With Much Gratitude

Soroptimist of Alhambra-San Gabriel-San Marino
City of Alhambra
Mayor Barbara Messina & Michael Messina
Councilman Gary Yamauchi
Valarie Gomez, CEO/YMCA of West San Gabriel Valley
St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital
Susan Wood/Forest Lawn
Jan Thomas (Setting Captives Free)
All wonderful friends and family

At Sarah's services and reception on November 15th Mayor Barbara Messina and every Council Member attended and gave me a Certificate of Condolence that the City Council meeting was adjourned in her honor on November 10th.

I have been blessed that during this time of great sadness and sorrow my son and I have had the support of so many that has led us to begin this foundation and to make a difference in the lives of young women suffering from this disease. 

Written by Joseph Sweeney (brother)

     My sister was a miracle baby.  She was born prematurely 7 lbs 9 ounces on October 10, 1988 at 4:11am.  She fought her way into this world and never looked back. She always had a desire to truly shine, shock and amaze at whatever it was she was involved in, whether it be musicals with our music group called Kings Kids or even simple days where we would just lollygag around the house.  She was an exceptional student, getting straight A’s and graduating as valedictorian from grade school.  One of her great talents was in writing and art.  I can remember back to times at my grandparents house where she would love to draw, and create beautiful pictures – some of which she would actually sell and make a few bucks on.

     Other times would live life on the edge… sometimes literally. I can remember a few years ago when she was 12. She and my mother had gone to purchase a bicycle and of course her largest concern was looking good on that bike.  It had to be the perfect height, color, and size, but when it came to riding the bike she had to make sure her hair was perfect as well… thus the helmet dilemma… if she wore the helmet her hair would get messed up and that just wouldn’t do… but my mom knew best and made her get a helmet as well… The next day we went riding up GMR or Glendora Mountain Road.  It was tons of fun and when we got to the top we looked out over the city thinking of things to come.  On the way down the hill we were picking up speed then ahead of us I saw a bunch of sand all over the road.  For those of you who have been biking we know that you continue going right through it without braking… but this was relatively new to Sarah and she braked as I was looking back to make sure she was alright.  As she did so she flipped over the handle bars, flew through the air and landed with a smack on the edge of the mountain path just a few feet from the edge of the cliff.  I rushed back to see if she 
was alright and the first thing I noticed was her helmet (which my mother had made her purchase) was broken into three pieces!  Fortunately she was alright and we returned home… That image was burned into my mind for a long time… the bike skidding out of control… my sister’s body flying over the handle bars and landing on her back then smashing her helmet into the ground… just feet from the edge of the mountain… I thanked God for looking out for my little sister and sparing her life.

     In a small way that was indeed who she was… speeding through life focused on the goal… on her passion, her dreams, and her aspirations.  She was always looking forward, her eyes set on the prize not giving credence to anything that might seem to  get in her way.  As some of you know, that dream was to become a model in New York City.  She rushed through school graduating ahead of all of her friends and focused on that dream.  At first she saw some resistance but as time passed she entered a portion of the world she had imagined… she was signed by modeling agencies and met some of the largest stars and scouts in the business.  She spread light wherever she went full of love and kindness.  She lived each day as if it were her last always pushing forward towards her goal.  My sister kept diaries where she would write her thoughts to the Lord. While looking over some of these I came to know more fully the strength, conviction, and faith of my dear sister.  In these diaries she wrote down her goals and dreams and her prayers.  It was her custom to keep one journal at a time… and when finished throw it away and start a new one.  Most people would keep their journals, but to her it was like turning over a new leaf… a fresh start… a new beginning.  She would toss away the old and welcome in the new, fully understanding how she got to that point, and creating a new dream and fervor for what would come next.  Her passion for the future, her heart for her friends and family, and her faith in her Lord were the cornerstones that she built her life upon.  To a life well lived, and a sister who will be dearly missed.  I look forward to when we will meet again.

Written by Beth Ann (Sarah's best friend)

     Sarah I miss you. It is not fair that you are gone so soon and I don't understand why but I do find comfort knowing you are in a much better place. I know you are up in heaven watching over us. You were one of the best friends I could ever ask for. I love how encouraging and optimistic you were about life. You were a beautiful person inside and out with a heart of gold. You lived everyday for Jesus and had faith to move mountains. Thank you for inspiring me to reach out and accomplish my dreams and be the best I can be. RADIANCE is the perfect word to describe you and I strive to be the same. I am so sorry that you had to struggle with this eating disorder. I believe your story will touch the hearts of millions everywhere and that all girls who suffer with e.d. will realize just how serious it is, and will seek help.  I pray they'll know their beauty and worth and will come to know the truth, and the TRUTH will set them free.  A day will not go by without me thinking of you Sarah. I will cherish all of our precious memories and hold them dear to my heart forever. I love you. Rest in peace and love.

Written by Maria (Sarah's roommate from New York)

     I have been struggling to make sense of the tragic event that brings you all here today.  Sarah and I were working as a determined team this past year.  Our friendship was tested and grew, as we endured some very difficult times.  During this year Sarah began to admit to herself and to me and to her mother that she had an eating disorder.  That was not an easy thing for her.  And I am so proud of her. She worked hard to get well.  When Sarah sets her mind to something…well, it isn’t just any girl that moves across the country at 17 to follow her dream.  She was so brave.  I admired her.  Years of denial, however, had already taken their toll on her beautiful heart. As saddened as I am by her passing, I cannot say that I am regretful.  We tried so hard, she and I, to work toward a healthy future.  And as sudden as her departure was from this earth, I am so comforted to know little was left unsaid between us.  Our communication was filled with love and respect for each other.  Even when discussing the hardest of topics, there was love there.  So I write to you, the family and friends who love her as I do, that she was surrounded by love when she passed.  She was not alone.
And I write to Sarah,
My friend, my roommate, my sister, 
    
      You were put in my path for a reason.  I have grown so much this past year because of you.  I have become an adult.  You needed my support and unconditional love.  I tried my hardest to give you those things and more.  In exchange you gave me so much.  You know I don’t mean material things.  I mean love and faith and trust and friendship.  You never judged me, Sarah.  Not once. You never criticized me.
     I was lonely before you came to live with me.  You cheered up my home with your sunny smile.  I hope I never forget the times you would turn up the music and dance to my arrival home.  We would laugh so hard over the silliest things.  Your fun loving and chipper nature was so delightful.  Everyone who met you knew you were special.  You left such an impression on people.  You will be missed and remembered by so many here in New York.  In a city of millions, you stood out like a star.  The star you always wanted to be.   Your mother says I was your angel, Sarah...
I think you were mine.

Written by Telly (friend/co-worker)

For my Dear Sarah

It is with a heavy heart that I write this.  In our lifetime we are blessed with beautiful people that cross our paths.  I truly had the pleasure of meeting one of the most beautiful and kind hearted people. Sarah was a daughter, a sister, a friend, an angel. Sarah had the purest heart, she was always smiling and trying to 
make everyone around her happy. Sarah just loved to laugh. A laugh and smile that would brighten the room.  I remember when I first met her. At first sight your at a loss for words. All you can say is "WOW"! She was just amazingly beautiful and statuesque, with a gorgeous smile, stunning legs and innocent eyes.  Then you get to know her and she was so humble and encouraging. I realized she was even more beautiful on the inside. Everything Sarah offered to her friends and coworkers was positive and uplifting. Her presence always brightened everyone's day.  Sarah's death was sudden. I remember when I heard the news I simply could not believe it. When we here at the office heard of Sarah's death, we were shocked and saddened. We stopped. We stopped our problem-solving,… our concerns for the work getting done,… our push toward all deadlines. Infinitely more important than such routine matters is dealing with the loss of one who had become like a family member to us at work. Sarah was too young but as it slowly occurred to me I have realized that she indeed lived this life wonderfully. Sarah was well-loved and she had done so many things on earth and I’m sure she’ll do much more in heaven. I will forever be grateful to have known Sarah. All the memories we have all shared with Sarah will forever be cherished and remembered. Sarah will forever live in my heart… In our hearts. We will miss her deeply, - no, we already miss her deeply. But she will live on in our hearts, and if we look around us, we can see her accomplishments as well. She has left a fine family, and made a difference in other’s lives. Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is letting our memories die.  Sarah no longer lives on earth, but Heaven has offered her eternal life. We will miss her and always wonder why she had to die without a chance to say good-bye. God doesn't want us to say good-bye, because it is forever, so we will say so long and our love we will send, because we all know we will meet again. 

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”   Richard Bach Sarah is my butterfly. I love you.

With much sincerity and love.

Telly.

"My First Christmas In Heaven"

    I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below   With tiny lights, like Heaven's stars, reflecting on the snow.   The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away the tear   For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
   I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear   But the sounds of music can't compare with the Christmas   choir up here.  I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices   bring.  For it is beyond description, to hear the angels sing.
   I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart   But I am not so far away, We really aren't apart.   So be happy for me, dear ones, You know I hold you dear.   And be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
   I sent you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above.   I sent you each a memory of my undying love.   After all, love is a gift more precious than pure gold.   It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.
   Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do.   For I can't count the blessing or love he has for each of you.   So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear   Remember, I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ   this year.

Author Unknown

Written by Michelle Belling

Hi Rebecca,

My name is Michelle Belling, I went to school with Sarah at foothill christian. I think I have met you once but 
I just wanted to let you know Sarah meant a lot to me! After we left foothill I lost contact with her until I started getting in touch with Bethann again, and she got me connected back with Sarah about a year ago, I was 
in shock to see how even MORE beautiful she had gotten!! The fact she was in New York and following her 
dream! She always told us that she was going to be a model I couldn't believe that she did it! If everyone 
was like Sarah the world would be a MUCH better place. She is my hero an inspiration to me!! Her love for 
the Lord and the fact that she put her mind to it and made it happen! How many people can say that! I 
remember when Sarah, Bethann, Tianna, and I did show choir together and Sarah hated those dresses we wore, but we all made her stick with it! I was hurt me so much when Bethann told me the news. Yesterdays service was so beautiful, I wish I would have gone up to give you my condolences but I was like she doesn't know me, so I didn't go. But I give you my condolences. Sarah Is in a happier place! You are so stong and you inspire me to go on and no question why. You had the courage to go up and talk so I have to have the courage to realize that its going to be okay. Just know your daughter is my hero and I am going to miss her! You and 
your son are in my prayers everyday!

God Bless,

Michelle
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My Daughter,
 
The Memories You've Given Me
 
We've shared our lives these many years
You've held my hand; you've held my heart
So many blessings, so few tears
Yet for a moment, we must part.
The memories you've given me
Are times I've shared with my best friend
I'll hold them, precious daughter, right here they'll be
Until we share our lives again