Sara Whitman

Loss and More Loss

Filed By Sara Whitman | June 27, 2011 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: end of relationship

I know I've been absent for a while. End of the school year, 1000 different events to go to- a final goodbye to the elementary school we've been a part of for 11 years.

Loss. Big loss.

And something I haven't written about but am ready to now- my wife and I separated in February. She and I simply couldn't get to a place where we were happy. There was no hanky panky, or anything horrible. I don't know where we will end up- we've been together 20 years, and for now, being apart is the right thing.

Huge loss.


Yes, we share the kids. It's been incredibly hard on them. Slowly, we've all become accustomed to the routine. When I don't have them, I am incredibly lonely. I spent 15 years as a full time parent. Suddenly, I'm part time. I've lost my sense of stability. I can't seem to get grounded.

Without being grounded, it's hard for me to write. Without writing, I won't be grounded. Ah, catch-22.

I've been living in my sister's rented house. She left me a car, a fully furnished house and in the second to last conversation we had, she said to me, you need something to change. You never know what could happen.

Two weeks later, she was dead.

Her words have had a profound effect on me. It is up to me to make my life what I want it to be. To complain, to wait, is an insult to everyone who has died young, suddenly, without time to change what they needed to change.

It is time to unpack all of my life. To sit with all I've done. To hold each piece, closely. I've been doing it for months now, with my sister's things. Knick knacks, silly cards, my mother's ashtray from when we were growing up. Why she had that, I'll never understand, but I took the time to sit with it. To remember. Some things, I'll keep. Most, I won't.

I am, at heart, someone who likes to throw things away. Trash day is always a happy day for me. I realize now, in my life, I need to slow down. Consider. Hold. Remember. There has been so much loss in my life, and I have been completely overwhelmed. It would be easier to simply throw things away.

But I can't. I can't do that to my children. It won't make me happy.

Please forgive my long absence. I need to write.

Consider. Hold.

And mostly? Remember.

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Sorry to hear about your additional loss added unto the loss of your sister. Take care of yourself and keep moving. While its important to remember the past its also important you don't let it consume you. I hope for you that things can work out between your wife and yourself as best they can whatever that may be. Hugs

Hey Sara...

I don't recall whether I've commented on your writing, but you have long resonated with me here at Bilerico. Please, keep writing, in whatever form that takes.

It was 1994, but it's still easy to feel the disorientation of being separated from the daily lives of my kids. I approached it with hopefulness about staying connected with them, while the ex was determined to put barriers between me and them.

In the middle of feel-good developments related to marriage in NY, it strikes me as a good time to talk about divorce as a significant benefit of marriage that has traditionally been denied gay couples.

It doesn't matter if you're led in completely different directions... I look forward to reading you.

Be well...

*big hugs*

I love you. Call me whenever you'd like (or have bars!).

Renee Thomas | June 28, 2011 7:59 AM


As anyone who has been for a time enmeshed in a season of loss, I can very well appreciate your finding a kind of pure stillness in writing. Perhaps you find in it (as many do) a lifeline back to a place wherein the possibility of growth and healing still present as strong and true. I often think as I write; if I can allow myself to feel these feelings and commit them to the page perhaps they will consent to teach me and perhaps they will not demand so much of me that my humanity, having given birth to this chronicler’s impulse, can withstand . . . and be better for it?

Take the time to linger, to feel, and to consider both the precious with the painful together so as to give each their proper weight and put them (when they are finished with you) in their proper place.

Peace be upon you

Big Butch! Take all the time you need to consider, reflect, hold, and (sometimes) let go. The world will keep spinning. Shit will keep happening. Most everything will be right where you left it. Enjoy the sound of waves, the wheelings of gulls, the crunch of sand in the tuna SAND-wich. But don't forget the sunscreen and your hat!
love ya,
Li'l Butch

thanks, lil' butch. no spinning here. not now. and just a few grains of sand in the sandwich.

This is so sad, and you communicate your loss with quite tragic precision. I'm sorry, and I appreciate you sharing.

Seeingeyegrrl | July 3, 2011 1:01 PM

Mmmm, Sara, sorry to hear that your world has continued to change, that there is even more loss. I have been enriched by reading your columns. Not sure if it is the times (now I am feeling my age) or what, but loss seems to be compounding itself with those I am close to. This reminds me how my own losses makes me search for stability in others...yet it has not been found there either. Be gentle, take the time you need....and do what centers you and gives your life purpose. Peace.