June 5, 2023

Take Flight

Sarah Rowan 1938 – 2023

Sarah McRae Rowan passed away peacefully in her home on Monday afternoon, May 29, 2023, surrounded by her loving family.

If ever there was an angel on earth, we were fortunate enough to know her.  Sarah Rowan was not only charming and kind; she was engaging, introspective, and intuitive.  Her words were like jellybeans falling from a jar.  Each with bright color and a new flavor that took us on a sweet and exciting adventure.  As Sarah spoke, she painted pictures that drew us into her experiences and helped us see how we could make our own lives remarkable. 

Sarah found a home that practiced the Eden Approach when she was looking for a place for her husband, Joseph, to live.  As Sarah tells it, Joseph walked with forgetfulness and had been “expelled” from two other places. She tells the story herself at the 2016 Eden Alternative International Conference. 

Since finding Eden, Sarah befriended the founders, Bill & Jude Thomas, and the entire family of Eden team members, educators, and advocates.  Jude and Sarah had a bond like no other.  They were kindred spirits, meant to honor this life and nurture the foundation of The Eden Alternative together.

Sarah Rowan was the Eden Alternative’s representative Elder – by virtue of her experience, was here to teach us all how to live.  She was an Eden Board Member for many years and her inspiration is incorporated into Eden Alternative training curricula. She was an example of honor and grace, love, and light, and she brought forth meaning from the simplest of events.  Sarah’s life on earth may have ended, but her spirit will live on forever within The Eden Alternative.

While traveling for training events, some of us had the honor to visit Sarah in her home in Ohio in 2019.  While touring her home she shared pictures of Joseph and her life while she spoke of the joy and meaning in her experiences.  She pointed out the ceramic tiles on her fireplace that were there long before she was, as symbols depicting the essence of life.  Every piece of furniture had meaning to her.  Every bowl on display had a story.  Sarah had a gift for finding wonder in everything and everyone.  Her power was in her soft-spoken insights, always finding the light, the positive, the good.

In May of 2023, while at a retreat with Bill & Jude Thomas, Sarah joined in by Facetime.  She was beautiful, as always, and one would never know how ill she really was.  She was filled with warmth, and she smiled even while she spoke of her pain.  All she would say was that she knew that others are enduring more than she was.  She always thought of others and understood that she was not the only person in this world who was suffering.  Selfless and strong, Sarah brought joy and laughter during her last days on earth.

Sarah spoke at the first Eden Alternative International Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC in 2002, and participated in every conference since then.  She became the convener, opening the conferences with her wisdom and inspiration.  Sarah was beloved by all who met her, and she loved them deeply.  People would often comment that Sarah was an angel on Earth.  She must have hidden her wings so she could stay and share her spirit, touching lives with hope, insight, and love.

We will miss you, dear Sarah. You can spread your wings now.  Be with Joseph and all those who have gone before you.  You are free from your pain, your work here is complete, and we will honor you always, so now you can fly.

A letter from Sara’s mother when Sarah told her that her kitchen windows were too high…


A thought for the view from your kitchen windows.  I recall once we spoke of their being high. 

Look up! Look up! Look up!

A strange and wonderful new perspective will greet you instead of earth’s problems and your neighbor’s backyard. You will see sunrises in the morning and the lingering sun rays at night.  Birds winging past or building a nest or feeding in your redbud tree.  Clouds changing shapes as they coast by.  You will grow intimate with treetops, sky, and birds (possibly a Carolina Wren watching and watching for you to appear.) Mine has 4 eggs and nesting. 

How I love them.

Look up! Look up! Look up! You will miss the trivial happenings of everyday living and live in the stars.  Stand on tiptoe- look up for the rewards of living.

Enjoy those windows and the treasures they offer.

Fondly, Mama