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I just read “On My Own at 107: Reflections on Life Without Bessie,” by Sarah L. Delany (Sadie) with Amy Hill Hearth. It was one of Readalikes suggested by the Richland County Library at One Book, One Columbia. Throughout the book, Sadie speaks in the first person to her dear departed sister, Bessie.
After reading, “Having Our Say: The Delany Sister’s First 100 Years,” I was anxious to learn about Sadie’s experience with moving on with life after having spending over a century with Bessie. Of the two sisters, I have to say that I believed the Lord was kind to Bessie for allowing her to exit this earth life first.
I came to understand just how more sensitive Bessie was from Sadie’s reflections in this book. I believe Sadie was more suited to such a great loss and had already made it through the loss of her mother after being her mama’s girl.
Anyway, if I understand what it means to be a big sister, if Sadie could speak now, I believe she would tell us that she would not have it any other way. Beautiful paintings of Bessie’s most loved flowers from her garden and verses of scripture are thoughtfully placed throughout the book. It was very significant to me how the garden became a great source of strength to Sadie. It was almost as if Bessie was reaching back into this existence to provide solace for her grieving sister.
As Sadie took comfort in each developing flower, I realized that we really can find important things in this life to give our strength to that when we pass on, loved ones can feel our influence in tangible ways. Sadie was sensitive to this influence because she had cultivated the faith which she had been taught in early years.
It is so rewarding to me to have this personal testimony of faith. I have truly bonded with the sisters because they were raised to embrace values that I too hold sacred. It is so powerful to know of these sisters and the fact that the principles that they lived by never failed them after over 100 years.
I am satisfied that even though they had to live past 100 to be recognized and that even while the world would challenge by own abiding by most of the same precepts, the example of these stalwart sisters shines like a lighthouse. They overcame. So can I.