Sara Whitman

Diving In

Filed By Sara Whitman | June 28, 2011 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Maine, swimming in ocean

When you go in the ocean in Maine, you have a certain expectation: you expect to have a heart attack. I only made it in up to my knees yesterday. Today I'll try to do the brave, firm walk in and dive.

It's how I've been feeling about my whole life lately. My heart is full of loss and I'm not sure how much more I can take. I can't avoid it, though. I need to dive in, sit with it, invite it to dinner.

I've been trying to think of what my loss would look like if it were sitting across the table from me. An old woman or an angry toddler?


An old woman who shames me into accepting her into my life? Who sees my embedded need to respect my elders, and uses that to pry me away from the every day chaos I use to escape the painful feelings?

Or an angry toddler who demands my attention? Who knows I would never let a child cry or be unseen for any period of time. The helplessness of the small frame drawing me in, leaving me no choice but to hold it.

And in that room, would there be the cold air of loneliness swirling about, making it hard to focus on anything?

I don't know. I only know my heart can't take much more. The one thing I've learned about the ocean in Maine is, once you dive in? It's fine. The anticipation is far worse than the cold water.

It's time for me to dive in; my heart won't stop.

It can't.

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Sara, I wish that I could just reach out and hug you and take away your pain. I cannot. I can share that after the split of my relationship with the great love of my life my heart nearly did stop. It failed and the MD's wanted me to go into hospice care in case they couldn't find a new heart for me. I told them I would rather go sailing. Then my son helped me haul my sailboat from Denver to Ft.Lauderdale and I lived on her for 3 yrs.
I lost wife, work, identity, home and 30 yrs of roots all within a couple of months. Over the 3 yrs, I made some new friends, did volunteer work at the GLCC and made some more. I spent hours meditating and just watching the New River flow in and out with the tide and I healed.
My cardiologist in a routine re-test found that my heart was nearly normal and swore that hearts that damaged do not come back. But then again they had no clue why it failed and even less of an idea why I got well.
I told him that I believed that I was dying of a broken heart and that as I healed emotionally, I healed physically.
You too will heal but you must be good to you and accept the pain of lonliness as space to fill with learning more of you and learning to love and be with you. "Acceptance is the answer to all of our problems" May you find peace. Joani

That's a powerful story. Thank you.

I did dive in. And you know, I feel better.

I have been there. The dark tunnel seems to have no light, maybe a pinpoint of light in the far, FAR end.
Invite it in. Take it to dinner. You invited the light happiness. This is just another character in your journey.
Like you, I thought I would die when my truest love was gone. But I looked at the loss, grief, anger and meditated on it until it was just a faded memory. I volunteered, like J-Marie wrote. I gave and took to people I met who became friends. This is another thing where "It Gets Better" as well. Believe me.