The End of Shiva (A new blog about new things)

Oh you guys, it’s been a long time. Three years, in fact. Sometimes people ask me when I am going to blog again and I laugh, “Never!” I say. Followed immediately with, “Okay, in all seriousness, I’ll blog when I have something to say.” I guess I assumed I would know when I was ready to blog again, sort of  like how Martha Stewart knows when her tomatoes are ripe, but a few days ago two different people asked me about blogging in regards to some life changes I’d made. One was Rob, who said, “Why aren’t you being more out there about what’s going on? I’m surprised!” and then my dear pal and blog follower and founder of our fake weather channel on Facebook, Georga Osborne, said, “I think you have something to say about all of this, and I want to hear it.”

So I thought about it. And thought about it. And then thought some more.

And here’s the deal. It’s scary to talk to you guys.

This is a new emotion for me. I’ve made a habit of making my life an open book–I mean seriously–I literally WROTE a book, and have made a habit of sharing intimate details about my life and my feelings public. But then my Mom got really sick and my life turned upside down, and I started to question my ability to share in a wider forum other than my closest friends.

A few words about my mother. She died January 5th, and I was there with her, as was Charlotte and my sister and my aunt and my Dad and my brother in law and my cousin, and I will never be the same. It was–in one day–the greatest and worst experience of my life, but that is another story for another day. It does pertain to this blog post because what I said to Rob was that I think I have been waiting to post anything because I am loathe to change the conversation away from my mother’s death. I want to respect her memory and her life and celebrate it and mourn her, and not talk about anything else for a long, long time. I want to call her and run this blog post by her. I want her to make coffee and then we’ll go to Macy’s all caffeined up and use our coupons and buy clothes that we’ve dug out of sale racks. I miss her. I miss her. And I think I have not written anything because I haven’t been ready to change the conversation away from the fact that my Mama died. As Rob said the other night, “You’ve always liked the idea of sitting shiva.”

So let’s all take a minute and think about my mom.

One more minute.

Ok. Now.

I have something to tell you. And let’s be CLEAR. Most people would not do this. But I am not most people, I have all of you loving people who read my posts for a long time and read my book, and to not share this feels like I am hiding from the truth and I can’t do it anymore.

I can’t do it anymore.

Have I mentioned?

The weather is nice today.

I should probably wash some dishes.

Or brush my teeth.

Because I have a stomach ache and I am nervous.

Ready? Here’s the Reader’s Digest version.

Rob and I are getting divorced.

He knows I am writing this blog, in fact he approved it.

We are totally still friends.

The kids are alright.

It’s been almost a year now.

We’re both happy and in other relationships.

I’m in love with a woman. Her name is Martha Donaldson.

Ok! Gotta go! Hope everyone’s fine! BYYYYYEEEEE!

(Whew, that’s over. Hopefully no one will notice or care and they’ve all gone back to their lemonade and contemplating if they should mow their long summer lawn.)

Is anyone still here?

Can I say one thing? If you are a person who is super offended by what I just said, can we avoid confrontation? Maybe just…unfriend me on Facebook and walk away? Because I’m going to tell you, I’ve had quite a year and as Theresa Rebeck once said in one of her plays regarding being thin-skinned. It’s not even that I’m thin skinned right now. “I have no skin.” So, you know, this is your chance to split and I’ll give you a hug goodbye and say, I get it, I understand, and let’s agree to disagree but stay cordial.

Now…let’s wait for the unfrienders. I’ve had some this year, that’s for sure.

For those of you who are left, I’ll tell you a few things. Rob is great and good and we are just FINE and friendly. Beatrix is currently with me in New York City and she will go back to San Diego and go to school while I travel for a short time before coming to New York for a spell to do a show (more on that in a minute.) Charlotte is great and working on a vegetable farm getting muscles in her arms and sunshine and prepping to go to DePaul in the fall. That’s in Chicago, by the way, which is usually the next question. Oh, and she’s a pre-med/science-ish kind of major (That  is usually the next question).

