it was an unfamiliar feeling for all of us to be together for anything but a celebration. early sunday morning, with our husbands by our side, we gathered at our home for long hugs and bittersweet smiles – all in unfamiliar territory. it was so good to finally be together since hearing the news. it was one of the longest weeks ever and distance between us was almost unbearable. we so needed some time together before having to say goodbye to tone.
a rabbi, friends and family all gathered under the desert sun for tone’s beautiful graveside service. through the tears, people spoke of tone’s love of life and her vibrant spirit. stories were shared that shed light on the many different ways tone had impacted people throughout each stage of her life.
still at her graveside, tone’s dad bill embraced each of us. he sweetly whispered comforting words and told us how much she loved her time at arizona – especially being an alpha phi. with a smile, he told us that he knows many of our stories – even the ones he probably shouldn’t. as we all stood together in a circle, he reached into the breast pocket of his suit jacket and pulled out a photo of us college girls wearing crazy hats. the photo already feels dated and now those memories are sweeter than ever before. it was us. together. happy. we all laughed and smiled together.
we did the same with tone’s mom, rita. petite like tone with an eerily similar laugh and mannerisms, we told her stories from our travels across the united states and europe together and then we listened as rita told us tone would be so mad if she knew she was telling people her nickname – sarah pie.
as friends and family from each of tone’s 29 years reminisced about her, one of the reoccurring themes was how much she loved to help people. she had a “can do” attitude in her own life and genuinely believed that anyone could accomplish what they put their mind to. one particular story was about one of tone’s clients who made jewelery. tone happily agreed to wear her creations to help promote her designs. the woman credits tone with giving her the courage to quit her day job to pursue a full time career in jewelery design and production.
before the services, tiffany gave each of us a little token of remembrance that was handmade by that same woman. we each received a dainty gold bracelet with the symbol for infinity – which also resembles the number 8. perfect. we’ll forever remember tone. we’ll forever miss her and forever be friends… the eight of us.
just one month ago we were dancing and laughing with tone in las vegas. we voted her “MVP” of the weekend. she arrived full of energy and with a renewed zest for life. she was taking haircuts like a champ and was the good luck charm on the blackjack table. her stories had us laughing so hard we were actually crying. we hadn’t seen tone that happy in a long time – she was the very best version of herself and it was wonderful to see. i’ll be forever grateful for those moments with tone.