If you needed me
I would come to you
I’d swim the seas
For to ease your pain
— the prophet Townes Van Zandt
I didn’t know Sarah very well. The problem with being a recluse is that it makes you reclusive. But I knew her through Mandy.
Mandy was Sarah’s aunt. I accepted early on in our relationship that if she were forced to choose between Sarah or me, I would become a fond memory. They had a bond, a love, an understanding.
Sarah had an artist’s soul. She had her ups and downs, the way artists do. But she had a glowing spirit, that joy that is found only in artists and newborn puppies. I think Mandy, who has always been an artist whether she wants to be or not, was drawn to her because they understood each other so well. They were partners on the roller-coaster of life, screaming and laughing, terrified by the hairpin corners and exhilarated by the climbs, swearing never again, and then jumping back on for another ride.
When I would come home, I could tell Mandy had been talking to Sarah because she would be so happy. Sarah understood her. They would talk about things she could never share with me. Their jobs, their joys, their frustrations, their lives. They just got each other. I was always so grateful to Sarah for being there when Mandy needed her.
I asked Mandy today to tell me about those phone calls. What were they like? Exactly what did they say?
She just starts sobbing again.
She pulls her hoodie up over her face. “She’s … irreplaceable,” is all she can say. Then she can’t stop crying. My heart breaks for the hundredth time in two days.
Sarah was always there for Mandy when she needed her. Always. In some way, I suspect she always will be.
How can you know if you made the world a better place during your short stay? I suppose it’s all about whether or not you made a difference in the lives of the people you loved. She made a huge difference in ours.
I know it’s just a matter of time before you move past the profound sadness and start down the road to where just the happy memories remain.
I think it’s going to be a long, long road …
This is a photo of the refrigerator in our former home in Corpus Christi. Mandy says she wishes she could show Sarah. Mandy says she would tell her “HEY LOOK YOU’RE ON MY REFRIGERATOR.” Sarah would say “HEY YOU PUT A BOTTLE CAP ON MY FACE CUT IT OUT.” Then Mandy laughs, for the first time since the sad news. Thank you, Sarah. For everything. Safe travels.