Martha and I met last summer while we were both doing a show and, I don’t know what to tell you, it just….was. Martha later said to me, “How did you know?” and I told her, it was the clearest thing I’d ever experienced. Despite never being in a relationship with a woman, or wanting to be in a relationship with a woman  (although my book readers know I did, in fact, have a moment in seventh grade with a girl. So yes. Once before. When I was 12.) meeting Martha was a total game changer.

When I told Charlotte about me and Martha, she said, “I’m not into labels, but do you consider yourself bi-sexual?” And I said, “You know honey, I don’t know. I’ve thought a lot about it, obviously, I had to question myself pretty hard before making this decision, and all I can tell you is that if I were to break up with Martha I don’t know that I would turn around and immediately seek out a woman. To me, it’s about the person, not the gender.”

And Charlotte thought about it for a minute and then said, “So you’re gay for Martha!” and I said, that’s right. I’m gay for Martha.

And then Charlotte asked if she could be in the wedding and I was like, hey, hey, hey, hey let’s all slow down a minute but thank you for the enthusiasm. (And Beatrix keeps pointing to dresses that she can wear as the flower girl–my children–they are cute and sweet but pushy.)

Full disclosure on the above story–Charlotte knows I am telling you and approved the above. Rob also knows I am writing this. Martha knows I am writing this. Beatrix says no to everything as a sport, so I am not telling her. But the deal is this. Their stories are their stories.  And as Rob said recently, There is no point in going back and rehashing what happened. Let’s all move on.

I’m moving on. I’m working my way back to happy after a lot of loss.

Let’s end this post on a good note!

I am back in New York, I am living in midtown, and I am going to be in a fantastic Broadway show. My mother, just before she died, knew this was happening and she cried with happiness. My Mom never wanted me to move to California, and never wanted me to give up theater. I was WITH HER when I got the call that I got the job. She was the first person I told, and my news followed a very devastating meeting she’d had with her oncology team. As I pulled her up in her hospital bed I said, “Jo (I called her Jo), I know this is all truly awful, but I just got news and I want you to be the very first person to know.” And then, like happens in cartoons, tears flew out of her eyes in a shower and she kept saying, “I’m so happy! I’m so happy!”

And then we cried more.

So even though my Mama, my sweet Jo, Mary Jo, Josephine, Jo Jo, Joanne, Mother, Mommy might have a very hard time initially with all that has transpired with me in the past year in my personal life, I hold on to these moments. And with a very clear moment when she sat up in her bed with an NG tube in her nose and said, “Be happy. NO matter what. Go be my happy girl.”

I am Jo. I am.

If you’d like to meet Martha, here is a great video of her doing her thing. Or, if you’re in my life and want to meet her in person–hey–I’d love that!

Or, if you’d like to see someone talking a little bit about what I’m feeling and going through, Cynthia Nixon does an interview for an HBO documentary called The OUT List that pretty much sums up a lot of how I’m feeling. If you have HBO or Netflix you can watch it. She’s the very last interview, so fast forward to the last 5 minutes and you’ll see it. Or, here is a pretty crummy recording of it from youtube.

I’ll probably write more soon, but this seems like enough for now. I’m not sitting shiva anymore.

Thanks you guys.




About Sharon Wheatley

I'm a mother, an actress and a writer. I'm glad you're here.
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18 Responses to The End of Shiva (A new blog about new things)

  1. kwquilter says:

    There! That wasn’t too difficult, was it? Once a “secret” is told to the world, it’s amazing at how much more relaxed you can be without that fear hanging over you, without worrying that everyone will shun you. We’ve never met, probably never will, but I’m glad you have someone in your life. I’ve thought of you and Rob while you weren’t posting, wondered how Charlotte and Beatrix were doing. Glad you’re back in the blogging world!

  2. David Spangenthal says:

    Nice to read you words again…eyes weepy on the train. xoxoxo

  3. Trudi says:

    So happy to see a new blog from you! I am so, so sorry about your mom’s death. My deepest condolences. May her memory be for a blessing.

    When I read that you’re getting divorced, I was sad. But then you went on to say that you’re stlll friends, everyone’s fine, and both of you are happy in new relationships. So that’s good! It sounds like it all worked out for the best in the end, so I’m very happy for you!

    My daughter is the one who knows all the new “labels” of sexuality, and she once told me that there’s one – I can’t remember what it’s called, but it means that you’re attracted to the PERSON, not the gender, like you said. Falling in love with someone IS what make you attracted to them. There is actually a word for that! I just forget what it is!

    But that’s not important. What’s important is that you’re happy and in love, and your former husband is too, and the kids are fine. AND you have a new Broadway show!!! That’s so exciting. Can’t wait to hear what it is!

    So, I’m very sorry that you’ve gone through sorrowful and trying times, but also very happy to hear that things are going much better and that there are so many wonderful new things in your life. Wishing you all the best! And looking forward to more blog posts!

  4. Emily says:

    Spectacular. Jeez. I cried reading every line. One day I hope this evolves into a book. I love you. I’m proud as hell of you. You are one inspiring woman.

  5. Cathy Newman says:

    I enjoy your writing so much! Thanks for letting us know how you’re doing, feeling and catching us up on your life. I am so pleased for all the wonderful new things that are in store for you. You deserve every happiness! I guess after a time of much sadness, you appreciate the sweet things even more. Sending lots of love, Cathy (a faithful fan)

  6. Sandi says:

    Oh, how I’ve missed your blog! Thank you for your update. I admire your strength as you have navigated a year of such pain as well as joy. Wishing the best for all of you. Love is love!

  7. Stephani says:

    Welcome back! May your sweet mama’s memory be your blessings. Yay for love in your life that is in alignment with your lovely heart. You are brave, funny and dear.

  8. Caren says:

    Hi Sharon,You don’t know me, yet, but I know Martha and Georga, and hey, any friend of theirs is a friend of mine! Thank you for your beautiful post. Keep em coming. I’m sorry for your loss, and can tell that you and your mama had a strong and enduring bond. You’ve honored that in such a touching way in your words.

    Wishing you peace and many smiles!

    Caren Browning

  9. Suzanne says:

    I have missed you, but I can’t believe it’s been three years. I’m sorry you lost the “Brown-eyed Girl” but am glad you are done sitting shiva (which, when I read “shiva” in the email I thought the blog would have something too do with Hinduism…suprise!). You are back in your blog saddle, please keep writing. You have no idea who I am, but, if you did, we’d be semi-besties. Perhaps you and Martha can do a vlog post; you know, with her involved, it would be fabulous and on time!

  10. Frances says:

    Best friend! I’m so, so sorry about your mama, and over the moon that you’re in love and sharing it with all of us, your best friends. :)Much love to you. May our paths cross again soon. Xox

  11. Chuck Vassalli says:

    Wow! This was thrilling to read, Sharon! Just wonderful! I hope to reconnect with you in the city, and I am SO looking forward to “Come from Away”.

  12. Chuck Vassallo says:

    Oops-I spelled my own name wrong.

  13. "Scabby" says:

    I was sent this blog post from a mutual friend. Woah. This rocked me. For so many reasons. I am so deeply sorry about your sweet mom’s death. I remember her fondly and meeting her and your dad in Cincinnati many years ago. As for you and Rob…I am both heartbroken and elated by all this news.

    I would love to reconnect with you

    I love you, Sharon (aka “Max”)

  14. Mark D. Motz says:

    So much love. So many hugs. Thank you.

  15. A. Scott Falk says:

    Welcome back, love!

  16. Christy says:

    I’m so sorry about your mother. I am losing mine to breast cancer as I write. A friend said of the experience of losing her mother, “I keep expecting to look outside and find the sky is yellow, or some other color…the world is just so different now.” Congratulations on the new love, and your return to the theater! I’m glad you’re happy, he’s happy, and your kids are OK.

  17. Meg says:

    I’ve been wondering how y’all have been doing, so thank you for coming back to update! I’m so sorry about your mom but glad you’ve shared your new relationship with us. Congratulations!

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