I am very sad. Two weeks ago, my cousin Sarah had a stroke and died. She was 35, two years younger than me.
As kids, Sarah and I, (along with her sister Rachel) would spend weeks in the summer staying at my grandparents house, playing and doing the things that ten year olds do on a farm. We sat around the campfire at family reunions. We played cards and games, talked and argued. I always looked forward to seeing all my cousins at holidays and family gatherings, but Sarah and Rachel were special then because they were closer to my age.
As adults, Sarah and I also did stuff together on occasion. We still sat around the campfire at the family reunions and visited during the holidays. But, we also went to bars and restaurants, Sarah always knew the best bars. We went to Cedar Point and shared an automobile accident. She would cut my hair and I would fix her computer. But mostly, we just talked. Sarah was just plain easy to talk to and always interesting.
In recent years Sarah moved to Atlanta to build a life for herself there. She opened a salon there and infused it with her character and personality. It was a place where she was at home and happy. I’m sure her clients felt happy and at home there as well. (A client remarks on Sarah’s passing)
But, the most important thing about her move to Atlanta was meeting her husband, Kevin there. I’ve only met Kevin a few times, but the one thing that I know about him is that he made Sarah happy.
I haven’t seen Sarah as much in the last few years. Atlanta is far from Michigan and she disliked flying. She came to fewer and fewer holiday functions. Despite her many invitations to visit Atlanta, I didn’t go.
That is until September, when I went to the php|works conference in Atlanta. One of the reasons I wanted to go to the conference was to be able to see Sarah. After the conference, I stayed with her for a couple days.
Sarah showed me her Salon and I could see how much she loved it. She introduced me to the dogs that she saved. We went out to eat and visited the local Atlanta attractions. But mostly, we talked. We talked about family, dating, kids and careers. We talked about her writing, the gym she liked, the church she had joined and the things she wanted to do.
Sarah tried very hard to convince me to move to Atlanta. I think she felt that all I needed to do was to move there and I would meet the love of my life and l could live there happily to the end of my days. After all, she did.
There is so much that I still want to do with Sarah. I feel like I’ve always taken it for granted that that she would be around for us to “do that later.” I guess not. I’ll miss Sarah.