Never in a million years would I guess I'd be sitting here today, not posting that which I planned, but something entirely different.
It's with a very heavy heart and tears that I write this. Our family is devastated by very unexpected loss of a close friend who we have known for the last 10 years. I usually don't post pictures in this space of anyone else other than family, but Sara felt like family, so it feels only fitting to have a post all about our dear Sara.
Way back when I was set up on a blind date with mystery man who I ended up marrying, my husband worked with Sara. When we moved to Maine, Sara let us know that we were practically neighbors. She was the first local person in Maine who extended greetings to us in our new home. She was the one who took care of our pets anytime we went away. She loved all animals. Our dog, Kammie, always knew to check her pockets, as there would almost always be a dog bone for her.
Sara worked in restaurants and always talked about the food scraps tossed in the garbage and how she hated to just throw them away when she knew they would be useful. When we lived at the other house, she asked if we wanted them to compost. At that point, we weren't set up for that, so I declined. Once we moved and got settled in, I asked if the offer was still good. She was so happy to put those food scraps to good use!
Usually about 3 times a week, we'd have a visitor. Sara would come and leave treats for us. She never wanted to disturb us, so if we didn't catch her, we'd find secret packages for the pets, topped with a couple dog treats, so each of our kids could give a bone to Kammie. My kids were always disappointed when we missed her. When we caught her leaving those surprise packages, they'd holler "Sara" and sprint towards her, offering the biggest of hugs. They loved showing her what they were up to and Sara would go with them to give the treats to the animals.
The kids weren't the only ones who looked forward to the visits. I did too. We'd talk about food, gardening, homesteading...all of which Sara was interested. We talked about turning the 2nd floor of our garage into an apartment someday and renting it to Sara. She loved that idea. Sara enjoyed the simple pleasures of life and would have been so happy living here.
While gifts to the animals were plentiful, she also had gifts for us too. Audra has these little shoes that Sara gave her that she wears frequently. She calls them "Sara shoes". She gave my kids her entire Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer figurine collection for Christmas, as she knew they enjoyed that movie as much as she did. Through the years there were also gifts here and there for me too. An ice cream maker, various kitchen utensils, vintage things she knew I would love. Just last month she brought me a shortbread pan that she had and never used as well as some vintage dishes she knew I'd love. Such a giver.
Sara followed this blog daily, probably since my very first posts. Although she likely would not be impressed with me doing a post just for her. In fact, it's a wonder I have any pictures of her at all! She always showed up at our community Country Livin' parties, but stayed on the outskirts, pitching in if needed or smiling and enjoying all the children squealing in excitement. She showed up when I was taking my kids' Christmas pictures. Per usual, they sprinted to welcome her. I had my camera in hand and encouraged her to get in on a picture with them. "Oh, not me! Just your kids. I just got out of work, I don't look picture ready." I made her get in the picture anyway. So glad I did. My Adrian has spent much of the evening tonight just looking at this picture and remembering.
It's hard to believe our dear Sara is gone. She gave the kids little sponges for the tub just last week. She was here the day before she died. I was afraid something was wrong when she didn't respond to my Email, I actually said to my husband, "Sara always responds, I hope everything is alright." I never expected a goodbye. The last Email she sent was a couple days before she died and it said "Hugs to all!!!!". Sara will be missed dearly. We're so blessed to have known her.