Tuesday, July 20, 2010


It has been an extremely difficult time in our family, the most painful that we have ever had. I appreciate all of your comments from my last post about my baby girl, pictured above with me when she helped cook a birthday dinner for me last month. I wanted to write to explain to you about my daughter, she was my youngest daughter , named Sarah, and as you can see...very beautiful as is my oldest daughter, that one is married and lives in our city while her husband is in Afghanistan. It is almost impossible to explain what my Sarah was like and I am worn out , so I have decided to include what I wrote for my pastor to say at her funeral which was held last Friday. My daughter had over 400+ people at her funeral, a 21 year old , we were floored by how many people have been impacted by her tragic early death from the car accident.
I can tell you also that we have discovered who are friends really are through this, and who truly cares about us and about her.
I can also tell you that my faith is being sorely tested.
Thank you all for your kindness to me , and your concern.

              Our Sarah ,
             written by her Mother

Trying to write about our beautiful Sarah is a very hard thing to do , as she was so full of life, so effervescent , so bubbling over with energy and love...that it makes me  unbearably sad to consider that she will not be in our lives anymore.  That in turn makes it painful to write about her, but also a must to express our Sarah to you. That the joy of her very being , her very presence... has been  taken from us all so suddenly and tragically is a burden we will all carry in our hearts and souls for the rest of our lives . To try to explain a person such as Sarah , is a daunting task...as I know that I cannot do justice to her . She was a one of a kind original masterpiece.

Sarah was young and very  beautiful, inside and out. She loved to exercise and run all over the University of Carolina, she loved hanging out with her friends and laughing, going out and dancing. She loved music, loved to sing and she was a very good singer as well. She worked hard at her job at California Dreaming, she was very friendly and had a bright beautiful smile to welcome people at her tables. No one could forget Sarah once they met her, she had many regular customers who requested her for their tables.
If I had one word to describe her, instead of beautiful , it would be loving. When she was very young, little Sarah would knock on the window when I was going out for my walks and wave and wave at me , and scream I love you , through the glass...over and over. I loved it, and she did it all the time. Of course she would see me within and hour when I came home, but she would do that as if I was going off for a week long trip every time. She loved dressing up in crazy costumes of her own design , dancing around the house and pretending she was a famous singer as well. 

 Later on she was a cheerleader at Dreher High school, she was active in the drama department and in many plays, nominated for the beauty pageants there, all of this while making good grades and working part-time. Sarah was also a Christian , and told me many times about praying and asking God for help and guidance . Whenever Sarah was confused about her life, about why God does do this or doesn't do that, I tell her we could not in this lifetime answer many of those questions. I told her God loves her, and all of us , way more than even I loved her and that she will have a very good life. She did have a very good life, but from our human standpoint, much too short of one.

She attended USC for  short time, and then ended up working full time at California Dreaming and living away from home, working hard and paying most of her own bills . She was learning to be responsible, and we were proud of her. She was very popular at work and she was helpful, and showed such care for her co-workers and supervisors. It was like a second family to her there.

Sarah's very favorite place to go was Edisto Beach, South Carolina. We had many family vacations there for about 13 years , and she loved the beach, playing in the ocean, the sunsets, running in front of me on her jogs , and being with her family. She really enjoyed time with her family, and always told us so, which I know is sometimes unusual for that age group. When I was in Edisto this past week , I saw a beautiful floating butterfly, ahead of me on one of my walks...and as I saw it flit and flutter  , to and fro , still staying just ahead of me through a small road in the woods area there...it made me think of Sarah. Always flitting and flying around, light and beautiful...floating from activity to activity...as if on air. A happy butterfly reminded me of my baby girl on that day.

In 2006 , Sarah's maternal grandmother died unexpectedly of a heart attack, and that and some other factors with our family made her do a complete turn around in her focus in life. She had been focusing on so many of her friends and having fun , that family time was dwindling , like it does for many young people at that stage in life.  But after my mother's death, Sarah took it very , very hard...and she changed almost overnight. She learned a lesson that most people of all ages from 5 to 85 don't ever learn. That lesson was to show the people that you love, that you truly love them, with the time that you are given.  After that happened , Sarah typically texted or called me about 4-8 times every day, and always told me she loved me..as I did her.
She also was known for telling most of her friends that she loved them, I would tell her to stop telling everyone that she loved them...to make it mean something , to say it to a select few.
But no, not Sarah. She told me, " But I do love them. " And that is how she was...over flowing with love.

That focus became what it was when she was a very young child and continued, and that was  expressing love.

Her life was going well, she had just made the honor roll at Midlands Tech, and was eager to continue her career as a physical therapist. She had such promise , such potential in life. She loved her father dearly, her big sister was very special to her and she adored her as well, her big brother and she had gotten closer over the years and she loved him very much, and she absolutely adored her little brother and wanted to hug and kiss him all the time, which he half the time refused on account of being a 9 year old little boy still.

 Unfortunately , all we were allowed was 21 years of her in this life . We were all blessed beyond any words that I can try to use to express to describe her or describe her impact on each of our lives.

You all have your own memories of my sweet baby girl, what I hope you can do...is remember how she showed love and caring , and continue that with the people you have in your lives now. Do not ever wait to tell someone you love, that you love them, do not wait to tell your child or your friend or parent that you are proud of them, that they are beautiful, that they make you happy. Express that to them whenever you truly feel it , as in this life, that time may never come again. Make the most of the time you have, to love. Bless in small ways , as the small blessings make up an abundant life of love.

Thank you all , for loving and caring about our precious, beautiful Sarah.


  1. Beautifully said! She emanates love and happiness in her radiant face. Your family is truly blessed to have such a warm and loving daughter...even though it was for too short a period of time. May your faith and warm memories of Sarah sustain you through these dark days. Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

  2. Dear, dear Gina, This loving tribute of yours has touched me deeply. I've been thinking of you daily, my heart aching for your loss.

    What a loving mother you are and what a lovely young woman your daughter became. Your lives have touched many. You will see her again.

    Love, hugs and prayers for you and your family, FlowerLady

  3. Gina, I have not met you, dear, but I feel I have met you and your beautiful Sarah, through your wonderful tribute of memories. Such a tragedy so early in her life, but, I see in you, SO MUCH STRENGTH. She obviously loved you VERY much. You have been so blessed to have treasured every moment as well. She was as lovely as you still are.
    Stay Strong and though God tests us, He is the only One who knows what is in store for us.
    Let God Give You Peace

  4. I was stunned by your loss. My daughter, our only child is about to turn 20. I don't know what I would do if I were to face what has happened to you and your family.

    My God's peace be with you all.

  5. Sarah knew love. Obviously, she shared it with those around her. That is the greatest gift. May you always feel her love.

  6. Gina, I never met Sarah, but it's clear from her pictures of a young, a beautiful, vibrant woman, and from your reflections, how special she truly is. Again, we are so sorry for your loss, and know that we can't truly fathom your pain. However, it is difficult to imagine that someone so youthful, so vibrant, is now gone. Know that you, and your family, are in our hearts, our prayers, and our thoughts. Sincerely, Clare & Jon, at Curbstone Valley Farm.

  7. The Lord bless you and strengthen you in the coming days. A lovely tribute.

  8. I've been thinking so much about you and your family. Sarah sounds like a beautiful person inside and out. You must be very proud of the kind of person she became, so full of love. I'll keep you in you in my thoughts and prayers.
    Sending you a big hug,

  9. Gina, your tribute to your daughter touched me deeply. This life can be so short and the trials sometimes very difficult to bear. May you find peace in knowing that you will see her again. Families can be together forever. This life is but a short period in the eternal scheme of things.

  10. My dearest Gina I just can't imagine the pain you are going through. Sarah is so beautiful, her heart was so full of love for her Saviour that it reflected in every single thing that she did. She was your little gift from the Lord and those 21 years of her life have blessed you and others around her. She's left behind a legacy of love until that day in glory when you will embrace her once again.

    May the Lord draw close to you comfort you all and give you strength and peace as your mourn Sarah's loss in this world.

    Love in Christ ,Rosie

  11. It is most certain that you taught her how to love. I cannot imagine how difficult it was to sit and write this tribute to Sarah. I too have had you and your family close to my heart everyday. May the peace that surpasses understanding enter your hearts and minds.

  12. Gina, I could feel the love that you had for Sarah, radiate through your words. She sounds like such a lovely woman and a huge joy in your life. You were blessed with her for 21 wonderful years and got to share so much with her.
    Thinking of you

  13. Thank you for sharing a very hard and personal grief in such a precious way. I can't imagine trying to put 21 years of love into written words under the load of sorrow that you must be feeling with each passing minute.

    Sarah sounds very much like you, Gina - dancing, energetic, full of love. I want so badly to "say something" that will soothe your aching heart, but there are no words.

  14. This was a beautifully written tribute. Thoughts will be with you and your family throughout this difficult time.

  15. So glad you found the strength to write about your lovely daughter so we could know a little about her. What a beautiful girl inside and out. Have thought about and prayed for you and your family daily. May God keep you tight in his arms.

  16. What a special girl. She must have touched the lives of so many.

    My heart is with you all at this time. God's blessings and peace on you all.

  17. Hi Gina.....what a beautiful post you make about your lovely daughter Sarah..........You were blessed with her for 21 wonderful years....too short of course !!!!

    I wish you strength........and lot of love...blessings.....peace......please try to go further with your live and lovely family......even if it is very difficult and hard to grasp, not now....i wil think of you in my prayers......love Ria

  18. Such a loss for you and your family but what a beautiful tribute to a wonderful daughter. She will ALWAYS be in your heart and in your thoughts. I'm glad you had some time with the butterfly...and there will be more sightings.

  19. Dear Gina, my heart is heavy for you and your family. I pray that the Lord will give you peace and strength, and renew your joy. Wrap yourself in that love and surround yourself with your beloved family!

    Thank you for sharing your Sarah with us!

    Hugs - Kimberly

  20. Gina, thank you so much for sharing these loving words and beautiful pictures of your daughter. Though I only know you through your blog, you have been on my heart and in my prayers since reading about Sarah's tragic death - and you will continue to be in my prayers as you learn how to live in this world without her. This morning in my daily e-mail from Sojourners, there was this quote from Joyce Rupp's "Praying Our Good-byes": "God’s love is such a powerful companion for us that no matter how searing or how intense the hurt of a loss is we know that our spirit need not be destroyed by it; we know that God will help us to recover our hope, our courage, and our direction in life." May God's love comfort you.

  21. Gina - my heart and prayers go out to you. You wrote a beautiful description of your daughter. She'll always be with you in your heart. In the stillness, listen for her and feel her. God will help you through this - hold on to him.

  22. Eve Fearing CuginiJuly 21, 2010 at 10:11 PM

    Gina: I have thought of you often and the childhood memories that I have of our times together. I learned of Sarah just last week and have been heart broken for you and your family. The love of a parent and child is incredible and I wish peace for all of you during this difficult time. What a beautiful daughter, inside and out... My prayers for you.

    Eve Fearing Cugini

  23. Your tribute was so beautiful. It's obvious a bright light was extinguished with Sarah's passing. I really appreciate your closing reminder about expressing our love to those around us. You remain in my thoughts and prayers.

  24. Dear Gina, I had missed your last post on this terrible tragedy. I am so sorry. My prayers are with you, and I do not say that carelessly. I pray that Satan will have no victory in this, but only goodness will flow out of your terrible pain. I am reminded of a verse in the Bible (psalm 56:8) that says God has counted our tears. May He have mercy and give you peace.

    Your daughter sounds like a beautiful person in every way. I will make a point to tell my loved ones how much they mean to me.

  25. Gina,
    I am so shocked and saddened by your loss. I had been missing your posts and stopped by to see you and almost fell over when I read the news.I am so sorry for your family. Losing a child is beyond what we should have to bear. Being a Christian doesn't make the loss much easier, but the promises of God to see Sarah again will bring you great comfort.
    I am amazed that you were able to write such a beautiful tribute to your daughter with the heaviness you are carrying right now. God is certainly sustaining you. You will never be the same again but you will eventually be whole enough to function closer to normal. Let the tears flow and grieve the way you need to. No-one can tell you how it should be done!

    I continue to carry the burden of my beloved Jonathan these last 21 months but I know my faith has grown because of the questions that had to be answered again after his death. This is truly a faith walk. God is faithful!
    I will pray for you and your family as I know the road you have ahead to walk. Again, I am so sorry for your family to have to experience this deep pain and if you ever want to talk to someone who knows, you can contact me through my blog. May God's richest love and strength pour down from heaven on you now.
    Blessings in Him, Love Meg

  26. Gina, your tribute to your daughter is so beautiful. She's full of love, kindness, joy, and inspired everyone. Your story about her touched my heart and made me cry. She's beautiful inside and out! Your daughter is in the presence of the Lord and I believe she's seeing His amazing glory. It's true that we should always say I love you everyday and never take anyone for granted, life is precious and very short. God reminded me of this when He took my first hubby suddenly at a young age. I hope and pray for your comfort. I know you trust God even when you don't understand and you're a woman of faith. You're in my thoughts, please don't hesitate to contact me anytime you need a friend to talk to.

  27. Gina, once again I want to say how sorry I am for your loss. You painted a beautiful portrait of your daughter through your writing.
    Love and Hugs, Kyna

  28. My heart goes out to you, and your family.

    She sounded like a lovely young woman. I am so very sorry.


  29. What a beautiful tribute to Sarah. Her memory will forever live in the hearts and minds of us who visit your blog. Continued thoughts and prayers for the journey ahead...Lisa

  30. Oh Gina,

    My heart is breaking as I can only imagine what you are going through. Words fail me except that the Lord will carry you in His arms through all of this. In the future, I can imagine the happy reunion that you will have with Sarah in heaven :-)

  31. A lovely message. She sounds like a very special person that was deeply loved. Bless you and your family at this difficult time.

  32. Gina, this is a beautiful tribute from a loving mother to her dearly loved daughter. I hope that you can find solace here and time will heal your grief. Sarah will always live on in the memory of all who knew her and whose lives she had touched. Take good care of yourself, Gina.

  33. Gina, I can't imagine the pain you are going through in this tragedy. I have been thinking about you and you are in my prayers. I'm not sure what to say, but that God is holding you close with His love.

  34. This IS a test that you certainly are passing with flying colors. How wonderful that you have the grace to inspire others through the physical loss of your beautiful daughter. My heart breaks for you and your family.

  35. Gina,
    I read every word. What a beautiful piece you wrote to honour Sarah.
    I have thought of you and your family often and will keep you in my prayers.

  36. a beautiful tribute...

  37. Your daughter was beautiful in every way. I am so sorry that she was taken from your family and this world so soon.

  38. Gina,
    You remain in my thoughts and prayers.

  39. Dear Gina,
    I stumbled into your blog today while doing some research for my own - I wanted to make sure it was Mercury in the Calhoun House gardens. My best friend's daughter died 5 years ago after a car accident. She was Sarah, too. I can only wish that you continue to see beauty in everything.
    Visit my blog if you want to look at my interpretation of Charleston. http://jeandsanders.blogspot.com

  40. Dear Gina,

    Your beautiful posting about your precious Sarah touched me profoundly. Please know that you and yours are in my prayers. May the Lord of our comfort wrap His arms around you during this difficult time...Cassandra ♥

  41. Your daughter Sarah had a gorgeous smile with a hint of cheeky grin. Your words are beautiful, although not ones any mother should have to write. I can't imagine, I just can't what you are going through. I really don't know waht to say other than I was drawn to leaving you a message. From one mother to another, I just want to send you a hug.

