Two years gone…

It was almost exactly two years ago — now — that I realized Sara was actually gone.

I’d received a voice mail and an e-mail from a colleague at work letting me know that it was a distinct possibility — that my dear friend Sara had been killed in an auto accident the night / early morning before.  The thought made my heart stop… I got nauseous … I panicked.

I tried sending her e-mail and facebook messages,  as that’s how we usually communicated.  I tried calling her cell phone, but just got her voice mail.  I left pretty sad messages for her — that there was a rumor that she’d died, but that I wasn’t going to believe it… pleas for her to call me back and let me know it was someone else.

Finally, I called one of the “in case of Sara emergency” numbers — Sara’s sister Daryl.  I knew right away when Daryl picked up that it was true.  I know what someone who has lost a sister too early sounds like — because I had been that person 8 years prior.  I knew the weary, teary, wake me from this nightmare tone in the voice.

Daryl and I cried on the phone for a few minutes and I told her that she was to let me know if she needed anything — that I’d been thru the loss of my only sibling and that it sucked in special, unique and sometimes cruel ways.  Sara and Daryl were like Pam and I in many ways.  We didn’t always see eye to eye, but we always had each other’s back when it counted.  To lose the person who was supposed to be your teammate for life is a frightening prospect — and to lose them suddenly is a special and horrific kind of shock.

I also know the pain of adjusting to being “the only” child.  When people ask about your family, you need to choose — do you say that you grew up with a sister, but she died as an adult?  Do you say that you’re your mom’s only living child?  Do you say that no — you don’t have any siblings?  None of those are easy answers…

I know the longer term worries about taking care of your parents.  Super-Mom is still quite independent… and I’m guessing she’ll be for quite a while, but she won’t be that way forever.  Growing up I always knew that Pam would be my other half in helping mom out.  She’d be the one I could consult with when Mom needed more help.  She’d be my teammate in all kinds of decisions, practical care and my emotional support when I needed it — and now that was gone… and two years ago today Daryl lost all of that too.

The time between Sara’s death and her memorial services was difficult, complex and brought out the best in people.  Her friends at school established a scholarship in her memory.  The last two years I’ve been honored to help decide who would get that scholarship.  I know from the bottom of my heart that Sara would have wanted a scholarship in her name — because she was so proud of the scholarships she’d worked so hard to earn.  Having it be at the place that helped her come into her own as a person and an academic made it even more profoundly right.

So — today is a day that Sara is on my mind.  I’m going about my business, grading, taking mom to the airport and other tasks that need to be done.  All the same, she’s in my heart and head today — and tonight I’ll take some time to pause and celebrate her life in ways I know she’d appreciate.  I know that eventually this “poliday” will become less intense for me.. for now, I’m glad I have some good friends who love and support me — not with the unique blend of wit, kindness and sarcasm that Sara so effortlessly produced, but with their own special understanding of the meaning of this day.

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One Response

  1. Sending you hugs.

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