Memories of

Sarah van Laer-Hansen

Dec 19, 1959- Oct. 21, 2011

Eulogy- Guy van Son

For those of you who might not know me: my name is Guy, one of Sarah’s cousins from Holland, and member of the gang Sarah usually referred to as "The Dutch People"

I have a few words to say and I’m on an assignment to do so on behalf of two loved ones from home


I remember Sarah vaguely from our visits in Hamburg when I was very young, I remember her from our visit to Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. That was 1974. I remember her well from numerous visits to Holland and X-mass 1992, that I celebrated with my parents at Nick and Helens in Kitty Hawk. But I will remember Sarah vividly for the rest of my life from the last decade and a half, during witch Marieke and I and our kids, got so close with Sarah and Harry and their boys...

Besides our visits, we could chat on the phone for hours about every other week. Marieke and I almost feel as if we've lost a sister. I can't begin to imagine what this must be like for Lee, Nick & Helen, and of course Harry, Nick and Tom..


Long conversations, spontaneous shopping sprees, yelling and singing in the Yankees Stadium (That’s Gaëls, our youngest, favorite memory), movie nights, tons of  jokes, humor (The specific “van Laer-humor”. I can’t exactly point out what it is, but they all have it, and if you know Sarah’s humor, well…, that’s it), gardening, Brett Dennen, Radio Woodstock, a warm personality, great dinners (that were often cooked by Harry, btw, but Sarah made the atmosphere by inviting people, setting the table nicely and lighting candles), not only letting us vacation, but also having us involved in her own preoccupations (Marieke remembers their hilarious road trip to their new friend Norm, who offered them soda’s, while drinking whisky himself), spiritual, and last but not least, introducing us to interesting and wonderful friends! That is Sarah. She fought difficulties some times, but only so to be very happy with Harry (who always stood by her and supported her) and the boys and to have people around her enjoy that with them.


Sarah wanted our children to grow up together, to know each other, and be friends as adults, so that the connection across the Atlantic would continue to exist...

I promise to continue that effort! It doesn't stop now! We'll be here regularly, to check how you all are holding up, to help, together with many wonderful people I met through Sarah, and although things will never be the same, hopefully, eventually, we’ll be able to enjoy again..


Sarah has always been interested in maintaining the bonds with all Dutch relatives, such as my mother, Bonneke and Elodie, who without hesitation came with us to be here today. But there are many more in Holland that couldn't come, but who are with you in their thoughts and prayers.


Our daughter Frederique had a special place in her hart for Sarah, and Sarah for her. This is what she wrote and asked me to read aloud (Her English is good, not perfect, I will read it as written):




My father, Jean Pierre, who is not here, also asked me to read a few words on his behalf:


Dear All,


I am really very sorry not being able to be amongst you today to say: “till we meet again” to wonderful Sarah now that she has left us.

I would like to say just a few words not only to Harry, Nick and Tom and Helen and Nick and Lee, but more specifically, to everyone present in church:

I think, that our presence here, I count myself in, is not only for Sarah but also to share the grieve of her closest family and to show our compassion for them. Our compassion is not only to last today or until tomorrow, but our-, your presence here contains a promise for the future: namely that our compassion will last, that we all, within our personal possibilities, will surround them with all warmth and care and love, which they now so badly need.

I hope, dearest Sarah, that one day indeed we all will meet again.


Jean Pierre


I’m not sure whether there is a God that actively arranges when we come and when we go. Actually, I sometimes wouldn’t even hope so…. But I do know there is a meaning to life and that there is a beautiful place we come from and go back to..

I would like to end with a text, that expresses that very beautifully, written by Henry Scott-Holland, a British minister, who lived from 1847-1918

The words are both spiritual and comforting, I’m sure Sarah would very much agree:


Death is nothing at all

I have only slipped away into the next room

I am I and you are you

Whatever we were to each other

That we are still

Call me by my old familiar name

Speak to me in the easy way you always used

Put no difference into your tone

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow

Laugh as we always laughed

At the little jokes we always enjoyed together

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was

Let it be spoken without effort

Without the ghost of a shadow in it

Life means all that it ever meant

It is the same as it ever was

There is absolute unbroken continuity

What is death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind

Because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you for an interval

Somewhere very near

Just around the corner

All is well.

Nothing is past; nothing is lost

One brief moment and all will be as it was before 

How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!







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