Take a chance

I woke up Sunday and knew right away that it was going to be a sad day.  The past week has been incredibly difficult, and Sunday marked one week.  One week since the last time I talked to Sarah, and one week since the tragedy that led to her death.  It feels very strange to use the word death in reference to Sarah.  It just doesn’t seem possible.

Jonny took all seven kids to Mass on his own Sunday morning so that I could have some time alone in the house and could go to Mass by myself Sunday evening.  I went to the very last one, the 7:01.  Afterwards, rather than head home, I pulled into Belmont.  It was after eight p.m. and there was no one else there.  I walked the grounds and took pictures.  I tried to empty my head a little.  I’ve lost a close friend to death before, so this isn’t my first time to walk this path.  The hurt doesn’t fade quickly, and the loss changes you.  If you allow it, that change can be for good.

I don’t have the mental energy to write all that I would like to just yet, so I’ll leave you with something I came across as I poured through Sarah’s blog (and mine) over the past week, searching for all the little signs of friendship, the little pieces of Sarah.  Some of them were only known to Sarah and I, others were more obvious, like this exchange soon after we met:

Sarah wrote on her blog:

“I have a funny story about how I met Ginny who does the yarn alongs.  While reading various blogs, I kept running into these yarn alongs.  Having no interest in yarn or knitting, I never stopped to check it out.  One day, I clicked on the link, just for curiosity and found a woman who I know from church and who was good friends with other women I knew- Ginny!  I emailed her and probably sounded like a stalker, but she reciprocated with such kindness, I knew this one was a keeper 🙂 I’ve so enjoyed getting to know her and her sweet family. ”

I responded in the comments:

“well thank goodness for the yarn along, because I would have never gotten up the nerve to just walk up and introduce myself at church as much as I wanted to! I have been here nine years and was pretty much only friends with Lori for the first six! I think this needs to be a lesson to all of us–it’s always worth going out on a limb, because that interesting looking girl at church may need friends just as much as you do!”

Ladies, take a chance.  Go introduce yourself.  I wasted a year, too afraid to say,  “Hello.”


  1. I am so sorry for the loss of your precious friend, Ginny…I didn’t realize your involvement until I followed a link from Elizabeth today. You are in my prayers, and Sarah’s family is in my prayers, and may Sarah’s soul rest in peace. Much love to you…

  2. Sending love, prayers and good thoughts to you, your family and Sarah and hers. I’m so sorry.

  3. Ginny, I just wanted to express my deepest sympathies on the passing of your friend. I don’t comment very often, but I do read your blog regularly. It saddened me to see such a beautiful life cut short, but I do know that God has a plan and we just need to trust Him. Praying peace for you and your friends family. Heather

  4. I have been trying to find the right words this last week to tell you how sorry I am that you are suffering the loss of such a wonderful woman. I read on Sunday the article in the Washington Post while drinking a morning cup of coffee and I couldn’t help but be overcome by such sadness for everyone that held her close as family member or friend. Prayers were said at Mass for her and her family. I hope these days ahead come along slowly and peacefully for you and yours.
    I am so happy you wrote this post because taking a chance and introducing yourself to someone new can turn out to a great blessing of friendship. It took me a long time to be able to do this exact thing. Just say hello. I am happy to say that in many cases it turned out that those women I said hello to are counted along my close friends these days. Thank you for sharing.

    Peace & Love from Maryland:)

  5. Please know you have been close in my thoughts. Sending prayers to you all in this time of loss.

  6. Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece of wisdom in the midst of your grief. You’re posts have always had a profound impact on me, a new convert to Catholicism, but especially in the last week since your sweet friend’s passing. I have made a point to reach out to friends after months of hiding away due to my own insecurities. Thank you so much. Please know that I am lifting your family and Sarah’s family up in prayer.

  7. Dear friends are always close. As my son sad when my grandmother died, “Mom, she is not gone, she just moved away for a while.” What great perspective from the mouth of a babe. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  8. Sweet Ginny, what an amazing message you are sending as you wade through this loss. It is so true isn’t it? I moved to Brazil almost nine years ago and had such a hard time finding friends. My husband and I fought over it because he would tell me all the time that to have friends I had to reach out, take a risk. A couple of years ago a couple came to visit our farm through a university trip and (trembling and palms sweating) I invited them to come spend a weekend with us. As is often the case, they too were in need of some friends and our friendship has flourished. They even came to stay with us for the birth of our last son. Take a chance while we have one ’cause there’s no telling what tomorrow will bring. Thank you so much, Ginny. As usual you are spot on and so generous in sharing yourself. Hang in there, love. Time will heal! We are holding you in prayer.

