Archive for the ‘Sarah LeFoll’ Category

Sarah LeFoll Memorial Scholarship created at NHS

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

Sarah LeFoll‘s family has started a scholarship in her honor, which will be awarded annually to one Newington High School senior who plans to attend a four-year college to pursue a major in Fine Arts or Performing Arts. The first scholarship will be given out next Thursday. Detailed information, including how to donate to the fund, is after the jump.


A rainy night at the Grotto

Saturday, September 30th, 2006

There’s something remarkably peaceful and serene, I think, about the Grotto on a rainy night. So, after picking some stuff up at the law school this evening, I decided to head over and light a couple of candles: one for Shannon, with a prayer for a healthy delivery for mother and son, and one for Sarah, with a prayer that her soul is resting in peace and that her family finds comfort. The latter is something I’ve been meaning to do since the anniversary of Sarah’s death earlier this month; the former is something I wanted to be sure to do before Shannon goes into labor, which could happen at any time now! So, despite the inclement weather — or really, in part because of it — I made a pilgrimage to Notre Dame’s lovely shrine to its namesake.

As always seems to happen when I go to the Grotto, something cool happened.

Because of the rain, and because there were more lit candles than I’ve ever seen there before (admittedly, this was the first time I’ve gone on a home football weekend), it was hard to find a candle to light, and even harder to find anything to light it with. The little wooden sticks that are used for that purpose were pretty much gone, with only tiny stubs left, and anything not within the small sheltered area was too wet. I was able to light Shannon’s candle without too much trouble, but I had a heck of a time lighting Sarah’s. I tried six or seven times with different stick stubs and random twigs that were lying around, but nothing worked.

Finally, I noticed a nearly full-length wooden stick at the bottom of one of the empty boxes that normally have unused candles in them, but were empty tonight because so many candles were in use. I reached for the stick, only to find that it was attached to a layer of wax at the bottom of the box. I was able to jostle it free, however, and then set about scraping the wax residue off the stick. When I thought I’d done a good enough job of this, I lit it from a nearby candle and started trying to light Sarah’s candle with it. But within a few seconds, the waxy stick really started burning fast, and I had to drop it into the candle holder, lest it burn my fingers.

For a second or two, I was annoyed about this, as the burning stick wasn’t close enough to the wick to actually light the candle. But then I stopped myself short, and laughed out loud. Watching it burn, the flame reaching higher and higher, putting on quite a show because of the wax still on the stick, I realized: this is perfect for Sarah. This is better than just lighting a regular candle. Much better. You remember what I said about how Sarah once mused that she wanted people to someday celebrate her life with fireworks at her funeral? Well, there I was, in the Grotto, putting on a miniature fireworks show in Sarah’s honor. I grabbed my camera and snapped a picture of the mini-inferno in its final moments, then another just after it burned itself out:

Sarah’s “candle” only lasted 15 or 20 seconds, but while it was burning, it was the most spectacular one in the whole Grotto. It was perfect for her. I know she would have approved. :)

I was so moved by this accidentally ideal tribute, I told a total stranger — the guy with the umbrella in this picture — what had happened, and why it was so perfect. A few minutes later, I walked out into the open and called my mom to tell her about it.

I made no further attempts to light a candle for Sarah, as I felt I had already paid her a better tribute by accident than I ever could have on purpose. The power of the Grotto strikes again.

I hung around for quite a while longer, though, taking pictures when it was possible to do so without being obtrusive as other people came and went. Like I said, there’s something uniquely wonderful about the Grotto on a rainy evening, and I wanted to capture that as best I could. This picture is particularly cool, as it shows one candle in the open air that somehow managed not to get extinguished by the rain, even as all its neighbors got wet and blew out:

I guess that must have been one powerful prayer. :)

I’ve uploaded a full photo gallery here. Below are a few more of the pics that I took:

Again: full gallery here.

We miss you, Sarah

Saturday, September 16th, 2006

One year ago today, my old high-school friend, crush and prom date, Sarah LeFoll, died suddenly and unexpectedly, just four days after her 22nd birthday.

