Posted Tue, Nov 13, 2012

“They say people come into your life for a reason.”

I had known Sarah for 20 years, but we hadn’t seen each other in a long time. I was nervous, to say the least, what if she didn’t like me? A month prior, her mother Jane had come to my high school graduation and offered me an opportunity to work with Sarah as a caregiver and teacher while I was in college. The first day working with her I distinctly remember Sarah flashing me a big toothy grin, her green eyes sparkled before bounding down the hallway.

“Where’s she going?” I asked her mom. “Probably to play Candyland,” said Jane. I followed her, hoping she’d let me join. I sat down next to her, she had the Blue figurine in her hand, ready to play. I eyed her tentatively, “Buddies?” I asked…”Shake on it…”I stuck out my hand… with that same toothy grin she shook my hand, offered me the yellow figurine and we played our epic game of Candyland. That very day we became fast friends.

In order to truly appreciate Sarah you must understand some background. When she was just a toddler she was given a routine vaccination. Her twin brother, Stephen got the same one. But for Sarah, this would change the course of her life. A previously happy child, post vaccination she was drastically different. The vaccine was causing brain damage that would ultimately leave her severely autistic. Everyday tasks that many people find routine would take tremendous effort. This is where I came in. My job was to help teach Sarah the basics…how to brush your teeth, take a shower, read, write, and tell a good joke.

“[Sarah] taught me laughter…so much laughter.”

They say people come into your life for a reason; to help you grow, push your limits, to challenge you. I can say with confidence that Sarah has done all of these things for me. Over the years we’ve gone on a great deal of adventures…not all of them fun… she particularly loathes trips to get her blood drawn (or as she call it, “getting poked”). Now, this chick has a gigantic personality; the words bright and bubbly don’t do her enough justice. Sometimes when introducing Sarah to new people I forget that she has a developmental disability. To me, she’s simply Sarah, my friend. It makes me think of this wonderful quote I came across one day, “When you start to really know someone, all their physical characteristics start to disappear. You begin to dwell on their energy. You see only the essence of the person, not the shell.” In my reflection upon my time with her I’ve come to realize that Sarah has this incredible light about her that I’ve never recognized in anyone else. It radiates. If you’ve ever questioned whether or not we have guardian angels, spend five minutes with Sarah and you’ll have your answer, she’s one of the happiest people I know.

It ‘s always in retrospect that we realize the impact another has had on our life. I never anticipated that she would end up teaching me so much more than I could have ever hoped to have taught her; She’s taught me patience…in those moments when she had hoarded her entire closet of clothes on to the couch, I learned to take a deep breath.

She’s taught me balance, after all…what good is all that work without a Bug Bingo break in between?

She’s taught me laughter…so much laughter.

She’s taught me compassion, a lesson I try to carry with me daily.

And most important of all, she’s taught me that with the right “life- is- good shirt, a trusty fanny pack, and some colorful socks…a gal can rule the world. Yesterday as we sat in her classroom working on writing skills, it hit me that life might soon look very different for both of us; I could be moving and she could have a new teacher to get used to. Not only had I become part of her life, but she had become part of mine too. As my college career (finally) wraps up and my life prepares to change, I’ve come to realize that it’s been dozens of little moments that has made our friendship special.

I turned to her and said … “Buddies?” she stuck out her hand and said “Shake on it…” I would be blessed to know that I have meant to Sarah, even a fraction of what she has meant to me.

About Simone DeAlba

Former CU Buff (Political Science), here at Metro State to finish a second degree in Broadcast news. Marathon runner, political junkie, and cheap sunglasses connoiseur.

View all posts by Simone DeAlba

2 Responses to “Sarah”

  1. Leah Raaflaub Says:

    Sounds like Sarah is an amazing woman!


  2. Spencer Says:

    Touching story Simone, well written and I’am sure her parents appreciate how well you’ve treated her.


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