  9. So true that we wait too long to say hello. Thanks for giving me the encouragement to say hello to a few ladies at church I’ve been seeing over the years.

  10. This has happened to me a few times too. What a blessing that you two were able to connect so profoundly after all.

  11. Dear Ginny, I am deeply sorry that you have lost such a close friend. My prayers and thoughts are with you during this difficult time. Thank’s for reminding me to go out on that limb sometimes, take a chance and just say hello, you just never know where that one word will lead you 🙂 . Thank you for sharing those lovely photos and your thoughts here with all of us.

  12. Ginny,
    I recently found your blog and I’m so thankful for “stumbling” upon it. My best friends live quite a distance away so because of this I’ve been praying to find friends close to where we live for quite some time. This afternoon took my kids to a park and ran into a family we have seen at church that I admired from afar but never introduced myself, mainly cause I didn’t want to seem like a total weirdo…ha! Well I took that chance and introduced myself!! So very happy I did. Not sure I would’ve put myself out there if I had not read your blog today…THANK YOU!!! You, Sarah’s family and all her loved ones have been in my constant thoughts and prayers. God Bless!!

  13. Ginny,

    Thank you for sharing this whole experience with us. We all would have loved for our prayers to have been answered the way we wanted, but God has touched us by being part of praying for someone we will never meet. We also get to pray for Eric and their children. Of course, I’m praying for his, too. Lots of praying from people all,over the world for those we don’t even know. What a glorious reunion we will all have someday in heaven!

  14. Oh yes, so true about needing to go out on that limb sometimes and just say hello, you just never know where that one word will lead you 🙂 Sending you big hugs and prayers your way as you work your way through this sad and difficult time. Your photos are so lovely, thank you for sharing them here. xo

  15. I didn’t know until just now about this incredible loss you’re making your way through.

    Today is the anniversary of the death of a childhood friend, and all day long things had been reminding me of her, so much so that in a quiet moment I thought, “It feels like Gina has spent the day with me” and then I realized, “Oh, of course. It’s that day.” I am thankful today for our friendship, for reminders small and sweet, and especially that after enough time passed her death doesn’t obscure the friend I loved.

    Loving thoughts coming to you and those who loved Sarah.

  16. Oh Ginny, I a, so glad that you and Sarah were friends xxx

  17. I have been thinking of introducing myself to a few different people at church for a few years now. I live in an ethnic parish except that I don’t share the ethnicity and everyone is always looking for people they are related to and the connections between them, so I have hesitated in introducing myself. Another reason is that I don’t have children and feel like maybe they won’t want to meet me without the kid factor … well after reading your post I realize that all I can do is try and just see what happens. I appreciate your courage and honesty and everyone that knew your friend Sarah is still in my prayers. I don’t know firsthand any of you but I spent a long while crying reading the beautiful tributes to her.

  18. I love her gorgeous prayer beads, so absolutely beautiful. So many prayers for you and your family and hers.

  19. Lauri Morrill says:

    All I could do with you on your picture walk of the garden above was sing my mom’s favorite song “In the garden.” After her passing, it became a favorite of mine too. Love and prayers continue for you, Ginny!

  20. I too will take your advice and say “hi.” I am also a parishioner at St. Mary’s and have admired your family for a few years now, from a distance (who couldn’t notice those BEAUTIFUL children??) My husband and I are expecting our second child any day now, and I must say that your family and many of the other families (including Sarah’s) that we see at church are an inspiration to us to remain open to God’s plan for our own family.
    I did not know Sarah personally, but like so many others was deeply saddened by her death nonetheless. Her family and those of you who were closest to her have weighed heavily on my heart, and I have been praying for you all.
    I thought I would point you in the direction of my dear friend Becca’s blog, where she has written beautifully about grieving the loss of her 19-year-old sister in a car accident. Her family’s response to the tragedy touched my life in a profound way, and maybe her thoughts will be a comfort to you in this time: http://beccagarber.com/category/julia/page/3/ (particularly, “Thankfulness in the midst of grief”)
    Besides that, I think you might like her blog. Becca also loves to knit, is an avid reader, and was homeschooled as her family lived all over the world while she was growing up.

    You are in my prayers!

