Grief pervades everything. It can strike at any moment, taking your breath and eliciting tears at the most mundane things.

Sadness is a deep part of grief. The anger peaks and flares, roars like a lion then sleeps. Sadness however is there through everything. There’s times when I feel like I’m playing at life, that the happiness is just a shell and inside all is sadness and missing him and I will never be the same again.

I will never be the same again. My Dad died. There’s nothing to change that and every day I live with that realisation. An all pervasive sadness that fills my every moment.  It is right though, right to be sad. To miss someone so inherent and essential to my life. To miss the soft giant of a hero, who would do anything for anyone and with a smile on his face too.

To miss the man who always put our needs first, even on his death bed. He’s left a gap in my life that will never ever be filled by anything but sadness and grief. I will miss him, terribly miss him. On high days and holidays and when I’m stood washing the pots. I will miss him so vibrantly, so sorely and that will never fade.  I wouldn’t want it too.

The flip side though is full of love and joy and gladness. I had him, he filled my life with so much good, so much fun, so much joy. And he taught me the value of kindness and laughter. He taught me to value others and not to take anything too seriously.

There is so much good and joy in my life because of him. And that balances out the sadness of no longer having him. The memories bring me comfort. The knowledge that I am in part, him, carrying on in his stead is also a comfort.

So I sit with my sadness, wrapped in its blanketing darkness. Looking for the bright lights of joy and life.

And I go on. I tell jokes, I am kind. I put others first and every time I do I am continuing what my father started.

But to go back where I started, grief pervades everything including my sex life and my kink life. I just wasn’t interested in either, when the tragedy first struck. Yet, because of my work, I was around kink all the time.

I was there, going through the motions. I was smiling, I was trying hard not to fall apart. It was comforting to be in the places I love, surrounded by my friends. The kink community may be where I work but it is also where I play.

But there were disconnects.

My sadness blanketed everything, even my masochistic urge but it was still there. And turning down play was tough. But I was scared of what would be released. And I just couldn’t risk it. In the first few months I was either feeling everything all at once or nothing at all. And I was equally as worried that a beating would leave me un-moved.

It took time. Everything does. And it is a cliché but it is only time that changes the grief, that makes it more manageable. In time the sadness loosens it’s tightly wound threads and light pierces it once more.

And so the masochist in me stretched out in search of pain needed. Starting small, a little here, a little there. Still cautionary, still unsure of what might flood out from me. There was no epiphany. There was no dramatic moment or hard decision. I just found the flow of my submission and followed it to the pain I needed. I wanted.

There was, and still is, a part of me that wants to cling onto the sadness, to roll in it and hide away from the world inside it. Wrapped up in what I had and what I lost. I don’t want to forget it. I don’t want to. But there is a distinct difference between not forgetting and wallowing.

One is necessary, the other is a defence mechanism that has its place but eventually it is a form of self harm. It is damaging to stay wrapped up in the hurts of the past when there is the joy of today and tomorrow to find and embrace.

Once the decision was made, I embraced the pain. There is such a freedom that I find in it. My mind stills as I flow through the rhythm of hit after hit. It is all I can feel, all I can think. I am present in that moment and the joy that sparks through my reddening flesh floods me through to my soul.

And real smiles spread across my face.

In the bliss moments after a beating. Laying, breathing deep, feeling the throb of my flesh heated and tightening, contentedly absorbing the throbs and tingles of the after burn.

When I’m on the bus, the vibration running through my bruises, when my husband pokes and prods at my marks to the random moments when I remember and the joy just burst through and I can’t help but smile.

I honestly don’t think I would be feeling such moments of pure joy without the kink in my life. I am sure I’d still be tightly wrapped up in the sadness, twisting and curling myself further inside. But as it is, the sadness sits gently across my shoulders. Always there, but I can forget about it sometimes, when the sheer joy of pain and pleasure combines and sears it away.

I am sad, but not always so.

I grieve, but it doesn’t define my existence.

I hurt but find freedom in pain.

There is hope.