Sarah Faye Hurth

9 May


9 years ago today I was woken up around 3am by my roommate in Santa Barbara, California.  She was holding our house phone.  I was not prepared to process the news I was about to hear.  I clearly remember telling the voice on the other line that they were lying.  As I choked back tears and frantically grabbed my cell phone I knew the voice was telling me the truth due to the sheer volume of missed calls.  I have never felt despair like I felt in that moment.  Its like your heart has been ripped right out of your chest.  I couldn’t believe Sarah was gone from my life forever.  I cried so hard that it hurt my entire body.  I shook with grief.

Immediately I started making necessary phone calls.  In a tizzy I packed a bag.  I jumped in my car and began the four hour drive to San Jose.  I couldn’t get there fast enough.

The days that followed still feel like a dream to me as I look back on them.  The entire two weeks I spent home were a blur.  We were all busy with planning a memorial service that would dare do the amazing person Sarah had been to all of us justice.

Her service had to be a celebration of her life (and it most certainly was).  The restaurant she worked at, Maggiano’s, dedicated the bar to her.  The purple plaque still hangs there today.

I hadn’t slept more than a few hours each night after receiving the news she had passed.  After her memorial service I was finally able to sleep.  The closure of everyone coming together to share our love of Sarah gave me the outlet I needed to find a sliver of peace in my heart while the wound was still so fresh.

Sarah lived life fast.  A part of me thinks that she knew her time on earth was going to be short which is why she packed so much into her 21 years.  I was always trying to reel her in and get her to buckle down.  She always told me that just because a path was right for me didn’t mean it was right for her.  I’m so grateful her number one priority in life was what ever brought a smile to her face and those she loved.  She was an eternal optimist.  She always saw the best in people.  I always admired that about her.


The last time I spent time with Sarah was on my 22nd Birthday.  She came to Santa Barbara to celebrate with me.  We had three major moments while we visited that I hold near and dear to my heart to this day:

1) We used to crack each other up to the point of tears constantly.  As we were getting ready to go to dinner she was sharing with me how she had completely fried her hair by dying it bleach blonde.  As she was brushing through the locks, a huge chunk came out.  As she held up a fried glob of straw like blonde hair, we both lost it.  It was the funniest thing either of us had ever seen.

2) We went to a bar downtown after dinner that had karaoke.  Clad in a very conservative J. Crew dress, I sang my favorite over the top offensive rap songs: 2 Live Crews, “Me So Horny”, and Sir Mix-a-Lots, “Baby Got Back” (sorry, Mom).  Sarah did her best Fly Girl impersonation on stage with me.  I distinctly remember the DJ saying, “Now that’s what I call entertainment”.

3) After dinner that night, my roommate decided to blow me off to spend time with her loooooooooser boyfriend.  Sarah, of course, wanted to make sure I was okay.  At the time I did not grasp how critical this moment was.  I said to Sarah everything you would want to share with your best friend if you had the slightest inclination she may not be here tomorrow.  I told her how much I loved her.  I shared with her how much I valued our friendship.  We had a long heart to heart about how much we meant to each other and how we’d always be best friends no matter what.  I look back on that conversation now and I am so grateful that it happened.  I cherish that moment so much.  If I could go back in time, there is nothing I would have said or done differently.


I gave Sarah the biggest hug before she left back to San Jose.  The last thing I said to her was that I loved her.  Twelve days later she was gone.

She lost control of her car on the way home from work.  She was thrown from her car.  Reports say she was not wearing her seat belt.

A piece of paper with Sarah’s sister’s phone number on it was lying near her at the scene of the accident.  A couple that stopped to try to help her picked it up.  They called and shared with Sarah’s sister what they saw on Sarah’s last moments on this earth.  Sarah was not in agony as she passed.  She died instantly.  She did not suffer.  She fluttered away to heaven before they even reached her.  They stayed with her until first responders arrived.

I don’t believe in coincidences.   I firmly believe everything happens for a reason.  A stranger’s phone call was her way of letting us know that she was okay.  Sarah didn’t want us to wonder if something more could have been done to keep her here with us.

They say the greatest heartache is that of a parent losing a child.  I have witnessed such pain first hand.  Sarah’s parents, even 9 years later, still grieve for the daughter they miss so much.  The kindness of strangers at the very minimum gave them some comfort in knowing that their daughter was not in pain.


Processing death is a just that, a process.  I went through a series of the rawest of emotions.  I have ended in a place of peace though.  I know that Sarah is with me always.  She has quite the sense of humor still.  Just when I think it’s all in my head she will do something that makes me know that she is right by my side.

The legacy Sarah left behind is to love hard and laugh often.  It brings me great sadness that all the moments I thought she’d be here to share, go on in her absence.

In tribute to Sarah, I have a tattoo on my back with her name.  Its in her favorite color, purple.  Sarah’s mom, sister, my Mom, and my other best friend (also named, Sarah) have the same tattoo.  I like to think that she is my ultimate guardian angel.  When things aren’t going my way in life, its really Sarah protecting me from worse circumstances.

This quote from one of my favorite books, Tuesdays With Morrie, sums up my feelings on my friendship with Sarah…

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.”

I think of her every day.  This time of year more than ever.  I’m lucky to have shared a moment in time with a soul so incredibly special.  She will always be my best friend.



3 Responses to “Sarah Faye Hurth”


  1. Contagious Happiness | Vogel's Happiness Project - December 22, 2013

    […] best way you can honor the memory of someone so unbelievable special.  Whether its Mallory Rae or Sarah Faye, I will honor their BEAUTIFUL souls every […]

  2. 365 Sentences | Vogel's Happiness Project - December 31, 2013

    […] love alive is the most powerful thing you can do when you lose someone.  I carry the memory of Sarah Faye Hurth with me every day.  The short but powerful life of Mallory Rae Dies awakened something within […]

  3. It’s Gonna Be M A Y | Vogel's Happiness Project - May 28, 2014

    […] with the sweet. Thank you to everyone that made the journey to SJ to celebrate the amazingness of Sarah Faye. Thank you to Dusty and Donna for hosting us. Thank you to Maggiano’s for making it so special. […]

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