Sarah is 26 in Heaven on 3/31

Sarah is 26 in Heaven on 3/31

 

I will never forget the day my mom found out she was pregnant with Sarah. I was 12. I was the oldest of 6, soon to be 7, children. I remember being really upset that my mom was going to have another child. But as the pregnancy progressed, I became more and more excited, as any big sister would.

Then came the big day. It was actually 3 days, if I remember correctly, as Sarah took her time and labor was slow. As soon as it was clear that Sarah would soon be with us, our house began to bustle with activity and people. My mom and Sarah’s father, Bryan, decided to deliver Sarah at home, with a midwife, instead of in the hospital, with the traditional doctor. This made the whole birthing process very natural, and even participatory; those who weren’t attending to our mom were tending to the other kids, to the house and to meals, and to answering the phone and giving status updates. And after much awaited anticipation, Sarah finally arrived to many fanfares.

Since Sarah’s passing we’ve all shared memories from that day. It was such a joyful and celebratory time – it impacted each of us in such a way that we will never forget it. Our family has suffered many disappointments, heartbreaks and tragedies. Yet in looking back on Sarah’s birth, it was indeed a time of complete happiness. That happiness seemed to follow Sarah through her life, too. She had a gentle nature about her that was curious and kind. She was bright, yet humble. She was soft-spoken, yet persistent. Sarah always had a smile on her face and in her heart.

Sarah was always such a joy to spend time with. As I was looking through my pictures, following her death, I realized that she is smiling in almost all of them. Then I realized that even in the pictures I keep in my memory, that is how she is captured – a smiling angel, sweet and innocent as a lamb. Sarah liked all kinds of music and loved to sing. We would always listen to the oldies and it was through Sarah I realized music might be the answer to world peace because, really, who doesn’t love “the oldies?” In keeping, her sense of humor was second to none and her laughter contagious. When Sarah and I hung out together giggles were definitely in order. Actually, I hear Sarah’s laughter in my own daughter, Stella’s, laughter. It took me by surprise last week when I heard Stella giggle. But it was also incredibly comforting knowing that part of Sarah’s spirit remains…testimony to her being here.

As Sarah grew-up, she always tried to bridge the age gap with me, she always wanted to hang out, to shop and to listen to music – just enjoy each other’s company. I watched her do this with Steven, Shawn, Harmony and Angela, too. She just wanted to hang out. We once saw this as her being a pesky little sister. However, looking back, I feel so blessed that she reached out to us like she did. I wish I would have tried harder, I could have done more and I should have noticed before it was too late. I should have reached out like she did. It is painful to acknowledge our own contribution to one another’s destruction, but it is only in doing so that we can stop ourselves from continuing to do it. Sarah’s memory will always serve to remind me of the importance of people – of noticing, trying and doing for those you love.

The testimony I give to Sarah’s life will be one of action, rather than words, or in Stella’s case, laughter. I will draw on the very real ways that Sarah touched me and changed me, I will draw on the everlasting impression she has created in my life and I will draw on my memories of her, to guide me now in my actions with my loved ones. In this way, even though she lived only 19 years, she can live on memory and in spirit eternally. In light of Sarah’s death, the joy surrounding her birth may seem but a cruel irony. But I feel the fact of her death is nothing in comparison to the scope of her life to those that knew and loved her. I am blessed and honored to have known her, even if only briefly. Despite the terrible sorrow in missing her, I know everyone else feels the same way.

I must say that I have felt Sarah’s presence and overwhelming joy at being freed from the shackles of this life since the day she passed. I have thought it so strange, the bizarre coincidences of fortune and prospect that have crossed my path since she went on. But then I talked to others close to her and have found that they, too, have been blessed with a certain indescribable luck. I can only believe it is Sarah singing hallelujah so loud and with such emotion that she is still able to reach the other side, to reach us…

I beg you all to listen to her, to listen very closely to her…she sings only of the truth.

In loving memory today and always,

April