Sarah and Beth Rahr were born almost ten years apart, but don’t let the decade of difference in age dissuade you. Sarah walked beside her sister Beth from the moment she was born.
When Beth was diagnosed with mental illness, Sarah became her biggest cheerleader, protector and advocate.
As a child, Sarah loved and included Beth with all of her friends. As adults, they spent much time together – going to Special Olympics practices, fundraising for L’Arche at the Mooseheads hockey games, going to see Beth’s favourite group The Wiggles, dancing, skating, visiting yard sales, taking road trips, going to the beach and reading Beth’s favourite book, The Wind in the Willows. Suffice it to say, if you knew Sarah, you knew Beth.
In 2009, Beth became a resident at Emerald Hall in the Nova Scotia Hospital. This unit is dedicated to patients with a dual diagnosis (both a mental illness and a mental disability). Sarah visited Beth two to three times a week for hours at a time, amusing her with a whole cast of characters and voices that Beth so loved. There was the old fisherman who lived at the cottage and the sophisticated woman from Paris who ran a salon. Sarah even taught Beth a few phrases in French through her creative play.
To Sarah, Beth was smart, caring, joyful, creative, generous, compassionate and sweet. Words that would also describe Sarah.
Sadly, Beth passed away late last year. In the end, Sarah used every kind of vacation, sick and family-related leave available to her – and also took unpaid leave – to be by Beth’s side.
All of us at the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia were so very fortunate to know Beth and enjoy her visits to our office. Sarah – we miss her, and we thank you for sharing her with all of us.
The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia is proud to present Sarah Rahr with the 2019 Let’s Keep Talking Award for Outstanding Caregiver. Congratulations, Sarah.