Today I’m ready. Ready to feel.
Sarah Rose Budney left this earth on August 9th. Cousin by blood, but raised as sisters, Sarah has been a very special person to me for my whole life; beginning, I imagine, the day I held her after she was born.
As the oldest of all of my sisters and cousins, I always felt the need to be bossy and call all the shots when we were very little. And everyone would go along with whatever I said, and not question it or bicker with me, as little girls often do.
Except Sarah. We fought all the time.
Even from such a young age, she was the most independent and strong willed person I had ever met (besides myself), and it infuriated me when she wouldn’t do what I thought everyone should be doing, or when she wouldn’t go along with whatever my plan was. And then we would scream. And pull hair. And bite. God, Sarah. I hated you sometimes. I hated her pink Barbie doll dream house, her red velvet dress, her cozy bedroom, her two-piece swimsuits, and her blonde hair.
I remember being so jealous of the fact that she lived with Grandma and Grandpa, though I was too young to realize why she had to. And though my Grandma doted on all of her girls, Sarah was special to her in a way the rest of us weren’t- she was a daughter to her. I think Sarah envied the rest of us for the fact that we didn’t live with our grandparents.
She was always the different one. Sometimes she was negative and mean when the rest of us were having the time of our lives. Sometimes she was crazy and full of life when the rest of us were tired and quiet, and that was just how it was. You never knew what you were going to get when it came to her. She was deep and spiritual and very, very scarred emotionally.
Sarah joined me at my high school for her freshman year. It was also the year that I lived with my grandparents and her. We would ride to school together, spend the day together, do our homework, watch tv, and laugh together. I think that was when we were the closest in our lives.
Since her death, I have had a very hard time wrapping my head around the things she went through in her short life, and the mental torment she endured, even as a child. Though I saw her struggles with my own eyes, I almost didn’t take them seriously because she was always so strong. She was the one who we were always sure would pull through. She cried wolf and threatened the most ridiculous things.. and she would cut everyone off. For months at a time. And then she would breeze back into my life as if nothing had ever happened. She didn’t like to bring up the past when that would happen, almost as though she was embarrassed by it.
I think things were at their hardest for her when she had her daughter, Serenity. Living as a single mother, I do believe she did the best that she could, even though all odds were against her. I also believe that one of the reasons she ended her life was that though she fought hard for her daughter (even after messing up in the eyes of the law so many times), she knew that in the end knew that she would not be given another chance to try again. I can’t imagine how much that must have hurt her. I am not saying that I excuse her faults, but I also have no right to judge why she made the choices she did.
I miss her so dearly. There is not another person in this world who is like her, and I mean that wholeheartedly. Her zest for life was contagious; it was always a party when she was around. She is one of the few people I know who can say that they truly lived life to the fullest. She lived in the present, never considering the consequences. She just enjoyed and indulged.
Her demons became to great to bear. I have battled with guilt since she passed. I know that there was more I could have done to help her face her life when it became to hard to handle on her own. I cannot live with guilt forever. It’s a heavy cross to carry, and it’s not for me to say why she decided she needed to go. For now I will live with her memory in my heart, and always remember to live my life to the fullest, laugh hard, be strong, and try again.
I love you, Sarah Rose. Be free.