What a beautiful thing it is to love…

Perched in one of the Bradford Pear trees in the courtyard of the school that I teach at is a beach ball. No one knows exactly how long the beach ball has been there. Most seem to think it got stuck up there during one of the 8th grade celebrations. As the seasons changed, the ball continued to sit nestled in a maze of branches high in the tree. Several students and teachers have attempted to get it down, yet it still sits there proudly looking over all those who walk through the courtyard. This afternoon, upon leaving the school, I noticed that it was gone.

This has been a tough day for my family. My dad’s mother, his only living parent, joined my Gramps and my sweet daughter in heaven. It is hard to describe the surge of emotions in me right now. Part of my heart is numb with the last five months of grief and the other part of me aches to see and speak with my Granny just one more time.

Granny was a confident and loving woman. Everyone always told me that I looked just like her.  I always thought that she was so elegant and that this was a tremendous compliment.  As a child, I looked forward to our visits with her and Gramps. We would spend our mornings and afternoons fishing or hammering nails into scrap wood with Gramps, and then Granny would always call us back for a delicious lunch. I remember her sending us straight to the sink to wash our hands before letting us even sit down. I remember how Granny always used to tell me that she loved it when I wore my hair up because it looked more professional for a workingwoman. This always made me smile. She too had been a teacher for several years and told a number of stories about her time in the profession that we both loved. She will be dearly missed by all of us.

I can’t help but think about the beach ball perched up in the Bradford Pear tree. Like my grandmother, there was a time that the ball had entertained those around it. Eventually, it took on a new role, perched in the tree smiling as it said hello and looked around protectively and lovingly at those walking through the courtyard. Grinning faces would also look up at the beach ball occasionally jumping up to say hello. But, now that beach ball is gone.

I feel like another small piece of my heart is missing – like nothing will ever quite be the same now that my Granny is gone. I have learned in the last five months, that those pieces can never be mended or replaced. Instead they help mold us into the person that God wants us to be. We are shaped by our experiences.  We are shaped by those who love us. We are shaped by those we love. And what a beautiful thing it is to love…

St. Isabelle Clare is waiting with Gramps to welcome Granny into the kingdom. While we miss them desperately here on earth, they are partying and praying for us in heaven.


Four Generations (my granny, my father, myself, and Isabelle):  If only I had known that two of these four people would be gone within six months of this photo being taken.  It is a good reminder to always tell those we care about how much we love them.  Life is a precious gift and we never know how many days we will be given.


  1. john brandon says:

    Sarah, thanks for letting me know. This is an awesome tribute and a very nice way for me to hear of her passing from the other side of the world. A few hours ago as I was boarding a ferry from China to the Hong Kong airport I felt a wave of grief. My thoughts immediately went to Mary Ellen, Nancy and you all. Sitting now in the HK airport I read your blog. Please hug my wife for me and let her know my eyes are filled with tears. :-( Sorry I did not make it back in time.

    • Sarah says:

      Thanks, JoAnne. She was a wonderful person and will be dearly missed. It is strange thinking that she is gone and that I won’t hear her voice again. Someday I will see her, and Isabelle, again though.

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