Sunday, May 29, 2011
Allow me to explain...The young woman was my daughter Sara and she became the center of my life from the day she entered it in 1987. I was a single mother with no parenting skills and no job, a college junior who chose to discontinue her formal education to pursue an education in life and love. As with many parents, every decision I made from that point on was for her and because of her. The banking career because of the hours, weekends and holidays off. Remaining single because I could never find someone that was the perfect mix of partner for me and father for her. Finally, the hardest decision of all letting
For nineteen years, she and I were not only mother and daughter but best friends, roommates and confidantes. You would never see one of us without the other nearby.
In 2001, a visit to the doctors changed our lives in ways that we could never imagine. Sara had been complaining that her knee hurt for a few weeks. There was no injury, no swelling and the pain was only on occasion but never the less we got it checked. The doctor too, was baffled and almost passed it off as "growing pains" but said "to be on the safe side, go get an xray" and we immediately did. Later that afternoon he called me at work and asked me if I could come back into his office. I was not prepared for what came next, the diagnosis, osteosarcoma...bone cancer! It was now my job to go home and explain to my 14 year old daughter, who was so excited about just starting high school, that she had cancer, she was going to have surgery, a years worth of chemotherapy and lose her hair.
As to be expected, there were tears pouring down both of our faces as I explained the path our lives were taking for the next year. What I didn't expect was the strength we both found in each other and that led us
through the next five years! What should have been one year of chemo and a knee replacement turned into four relapses, sixteen surgeries, four rounds of chemotherapy and all together approximately two years of hospital stays. Without each other, the support of all our family and friends and our twisted sense of humor we would have never made it through. We also found that during the most trying times, when any day could be your last, is when you make some of the most wonderful discoveries.
The trip to Wyoming during her senior year of high school was just one of our most memorable. I'll always remember our snowmobile trip to Granite Hot Springs when Sara, before stepping into the springs, in only her wig and bathing suit plopped herself down in the snow and made a snow angel! She loved it there and on the way home said that someday she wanted to have a ranch in Wyoming. She wanted to invite kids with cancer to come stay with us, forget about their problems and be a cowboy/cowgirl for a little while.
On December 14, 2006 at 5:45 pm, Sara began her "New Life". She passed away quietly surrounded by the people she loved and who loved her more than anyone could imagine. I promised her that day that she would have her ranch in Wyoming and that I would make sure that no one ever forgot her (like they ever could) and that anyone who didn't know her, would, by the time I was done with them!
In June 2007, I purchased 40 acres in Carpenter, Wyoming and I believe Sara led me there. I spent months researching properties for sale near Cheyenne & Laramie, Wy., narrowed it down to about 10-15 places to visit and just when I was ready to give up, drove up to the Carpenter property. It had rained most of the day and when I drove up the clouds in the sky opened up and sun streamed through right above the property...it was beautiful...and I think Sara smiled. I purchased it the next day. "Santa Sara Ranch" was born and now WyoCowgirl and her snow angel have found their home...and a "New Beginning".