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Sarah's Hair

Sarah died in an auto accident last week. I got the news just days after my own auto accident and I thought irrationally, selfishly, about how maybe she’d taken my place.

She and my oldest son grew up together and had remained friends into adulthood. She’d moved away to attend graduate school and to work, but kept in touch with us all (facebook makes this so easy).

Sarah had studied folklore, philosophy, religion, women’s studies, and library sciences. She was a fierce feminist cosplaying librarian, a passionate dreamer, and proud bibliophile.

Her death is such an awful loss and it’s left me feeling not only sad, but also angry. She’d grown up in a family that abused her so thoroughly, they’d left her physically and emotionally broken. They’d been selfish; so driven by their own pain and small-minded desire that, at best, they were needlessly careless, failing to see (or care) how easily they could permanently break their child.

Sarah was sweet, hungry, lonely, and isolated for years.
She’d worn her body as armor, with the hope that nothing could harm her.
She was bright and funny, creative and big-hearted, fragile and kind.
She struggled to love and parent herself, and was determined to heal.
She loved me and confided how she wished I’d been her mama. I wish I could have erased her past and made whole her heart.

She’d recently moved far away, across the country, to start again and was beginning to feel grounded; even more hopeful that she could build the happy life she deserved. She connected with people who seemed to understand, support, and celebrate her beautiful spirit. I’m comforted by this.

I feel cheated of the chance to see her enjoy exploring life beyond her pain. I’d wanted to watch her grow older, wiser, and more comfortable in her skin. She was a huge and powerful force, with a message about love even larger than her sturdy arms could contain.

Sarah’s death reminds me that life is short. Regardless of how we work and plan, we have so little control of the outcome.

So be kind, right now.
Be generous.
Love BIG.
Do good.
Speak thoughtfully.
Handle with care.
Be mindful; to do otherwise is so harmful, and the payoff is huge.