In Their Own Time

As I wrote and posted my last blog entry, the lesbian fiction world was rocked by the announcement of Sandra Moran’s cancer diagnosis. On the morning of 8 November, we woke to an emptier world – one without her in it. She passed away just four weeks after being diagnosed.

In the aftermath of that news, all kinds of blog and Facebook posts were written, eulogizing her and testifying to the positive impact she’d had on the world. I didn’t know Sandra well, but I still felt the loss. Though I felt it, words wouldn’t come. I really couldn’t think of anything substantive to add to all the other eloquent posts out there, nothing that would ease our sense of sadness at her passing. I didn’t really feel like writing much of anything.

So I waited. I knew words would come when they were ready.

A week ago on Thanksgiving, when we got home from sharing a meal with my sister and her family, Beth and I went for a walk. An after-dinner walk has always been a tradition, kind of shakes the food down into your legs to make room for pie. At least, that’s what I thought when I was a kid.

But as we walked through our neighborhood, we reminisced. We remembered an earlier Thanksgiving walk about twenty years ago, when the house we live in now was for sale, and we walked by it with my sister and niece. It was an okay house, just kind of blah, with no landscaping and neighbors too close. We lived one block away at the time and had passed this house hundreds of times as it sat on the market for over a year. But that day, we looked at it and saw it with fresh eyes. Twenty years later, it’s transformed – inside and out. It’s home now.

I guess I tend not to move quickly on things. At least, when I have in the past, it hasn’t worked out so well. My first relationship was kind of infatuation-at-first-sight. Now, I am a romantic at heart, and I totally believe love-at-first-sight can last, but it didn’t for me. When Beth and I met, we were both healing from past relationships and had a real fear of repeating past mistakes. So we were content to be friends. It took me a year and a half to realize something had shifted, and I suddenly saw her with new eyes. I know… I’m a bit slow. But taking the time to get to know each other without the pressure of an immediate romantic entanglement has worked. It’s been twenty-three years and will last forever.

What I’ve come to realize as I’ve grown older and maybe a bit wiser, is that things really do happen in their own time. You can’t force them, and if you try, it rarely works out. I know… I’m a bit slow on that part as well.

I absolutely believe that Sandra is in a place of light and beauty. As much as we’ll miss her and all those who have gone on while we stay here, their passing helps us to remember to see what’s in front of us, to see with new eyes, to recognize when the world has shifted.  I believe that this, too, happens in its own time. Maybe someday we’ll know why.


15 thoughts on “In Their Own Time

  1. I think I probably lying needed to read this. 5 years ago My mom died, 9 months later my dad died too; a year and half later my 15 Yr old nephew who I raised for half his life committed suicide and almost 2 years later my sister died who also happend to be My best friend since the day she was born, she passes 6 months ago. I am truly grateful for all of my many blessings but I don’t think I am to the point where I can see things with new eyes yet. I want to see things differently but I’m just not sure how. I would like to be able to start writing again and everytime I try the feelings I have are the memory of my losses. I know I will get there again one day I wish it be sooner than later…

    • Heather, I think you must be an amazingly strong woman to still have a beating heart after so many good-byes. I know there are no words that can make any of those deaths easier for you or that can help us understand why things like that happen, but I hope that you will eventually find yourself remembering the joy of times shared with those people rather than the pain of their moving on. I know it must feel as if you’ve lost them, but I don’t believe that. We will be with them again. Don’t lose sight of that.

      • It finally sunk in when my sister died that I was pretty tough and as of late I have been able to think of good times and I do laugh followed by many tears. I know I will be OK but only time will heal and help me move on. Thank you for your kind words they are heart felt and very appreciated.

  2. I got to know Sandra as an author and then a friend before I was in the Writing Academy. I was delighted to find she was one of our instructors and mentors during the year-long classes, being just one of several amazing authors we had unlimited access to. She was very special in the way that she made others around her feel special. I will always treasure her words of encouragement.
    Like her, you have a way of saying things that make readers feel and think at the same time. Thank you.
    Betty Phillips

    • Betty, I know how you feel. My only face to face contact with Sandra was at the last two GCLS conferences, but those are interactions I will treasure. And I’ll keep all the Facebook messages we traded. I’m so glad you had her as a mentor.

  3. Thank you for sharing the Light with such eloquence.
    ” As much as we’ll miss her and all those who have gone on while we stay here, their passing helps us to remember to see what’s in front of us, to see with new eyes, to recognize when the world has shifted.”
    The world has, indeed, shifted quite a lot, but Sandra’s memory continues to shine.

    • Barrett, you and others were much closer to Sandra than I. Shifts are relative, I guess, and yours was bigger than mine, but none was as huge as Sandra’s wife, Cheryl or her mother or sister. If all of us could leave so much good in our wake, the world would be a better place.

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