We still miss you, Gimpi.

Me and Sarah on my graduation night in 1999.

It has undoubtedly been a difficult week for Sarah’s family and close friends, what with her birthday on Monday, and now this terribly sad anniversary. But people have been finding ways to celebrate her life, rather than just mourning her death, which is great. I’ve been e-mailing back and forth with Sarah’s mom, and she told me: “I have been made aware of many little celebrations and memorials going on all over this week in her honor. She’d think that was cool.” One of those “little celebrations” took place on Monday when one of Sarah’s good friends from Utah set off fireworks in her honor — which is something that Sarah had once mused she would like to have done at her funeral someday — and also released 12 yellow balloons into the sky. I wish I could have been there for it.

One of the best ways to celebrate Sarah’s life is to share her amazing musical talents, and our former high-school music director, Mr. Treggor, was kind enough to make a five-minute video montage containing clips from several of her performances on the NHS stage:

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Hopefully that video will bring some comfort to those who knew Sarah — hearing her beautiful voice again is certainly a pleasure — and hopefully it will give those who didn’t know her an additional glimpse of the girl we all loved so much.

Speaking of glimpses of Sarah (or “Gimpi” as I sometimes called her — “Scout” as many others called her), I’ve spent some time recently looking through old photos, and have managed to dig up a bunch that I hadn’t previously uploaded to the website. One of the newly re-discovered photos is the graduation picture at the top of this post. It was a real thrill to find that one, as it was a very meaningful picture to me once upon a time; it was, for a long time, the best picture that I had of me and Sarah together, and for quite some time after she asked me to her prom (this is when she was a junior at NHS and I was a freshman at USC, and before Becky and I had started dating), I had a copy of the picture displayed in my dorm room.

Another very meaningful photo that I just found is this one from Dine Off Broadway 1999, when I was still a senior at NHS and Sarah was a sophomore:

Sarah is singing “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina” from Evita, and I am playing the role of — I kid you not — Juan Perón. Try not to laugh. :) Oddly enough, having pasty white redheads play Juan Peron in Dine Off productions was something of a chamber choir tradition. (Just ask Andy Daigle.) Anyway, since it wasn’t actually a performance of the whole musical, but rather just that one song, I didn’t actually have to do anything as Juan Perón; the sum total of my theatrical performance was to walk Sarah onto the stage, stand there and look at her while she sang, and then walk her off the stage. But the honor of being “her Juan Perón” would long outlive that one show, and was something we joked about for months afterward.

I also found these lovely pictures of Sarah from Homecoming in October 1998 (with Nick) and from the music department trip to Florida in April 1999 (with Meng, me and Jaimie):

Sarah and I weren’t really friends yet at the time of Homecoming, but we were in the same group, heading to the dance together, because of mutual friends. (That, of course, was October 24, 1998 — the night I became king.) By the time the second photo was taken, on the Florida trip, we were already pretty good friends. But it was at the very tail end of my senior year that we really became close, as my fond memories of the Country 92.5 Fest on June 13, 1999, as expressed in my original post mourning her death, make clear. One of my biggest regrets is that I really had so little time with Sarah — I started college on the other side of the country just months after our friendship really blossomed, and although we kept in touch via e-mail and IM for a while, and I came home for her junior prom, we gradually stopped being in regular contact with one another, as usually happens with old friends when geography gets in the way. Of course, I always figured in the back of my mind that we’d someday had a chance to get back together and catch up, and even a year after she died, it’s still hard to really wrap by mind around the fact that that’s never going to happen, in this world at least.

Anyway, to view all my pictures of Sarah that I just newly uploaded, go here. In addition, Sarah’s mom sent me a handful of photos that I didn’t previously have; you can view those here. Last but not least, here, from, is a video clip of the photo montage that was displayed during Sarah’s wake:

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I’ll soon be adding these video clips to the Sarah LeFoll memorial page.

