I have been given the privilege to tell you about my sister, Sarah. Some of you didn’t know her and those who did, didn’t know her before we moved to Williams Lake. As I talk, I’m going to pass around a few pictures so that you can better understand who she was (I will post the pictures once I can scan them at home). Let me start at the beginning.
Sarah was born September 2, 1972 – a red haired, blue eyed force of nature. Sarah was born with a fiery spirit the same colour as her hair. She was a force to be reckoned with, to be sure. One thing I remember most about Sarah growing up was that she was fearless. She would try anything, say anything and wonder what was wrong with you if you didn’t do the same. When we had our farm, Sarah took care of the chickens. If a chicken decided to try and peck her when she was collecting eggs, she would just grab it by the head and pull it out of the nest. One was wise not to mess with her.
My mom tells a great story to illustrate. When we were young we lived across the street from a high school. Because students were not allowed to smoke on school property, they would smoke in front of our house. One day, Sarah decided – enough is enough! Knowing that smoking is bad for you, she made up “No Smoking” tickets and ticketed all of the students in front of our house. She figured that if they got a ticket for doing something so bad, that would be deterrent enough to stop. I wonder how many of those students remember that day… she was not one to keep her opinions to herself!
Sarah was always mothering. When I wanted a train set for Christmas, she wanted the doll that you could feed, when I wanted Mouse Trap, she wanted a bridal doll, and when I wanted a stereo, she wanted a Cabbage Patch Doll. She was the one (enlisting my help) who would try to dress up the cats and put them in the doll buggy for a walk around the block (I can speak as an eye-witness that it was not as successful as she would have hoped.) She had a nurturing spirit that made her love everyone and see that they were well cared for.
Another thing about Sarah was that she was a glamour queen. More often than not, you would find her walking around with along beachtowel on her head – despite the fact that she already had long hair. She would swing her head around and strut about like she was in a shampoo commercial. I am sure that as we speak, she is walking about heaven with hair so long it would put Crystal Gail to shame.
When Sarah was 6 she had an accident that showed exactly what she was made of. We were running through the house early one morning. We had a glass door that never shut tight – you just had to push on it. Well, she was chasing me and I slammed the door to get away from her, and, you guessed it, the latch caught. At full speed, she pushed on the door and her arm went through a plate of double diamond glass. She wore that scar with pride and I don’t ever remember hearing her complain. It happened, move on. That was her motto in life. Not much phased her.
When Sarah was 8, she was diagnosed with cancer. A tumour was growing in her brain that would change her life forever. However, as was her nature, she simply handled it as a “matter of fact”. She faced life with a positive attitude and mental toughness that still astounds. She spent a month in hospital and was one of the first inCanadato receive the cutting edge new cancer treatment we know as radiation therapy. While the cancer slowed her down a bit, it didn’t dim her spirit or snuff out her fiery nature. She was still our independent, “take me or leave me – I am who God made me” girl. She loved math, drawing, and playing board games. The Christmas before last, my husband, kids and I came out to celebrate together. Sarah and my daughter Laurenne played Monopoly on Boxing Day for seven hours straight. I don’t remember who won the game, but they both shared a wonderful day that Laurenne still talks about.
Sarah lived on her own in town for many years. She belonged to the Clubhouse and was especially fond of bingo – if she won, she got to pick from cash or chocolate – always a difficult decision! She loved being in town and loved the freedom to have friends over for sleepovers, come and go as she pleased and eat whatever she liked, whenever she liked.
One of the most amazing things about Sarah was her unwavering faith in God. If I had been through all that she had, I cannot say that I would have been the same. She never doubted that she was a child of the King and she also understood that life doesn’t always make sense. God was very close to Sarah and made his presence known in tangible ways very often. I remember one night in particular. We were at a prayer meeting in the basement of Calvary Tabernacle. Sarah was standing with one foot up on a chair and a hand raised in the air. When the prayer was over, her eyes were as big as saucers and she told us that when the group was praying, she felt God’s hand reach down and hold her hand. That was the kind of relationship she had with God. I’m sure if we could see her now, her heavenly robe is bright pink, her hair is as long as a train on a wedding dress, and she is laughing that contagious giggly laugh of hers.
Laugh on, Sarah… Enjoy your reward – you have earned it!