A True Friend - Sarah Drew 1920-2010

Everyone in their lives hopes to find a true friend. Someone to laugh with, cry with, and that they can trust to care for them. A true friend who sometimes puts your feelings before theirs when its important and right and who works to help you in your endeavors… and allows you to help them with their needs.

Finding a friend like that in my life has been difficult (as I assume that it is for so many people.) Now that I am 35, I think that I have found five in my entire life. Two are childhood friends that are now almost acquaintances because we live so far apart and our lives are so crazy…yet I truly believe that one (if not both) of them would come to help me at a moments notice if I really needed it. Heck, some of the people that I know who live within ten minutes would not do the same for my family and I am aware of it. True caring and sacrifice are hard to find. My third gem (Katey) lived near me for a few years, but circumstances in her life have changed for the next few years... and so we live as far apart as possible almost and still claim to be in the same country. Yet she keeps in touch and does everything that she can think of to help me and my family. She is honest and kind and intelligent… so much that I just cannot put into words and really captures her true essence. The fourth mention is a friend that I just lost. Both of us were unable to live up to the ideals that a true friend needs. While a large part of me is sorry and grieves for this friendship still… a small part of me is glad that the friendship cannot ever really be repaired. After all, the betrayal could have gotten much worse and even more painful. I guess it is better to know sooner rather than later. (Am I allowed to wish I had been warned a few years ago…?)

The fifth friend I just lost to death. I cannot pretend that I was not aware that our separation by death was more likely than some friendships as Sarah Barter Drew was over 50 years older than me. We were brought together by a nice trick and her friendship these last seven years has meant the world to me. I feel so many emotions that my grief will probably take a long time to process and to be able to move on with living without feeling constant sorrow for my loss.

I met Sarah through the missionaries. Sarah Drew has a niece who is a member of the LDS church. When Sarah went to visit her niece over seven years ago, her niece took her to the church building with her as she needed to clean the building- the ward she belongs to uses different volunteers every week to keep the church clean and ready to use. Later, Sarah told me that the good feelings and the Spirit that she felt just sitting in the building were so strong and so powerful that she asked to have the missionaries visit her. She lived about four hours away from her niece and so she ended up seeing the missionaries in my area. After a few visits and lessons, Sarah decided to attend church. However, being 83 years old with medical problems, Sarah could not get there herself and due to church rules, the missionaries couldn’t take her to church. Elder Birtenshaw called several members of the ward in our area attempting to get her a ride to church and he was unsuccessful. He prayed and decided that even though I had problems and wasn’t getting the help or support I needed at church, he thought he was supposed to ask me to take her for one Sunday. He called and begged for me to agree to take her for “just that one week, no more” and he would make sure she had a ride next week. So that Sunday, I drove over and met Sarah Drew for the first time. We hit it off almost right away. I felt that I had found a kindred soul and by the time I took her home, I agreed to take her to church any week that I was attending (That was a good thing and a very inspired call by the missionaries because if I did need to find a ride for her when I wasn’t attending church, I was rarely able to find anyone and most often was told it was my responsibility. The elders told me later that they had hoped that the inspiration would ‘convince’ me to do it more then once as they did despair of finding anyone to take her –hence my wording ‘nice trick’.)

The next few years we became closer. She learned more about my family circumstances and was always ready with great advice. She was always ready to give me a hug or just listen to my concerns. When people at church would say rude and slanderous things about me at church in front of her expecting a common ally… they soon discovered to their cost that she was unwilling to hear anything like that without correcting it loudly and bluntly. She always asked over my son Bug and she always remembered him and my family for all holidays. He without fail received valentines, birthday cards, Christmas gifts and even the occasional fresh homemade dinner at her house. She loved to watch Bug tuck himself into her bed and she loved to watch his energy and his joy. She worried over my stress level and her concern over my emotional state and needs. She was a true loyal friend who I could depend on for almost anything. Several times, she bemoaned the fact that she was too old to be able to babysit and help me and my family with things such as babysitting. And she was a wonderful and beautiful grandmother to my son who loved her very, very much.

A few years ago, my husband and I started building a house. I was so excited and was also hopeful that we could get the house completed soon enough to be able to help Sarah. She was living in an apartment, but I knew that she was on borrowed time. Her frailty was becoming more apparent and her eyesight was slowly disappearing… but I guess that it wasn’t meant to be. Our house has slowly struggled or stalled over the last four years. Soon Sarah fell and was hurt enough that she ended up going to a nursing home. Even now, my house is still not finished. Her health continued to deteriorate and in November 2009, she fell and broke her hip. Sarah wasn’t able to recover from that and her death came mercifully on April 5th, 2010.

Sarah is a beautiful and tolerance person who is loyal and loving. She was a hard worker, smart as they come, and a tireless advocate for justice and fair play. She is courageous, determined, and patient. And because of these qualities I didn’t get to see her for the last few weeks of her life. Because I was embarrassed and didn’t want to tell her the family problems that I was having. So instead I avoided her and kept telling myself that she was doing OK. I will always regret that pathetic decision. She was my very best friend, a friend at the time that I was suffering the pain, embarrassment and confusion of losing a different friend. Sarah, I will miss you more than I can ever express and I am sorry for my frailty in your last months. I hope that you will be able to forgive me and I hope to see you again and apologize in person when I too cross the veil. Thank you for everything. Thank you for you!

Here is a link to her obituary - http://fenceviewer.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=31855:Sarah%20B.%20Drew&catid=969:obituaries&Itemid=142g

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