  42. Thank you for sharing that very heartfelt tribute to Sarah. I havent been reading the blogs lately, and i am stunned and surprised upon reading this. Your are a very strong woman and you will be always blessed. I will say a prayer for you. Take care Gina!

  43. I for some reason came across your blog this afternoon. I started reading and saw where you had just lost your daughter. Time heals all and not without God's help for sure. I lost both a dad and sister to car accidents on two separate occasions and I know what the loss of love feels like everyday. I have learned to live with the fact that God chooses our paths in life, but at the same time he doesn't give us anymore than we can handle. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

  44. Beautifully said. She will me missed.

  45. Hi Gina,
    I have so many blogs I follow that I do not keep up. I was reading down my blogroll, and when I got to your blog, went right to this post to see what you had written about your daughter. I am so sorry for what you have gone through. I will pray for you and your family, as the holiday season has arrived.

    God bless!

  46. Hi Gina,
    I was drawn to your blog several weeks ago because I love art and gardening. I didn't leave a comment at the time but you have been on my mind because of this post about your dear daughter. Today, Mother's Day, I am thinking of you. This "special" day is supposed to be happy but with the loss of your daughter I know that it is a day to "get through". My daughter was killed in a car accident almost two years ago so I am sharing your sadness. May we find comfort in our savior's loving arms and hope to go forward.

  47. dear gina,
    i was googling 'charleston window boxes' and stumbled upon your blog....and your precious daughter sarah. what a perfect gift from God. my sincerest sympathies for your tragic loss. the tribute you wrote was beautiful and i feel blessed that i got to 'know' her just a bit through you. as a christian too, who has known loss (though not like yours), i will pray for God's strength to raise you up.

  48. Melanie in Lexington, KyJuly 2, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    Gina, last night, after my terrible-horrible-no-good-day with 3 year old Sarah-Louise and her 3 older brothers, I came upon your blog. I had googled "Charleston iron gates", intent upon leaving my frustrations behind while looking for the perfect gate design for our landscape plan. I found it, and so much more. Thanks for your insights as a mother, gardener, lover of art, and child of God. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful Sarah. God bless you.

  49. Peace be with you; she's beautiful. We don't get over any loss, but we find the beauty in the time we did have; we had a suicide in our family that brings along a sense of guilt but we can't dwell on that; we cherish the memories we do have; our loved ones are with us every single day to enjoy and embrace, whether they are on Earth or in Heaven

  50. Gina, i came across your blog while looking for a metal/gate company that i found while in SC a few years ago. I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter. our family experienced a similar loss about 10 years ago. My cousin Brent was going to college in Vermont and was home for the weekend in upstate new york. He was enjoying time with friends at a lake house and on the way home their jeep took a curve to fast and he was thrown from the jeep. we lost him about a month later, no one can understand that pain unless they have been through it . the day we had an event to celebrate his life there was a double rainbow , but no rain anywhere in site. like you we often see butterflies and know he is there. he loved nature like no one i have ever met. butterflies, rainbows,sunrise, sunset all reminders of beautiful people. thinking of you and your family. christa

  51. Dear Gina,
    I accidentally came across your blog whilst searching for spanish ladies in red dresses (prints) to add to my collection.
    We lost our cherished daughter Nahtanah at 19.I have a differant hope than yours tho,I believe that I will see her again in the ressurrection on earth psalms37:10,11...Even with differant beliefs though we have suffered the same pains.
    Our daughter like Sarah,was beautifull and loved by so many...our 3 other teenagers found life without her a struggle.I found solice in art collecting and picking up photography again, but mostly in my faith.I am loving this life again that God gave me..I dont believe God took my girl as he is a God of love (not pain)But I do believe Ec 9.11...
    Mother to Mother I just wanted to share my heart and that I have known your pain.Sarahs photoes captured my heart of a beautifull life now in Gods memory, as is our Daughter,Nahtanah.
    Warmest Christian hug.May God wrapp you in cotton wool and place you in his loving arms, untill you are able to enjoy life to the full again.. Love Tina from.. Australia..


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