June 11th 2013 –
30 weeks pregnant with my fourth, I awoke in the wee hours of the morning – not really abnormal since I was great with child and my daughter chose to position herself directly on my bladder. However, this morning, it felt different. I remember getting back into bed and simply knowing that life as I knew it was changed forever. I pushed the thought to the back of my mind and retreated once again into sweet slumber.
Seven AM, the phone rang. And the sounds I had been dreading filled my fathers voice as he told me what I never wanted to hear. The words filled me with peace and with longing at the same moment. It was relief and despair mixed into one. My sweet sister had joined her maker and was without pain or want any longer.
Silent tears streaked my face as I sat on the edge of my bed. We all knew it was coming. But the finality had overtaken me and I could do nothing but sit and cry. I remember that moment like it was yesterday.
The hours that followed proved to be the hardest ones I have experienced to date. Funerals, memorials – whatever you choose to call it are, in a single word, exhausting.
What words would go on the program, what songs would be sung, what relatives would speak.
How in the world can you sum up a life and what it meant in 45 minutes. No service could hold that much love. No song could describe her worth. No words, no matter how intricately woven in story, could ever convey what she was, WHO she was to so many.

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Today marks one year since her passing. So many things have changed. Namely, her children. They are growing and have grown into these beautiful testimonials of all she encompassed. I can’t see their faces without seeing her smile. I can’t have a conversation without her influence being apparent to me. They talk like her. Or they move like she did. Whatever they do- I see her in them.
At the same moment that is both refreshing and depressing. Not depressing in the permanent sense- for the Word says we don’t grieve like those without hope.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will see my sister again. I will hug her again, I will sing with her again. She and I will once again be together. It is in the now that the ache is so very real. The grief is present and at times, consuming.
I wish at times like these that I had a gravesite to go to or a memorial to retreat to. I wish I could find a place and just be “with” her. About six months ago, I realized that no place would ever be sufficient. No monument could hold her presence.
This morning, I awoke in Chicago – the city of her birth. I laced up my running shoes, I put in my headphones and I left my hotel in pursuit of mileage. It is in these moments I feel my sister nearest. When the world is drown out by the sound of my music, the wind wild through my hair, sweat beads on my forehead and I can just run.
I run, and with every step, I am grateful that I can. About four years before her passing, my sister lost the use of her legs. She was confined to a wheelchair and could not walk. It was shortly thereafter that my love affair with running began. It is so soothing to me. The pounding of my heart, the view of Gods creation, the completion of a new goal.
So I ran with my sister- I thought of her as I ran the pier and the shores of Lake Michigan. I thought of her legacy. I thought of her impression.

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Today I want to live worthy of that calling. I want to tell others of her kindness- not just as a memory either, but with my life. I want to be more like my sister, and in turn, Christ. For He gave more than just his sister.
So it is with hope I face this day- and this next year. Whatever it may hold, I will press on toward the high calling.

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He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted; But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. (Isaiah 40:29-31 AMP) -from Angela Marie Sarracino’s memorial service

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