Without Them


Nov. 4, 2019


Without Them

The impact of separation in an individual’s life.

Text: All My Puny Sorrows, with some references to Approaching Shadow


Most people have a time in their life where they feel alone, separated from everyone else. A time when they feel like there’s no one to talk to and no one that can help them fix whatever problem that they have. A time when they feel like a shadow of doom and despair is always creeping up but they never know when it will arrive.


I would say that I have had a time like that too: a time when I’ve felt nothing but loneliness and sorrow, but that would be a lie; for I always have someone to talk to. My loneliness only comes from when I choose not to confide in them. The truth is, I don’t know what true separation is like because I’ve never experienced it. I’ve always had two people in my corner; who have never failed to help me through the darkest of times. 


My sisters.


My identical younger triplet sisters to be specific. Identical to each other but both fraternal to me. Growing up, we did everything together. We were in the same classes, we wore the same clothes, we had the same friends and a lot of the same interests. However, even though I do thrive around my sisters; even we needed a little space from each other. So, we took some in Grade 6: the first year that we weren’t in the same class together. This separation showed me independence: how to pass school even when my sisters aren’t around me. It gave me new friends, new motivations and habits. Most of all, it gave me my own identity for once. When people first meet us, we’re “the triplet’s” in their mind. They don’t know our names yet, so they call us “the triplets”. Once we got into our own classes, it changed. It wasn’t just, “Hey, you’re one of the triplets.” It was, “Hey, you’re one of the triplets. What’s your name?”




Through the next few years, people would either meet me and I would introduce myself, or they would know me through my sisters. They would say, “You’re Francesca right? I was in (Petrina or Jeanette’s) class last year, and she told me about you. It was because of our separation that we began to develop our own identities. We knew that being right next to each other all the time would hinder our personal development and that we needed separation in order to find ourselves. 




I know that if I spent every second of every day with my sisters, I would probably strangle them; and yet, I can’t live without them. They are the legs to my piano, the wings to my airplane, the spine to my book, and quite literally the people in the passenger seat to my car. They guide and support me in whatever I do. They keep me together when I feel like falling apart, but they aren’t afraid to call me out on my mistakes and wrongdoings. Like all siblings and family members, we do fight: it’s unavoidable. But rather than fighting against me, they always fight for my sake. Driving away the shadows, instead of bringing them closer. There is no specific line of light and dark with them, but a spectrum where they keep me in the light, and away from the dark. I don’t know what I’d do without them.




We all know that our childhood ends at some point, and that people come and go in our lives. We know that we need to plan for our own future’s and that we need to go where our dreams and goals take us. At the end of high school, comes university. All three of us have ideas of where we want to study: none of them being the same place. Within 3 months, we’ll go from living together and going to the same school, to studying anywhere from cities apart to countries apart. I want what is best for my sisters, but I might die from heartbreak when my sister(s) go away. Up to this point, the longest I’ve spent without either of my sisters was for a few months, when I was less than a year old. The second longest being maybe a few days. Yet, when we go to university, we could easily be years apart, maybe with a visit during the holidays. We know that we’ll always keep in touch online and such, but it isn’t the same as being with each other in person. 


Without them.


At university, I can’t just walk into their rooms asking them to help with my problems. They can’t confront people for me, or order food for me when I’m feeling anxious. I can’t get them to cook for me, or to come with me when I need to talk to someone. They won’t be able to come with me to a restaurant and order different meals so we can all share. I’ll be by myself. Through some of the most fundamental years of my life, they won’t be there. And I don’t know how my separation from them will impact my life. I know what things won’t happen without them, but I won’t know how my life will go without them always with me. I have never experienced true separation from my sisters, and yet I will have to; and only the future can tell how my life will change because of it.

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One thought on “Without Them

  1. Dear Frannie,

    Thank you for sharing this heart felt piece about the connection with your sisters and your identity- it was so beautiful and coherent. I loved watching the slow transformation over time. One suggestion I have for you is to continue the thread of your name throughout the piece; I believed that your name is an important aspect of your identity and if you ended this piece with finally having found your name despite leaving behind your sisters in university, I think it would have strengthened an already powerful piece of writing. But honestly, wow. I adored the simplicity and unity woven through.

    You are one of my bets friends and I am so grateful for you and your family. You guys have changed my life for the better and been a strong foundation of support and affection over the last few years. I can not wait to see where you go in life my love.


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