As for how I’m doing with regard to all this… this anniversary time is rough, but for the most part, mourning Sarah isn’t an everyday ordeal for me anymore, like I’m sure it still is for her family and close friends. Every once in a while, I am struck by a memory of Sarah, or I see a girl with long curly hair about the same color as Sarah’s and I do a double-take. But “closure,” for me, came last fall, from an expected source: not from singing at the funeral (though that was important too), not from seeing Sarah laid to rest, but from a dream. On the evening of October 3, a few days after returning from my whirlwind trip to Connecticut and Arizona for the funeral and then job interviews, I had a dream about Sarah — or perhaps it was something a bit more than a dream. Here is how I described it in an e-mail:

Sarah and I were standing next to a car (our limo from the prom, maybe?), reminiscing about things. I only remember the tail end of the conversation, and that only vaguely, but I think we were chatting about the prom, and also maybe her senior prom as well… Anyway, this whole conversation was definitely from the perspective of Sarah talking to me from beyond the grave, and I was sad throughout the dream because I knew that she was gone. At some point, she saw how sad I looked, and she walked over to the other side of the car where I was, and gave me a hug. I think she said, “I’m sorry,” and I said, “I miss you.” I was on the verge of tears at this point, and she clearly wanted to comfort me somehow. She asked, “What can I do?” or something like that. Next comes the part that I remember very clearly. I answered, “Just… swear to God that you’re OK.” She answered, “Yes.” And I said, “Tell me that I’ll be able to see you again someday.” Again, she answered. “Yes.” The thing is, though, when she said “Yes” those two times, it was totally different than previously in the dream, when we’d been chatting. Instead of a normal voice, it was this weird whispering voice, very loud and urgent but slightly distant; it felt like it was penetrating into the dream from outside, somehow, instead of coming directly from the Sarah I was hugging. It gave me chills all over, and woke me up straight away.

I don’t know for sure, and I’m no expert on the spiritual world or anything, but at the end there, I think Sarah might actually have been speaking to me. If so, what she said was very reassuring, because she very clearly and confidently said “yes” to both my questions: she is OK, and I’ll see her again someday.

Was Sarah’s spirit speaking to me, or was my subconscious just working something out? I don’t know, but the weird whispering is what makes me think that perhaps something beyond just a normal dream was happening. I don’t know why my subconscious would have conjured that. I’ve spoken to Sarah’s mom about it via e-mail, and she is quite certain that Sarah spoke to me. (Sarah’s mom is a really neat lady, BTW.) Either way, the dream definitely had the intended effect — if we can impute an intention to my subconscious, or to Sarah’s spirit, or to the combination of the two. That dream was my “closure.” I’ve felt quite a bit better ever since, and I’m now able to reminisce fondly about Sarah without being totally overwhelmed by sadness (though of course the sadness is still there).

Anyway, enough about me. This post is about Sarah, and how much we miss her. On that count, I can only repeat what I said in an unexpectedly Instalanched post back in September: “I don’t know if they can read blogs in heaven… but I’ll miss you, Sarah. We all will.”

Gimpi’s birthday

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

I hate to follow up one sad, somber occasion with another… but today would have been Sarah LeFoll‘s 23rd birthday… and Saturday will be the first anniversary of her passing.

I hope you’re resting in peace, Sarah.

P.S. Sarah’s mom left a comment on the memorial site:

