As I’ve been writing here a bit, I’ve pretty much been completely consumed with writing fiction lately. It’s been a very welcome change for me, seeing as I enjoy it, but had been blocked from writing it for the past 11 months. Within this burst I finally finished the final book of my first series and started a new series, finishing two short novels worth.
For some screwed up reason, in both series I took on the topic of a partner dying (or being close to death). When I write about being an emotional masochist, this isn’t the type of pain that I enjoy in the slightest. In D/s (and most of live in general), the idea of a partner dying is like the ultimate nightmare scenario. In D/s, it seems like it cuts even deeper.
I had a conversation with a good friend today about that topic. One idea that they came up with and felt completely reasonable is that couples who engage in D/s tend to share a deeper level of intimacy, honesty, and closeness than “most vanilla couples.” I think everyone knows people who got married and seem to barely be able to tolerate the person they are with. They lead separate lives, have separate interests, and have a handful of things that bring them together for shared experiences (e.g. a 4th of July BBQ, family vacation, Thanksgiving, etc.). Now that is not to say that all vanilla married couples are this way, just that nearly all D/s couples tend to be much closer than that.
Another one that I could think of is that D/s relationships seem to offer a greater level of honesty. People are willing to spill their deepest and darkest fantasies to their partner. This builds a level of trust where you feel like you can tell them anything and everything. The basic idea then is that when someone in D/s loses a partner, they lose someone they have built a very deep level of trust with and comfort with knowing that they are accepted as they are.
Aside from the anguish of their death and having your life tumble down around you, the despair that follows compounds in knowing that to truly move on you need to find someone you can connect with AND have to build up the same levels of trust with. This happens all the while when you damn well know that you have freaky-shit going on in your brain that would send potentials running away screaming (if they weren’t kink-friendly). No one says, “Oh, no worries, I’ll just go find another soulmate.” The truth is you aren’t looking for someone new, you’re looking for someone 5 years into a meaningful relationship with them. Sadly, wishful thinking doesn’t have the power to grant that request.
I have talked about this with people before and it’s a topic that people don’t even want to think about. The most common response is, “I don’t know what I would do if _______ died.” Having lost my fiance and Domme to cancer, I unfortunately know the answer to this question. The first thing that happens is it that it completely levels you. You feel like your heart, soul, life, and future have been completely destroyed. You feel gutted. Nothing has any meaning. You don’t just mourn their passing. It runs deeper. If they die, two lives are lost. You mourn the loss of the life that you had always wanted.
What follows is the process of confusion, conflicted feelings, hatred of circumstance, wishing, desire, need, and some intangible thing that we know as healing. Through the chaos we slowly regain sight of what we want and need. We remember what we want life to be like and feel like. We remember what it’s like to be alive. This process is full of starts and stops, detours, and wrong turns. It doesn’t feel right to move on. Healing is the state where we realize that the only thing we can do is move forward… even if it hurts to do so.
Finally, after all of the “healing” has managed to find its way, we grow brave enough to have hope. Hope for a better life. Hope for a happy future. Hope to feel fulfilled and to know what it is like to love again. It is then that we inch forward, realizing that the only path we can travel on requires baby steps. The only way to get 5 years in is to have 5 years. It’s not a sprint to create a copy of what was lost. It’s a process of growth and nurturing the seeds that we plant so that they can grow into something magnificent.
I paint this like a good thing but the reality is it’s fucking terrible. It’s awful. It hurts like nothing else. The suffering is brutal. It’s agony. But what can you do? Unless you want to end it too, you have no choice but to move on. You rebuild your shattered castle brick by brick. The next one won’t be exactly the same shape… but you can hope that you will love it just as much.
Writing this last story brought all of my emotions about this back to the surface. I feel like it’s something I should talk about because no one wants to. When you’re the one standing alone, you don’t want to hear people tell you how sorry they are. Attempts to console you, cheer you up, or rush you through the process just feels like them saying, “I’m so fucking glad that I’m not you.”
If you ever have a friend in D/s who loses their partner… the best thing you can do is to just be there. Be there for them. Be the embrace that calms them when they can’t stop shaking. Try your best to see the process they are going through. They are going to hurt, suffer, and struggle. Help them weather it out. If anything, remind them of who they are. There will be a time when they can see that next step they have to take. Be there and encourage them while they take it. They will be frightened, alone, and nearly paralyzed by fear. Help them to be strong. Help them to have courage.
Don’t ever tell them everything will be okay. That will sound like the greatest lie ever told. It’s better to tell them the truth. Your life is a flaming pile of shit right now and all you can do is to do the best that you can. That is a truth that will help them. That is a truth that will tell them that you understand. You can’t make them feel better, but you can make sure that they don’t feel like they are facing it alone.
I apologize if this post is just a big gigantic mess. I just had to dump these feelings out there and hope that I can return to my normal self as soon as possible.