These days living in a pandemic and navigating COVID-19 are full of self-doubt and disappointment with the system that has been sold to us as being so full of opportunity, so equal and fair for all in the pursuit of happiness. There are distancing learning plans to figure out for older kids, safe childcare solutions to pay for in order for toddlers and babies just to be able to maintain some semblance of normalcy, and your career that you’ve worked so hard for. Masking up, physically distancing, staying woke on issues related to the nation’s racial reckoning and hurting economy, trying to stay connected to friends and family virtually, and so much more.
Every day is a marathon, but we are running it, sometimes walking, maybe crawling.
During these long days of 2020 I find myself thinking about people no longer physically here. One of those people is my high school friend Sarah. When I think of Sarah I think of love, strength, and light.
We need love, strength, and light.
I moved to Stevenson Ranch, California with my parents and younger brother when I was 15 years old. It was our first house in California, at least that I clearly remembered (we lived near Santa Barbara when I was younger).
This was it. I was going to finish high school in SoCal. All the face palms of my High School career in Denver, Colorado no longer mattered.
Long story short, the face palms continued until junior year when I transferred to Academy of the Canyons, a unique middle college high school where you attend classes on a junior college campus with college students when you are still a minor. And your high school is here too, but in its own buildings in one corner of the campus. It was here I met some of my best friends.
One of those friends was Sarah.
Sarah was just cool, beautiful, and kind. Did I mention cool? Usually gorgeous girls in high school can be awful human beings. I think it’s just the nature for some when you “peak” by age 16. Sarah was gorgeous and a wonderful human being. Note: She also didn’t peak in high school. She did however drive a red Tacoma truck, which in and of itself made her unique while the rest of us girls were zipping around in Civics, Jettas, and the occasional Mustang or Camaro.
She was one-of-a-kind early on. Her whole family is like that—a heard of unicorns live and in the flesh.
All the major moments of my junior and senior years in high school included Sarah. That’s not something anyone forgets. But it is something I forget when I’m complaining about this and that with relation to the global pandemic that has altered our way of life in unprecedented ways.
I complain about navigating COVID-19 and get frustrated.
I take my life for granted at least five times a day, probably more. I’m human, a woman, a woman of color, a mother, a professional, a wife, a daughter living states away from my parents, a friend, etc. Complaining comes with that territory.
But on one Sunday when I was just at a new level of “what the actual F” after talking to my mother about navigating COVID-19 issues, I thought about Sarah.
Beautiful Sarah who found out when she was 31 weeks pregnant with her first child that she had aggressive pancreatic cancer. And the same Sarah who passed away when her daughter was only 37 days old in the hospital where she recently gave birth.
Note: Her daughter is now 6 months old and the apple of father Mike’s eye. It’s fitting since when Mike and Sarah started dating in high school, he looked at her that same way.
Sarah would take all these 165+ something days of social distancing, mask wearing, sanitizing, homeschool, working, virtual socializing, and most significantly child loving. She wouldn’t mind navigating COVID-19 and how it’s affected our lives. Find a Sarah in your life to think about when the inevitable dark cloud finds you in these often marathon-like days.
Rest in paradise my friend. You are missed.