Today is Sarah’s 23rd birthday. I know this day will be full of tender feelings for myself and my family and those closest to Sar. The whole week will be like that I guess. Jen Papa stopped by yesterday to say hello. It was so nice to see her again. It reminded me that I wanted to tell you all how often your names and faces come through my mind and how we remember you. Life goes on they say and it’s true. It changes and changes…and changes. I guess I want you all to know that Sarah is with us often; we feel her, see her face in our minds, or have a memory of her. I know you must have those too. Some have written to tell me about their dreams of her, or funny, odd little happenings that they attribute to her. I told Jen yesterday that I think these things vary from person to person because she now knows the best way to reach you, individually, to communicate in a way, the way that she knows you will know (and have a conviction) that it is her saying, “I’m thinking of you and I love you enough to want you to know it!” I hope those of you who pass this way today will take a moment to wish Sar a Happy Birthday, and sing her a song. If you were real close to her, you will know that she would want you to do this as conspicuously as possible, perhaps at the grocery store, or while waiting in line at Mickey D’s. Listen to the (Broadway show) “Wicked” cd today…it was her favorite. Eat chicken noodle soup and fruit roll-ups…and cheese! Look at pics and laugh and talk to her and listen a while. Stay tuned for more info on Brendan’s site. I’m working on something special for Sarah. I’ll need your help when it’s through. In the meantime you can visit
Sarah set this up, created the things you see there. I have maintained it and changed it only a little. The family has used it over the past year, but now we want her friends to know about it. Keep in touch.
Lots of Love,
Sarah’s (Scout’s) Mom

A mocha, some Makems and a good evening all around

Saturday, October 1st, 2005

For various reasons, I was feeling notably stressed and tense after work this afternoon, so instead of going straight home as I normally would, I went to the Grotto in hopes of finding some serenity — and also to light a candle for Sarah, which I’ve been meaning to do since I learned of her death nearly two weeks ago. I wasn’t the only one lighting a candle for someone; there were a lot of lit candles:


Almost home

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

I’m at the Cincinnati airport, waiting for my connecting flight to South Bend. If all goes well, I should be home in about two hours. I can’t wait. It’s been a grueling eight days away, and there’s nothing I want to do more than give Becky a big hug. This is the longest we’ve been away from each other since she moved to South Bend in January, and I almost forgot how hard it is being apart — all the moreso under the recent circumstances.

About that… an interviewer asked me yesterday, “What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do?” I answered without hesitation, “Getting through the past week.” (We ended up spending the entire remainder of the interview talking about Sarah, the website, the musical tribute, the grieving process generally, etc. It was a very unconventional job interview!) On further consideration, I suppose my answer was not entirely correct; there are a few even more difficult experiences that I wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing in the context of an interview (or on this blog). But this eight-day marathon of wake, funeral, and interview after interview after interview, not to mention blogging Rita — with barely a free moment to breathe, let alone grieve — and all of it happening a couple thousand miles away from the love of my life, with the knowledge that I’m falling further and further behind in my classes every day, has undeniably been very rough. I don’t mean to aggrandize it; as I keep reminding myself and others, there are many others suffering much more… in Newington and in Utah, and also along the Gulf Coast and in countless other places around the country and world. Still, that knowledge doesn’t make me any less emotionally and physically exhausted. It just makes me appreciate more how much strength other people have.

I also want to add how much I appreciate the kindness and understanding that everyone has shown me. Professors, attorneys, friends, family, perfect strangers. Everyone. I am really grateful for that.

Anyway… the point of all this rambling is, I can’t wait to get home. I’ve never been so anxious to be in South Bend. :)


More pics

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

A couple more friends of Sarah’s, one from Newington and one from Utah, sent me pictures today. I’ve added them to the photo gallery. (Just scroll down; the last seven photos are the new ones.)

Again, if you knew Sarah and have any photos (or sound clips or anything else) that you’d like to contribute to the memorial page, please e-mail me.

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Still grieving

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

Sarah’s mom sent along some more pictures, which I’ve added to the Other people’s pics of Sarah gallery. I particularly like this one, taken in September of last year, which coincidentally was the last time I communicated (via e-mail) with Sarah:

And this one is fun. More here.

Also, if you missed my previous post about it, here is Sarah’s brother’s touching tribute to his beloved sister. And there’s much more, of course, at the memorial page.

At the risk of overly baring my soul… it surprises me, I guess, how much I’m still hurting over this. I keep emphasizing how my grief is nothing compared to Sarah’s family and the friends she was still in close touch with, and that’s true. But at the same time, getting over the totally unexpected and tragic death of someone with whom you were once as close as I was to Sarah is definitely not easy. In some ways, having fallen out of touch makes it worse, because you’ve got regret compounding the grief. Not a fun combination.

