It has been two years since that dreadful night when Sarah suddenly left us. At 4pm on Monday May 4th she left a message from her home in North Carolina, jubilantly thanking us for helping her to get funding for a project. The next morning we should have been on the phone hearing Sarah enthusiastically describe the newly booked roofing and irrigation jobs for her construction business, or the garden she and son Ryan were planting. Her health was improving. She finally had a deck and wooded property. Cardinals nested in the birch tree next to the house. The growing season was long in the Carolinas, and she was happily looking forward to expanding her garden to plant onions and tomatoes.
But that call would never come. Instead there was another, with the darkest message for a parent.
May 5th 2020 was the end of one world for us, and the painful beginning of another. In the first Sarah lived in our daily lives, the golden world where the phone would ring, where our lives overlapped hers, where we could reach out and actually put our arms around her and feel her spark.
Now it happens only in our dreams.
Nights ago there was a dream similar to the others. We were on a balcony overlooking a large grassy yard. Sarah was playing with her son Ryan, casually talking to us. The sun shines and the grass is richly green. Even in this beautiful pastoral moment, though, a wave of deep sorrow, then dread washes over us. Your brain, even in dreams, tells you this is not right, this moment can not be, that something immeasurably bad has happened, and you wake up suddenly in the night. Sometimes, in dreams, we put our arms around her, weeping, telling her we love her and that we thought she was gone. Sometimes she is a little girl again. On a dark rainy night in a city, we are holding her hand anxiously running to catch the last bus. Sarah turns and says in her little 6 year old voice; “Don’t worry Daddy we can make it.” Then you suddenly awake, staring in the dark thinking “Sarah is gone… her spark is gone from this world.”
Sarah is close to home now, Not 800 miles away in North Carolina where she perished. Standing at her headstone we can look directly through the trees and see the street in front of our house, where Sarah played endless games of four square with her good friends. To the left we can see Lincoln Elementary School where she spent seven treasured years learning, laughing, and at school parties and plays. If we finished work early we would wait outside school to give her a ride home. Sarah would emerge from the door carrying her backpack, all curls and smiles in the afternoon sun of over 30 years ago. Many times now we think if only we could be in that golden moment now.
Sarah wrote her name on the basement wall when she was ten years old. We just discovered it last month. Although we have walked by many times, it is only visible when sunlight hits it just right. We took a photo of it, and will display it with others on our shelves. Sometimes when we view it, we like to picture Sarah, in the midst of a game of hide and seek, on a summer afternoon in 1993, just taking a few moments to write her name. Perhaps, though, she was just finding a quiet place to sit and reflect on her life, not realizing how much that simple gesture would mean to us thirty years later..
An old friend of Sarah’s stopped us in the market the other day. Although we had not seen him in years he went out of his way to make sure we knew how deeply sorry he was for our loss, and how much he valued Sarah’s friendship, and that he thinks of her often. It is difficult to express how much these moments mean to us in the world we live in now. We thank everyone for their continued thoughts and prayers, and for remembering our Sarah and what a treasured person she was in their lives.
Deborah & Jeff Ingles
Sarah Rachel Ingles
- Born December 17th, 1982
- Mother, daughter, sister
- Sadly left us on May 5th, 2020
Sarah's Funeral Services: