Thursday, July 31, 2014

When Words Fail: Pray for Sarah Harkins and Her Family

When I was in high school, I had the role of Laura in Tennessee Williams' play The Glass Menagerie. I remember our drama teacher, Mr. Stewart, discussing a scene with us, a scene in which Laura's brother, Tom, does not say a word. "Why isn't he speaking?" Mr. Stewart asked us. "Because he is so full of emotion he cannot speak."

And so it is with me, following the sudden death Monday of Sarah Harkins, 32, of Fredericksburg, Va., a friend I never met face to face, but a woman who has helped to guide my journey for several years. Sarah, who was carrying her unborn child, Cecilia, died after an allergic reaction to many stings from a yellow-jacket hive disturbed in her backyard. She is survived by her husband, Eric, and four children.

On my long walks in Vermont this week, I have started writing a post about Sarah many times in my head. I just can't find the words.

For right now, I am linking this page to two pages that have been set up to help her surviving children and her husband. You can donate here and here. In time, I imagine, words will come to me so I might express my gratitude for Sarah's life.

Photo by Lori Elizabeth Fowlkes

Sarah was a rosary maker. She crafted the beads in her rosaries from clay. I'm going to close with part of a prayer Sarah wrote for a mothers' love bracelet she created for two of my teacher friends with new babies.

"Sweet Jesus, I thank you for the gift of eternal life. Help me remember that life is a gift and that the lives of my children belong to you.  May I never take any moment of life for granted. "


  1. Very beautifully written ! I did not know her either but find myself in such shock and grief. It's hard to fathom.

  2. Praying for Sarah and her family right now. Also praying for you and your family.

    At times like these words cannot express what we truly feel. Yet, we should rest assured that the Lord understands our feelings even though we cannot; and He looks down with love and mercy on all affected. All He asks of us is to continue to trust Him, however hard it is.

    God bless you and yours.

  3. Thank you for your beautiful words.