Sometimes I close my eyes and I see her, smiling at me. This happened a lot on the plane ride to Phoenix — every time I’d close my eyes to try and sleep, Sarah was there. Other times, I still find myself having these momentary half-conscious thoughts about how somehow, someday, Sarah and I will share a good laugh over all the fuss everyone is making over her, when this whole thing blows over. When this whole thing blows over. Right. Every one of those thoughts leads to an immediate and painful snap back to reality, of course.

I’m not very “good at grieving,” if you will — this is a longstanding fact of my life — so the “grieving process” for me is really an endless back-and-forth between shock/denial and acceptance; I don’t really do any of those pesky intervening steps. Instead, I basically toggle between the two states. When the toggling gets less frequent, I’m doing “better,” and when the toggling stops, I’m okay again. So I guess that’s what happening with those half-conscious thoughts… toggling.

I also find that I can’t listen to happy or upbeat music — my heart isn’t ready for it. When I open my iTunes, I inevitably gravitate to Ars Musica recordings featuring Sarah, or to sad songs like James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” and slow, mournful ballads like Sugarland’s “Stand Back Up.” Someday I’ll be able to listen to “Mississippi Girl” or “4th of July” or “Alcohol” (“…helpin’ white people dance”) again… someday soon, probably… but not yet, and that surprises me. I didn’t realize I’d be quite this heartbroken over this.

Honestly, what I wouldn’t give for a good cry. Alas, I haven’t cried once over this. I shook when I was paying my respects to Sarah’s body at the wake… I shook when I was singing “A Welsh Lullaby” to her at the funeral… I felt the beginnings of a tear in my eye a few times during her brother’s eulogy… but a good cry? Nowhere to be found. I never cry over anything. Becky has seen me cry exactly once in the entire time we’ve been together, and that was over a breakup, not a death. Aside from that, I can only recall crying one other time in the last six years (I was with my parents on that occasion), and that was over something really stupid. When it comes to the really big stuff, like death and grieving, I unintentionally bottle up my emotions, intellectualize them, and express them in forums like this… which does help, but not as much, I think, as it would help to just sit down and cry. But for some reason, that just doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Argh.

I’m not sure how to conclude this post, except to repeat what I said a few days ago in a post that got unexpectedly Instalanched: I miss you, Sarah.

Memories of Sarah

Sunday, September 25th, 2005

Sarah’s brother Zack e-mailed me the text of his tribute to Sarah, which was read at the funeral. I’ve added it to the memorial page.

How sweet the sound

Sunday, September 25th, 2005

Sarah’s mom left a lovely comment earlier this evening in which she thanked everyone for “the kindness and the comfort your comments have given to” the family. Here’s a picture of Sarah (at right) with her mom and her five siblings:

I’ve created a permanent memorial for Sarah at, where I am consolidating and centralizing all the links to photos, sound clips, blog posts, comments and other materials paying tribute to Gimpi (or “Scout,” as she was known more widely and recently). The memorial is a work-in-progress, and if you have anything you’d like to contribute to it, please by all means e-mail me.

Speaking of tributes, Thursday’s musical tribute by the NHS choir alums was really remarkable. It was successful beyond anything I could possibly have imagined when I had my initial brainstorm that we should get some alums together and sing “A Welsh Lullaby” in Sarah’s honor. I remember wondering if we’d be able to cobble together enough people to have at least two singers for each part! Well, as it turns out, we had (I believe) 29 people in all — almost twice the size of a normal chamber choir — ranging in age from the Class of 1998 through the Class of 2008. That’s a decade’s worth of NHS students who were sufficiently touched by Sarah’s life that they wanted to sing her a final farewell. Remarkable. Here’s a group picture of most of us (though several had left or were elsewhere when the picture was taken):

(More pictures here.)