  21. Mary Jean Daniels says:

    Dear Ginny,
    I found your’s and Sara’s blogs linked through my niece’s blog (My nephew’s wife- J’aime Elizabeth). All three of you young ladies’ writings uplift my spirit. You ladies demonstrate that it is possible to live and witness catholic family values, without judgment on other’s choices. I live in an urban region where the residents pride themselves as being tolerant towards everyone, unless you choose to live out Catholic Christian values, then you are mocked and denigrated. How lucky you are to have found each other and to have this medium to support each other and by extension helped others as well! We grieve your dear Sara’s passage towards everlasting life, but please know that the Holy Spirit will continue to find ways to work Sara’s gifts into your everyday life so that you can uplift others through your beautiful writings. I pray each day that Sara’s family and friends heartache may heal and that they will find joy each time a small blessing reminds them of their dear Sara.

  22. I still can’t believe this awful tragedy. I’m so sorry you lost a friend and that Sarah’s family lost a mother and wife. Sending you and Sarah’s family loving thoughts and prayers.

    What a sweet reminder to go say hello to people and what a sweet and funny story to how the two of you met.

  23. we will keep praying here. Yes, so many layers of grief. Sarah’s blog (which I did not know of) is beautiful. And what beautiful not even more poignant words of her’s… like a blessing for her family:

    “I love the symbol of the anchor for hope. It is very powerful. Hope is the virtue of having confidence in God’s mercy that we will be in heaven with Him someday. When we have that hope, nothing in life can move us. We are anchored in God”

    Praying this for you.

  24. I am so sorry for your loss of a dear friend. I keep Sarah’s family in my prayers.

    It is a good idea to say hello, so I am saying hello to you from California. I am a mother of four.
    I met my dear friends in ways that still amaze us. However, one of them I carry in my heart because she died when she was very young just entering her adulthood.
    My girlfriends are the Lord’s blessing of my life. I love your blog, I think we would have lots of things to talk about, starting from for instance St. Augustine, or maybe St. Francis. Plus the whole yarn thing. And children. That is why I read your blog.

    You take care, love!

  25. its just so sad, i cant stop thinking about it..
    still working on the tiny blankie i am donating in her memory..
    sending you lots of gentle hugs…
    praying for the kids and family she left behind..

  26. Maria Elisabeth says:

    Hello! 🙂

    Sharing …

    Let’s put its contents into practice. The Movie Clip: “All the years I’ve been carrying [the Bible] and reading it every day…I got so caught up with keeping it safe I forgot to live by what I learned from it.” The Book of Eli.

    Regards to all!

  27. Oh, Ginny…..my heart has been so full of this tragedy the last few days. I’m just so sorry for you, but more than that I think of her family. I think of my dad, who in his 70’s commented how hard it was to lose his mother when he was 9. I’ve always tended to dwell on that event…I felt a lot of attraction to this grandmother I never knew, and the thought of what it would be like to know you were dying and have to part from your children! That pain is just unbelievable to contemplate. Yet, God can transform so much. My dad grew up to be a fine man and he never forgot his love for his mother – it almost reminded me of Abraham Lincoln, who also lost his mother when he was a boy. I think he said once that all the good he did, and all the good he had in him he owed to his mother. She will never be forgotten. But my heart aches. Cannot believe such things happen….

    • Annie, Yes–that is a huge part of the difficulty. I loved Sarah and she was a dear friend, but Jonny and I are also friends with her husband Eric, and their children of course are close to ours. So I feel the weight of their loss very acutely. There are so many layers to the grief.

  28. Serena Isham says:

    I am a Catholic mother of three in South Florida. I was sorry to hear about Sarah. I have friends and family in your area and that is how I found out. There is not much I can do from here but pray. I spoke in a woman’s Bible study group here about the family so St. Andrew’s from Stuart, Florida, will have them in their prayers.

  29. We have many of the same flowers blooming here in Iowa right now…comforting to know it’s all connected…if it means anything at all, reading your words about Sarah today make me happy–happy that you both enjoyed a loving friendship for the brief time she walked this earth. I suppose for the brief time we all walk these hills and valleys, really. xx

  30. Hugs for you and bless you.

  31. Beautiful post. We should all take a chance and give a warm hello more often. Thank you for the reminder. Sending so much love in these heartbreaking days.

  32. This photography is stunning. Reminds me of England where we visit often and where my husband is from. I think it is neat you and Sarah connected via blogging but knew each other in real life because you lived so close and attended the same church. Thinking of you this week and sending up prayer and sending over, hugs. ~~Katie

  33. Hi Ginny,
    That’s an interesting story about how you and Sarah met. I kinda felt the same way when I introduced myself to you at the rosary, except it was under misery instead of joy. It has been a tough week. I feel changed too even though Sarah and I had never officially met. I will continue to pray for you and all those grieving for Sarah. All My Sympathy! Jen

    • Jen, Thank you for introducing yourself and for your prayers. That was a really tough night. I am so awkward when meeting people under the best of circumstances, and found myself really befuddled in that moment. I read and really appreciated the post you wrote on ways to comfort the grieving. love, Ginny

  34. Wow, that was beautiful. My friend Christine came up to me after Mass about 9 years ago…wanting to set up a playdate with my kiddos. It was a holy day and my kids had scapulars on, I think she figured it was safe to ask!

