Many of you did not know my wife (I realize, of course, many of you do not know me either.) Below is the text from the memorial I read at her and Miranda's service this morning. I fear that my words do not do her justice, that the context of my pain can not be adequately expressed within the boundaries of these words. Despite my best attempts, this is a pale reflection of the woman she was.
The life of Sara Jean Cole, as expressed by Chad Cole on February 12, 2011:
Sara Jean was a Princess, born on a cold, snowy January day in 1976. She did not enter this world quickly; instead, she gave us a preview of her life. Sara arrived after 44 hours of labor, letting us know that doing things right would always be more important than doing them quickly. Sara proved that time and patience produced spectacular results.
Sara was constructive child, in the literal sense of the word. Sara’s early life was lived out while her parents built their home, in Clarksville, Michigan. The course of Sara’s life was shaped by this early hands-on experience. Sara developed a life long passion for projects, for working with her hands, and lived with the philosophy that you don’t need to buy something if you can make it yourself. That old crusty couch…no problem. Just strip it down to the frame and rebuild it. That ancient chair, it just needs a new cover. We need a bookcase…where’s the saw and that old piece of plywood.
Sara was well traveled. After spending her early childhood in Clarksville, Sara’s family began moving around the country, often traveling in a small Toyota station wagon, which was packed to the point of bursting with kids, pets, clothes, and all of life’s other necessities. While Sara was a shy child, no matter where she went, she made a few steadfast friends and lived her life to the fullest.
As many were able to see at her visitation, Sara was a gifted artist. Sara could find beauty in just about anything. She also loved to teach others, sharing her knowledge and experience, ultimately making the world a more beautiful place one relationship at a time.
Sara was all I’ve just described and more. She was a loving daughter. She was a wonderful sister. She was a gardener. She was a master seamstress. She was a treasure collector who saw value in things most of would cast of without a second glance. She had a great sense of humor, and loved to laugh. She had a compassionate heart and cried often at the sadness she saw around her. She was everyone’s friend. She was my best friend, a devoted companion, who filled my life with love and joy, and she was the mother of my beautiful daughter, Miranda Evangelene.
In Miranda’s short life, she never said a word. She never cooed, or gaa-gaaed. She never crawled or took a step. And yet, because of Miranda, a chord has been struck in the heavenly realms and its reverberations will be felt for eternity. Thousands have joined together in prayer, setting aside spiritual and philosophical differences to lift up one small girl, her mother, her father, and their families.
Because of this I want to tell you who Sara really was. She described herself the best back in 1983, at the age of 7, when she wrote a short, but poignant letter to Jesus. “Lord, I pray that you will make my heart loving and kind…”
God answered that prayer, tenfold. Love dripped from Sara’s pores. Kindness was at the heart of everything she did. As an adult, an unkind word from Sara was such a rarity that it was shocking. And it was usually followed by something positive just to make up for it. Sara’s gift was living her life with the spiritual purity of a child. She didn’t make the mistake of trying to make her Christianity into something that was too complex. For Sara the rules, set by her parents at a young age were simple: Be kind. Don’t do things to other people you don’t want to have done to you. That is who Sara really was. Sara was love. She lived love. If you want to do something to remember my wife, the greatest memorial would be to live life like she did. Be kind to one another, and don’t do things to other people that you wouldn’t want to have done to you.
As I mentioned earlier, Sara was a collector of treasures. I was cleaning her purse on Monday when I found a small slip of paper, folded and tucked away into a safe corner. On it were the lyrics to the hymn All Creatures of our God and King. It touched my heart, and I wept, because Sara spent her entire life loving all of God’s creatures… especially me.