Wednesday, February 06, 2008


We have readers from all over the world, with clusters in places near and far. One of those places is Tennessee, so we're crossing our fingers and saying a prayer tonight that all of you are safe and warm in your own beds.

It was 65 degrees in New York today, and though it was rainy and grey, it was wonderful to get outside and breathe. J and I went to a friend's funeral on Sunday (we had two friends die in a four day period last week) and the rabbi had some very good insight on life, and living it well. I'm trying very hard to keep that in mind this week.

We marked three months without Sahara this week, and I'll let Amy tell you about that in just a moment. In the coming month, you'll see some changes here. It will still be a place for people to read Sahara's amazing story, and be inspired by the community that assembled to cheer her on. But it's time for a new look (I half think the template craziness is Sahara messing with us from the great internet in the sky...) and with that, a new focus.

Stay tuned.

Last night I took a long walk. When I got home from work, it was a balmy 71 degrees and it just felt like a good thing to do. The sky was an irritated shade of gray with a swath of churning clouds, and a blustery wind that causes nothing but earaches and bad hair days was blowing through town. The last time I took a walk, I was pushing Sahara around the Stanford campus in her wheelchair, taking photos of her beside the various landmarks. She was happy that day, glad to be going home soon, and it was good to see her smiling as the sun shone on her sweet face. I tried to remember the last time I took a walk by myself through our neighborhood, and I simply could not recall when that might have been. As I walked down the streets that Sahara and I used to walk or bike upon, I felt like such a stranger. I didn’t seem to recognize the houses or the landscape, and I felt as if I didn’t even belong there.

I passed by a house that used to be home to a couple of Sahara’s friends. Since then, their parents have divorced, the kids live elsewhere with their mom, and their dad has put the house up for sale. It sits empty and alone.

I walked down the hill that used to freak Sahara out so badly as she rode her bike. She would always use her feet for brakes instead of stopping the bike properly. Sometimes it worked, sometimes, it did not.

I passed the house that a former angry owner had crashed her car into, doing thousands of dollars in damage to the foundation. The house was put on the market for a fraction of its value, and we three went and roamed around it one evening to see what we thought of the place. Sahara loved that house and truly thought we should buy it. My hate/hate relationship with home improvement didn’t allow that to happen. LOL. She was very disappointed.

Next I saw the area where Sahara “found” her cat, SEMO. Good times.

I rounded a corner and passed by the house where the Tegels used to live. It was one of Sahara’s most favorite places to visit, as it was always bursting at the seams with little girls’ shrieking laughter, incredible barbecues, the terror of the trampoline and, of course, LSU games. Bill has also been known to shoot a few fireworks in that driveway. LOL. It was really, really hard walking past that house and it brought me to tears.

For the rest of my walk, I was just mad. EXTREMELY mad, hurt, resentful, lonely, hollow and furious in general. The ugly sky really matched how I was feeling. I miss her so much in everything I do and everything I see. I saw so many kids playing outside and I was so thoroughly angry that she wasn’t in the driveway shooting hoops with Shannon when I got back home, which is what she SHOULD have been doing. That is, what she should have been doing before life threw us the biggest, most horrible curve ball imaginable.

So much has changed since July, 2006. That 4th of July we enjoyed blowing up a carload of fireworks fuse by fuse in our driveway. I call it 2006 BC – before cancer. Sahara and Shannon always LOVED going to Reeves Boomland and loading up a cart full of things like Tennessee Kickers (our favorite) and a ton of other exploding delights. We would brave the stifling Missouri summer heat and mosquitoes and blast away until they were gone. There was so much smoke that I fear we drove our poor neighbors inside. I can still see places on the pavement that bear burn marks from that extravaganza and the one we had in 2007, which was so different…because Sahara had to watch from her wheelchair. We’d still managed to take her to Boomland, and she enjoyed shopping that day even though she couldn’t run up and down the aisles grabbing anything that caught her fancy. I watched her as Shannon lit each one and ran before it exploded, and I know she loved it, but there was such a forlorn look in her eyes that it broke my heart. She was so tired of not being able to have fun. She was alllll about the fun.

I didn’t realize that going for a walk would be so tough. Argh.

Today marks the third month since we lost our precious girl. I really hate the fifth of each month and wish I could skip it, or at least sleep through it. But it’s almost over, and at least we have basketball practice to distract us for a while this evening. Thank God for basketball.

I’ll have to think about it before I go for another walk. Exercise is overrated, anyway.