A few days ago, I learned that one of the most beautiful people I know passed away. It came as a shock to me and is one of the most challenging things to face when you’re living across the world. Sarah was battling Leukemia, but the last I heard from her, she was in remission and looking toward the future. In our last conversation, a week before I left, she told me that I inspired her and she was going to live vicariously through me. She said she had a new drive to help people and live life to the fullest and was even talking about going back to school for her Master’s degree. Sarah was an amazing, kind, beautiful, thoughtful, and courageous woman. She was always trying to help people and be the best person she could be, and she inspired me to do the same. I remember our time together so well and am heartbroken we don’t have more time together.
Losing someone always makes you question life. This is the first time I have wavered at all about moving to Africa and pursuing this dream. After talking to my best friends back home and here, I realized that was just grief talking. I am loving it here, and the best way to honor Sarah is to continue pursuing the dream that she wanted to live vicariously through. I know that this is what she would have wanted and I am inspired by her to continue to live my life to the fullest and be the person she saw me as. I know that this is the type of thing Sarah would have loved to have done if her health had allowed it, so I think the least I can do is dedicate my service to her. I have a purpose now to live my life in a way Sarah would have been proud of each and every day. I’ll be better about being gluten free like she told me to be millions of times, I’ll stop procrastinating as much as I do (like she told me to do a million times), and most importantly, I am going to try to touch others the way she touched me. After all, that’s really all we can hope to do in our short life times. Sarah was always in my corner for the most important things. She told me I was wise beyond my years when I wrote about being fat shamed on the street. She was always cheering me on when I decided to pursue grad school and Peace Corps, and she always told me that she knew I could accomplish my goals. She made me a better person and I always want to remember that. It’s only been a few days, so I know I am not done grieving the loss of such a beautiful soul, but I also know that she accomplished something in her short years that some people don’t accomplish in their lives of over 80 years. She inspired people, and expressed a love and kindness that I’ve known from few others. I cherish every friendship I have, and see how each and every one of you has inspired me. I hope I can inspire you, too.