My daughter Anjee has a friend named Sarah. They met in college. Both are married and have two little girls. Sarah’s daughters are now 5 and 3 years of age. Anjee’s girls are 4 and 2. Sarah’s daughters are 15 months apart, Anjee’s daughters are 14 months apart. After Anjee’s youngest daughter was born, Sarah would send her words of encouragement about being a mom of two kids so close in age. Anjee and Sarah have a lot in common with loving husbands and beautiful daughters.
But Sarah is now fighting for her life in a hospital in Indiana, having been given just days to live, near the end of a two-year battle with cancer. Her daughters have been brought to the hospital to see their mommy because “she will be leaving for heaven soon.”
There are times when life hits you so hard.
In recent days, I’ve tried to distract myself from Sarah’s story, to cushion the pain a bit. It’s too easy too imagine the devastation and heartbreak of that husband and those little girls, of Sarah’s parents and sisters. I can’t help but realize that cancer could have just as easily hit our family, instead of Sarah’s.
I try not to dwell on Sarah’s story too much, but it keeps coming back to me. Try as hard as I can, I know there’s no way I can fix things. I know the best I can do is to pray for them, for Sarah to have rest, for her family to have comfort. Understanding doesn’t always come.
I can’t deny that Sarah’s story makes me angry. I’m angry that this beautiful little family is losing its heartbeat. I’m angry that a young husband is losing his wife; that precious little girls are losing their mommy; that parents will bury their child.
I know anger won’t change the length of Sarah’s life, but maybe anger can change me a bit for the good, if I let it. Maybe there’s something I can take from Sarah’s story to make me a stronger and kinder person.
As I think of Sarah’s story, I wonder what she would write, if she could, in the epilogue of her life’s book. Considering the apparent brevity of her years, I can’t help but think Sarah would tell us to live large while we can, to not wait until tomorrow to become better people. I can’t help but think that Sarah would tell us to not measure the quality of our lives by our bank accounts or our houses, but by the number of people we have loved, the number of people we have helped along the way.
The story of Sarah is worth remembering ...
BCR Senior Staff Writer Donna Barker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.