I learned today that an Americorps member I served with during my 2000-2001 term at Durham, NC’s, Habitat for Humanity, Sarah Weber, has passed away. From what I have discovered, it turns out she had some form of brain cancer. I never knew.
As I mentioned in this post, there are always strong and sincere intentions within Americorps teams to “stay together” as friends after the end of the service year. But in reality, it rarely works out that way. People go their separate ways, email conversations get sparse and then disappear altogether, phone numbers get lost.
Part of me wishes I would have made a stronger effort to stay in touch with my Durham team members. But another part of me recognizes and accepts that there are different types of friendships – some meant to last a lifetime, and some (equally deep, equally sincere and equally important) that only really work in the context of shared experiences.
If I were to be honest, I would have to admit that most likely Sarah and I wouldn’t have shared a lot in common outside of the ‘corps, other than our drive to make the world a better place. And maybe that would have been enough to build a life-long friendship out of. I just don’t know. But in the end, it doesn’t matter. We had a great time doing what we did. Sarah was a deeply motivated world-changer who nonetheless had plenty of time for jokes, hilarity and just plain good fun. I enjoyed her company. We did good work. People’s lives were changed. It is enough.
Even though it was occasioned by her passing, it was comforting to hear about the work she had done before we met and afterward and to know that she made huge impact in the lives of others for well before we met and long after our service year was up. In fact, she did another year with Americorps at Advanced Energy, a non-profit in Raliegh that works with industry and utilities to create sustainable energy options. And the Chatham County Habitat for Humanity is building the winning design from their Sustainable Building Design Contest in her honor.
Truly, Sarah’s life changed the world and left it a better place. I feel humbled and yet at the same time uplifted to know that I served with someone of her caliber. But these are the kind of people you meet in Americorps – the world-changers, the do-gooders and the fighters of the good fight. She fit right in.
Rest in peace, Sarah. You did well more than your share. Now it’s our turn to pick up the load.