Tag Archives: death of a loved one

The Sun Also Rises

jello 2

Photo by John Curley

I’m halfway through week 2 of the 8-week Couch to 5K program now, and some interesting things are happening.

On my run/walk yesterday, I started out feeling like I couldn’t get enough air, but by the second running interval, I was feeling a bit better. And by the time I got to my final running interval, something amazing had happened. I actually felt, well…good. Like my body was working with me for once instead of against me.

It might be the only time in my life I can ever remember thinking that. Read the rest of this entry

Sweat & Tears


IMG_0020You may have noticed I haven’t written in a while. Almost 3 weeks ago, I joined the local YMCA, and Noah has started soccer for the first time ever. Not to mention we’ve actually had some warmish weather which when you have 3 boys absolutely REQUIRES time outdoors. So, needless to say, it’s been busy around here.

But the good kind of busy. The busy that includes….duh, duh, da-duh!…starting running intervals!¬†

I’ll be honest, running for 60 seconds at a time is hard for me. I haven’t run since I was in high school, I think. But it’s so good, too. At the end of a session, when I’m still walking on the treadmill with sweat pouring down my face and music in my ears, I inevitably begin to cry. It’s not that I’m sad, though I am sad that Joey’s not here to see this. But I am overwhelmed with bittersweet pride that I am becoming a better version of me…because of him.

For me running, even in 60 second bursts, is the beginning of the Phoenix rising from the ashes. I have been in mourning; I am in mourning still, but there is hope, hope for the day when I run that first 5k race, Joey’s ashes around my neck, knowing that our adventures together aren’t over.

Do it for love


IMG_6643As I was putting my boys in the car yesterday, one of them said he wanted to sit in the seat ¬†without the car seat. Of course, I said no, and then I almost said, “It’s against the law,” but something stopped me. Instead, I told him that the car seat was the safest place for him to sit.

I felt the need to make the distinction because I haven’t forgotten that Joey refused to wear a seat belt. I understood his reasoning. I get that he didn’t think the government should tell him how to protect himself. I actually agree, but if the government made it illegal to jump off a bridge, jumping to my death is probably not the smartest form of protest.

My point is that even though I completely disagree with the right of the government to require me to wear a seat belt and put my children in car seats, I still do it. I do it because I love my children. I do it because I love my husband and my parents. I do it because they love me.

And if I could go back and say just one thing to my brother, it would be, “DON’T wear a seat belt because it’s the law; DO wear it because I love you.”

I’ll never know if wearing a seat belt would have saved Joey’s life on that horrible night of June 24th. And I can’t go back, but I can make the right choices when I’m behind the wheel and teach my kids to do the same. But I want to always recognize WHY we make good choices. Not out of fear of legal consequences but because we have been entrusted with the gift of life, and we should do all in OUR power to protect it.


Please note: I do not blame Joey for getting killed by a reckless, possibly intoxicated driver. If that dude had stayed home or let someone else drive, my seatbelt-less brother would still be alive. He is to blame, not Joey.

Let’s just be honest here…


486574_3979162991807_1112941746_nThis is my brother. He is dead. I MISS HIM! I cry… a lot. 90% of the time it’s because I’m missing my brother, and the other 10% of the time, it’s because of something else that seems 100 times worse because I miss my brother.

I’m a positive person, and I’m doing everything I can to keep living my life and not let Joey’s death be the end of my story, so people say, “Look at how great you’re doing. You lost you’re brother, but you’re ok.” But I’m not ok. I’m not “over it.” I am working through it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I would give anything to have one more hour to talk to Joe about all the things that I’ve discovered about myself, about life, even about him. But that’s not going to happen, so I just have to keep moving, keep living, keep trying. Read the rest of this entry

Who am I?

Photo courtesy of Susan Peck Photography

Photo courtesy of Susan Peck Photography

Over the last few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about who I am, and how I can be me – better. After all, that’s what NEVER BETRAY is all about. The hard thing about being totally true to yourself is that sometimes it means that you no longer fit in the places where you had made yourself fit. This is where I find myself now as I tentatively stretch my limbs to occupy the space I was created for. (As I type this, I’m remembering seeing Joey stretch, and being awed by the amount of space he took up – not just physically but with his entire essence).

I’ve written about how I came to recognize my limited understanding of what it means to follow Christ, and as I continue to explore my thoughts about death, heaven, God, and living a life of purpose, the question of who I am seems to be central to the conflict within me.

I know the answer at least begins with “I am a person who loves generously and honestly.” This is something I’ve always known about myself, and it is the thing I’ve struggled with most. I’ve been hurt over and over again by friends who weren’t all in. And it made me start withholding myself. In the last few years, there have been many friendships that I have kept at arms’ length because I didn’t want to be be rejected again. I’ve avoided whole conversations rather than be the one who thinks differently. Read the rest of this entry

She did it! Sarah did it!


joey-thumbsNo, I haven’t run my first 5k, yet, but I did reach my first major fitness achievement of walking a total of 100 miles!

Maybe that doesn’t sound like much to some, but to me it’s an indication of sticking to something for once in my life. It’s about making good choices for myself, feeling strong and capable. It’s about doing life better.

As it happens, I hit my goal on Sunday, December 9th, which was also my 35th birthday. It’s certainly not the first birthday I’ve celebrated without my brother, considering it often fell during finals week while I was in college, and Joe had lived in Austin for the last 2 years. But there was no phone call, no text from him – even the next day, as he was apt to text me after I’d already gone to bed. I miss him terribly, but every day, I strive to live that much more purposefully because of him.

If I’m really honest, I must admit that Joey’s death knocked me down. I feel as though my worldview has been shattered in a way, and yet, as the pieces have fallen, they’ve found a new way to go back together that oddly makes much more sense and stands stronger against the winds of trial and tragedy.

Bad stuff happens. It happens to everyone – even me. I can let it kill my spirit, or I can choose to be stronger, to live better.

I choose to be better, to live fuller, and to love extravagantly. 

For me, getting fit is part of loving myself so that I have more love to give away. In January, I plan to join the local YMCA and start running and training in earnest for my first 5k. I know Joe would be proud of the physical accomplishments I’m making, but I think mostly he would be proud of the way I’m growing as a person. My 35th year saw the biggest challenges of my life so far, but I see year 36 getting better and better. Maybe by my 40th, I can take Joe for that sky-dive I’ve always dreamed of.



Joey loved music more than anyone I know, and not just listening to it or writing it. He loved to research it, analyze it and absorb it. His tastes ranged from classical to punk and everything in between. He could find the musicality in almost anything, and innovation where others might just hear noise. He could even appreciate that different people required different soundtracks. That’s why even though we liked very different styles, he’s responsible for most of the music in my itunes library. Read the rest of this entry