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Savannah Smiles

Savannah Smiles

While death may be an inevitable part of life, there’s a certain order that’s expected, an acceptable timeline that everyone seems to anticipate. Birth, childhood, adulthood, then the inevitable end that comes after the greying of heads and the waning of vigor. In between, we live those life experiences that define us and make us who we are…and when those lives are cut short before those experiences can happen, death seems all the more tragic. 

At nine years old, Savannah Scharfenstein became one of those tragic stories. Amazingly, when her parents look back on her, they see the little girl who was such a light in their lives during the time that they had her, rather than the child who was taken away from them. It’s a remarkable perspective to have, especially in light of the circumstances that cost her life—but it’s one that has also helped them heal. 

“She was really full of life,” says her mother, Jennifer. “She was creative, funny, dramatic, and she loved to be in front of a camera in the home movie productions she and her sisters put together. She did gymnastics and dance and loved playing with her sisters. She was also compassionate and liked to play quietly alone. She absolutely loved her sisters and her friends and Jesus. She was also a singer; and one week before God took her home, she sang ‘Happy Birthday Jesus’ in ‘big church’ in front of hundreds of people. She was nervous and a little scared that she wouldn’t be able to do it, but she did fabulously. Only in hindsight did we realize what a gift that was, because the very next Sunday, she was face-to-face with that same Jesus she sang to a week before.”

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