    I’m glad she made the move, I wouldn’t have. I should have though.
    Thanks for the reminder to always look for those things.

    I love your photos…
    I also love what Sarah told you, about not knitting, because I don’t either and feel pretty inadequate to even comment here you are SO talented. (even though, I”m sure you are OK with people that don’t knit!–Ha!)

    Love to you Ginny.

  35. Lovely pictures, a lovely post. I was thirty years old before I realized that a hello from me could make a difference in somebody’s heart. Thank you for the reminder.
    May God heal your hurting heart and give you peace.

  36. Those are valuable words and sound advice. It’s funny how approaching someone in kindness and interest can feel like going out on a limb, but you’re right, it so often does. We humans are weird like that that I suppose.

    I’m so saddened for you that you’ve lost your dear friend, Ginny. I know exactly how that feels, and what torment it puts on your heart. The only real comfort is seeing the mark she left on the earth, her children, her work, and knowing that one day you’ll see her again.
    And of course her memory. Once you get over the initial shock and pain of it all, the good memories will start coming back again and you’ll have those to hold on to and recall, and feel like you’ll be able to smile while saying her name once again.

    Take the time you need to find your balance again. Still praying for you and her family.
    Sending so much love to you right now.<3

  37. Dear Ginny, I began following your blog a few weeks ago after reading one of your writings on Ann Voskamp’s blog. You both touch my heart and spirit. My children are grown and I am a Grandma now and I enjoy seeing the pictures and reading the insights you precious women have as you raise your children in the ways of the Lord. The tragedy that happened to your dear friend Sarah, has struck home with me as one of my dear friends had a brain bleed 3 weeks ago. She is in a rehab center now and making progress, which we are thankful for, I know it could have had such a different outcome. My heart has been so heavy for all of Sarah’s family and friends. So many things that happen in this world make no sense…an 18 year old boy, from our area, just died over the weekend from head injuries he received from a truck accident a week ago. A spirit of sadness and heaviness has been upon my heart but I know that God our Father, is The God of all comfort and I am leaning hard on Him and praying that His comfort and strength will flood the hearts of all His grieving people. I know that Jesus said in this world we will have trouble and I am praying we will all take heart and have courage, for He has overcome the world. Blessings and prayers to you and yours. In his Grace, Joyce

  38. Yes, Ginny. So beautiful and true. I am so grateful that Sarah was that sort of friend. In your words from the other day, a deliberate friend.

  39. Ruth Tucker says:

    Beautifully written, as usual. You are in my prayers, sweet Ginny. <3

  40. Hello, Ginny! May God bless you and enfold you in his love at this difficult time.

  41. Wise words indeed!

  42. Lovely Ginny. You have captured your mood in these photos so well. I have been thinking of you and lifting all of you in prayer. My offer still stands for the auction if you think it will help.
    Love you!

  43. Amen.

  44. Still sending you so much love, Ginny. xoxo

  45. These photos are magical, peaceful, and full of a quiet sadness. I have been praying for you and Sarah’s family since I heard of her passing. May God be your dearest friend as you learn to live with this deep sadness.

  46. Sending prayers to you as you grieve. I did not know Sarah, but her death has touched me deeply. We are approaching the anniversary of losing our son, so I am naturally more emotional these days. I will be offering up my own sorrows this week for her and her family.

  47. eternal memory!

  48. What a beautiful post, Ginny. I have no idea how you are feeling right now, I have not experienced such loss. You are so right about taking a chance it usually leads to beautiful things and wonderful memories we can treasure for ever. Holding you all in my thoughts at this difficult time.

  49. I’m so sorry for your loss Ginny. I don’t know if it’s better or worse that you’ve done this walk before. Somehow, i think worse, but then, I guess that is growing older. ((Hugs)) May time help you.

  50. Ginny, my heart breaks over the loss you are going through. I have likewise been there and it is hard to cope with at times. Thank you for the reminder that taking a chance can lead to bbeautiful things. I sometimes am afraid to approach someone because it means leaving the safety of what I have. You, your family, and her loved ones are in my prayers.

I love to hear from you!