Sara and Me

Sara and Me
By: M. Kate Quinn

One day during the year that I was forty-four, my parents stopped by with a piece of news. Sara Warren was dead. I was confused as to why they felt it was important that I know this information, because, you see, I didn’t know who Sara Warren was. That is, until my parents filled me in.
They told me that years ago the Warren family lived across the street from us and their baby, Sara, and I were born on the very same day. We were roommates, I learned, in the nursery of All Souls Hospital.
The two new mothers became friendly, inviting each other over for a morning cup of coffee or taking afternoon walks with their baby girls in their perambulators with the big white-wall tires. They shared baby advice, what to do about colic, diaper rash, the pain of teething. In the spring, they’d spy each other hanging clothes outside on their lines, sometimes just offering a wave, other times hoisting their toddler to their hip and walking across the roadway to chat a while.
When I was four, we moved away and, after a few attempts to maintain a sense of connection, the two families lost touch. And, now, after four decades, an obituary in the Daily Record revealed that nursery roommate of mine had died.
After my parents left I was alone with my thoughts of Sara Warren. I tried to conjure a memory of her, attempted to envision those warm sunny days sitting with her on a blanket on the grass of our backyard while our mothers sipped iced tea. And, I began to wonder why it was that of those two babies on a blanket, one had been given forty-four years on this earth and the other had been given more. As the girl with more, I felt something other than lucky. It was a feeling more akin to shame. After all, of my list of musts what had I accomplished and when would I do so, if ever?
And that’s when it happened. I shifted my inner gear into drive, took it out of neutral, and moved forward. I took my musts more seriously, got physically and emotionally healthier. I stopped denying my need to write, pushed myself to put pen to paper. Did the change happen overnight? No way. Am I the best me that I can be? Not by a long shot. But, I’m proud of the paths I’m taking, even the scariest ones. I’m living and loving and I pay it forward whenever I’m able. And, at long last, I am an author. Friends, although my fourth book is still in a very nebulous stage, I already know the main character’s name will be Sara. And, now, you know why.


  1. Mary Kate - what a poignant story. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I think about that things like that as well. Why are we given this gift of life and others have it taken away so young or so tragically? I think your response to that question is exactly right. We need to look deep inside ourselves and discover what we can offer and contribute and then do it! Tragedy reminds us of that. Thank you.

  2. Mary Kate - I frequently feel haunted by the passing of friends. It's great when we're able to honor them, and the life we've been given, by marking their absence in our lives, and that strange irony we'll never understand, with a positive change or new determination. Great post.


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