Sarah Waller


This is going to be long. I’m not sure how many characters can capture a person as bright as Sarah or how much I admired her but this won’t be enough. I wrote something the day after I found out to try and process this incredible loss. Time moves on and we move with it but her absence is felt deeply.

To Sarah,

I don’t know that you would have much liked all this. You weren’t a fan of the spotlight, which was always funny because it was like you were born for it. I remember meeting you for the first time and being utterly enamoured. You were my idol from that day on. You were so clever but coupled that with charm and grace and humour.

How can I comprehend your loss when we spoke so much about the future?

You said to me once that you admired my vulnerability and openness, and I thought how mad that you admired something that I saw in you too.

You supported me more than I think you knew.

If I was cackling and swearing, people would say, ‘you were on the phone to Sarah weren’t you’.

You don’t realise the things you say. You said ‘I might not be here come April’ when we spoke about organising a kayaking trip.

The river took you and I don’t think I can forgive it for that.

How can this be real? They say it and you don’t get it, that it’s impossible to imagine someone so full of life gone. You don’t get it until it happens.

We always spoke about art and theatre as only two people obsessed with it can and it felt like a secret club.

You were my friend, not my colleague, and I know people will think of course that I’d say that but you know that’s true I do think that you know that I loved you.

What is two years of speaking to someone daily; sharing everything about your life with them? How do you quantify that? Did you know her well?

She worked in a fish factory, she loved modern art, she loved the theatre, she did bullet journals and used a gua sha and said what everyone else was thinking but didn’t have the balls to say. She’d worked in universities, and she cared about her work. She was brilliant. She always sent us impact frameworks. She loved and was so proud of her nephew. Last week, we took a detour walk back from getting lunch so she could show me a building he was working on. I admired her incredibly. Her life: so full of art and deep thoughts.

You’d hate this too. This elegy. Or maybe you’d have been secretly pleased before running and hiding away.

What do I do now? How can I go back to work without you there, a rock through turbulent times? I prayed last night. I begged. But I knew you were gone. Somewhere else I hope, somewhere full of experience and memory and joy and feeling.

How can the sun still be shining?

She gave recommendations like sweets for shows, for work, for experiences. She taught us animal flow through lockdown. She was theatrical but not cliche. She was kind but honest. She cried when I told her sad things about my life. She saw photos of faces in paintings. She laughed, everyone laughs don’t they, but god was she funny. She’d probably start really hating this about now.

It’s hard not to write cliches because they’re easy. It’s not easy to describe you. Your PT sessions were your therapy. A mouse scared you, but a man never could. I so desperately wanted you to like me because I admired you so much.

When memories are still so vivid, can I capture them, can I hold them and press them close and keep them still? Will they move?

She read about Ikigai and listened to happiness podcasts. She cooked and liked cooking extravagant dinners like dressed lamb or seared fish. She looked young and dressed cool. What do people remember about you?

Because I have these facts, and I can write them down, but I’m not there. I’ve not recreated you. You’re still gone.

There is only this

That you were magnificent

And I will miss you terribly.


Danni Boyle

© Remembrance Book 2019-2023

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