by Danny Percival
May 17th 1965 – that was the day the Percival family received a new addition – Sara Dean – and for me it was love at first sight – in the 48 years since that day she has been known by many names, Sara, Scooter, Scoot, Mom, Aunt Sara & The Chosen One. Let me explain the last one, this is an affectionate name (sometimes) that Doug and I called Sara from time to time and this past 4th of July we witnessed the great humorous side of our sister. For years every 4th Scoot, Doug & I have a ritual of going to town by boat after the fireworks to see old friends from our summers at the lake. Well, this year for some reason our parents didn’t think it was a good idea and we were like “Really?” After some discussion between the three of us, out of the blue, Sara said “Let me talk to them, after all I am the chosen one.” So while we were on our way to town that night by boat we all had a good laugh. You see this is the Sara I know and love, never too full of herself, but cherishing the little things in life. Even though her life was cut short, Sara would not want us to feel sorry for her because that was not part of her makeup, and this is evident in the way she lived her life to the fullest each and every day, even up to the very end. One night I was talking with Sandy Valenti and she was telling me about when she would take Sara to treatments and they would talk, not about why me or this isn’t fair, but about what projects and tasks she had to do in the coming days. Sandy then used a phrase that hit me like a ton of bricks because it described Sara to a T, Sandy said “Dan it was amazing. Sara just powered through the treatments.” This was evident. When I asked Sara one time how it was going, she said and I quote “Danny, I can handle the treatments but they are a pain in the ass because they interfere with my plans”… she powered through it. This past summer we celebrated our parents 50th anniversary in Long Lake. The date was right after one of her treatments and the doctor was against it, but she negotiated using the argument “But I have the dinner.” As bad as she felt…she came…she powered through it. Even in her last months she went to Colorado to visit her daughter Nicki. She got all three kids off to college, did eight hour shifts at work, and arranged treatments so she could enjoy her weekends with her friends……she powered through it. In the last week that Sara was with us, even though she was not feeling well, she still went to see her daughter, Jessie, play soccer and see her son, Eric, not once but twice in 5 days, she powered through it.
My sister is the strongest person I have ever known. She always gave unconditional love to all that were close to her, she put others before herself…and sure there were times she’d tell you things that maybe you didn’t want to hear, but it was because she truly cared. She was a great Friend, an excellent Mom (all you have to do is spend time with her three children), a great Aunt, she never forgot a birthday, graduation or failed to ask about their current activity, a wonderful Sister, and a special Daughter. Sara is not only my inspiration, she is also my Hero. Will I miss Sara, you bet every day. Will I mourn her death, a little. Will I remember her life – Yes, that I will do most of all. So when I’m down, or things aren’t working quite as planned and I start to feel sorry for myself, I’ll ask myself “What would Sara do?” And the answer would be, power through it. Now everybody here today had better too because there is a new Angel in town and you don’t want to piss her off. I love you Scoot and to me you’ll always be The Chosen One.