Mr. Treggor was nervous at first about how “A Welsh Lullaby” — a five-part piece — would sound with such a large group, some of whom had learned a slightly different arrangement, a few of whom had never actually performed the song before (though they pretty much knew it anyway; it was one of those songs that friends of chamber singers heard so often that they sometimes just sort of picked it up), and none of whom had ever sung in anything resembling this particular combination of voices, which spanned 11 years and two music directors. But it went off amazingly well. Mr. Treggor said afterward that we sounded better than past choirs sometimes had sounded after rehearsing it over and over. He joked, “Maybe that should tell me something.” Rehearse less, sing better? Heh. :) On the other hand, perhaps we sang beautifully because were guided by Sarah’s spirit.

I managed to discreetly capture an audio recording of the beginning of our performance of “A Welsh Lullaby” at the funeral. Unfortunately, the audio quality is terrible, as the clip was captured with my digital camera, which is not exactly a high-end audio recorder. Also unfortunately, my camera stopped 55 seconds into the song, so it’s only a partial recording. (I do like the fact that it happened to stop immediately after we sang the words “looking on your smiling face” — the very same lyric that struck me while looking at pictures of Sarah and inspired my brainstorm in the first place.) Still, at least it’s something. You can download the MP3 or listen below:

I also have a partial recording of our singing “Amazing Grace,” not from the actual performance (at the gravesite dedication service) but from our rehearsal in the morning at Mr. Treggor’s house. Again, the clip only includes the beginning of the song, and again the audio quality is terrible, but for what it’s worth… download here or listen below…

Of course, far, far better quality (and complete) versions of both songs are the recordings that were made for the Ars Musica CD by the 2000-01 NHS Chamber Choir, including Sarah:

A Welsh Lullaby: MP3 file

Amazing Grace: MP3 file

As long as I’m sharing Ars Musica recordings, here’s an audio clip where you can hear Sarah on solo from 0:38 to 1:20. It’s “Appalachian Carol” (a.k.a. “I Wonder As I Wander”), from the same 2000-01 chamber CD. Unfortunately, there was apparently some confusion between Sarah and Mr. Treggor about whether she was supposed to sing with vibrato, so it’s not her best performance — but it’s still beautiful, and for those who have never heard her sing before, it gives you some idea what we’re talking about when we praise her vocal talents so highly:

Appalachian Carol: MP3 file

Mr. Treggor said he will send me some clips from Sarah’s performance in “West Side Story,” and I will upload those if/when I get them, along with any other audio I’m able to get my hands on.

Again, all of this is also at the permanent Sarah LeFoll memorial page.

Nearer My God to Thee

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

I’ll have more to say in the coming days about Sarah and yesterday’s tributes, but for now, I need to sleep. First, though, here is an audio clip that I managed to discreetly record of the congregation singing "Nearer My God to Thee" at the funeral yesterday. Please note, the audio quality is terrible… and be warned, there’s a loud noise at 0:58 of the audio clip as I fidget and move the camera… but for what it’s worth…

source file
MP3 File

Lyrics here.

Close your eyes now, go to sleep

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

“Sarah’s life was like a shooting star — shining brightly, and extinguished all too soon.” –Zachary LeFoll, Sarah’s oldest brother

Sarah was laid to rest today after a lovely funeral and burial service. Singing in tribute to her was very moving, and everyone seemed to think we sounded great. And I do feel a little better now. So I’d say my “Welsh Lullaby” brainstorm was a success. (Here again is the sound clip of Sarah’s choir singing it.)

I also made a point of speaking to both of Sarah’s parents after the funeral and thanking them for bringing their wonderful daughter into the world. I even made reference to the time in the summer of 1999 when their caller ID registered that I had called Sarah like a dozen times one day, hoping to hang out with her — an event that, at the time, I think made the LeFolls rather skeptical of me. :) I told them today that the reason I so loved hanging out with Sarah is because of how much joy and laughter she always brought with her, everywhere she went.

Anyway, I don’t know if they can read blogs in heaven… but I’ll miss you, Sarah. We all will.

Now I’m off to the airport for my interviews in Phoenix, which start bright and early tomorrow. What a week.

Saying goodbye

Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

“Well, that wasn’t fun.”

