I Fear I Will Forget To “Choose Joy”: In Honor Of Sara Frankl By Cookie

September  15, 2011

I learned what my deepest fear of Ankylosing Spondylitis was.

I had signed on to see what was happening with my Spondylitis family.

Jennifer had posted that she was saying good-bye to a friend by the name of Sara Frankl.

sara riley

Sara and Riley.

Sara is a young woman who suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis and is living the last moments of her life. I was heartbroken that my friend Jennifer was going through this and devastated for the young woman I didn’t know. My heart was also full of concern for Riley who would be losing the center of his universe.

A person in Sara’s life by the name of Shannon had posted a beautiful blog “Looking Homeward.” http://gitzengirl.blogspot.com/2011/09/looking-homeward.html I had to learn about this person who could inspire such loving words.

I spent the next seven hours reading her blogs, so intrigued, so connected, so grateful. I wanted to learn about this amazing person who had touched and changed so many lives, and who was now changing mine. http://gitzengirl.blogspot.com/

I came to know her, maybe better than some ever will. We share a common bond. Ankylosing Spondylitis.

That wonderful human being with such a beautiful spirit spoke to me for hours.

I laughed. I cried. I learned. I understood. I envied. I grew.

I was reminded to “CHOOSE JOY.”

I was changed in a way that I can’t explain, but those who walk in our shoes would understand. I couldn’t help grieving over the fact that I will never be a part of such a magnificent person’s life, but I am so grateful that she is able to be a part of mine.

Earlier in the day I had posted some tags that I had found. I posted them because I thought they were cool, but the more I began to know Sara, the more meaningful they became to me.

Ankylosing Spondylitis Awareness


You better believe it matters, because at this very moment as I write this, I am aware that this beautiful soul is fighting a battle that she is never going to win.

It matters because she is loved.

It matters because she is a person.

It matters because she suffers.

She should matter to each and every one of us, because one day it could be our “Sara” fighting this battle.

I am taken back in time to the day I learned Stuart passed away. A young man who lost his battle with Ankylosing Spondylitis.

It matters to those who love them.

It matters to those who know them.

It’s important to each and every one of us, who blog, who fund raise, who bring awareness to anyone and everyone we can,

BECAUSE IT MATTERS to those with Ankylosing Spondylitis.

After reading her blogs, I realized she is truly a graceful and beautiful Ankylosing Spondylitis Warrior. Her fight is carried with quiet dignity, deep compassion and a wisdom that is far beyond her years. You could see it clearly in every word she typed.

What amazed me the most is her faith, and her determination to “Choose Joy. ” Her words will always be an inspiration for us and those to come, who will fight this battle against Ankylosing Spondylitis beside her, for her and in honor of her.

Every single one of us makes a difference in this battle against Ankylosing Spondylitis. Remember no matter how small you believe it to be, they will all add up one day to make a significant change in the Ankylosing Spondyilitis world.

One of the things I respect and admire most about Sara is her honesty, and her keeping it real attitude. Believe me my friends, that takes real courage! I have spent the last two days reading her blogs and almost every blog someone has written about her.

My favorite quote keeps coming to me…

I have learned the hard way that courage is not always a loud roar, but sometimes a soft whisper in the dark, saying I will try again tomorrow.

I wished I had met her sooner so she could put it on a canvas. ( I guess I will need to start a new tradition.)

I will never be able to read this quote again without thinking about ”Sara”.

Who is an amazingly beautiful spirit whose soul is pure love.

Who is inspiring me to “Choose Joy.”

I will take her courage about honesty to share what I fear most about Ankylosing Spondylitis.

I fear someday a loved one will suffer from this disease.

I fear for those who will suffer as bad as Sara.

I fear they will never find a cure for Ankylosing Spondylitis.

I fear people will forget.

I fear I won’t be just like “Sara”.

I fear “HOPE” will leave my soul.

I fear I will forget to “Choose Joy.”

My deepest fear is I will loose the true ”joy” of  living my life.

HOPE MATTERS the most, because HOPE is what carries us through our life. Anyone’s life, not just those who suffer with Ankylosing Spondylitis. Hope is what keeps us getting up in the morning, day after day.

Hope is what gives a person the ability to “Choose Joy” in her life when most can’t.

Hope is the reason that “Sara” and all of us choose to blog, because we HOPE in some small way to make a difference in someone’s life, hopefully our own.

I hope Sara knows how much she is loved.

I hope her father(both of them) will be there to welcome her home.

I hope they find a cure for Ankylosing Spondylitis.

I hope Sara knows how much we respect and admire her.

I hope her family knows how wonderful she is.

I hope Sara knows how much she touched people’s lives.

I hope we never forget the lesson of love she taught in “Choosing Joy.”

I hope to be just like Sara one day.

I hope Sara finds peace.

I hope Heaven is as beautiful as Sara is.

I hope one day I am blessed with the honor of meeting Sara.

I hope Sara will love her view in heaven, with flowers blooming and birds singing.

In Honor of Sara Frankl

Who taught me to… Choose Joy… Not because of but in spite of.

Joy: The unwavering trust that God knows what He’s doing and has blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of it….not despite what’s happening in my life but because of it. When everything earthy feels heavy He gives me an internal lightness that can’t be touched. Sara Frankl

Dear Sara,

Thank you for caring.

Thank you for sharing.

Thank you for having the

courage to


Today is September 17, 2011.

Sara Frankl went home on

September 24, 2011

Thank you for having the courage to show us how to “Choose Joy.”

Thank you for having the courage to share your truth, life and joy. May you rest in peace and your words continue to bring comfort and strength to those who read them.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: