February 12, 2014

Mary Queen of Scots and other musings

Tonight Angus made me cry.
To be fair he wasn't aware of this and it is not the first time I have cried about something he wrote - so I don't blame him at all for it.

He posted this photo in his blog today.  http://bobnsophie.blogspot.co.nz/2014/02/ears-were-made-to-listen-not-judge.html

It is a picture he had restored of Mary Queen of Scots, painted from someone's memory after her execution. What I thought was a sort of hat or Xmas pudding, is apparently, possibly a small dog in her hand.  It is not important - but what made me cry was that her small dog crept out from under her skirts after she was executed.
Tears start...
I go hunting - and find an earlier post Angus wrote about the painting..

The execution of Mary Queen of Scots at Fotheringhay Castle on the morning of February 8th 1587 was a bungled affair. The first strike of the executioners axe missed the neck and bit deep into the back of her head,smashing the skull, but leaving her conscious. She was heard to whisper 'Sweet Jesus' in agony. The second blow was more succesful and a third finally sent her into the next world. Eyewitnesses say that when her severed head was picked up and shown to the crowd the lips continued to move for a further fifteen minutes . This was not the end of the gruesome spectacle as her auburn tresses came away in the executioners hands and the head , lips still moving, fell to the floor. The auburn hair was in fact a wig, and Mary's real hair was seen to be grey and close shaved. This sequence of events had quite an unnerving effect on the spectators who fell silent. Worse was to come for as they started to carry the body away from the execution block a small Skye terrier, Marys favourite, crawled out from under her petticoat where the Queen had been holding onto it throughout the ordeal - her last remaining comfort. The wee animal crouched beside the severed head of its mistress and howled piteously.

It is also mentioned in http://www.skyeterrierclub.org.uk/about-skyes/early-days-in-scotland/
Although we have relatively little information from its native isle, the breed is fortunate to have had some extremely famous owners, so we have some information about their devoted dogs. The tragic Mary, Queen of Scots, after nineteen years of imprisonment by the English, was beheaded on the 8th February 1587. While her clothes were being removed after the execution, the Queens Skye terrier crept out from under her skirts to position itself by the severed head of its mistress. The distressed dog was removed and bathed to remove any smell of the Queen’s blood but, despite coaxing, refused to eat and died of a broken heart.
and who would ever forget Greyfriars Bobby - also a Skye Terrier.

So, any dog owners are probably feeling a bit sad themselves at this point.... although it's probably just a bit of fascinating history, but you know where I am heading don't you.

I haven't been to my execution. I only coped with a huge shift in perception and a definite mistrust of everyone. If I didn't recognise he was a rotten apple then I needed to reevaluate everything I knew and look at people differently.

Gradually I learned to appreciate little things and savour moments. I am learning to trust my gut and recognise the red flags. I enjoy time alone and not feeling anxious.

One day I read this.

Don’t listen to the folks who say your feelings should be totally independent of the world around you. If you’ve got an open heart, that’s impossible. As human beings, we have this incredible gift—the ability to make another person feel wonderful. With a word, a gesture, or a quiet smile. It’s what makes the world beautiful. A normal person would probably call this love.
But you experienced an abuser. Someone who manipulated this gift to cause pain. And now you want to know how to avoid them so it’ll never happen again. You’re worried that you’ve become hypervigilant—untrusting of everyone and everything around you. You feel that you need a little something extra. Something beyond your intuition.
So this is where I’d like to introduce the idea of a Constant. Your Constant will comfort & protect you throughout this book, and for the rest of your life.
Think of someone you love. Someone who consistently inspires and never disappoints. It could be anyone—your mom, a close friend, a forum member, your children, your cat, a deceased relative. Really, anyone. You might feel that you have no Constant. Of course you do, you just have to dream one up really quick. Imagine a higher power in your mind—one that brings peace to your heart. Colorful, glowing, and full of life. Embodying all of the qualities you admire most: empathy, compassion, kindness. A gentle spirit who will always keep you safe. And viola, you have a Constant.
So now that you’ve got a Constant in mind (tangible or imagined), I have some questions. Does your Constant make you feel unhinged? Anxious? Jealous? Does your heart rise up into your throat when they speak to you? When you’re away from your Constant, do you spend hours analyzing their behavior and defending yourself from hypothetical arguments?
Of course not.
So why is that? Why can one dismissive person make you doubt everything good going on in your life? What’s the difference between your Constant and the people who make you feel like garbage? 
If you can’t answer these questions quite yet, you’re not alone. And that’s the beauty of it all. You do not need to understand why you don’t like being around a person. You have a Constant, and that’s all you need to know for now. Self-respect comes later.
Your Constant is a private reminder that you are not crazy, even when it feels like you’re taking on the entire world. With time, you will begin to filter out the people who make you feel bad. You realize that you do not need to put up with negativity when there is a Constant who brings out the best in you. 
Once you become more comfortable with the idea, you’ll be ready to ask the most important question of all: “Shouldn’t I feel this same kind of peace with everyone in my life?”
rom the book Psychopath Free.

I had to smile. In the worst moments when things seemed bleak, I found huge support from wonderful friends and family. They got me through some tough times, particularly the mother of the child that was also involved.  We supported each other and I know she was a constant. But, in the middle of the night, or when things seemed hard at work - the other constant that was always there, 24/7, was Poppy.

So I guess I can relate to Mary taking her dog with her to the end.

Thanks Angus :)


  1. I have never thought of a pet that way but then I've never had to. I've never needed a Constant because I've always had Constants around me. So reading this post (which I have done twice this evening) has been a huge education for me both in terms of appreciating how you must have felt and appreciating perhaps what you are now feeling. I hope that things continue to improve for you and that you have many Constants in your life from now on.

  2. A moving post, Fi. I did not know that about Mary's dog, but I do believe it; dogs get so very attached to their people, don't they!

  3. Thanks for you comment on my blog. Whangarei is much changed since the mid 90s, for the better I'm glad to say. There is a new bridge and then an even newer lifting bridge, I must learn to pronounce it's name, Te Matau ā Pohe. By the way I really enjoyed this post and appreciate the comfort of a Constant.


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