That’s what I said to Sean as I returned to my seat after going through the receiving line, paying my respects to Sarah and expressing my condolences to her parents. If there’s anything that can prepare you for the experience of kneeling in front of the open casket bearing the lifeless body of the girl you took to the prom five years earlier, I don’t know what it is. And if there’s anything remotely adequate that you can possibly say to the grieving parents who were robbed of their beautiful daughter far, far too soon, I don’t know what that would be, either.

Sarah’s wake was definitely one of the saddest events I’ve ever experienced. Not that I expected it to be otherwise, but as I said, nothing can really prepare you for such a thing. I don’t know if I have “closure,” but I know I won’t soon forget the profound sadness and confusion I felt while kneeling by the casket, trying to formulate some sort of a coherent prayer and pretty much failing miserably. I couldn’t decide what to say — or even who I was talking to: God or Sarah? Was I there to thank God for putting Sarah on this earth… or to thank Sarah for all the great memories and for being the angel she was… or to ask God to guide Sarah into heaven and give comfort to her family… or simply to say “goodbye” to Sarah? All of the above, I suppose, but I was shaken and shaking, and it was just a big mental jumble. Ah well, I suppose God can sort out what I meant (and forward the relevant portions to Sarah as appropriate). He is good at such things, or so I hear.

I ran into lots of old friends, of course, and old teachers, too. But, needless to say, there is very little joy in such a reunion. I can’t tell you how many awkward conversations I had that went approximately like this: “Hi, how are you?” “Good. Well, not good, but…” “Yeah, I know what you mean.” It had to be at least a dozen.

I truly can’t fathom what the family is going through. For the parents, it must be almost numbing to go through this whole process — making all the arrangements, receiving condolences for over three hours, etc. When do they have the time and space to grieve? And what about Sarah’s younger siblings? As incomprehensible as this is for all of us, it must be exponentially moreso for them. Poor things.

I would again ask everyone to keep Sarah’s family and close friends in their prayers. If I feel this emotionally stricken — I, someone who hadn’t been in regular touch with Sarah for years — it must be just unbearable for the dozens or hundreds who were closer to her than I. So please, pray for those people. Or if you don’t pray, at least keep them in your thoughts. They need every ounce of support and positive vibes that they can get.

And do something else for me: if there’s a person in your life who, once upon a time, meant a lot to you, but you’ve fallen out of touch with him or her over the years… give that person a call, or write them an e-mail, and see how they’re doing. Life is short, and friends and loved ones are infinitely precious.

Tomorrow comes the funeral and the burial. We’ll be singing “A Welsh Lullaby” at the former and “Amazing Grace” at the latter. My mom earlier today speculated that perhaps we can help Sarah’s soul find eternal rest with our musical tribute. I’m not sure if I believe that, but it’s a comforting thought. And those are hard to come by right now. :(

P.S. There was a touching slideshow of pictures of Sarah that was displayed from a projector throughout the wake. Included was a great picture of us at the prom. You can watch the video here, supposedly, though I can’t get it to work on my browser. (Linked from here.)

Sarah tribute update

Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

To my Rita readers, I apologize for interrupting the hurricane news, but I want to make sure this information on the musical tribute to Sarah reaches as many people as possible in Newington. This post will stay on top of the homepage all evening. Scroll down for the latest hurricane information. Thank you.

ATTENTION ALL CHAMBER CHOIR ALUMS: Click here for the latest information on the Sarah LeFoll tribute, including directions to Mr. Treggor’s house, a list of participants, a list of people I’m still trying to reach, etc. We are rehearsing at Treggor’s tomorrow at 9:00 AM. If you have any questions after reading the linked page, please call me at 860-833-5833.

Okay, back to the hurricane…

In memoriam

Monday, September 19th, 2005

Sarah’s obituary is out. It includes a more recent picture:

The family is requesting that contributions in Sarah’s memory be sent to the Newington High School Music Fund, 605 Willard Avenue, Newington, CT 06111.

In addition to the comment thread on this site, here are the guestbook and the guestbook.