*One of the three Graces is names Thalia. She represented youth, beauty and good cheer. Today I am focusing a bit on Thalia as I share my one and only grace today, my memories of Sarah McFeeley, a person full of youth, beauty and good cheer. You see, Sarah passed away in her sleep this morning, and didn’t make it to school. She was a 10th grade student at Kellogg High School. She was light, and life and so much joy. The photograph above is from right before this last Christmas. I am so glad Paul and I took the time to get our photo taken with Sarah in the “Elf Yourself” area at KHS. Sarah was a delight. There were certain things she would ask me each time I saw her. One question was “Where’s your car Mrs. Roberts?” Another was “What’s for lunch Mrs. Roberts”. I would often sing the Starship song Sara, Sara to her as she walked down the hall.
Sara, Sara Storms are brewin' in your eyes Sara, Sara No time is a good time for goodbyes
Paul and I spent a quiet evening at home mourning her loss. What a gift to be able to do that tonight. We took Mom dinner, then returned home, and were able to be with each other to comfort, but also quiet enough with our own thoughts, writings, songs, etc. to mourn and grieve as we needed.
Our daughter Molly had worked with Sarah at Kellogg Middle School. I texted her to ask her to call me after she was done with school. She asked me if it was worrisome. I said not worrisome, just sad. She asked, person or animal? I replied, Person. She said, Okay. Just preparing myself. Will call you later. It was hard to share the news with her about Sarah Bearah, (Molly’s nickname for her.) Molly always had fun Sarah stories to share.
She was also one of Paul’s students. He had her in Drama class last year and this year. Drama was one of Sarah’s favorite classes. This was a tough loss for Paul.
An outpouring of love from students and KHS staff started coming across my Facebook feed. Everyone loved Sarah. She was delightful. She was fun. She was funny, and had a great sense of humor. She was preparing to participate in the Winter Special Olympics coming up February 11th. She was a good athlete.
This was a new experience for me. I have never had a student pass away at school that I knew. This is a different kind of loss. It took me back to the summer before my senior year of high school when our classmate Mark Walkenshaw drowned up the river. What a shock. Just like Sarah.
Sarah couldn’t have had a more wonderful group of people who worked with her at KHS, surrounding her with care and love. From the special education staff, Erin, Tori, Julie, Lori, Deborah, Cory, and Jeanne, to her special friends in class, Brandon, Sean and Mikey, as well as her teachers this year, Paul, Rachael, Kandace and Joy. She spent each day in a wonderful place.
My life is better for having Sarah a part of it. My prayers are with her family, her friends, and all the people in the world touched by her life. I knew her father a little bit, and he took such good care of Sarah.
One student asked me if it was weird that they could still hear her voice in class even when she was not there. I said, no, that her spirit will always be with us. And later I thought, what a special gift to be able to continue to hear Sarah’s questions, laugh and jokes. She is probably cracking them all up in Heaven right now.
The image I have of Sarah in Heaven is from the song I Can Only Imagine, because when I asked Sarah about preparing for the Winter Special Olympics coming up, all she could talk about was the dancing involved at the party after the competition. I think Sarah is now dancing with Jesus.
Surrounded by Your glory What will my heart feel Will I dance for you Jesus Or in awe of You be still Will I stand in your presence Or to my knees will I fall Will I sing hallelujah Will I be able to speak at all I can only imagine I can only imagine