Thursday, March 12, 2015


I haven't been able to breathe, much less talk the last week.  As of tomorrow it will have been a week since the memorial.  It was so amazing and beautiful to see how many people showed up (they ran out of the little hand out things!).  There was SO much love in that room.  I laughed a lot but only because she'd want me to.  She'd want me to see the silly stuff.  She'd want me to whisper and share stuff with Heather to make her laugh too.  This joyful creature didn't want to bring anyone down with her trials, do you think she'd want us to sit in a big room and cry?  OH, by all means, tears are necessary.  But if you can laugh and remember her with joy don't you think she'd want you to?  My tears show themselves at weird moments.  Probably dangerous, too.  Lots happen in the car when I'm driving.  Could I get pulled over for distracted driving?  This really was about me saying it's okay to laugh or cry or whatever you need to get through this.  No wrong way to grieve.  Lots of life has taught me that.


She gave me a Buddha.  It was on her altar and now it's going on mine.  Big, fat happy, Buddha.  I'll post a pic here.  This does good for my heart. It was meaningful for her and it means a great deal to me.  Thank you, Sarah.

Okay, so I'm going to post what I wrote for the memorial.  I mentioned on the book of face that I defaulted to writing something, vaguely poetic because it kept me together and helped me express what I was feeling.  I wish I could have done the off-the-cuff speeches that others did.  But I'm trying hard not to judge my stuff.  I just wanted to do her and Julie justice.

Here we go....

Hi. For those of you who don’t know, my name is Johanna.
I wanted to share some stuff with you today. 
I will try to not be long winded, but I make no promises.
I’d like to start with an excerpt from Mary Oliver’s poem, “Blackwater Woods”

“to live in this world you must be able to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go” 

I met her first as Silly.  I reconnected with her as Samling.  But for the most part I called my dear friend Sarah.   Sarahlynne Cheywasdidlifjklda-ski.  (she coached me on how to say it. I still can’t)

Sarah was impossible.  When I say impossible, I’m only referring to stubbornness just a tiny bit.
Oh, don’t get me wrong.  She was stubborn.  But typically it came through in her commitment to her family, friends, clients, and the menagerie she surrounded herself with. 
Oh, and her commitment to all things ridiculously awesome…
and possibly also to animal prints.

Now what I really meant to say in regards to her being impossible, and maybe improbable is a better word, is that it was unbelievable how kind, generous, intuitive, brilliant, talented, fun and, well, how silly she was.  Yes, that was a little long winded but every bit of it was important.  Any one of those words removed and you would not be doing justice to who Sarah was.

Sarah had a way about her where she would make friends in the most unusual places.  Since we started hanging out this included, but was not limited to, restaurants, hair salons, and grocery stores.  I bring this up to point out that she would create connections with people effortlessly.  She made people feel comfortable.  Safe.  She touched a great many lives.  She never hesitated to open her heart to a great many people.  She made them feel at home.  Sarah was, and will continue to be a proud representative of the “butterfly effect”.
Julie was also a wave maker.  It is impossible to see her challenges without seeing the rest of her.  She was funny.  She was very clever, and she knew it.  She also was very loving.  When that girl was joyful she was so very joyful.  I enjoyed spending time with Julie, especially things like deep conversations about Webkinz.  I feel lucky to have known her.  And she was lucky to have her mother, who lived for her.  They lived for one another and were truly inseparable.

Today we are here because life is simply not fair. It’s not fair that we don’t have these beautiful souls here with us, in people form, anyway.  But what we do have is the impact they left in our lives.  We have amazing memories.  Both wonderful and very hard.  But their lives go on in us. 

I look forward to this spring and this summer.  I’ll be out and about enjoying what our lovely state has to offer.  I know that Julie will be there. I’ll hear her in the laughter of children.  She will be joyful and unencumbered by her previous constraints.  Our little wild thing has her independence. 

Sarah will be there by my side.  I’ll feel her - in the sun on my skin.  I’ll see her - in all the living things that grow, be they flora or fauna.  She will guide me to dance a little more, laugh a little louder and love without restrictions.

And you know what else? Sarah and Julie?  They won’t be there just with me, they’ll be there with you too.  They will continue to hold all of us in their arms.  I believe they’ll even move the heavens for each one of us.  We are blessed to have them on our side.

In this life they were forced into troubling limitations but those limitations?  They’re gone now.  These girls, they can run wild.  These girls, they are dancing in the wind that moves us.  Our girls?  They have been released.  They are free.

Lastly I’d like to share an excerpt from “Evidence”, also by Mary Oliver..
“I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.” 

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