.

This week my youngest daughter had her last elementary school musical. In preparation for the musical we had to make a trip to the store to get her ‘girl clothes.’ Tomboy that she has always been, she had nothing that would suit the dress requirements. I discovered that she no longer can shop in the girl’s section. Her body has started to change, she is filling out, and she has gotten so tall. Now she has to wear clothes from the junior’s section. She fussed about not wanting a dress, then fell in love with a cute little pair of boots and transformed into a teeny little pre-teen clamoring for very girly things.

This week my middle daughter got her hair cut and figured out how to make her eyes even more stunning with makeup than I had ever thought they could be. During the fore mentioned shopping trip, she found a great little shirt she wanted to try on.  It was low cut and form fitted around woman sized breasts. I told her it wouldn’t fit and she bet me it would. It did fit. She has suddenly got woman sized breast.

This week my oldest daughter put on her formal concert gown for band and magically transformed into a beautiful woman.  Stunning. Simply stunning. Hips, boobs, hair a model would kill for. She has a woman’s face now. Her cheeks are narrow, her chin delicate.

I held my Master’s hand tightly during the musical. Sitting on the cafeteria benches at the same elementary that my older daughters went to.  Listening to the same songs they sang during their own fifth grade performances. Tears came to my eyes and I gripped tighter.  I could see in my mind’s eye my 50th birthday year. All of them grown. All of them outside of my grasp. Beyond my womb, my embrace, my home. Off into their lives. I clung to his hand knowing his hand would still be there holding mine in that not so distant future.

I love my life. I know it will go by much too quickly.

Forgetting Where You Are

I am prone to forgetting many things I wish I remembered. I figure I am not alone in this. For me, it is not just frustrating but also interesting. How are things I remember different from the things I forget? What makes my little head cling to one thing while it tosses away something else like so much trash?

I remember the first time I kissed a boy. I remember the first time I had sex. I remember the first time I shaved my head. Is it that I remember these things because they were firsts? I don’t think that is it, at least not all of it. Consider that I don’t remember the first time I gave head.  Don’t remember the first time I rode a horse.  First might be some but is not all of the equation my head uses.

What about special? Is it that something is special and so I remember it? I still don’t think that is it. For example, I cannot remember one of my children’s birthday to save my life. I’ve actually had to sneak off to the file cabinet a few times and sneak a peek at her birth certificate to confirm. I remember the delivery, the process long and drawn out. I remember her smiles and her temper tantrums. I remember her big giant head that flopped about like a broken doll. I remember her, the essence of her, but her birth date…not so much. The other kids, no problem. I can rattle off their birthdays with ease. That one kid is also very special to me, but the date slips through my mental fingers.

I doubt I will ever understand how my brain picks things to keep and things to discard. The thing that I find really fascinating about remembering is when I know that some important bits of information are in there, upstairs in my gray squish, but they are not where they might be most handy. Left and right used to be like that all the time. Being dyslexic nothing is as annoying for me as having a teacher tell me for the thousandth time that a lower case letter D faces left and a lower case B faces right. Good fucking luck when you can’t remember which way is left. The weird thing about it was that I have a freckle on my right hand which a teacher once told me to look at to remember left from right. I did this check most of my life, physically turning over my right hand and looking at the freckle, but I always looked at my right hand first.  Somewhere in my brain was the knowledge of which hand was my right but without the act of looking at it, I couldn’t guess. Very weird.

Forgetting where I am at a given moment is sort of like that for me. There is an element of knowing but forgetting at the same time. I find myself at work doing a little goofy tap dance to cheer a co-worker forgetting entirely that I am at work and likely as not this is considered unprofessional. One morning, I came into my office and on my desk was a framed photo taken by one of my co-workers in which I have a sock on each hand. In the picture I am clearly having a little conversation with Mr. Sock and Mrs. Sock. The photo was a candid shot taken during a staff meeting. I forgot I was at work I suppose. Someone handed me two socks, and that was enough to make me lose all sense of formality. I was just being myself.

I have been in a graduate class and answered a legal ethics question posed by my professor with great clarity and confidence. When the professor asked me for my source, I just a clearly and confidently stated I had seen it on Law and Order. Needless to say, that was not what the professor considered a reliable source though we all got a good laugh out of it. I forgot I was in graduate school for a moment. I was just me.

When my Master and I attended a leather gathering not so long ago, a question was raised in the discussion about how important suffering was to the journey of a slave.  I raised my hand and answered that I didn’t think that suffering was a good plan for anyone since avoiding suffering is generally much more fun and enjoyable for everyone involved. I knew that all of the answers given before mine were in favor of suffering as a tool for growth. I knew I was the fish swimming the wrong way. Maybe I forgot my role as slave. Maybe I shouldn’t have disagreed with the flow of the conversation.  Perhaps I again forgot where I was and just continued being myself. My Master had raised his hand at the same time and when he responded after me his comment was nearly identical to mine. He felt just I did and we were fishes swimming together.

In the end, I think this sort of forgetting is my favorite.  Finding that I am always just regular old me is pretty nice. I am glad that I am forgetful enough of the expectations of the world around me to allow myself to blindly walk through my days just as I am. Sure, it gets you the occasional stare, or photo in your office, but it is worth it. The only cure I can think of is to be a ‘me’ that I am unashamed of so that every time I forget where I am, I am always right where I should be. Forgetting where you are is not a problem if you never forget who you are.