Memorial, New York City, October 29, 2006
Housing Works Used Book Café
Nina Gross (holding her infant, Scarlet, throughout her speech)
I first met Sarah in 1996 when I moved into apartment 4-D (as in Dog),
down the hall from Sarah at 2 King Street. My first impressions were that she seemed to know everybody, even though she'd moved in not long before me.
She had everyone's keys, and I mean everyone's—not just the 4th floor's. My other first thought was that this woman was ageless. When I first met Vanessa, you had to scrape me off the ceiling: was she twelve when she gave birth?
Sarah was a dream neighbor, the kind usually reserved to fiction and the Lifetime Channel. You could always go for a cup of sugar or a glass of red wine. She'd listen to your stories, travails, live through your heartbreaks, and rejoice in your successes.
Our relationship really developed when Sarah got Sparky in the fall of 1996. It was virtually a daily date—walking our furry children to the dog run in the morning, then the same again late at night. There's a lot of talking involved in this kind of pursuit, and it was striking how Sarah would speak with equal passion and insight about foreign policy blunders AND Demi Moore's love-life. It was that blend, that fabulous, idiosyncratic point of view, that is one of the first things I miss when I think about losing Sarah.
Sarah was deeply involved in the lives of those around her. A good example was that she gave my number to Peter, my future husband. I didn't know it at the time, and she knew I might not have given it to him had he asked.
And so, in that small, essential piece of mischief, I owe everything to
her. She told Michael that we would have beautiful children. He said, let's just
see if they last the month, Sarah. But she knew. And she saved my life.
gave me my life.
Sarah was the first person we told when we—the night we—got
I'm such a moron that it was Sarah who took the photo of the ring on my
finger and then emailed it to my sisters so they could see the rock (we
are girls, after all).
One year ago this month, it was Sarah who drove home with us and this
from the hospital. I told her then I had her to thank for it all, and
tells me tonight that Sarah thought so, too—she was proud of herself
there. Rightly so.
As the mother of a one-year-old daughter I think about what I want for
Scarlett in her life. I wish for her that she will have a Sarah. I also
hope that she will develop in herself those extraordinary qualities that
make Sarah such an irreplaceable person. She is truly missed.