Monday morning I was checking my phone, half in a stomach flu/fever induced blur when I saw a strange text from my girl, Shelby. It said "Are you in Mexico? Call or text if you want to talk."
Not strange because I heard from her, but the "tone" was strange. We definitely keep in touch, she's just one of those girls you can't help but stay close with even after graduating college, moving away, getting real jobs, married…the whole nine yards. I sent her a quick text back saying I was home, and "what's up?"
Then my phone rang. Shelby sounded immediately upset. She asked if I had heard about our friend Sarah. Having no idea what she was talking about I asked more questions. She started to cry and told me that Sarah had passed away the night before from a heart attack.
The conversation went to silence, then comments of disbelief. What? A heart attack? We're THIRTY THREE years old? I was stunned, I was shocked.
Shelby started to get a lot more upset and I was still taking it all in so she asked me to give her information to one of Sarah's really good friends that I still keep in touch with. She told me that this girl, Kelly, already knew but to give her contact info in case she needed a place to stay when she came into town.
I got off the phone and cried a little. I started having some memories of the last time I saw Sarah. It was 2 years ago in Seattle for Shelby's wedding. Before that it had been years. I very vividly remember her from the wedding. She had the same contagious smile she has always had, same positive attitude and genuine desire to know how everyone, including myself were & had been doing the past few years. It was as if the 10 years since our incredibly crazy fun time in college had never passed. I still can't get her smile and hug from the wedding out of my head.
After I gathered myself, I sent a text to Kelly & a couple of other girls with some contact info. Like before with Shelby my phone rang within seconds. It was Kelly. Kelly and Sarah were crazy close in college, and I remembered seeing some pictures of them together on Facebook very recently - Sarah had gone to wine country to visit Kelly (she works for a winery there). I remember thinking how great it was that those pictures looked just like old times.
Kelly had no clue what my text was about. What was I talking about, Sarah? I explained to her what I knew and that I was so sorry I texted about it, I was told she knew already. She paused for a minute, then asked if she could call me back. A few minutes later my phone rang again and she said she had to pull over and think for a minute. She sounded very calm this time. She told me I was mistaken. That it was Sarah's old roommate that died a couple of months ago from a heart issue. I tried to explain to her that this JUST happened, and the phone went quiet. She was in complete shock and then said something about an arrhythmia that she found out about in college. I'm guessing not many people knew about this health problem as Sarah was never one to complain, never one to be down or ask for anything.
We chatted a while longer and then hung up. I logged onto Facebook and couldn't believe the posts on my news feed. So many names and faces I haven't seen or heard from in years all posting their condolences on Sarah's Facebook page. I read all of them, looked at the pictures the memories.
While I haven't lost a lot of people in my life I can certainly say that the overwhelming positive things I've heard and read about Sarah and the loss of such a young, young life have been completely beyond anything I've ever experienced. She was an amazing, happy, beautiful person who clearly had a positive influence on anyone she ever met. She was taken far, far too early.
I feel so blessed to have known her, to have spent 4 amazing years in college with her. I feel blessed and privileged to call her my friend.
Sarah, you will forever be missed. Know that you were loved, respected and most of all will never be forgotten.
Her has set up a donation page to anyone wanting support the American Heart Association.