By: Sara Walker, MD
On Sunday, January 27, our residency family tragically lost one of our own, Dr. Sarah Hawley. We are still reeling from shock and devastation, as Sarah brightened the lives of everyone around her. I only met her last June during residency orientation but cannot fathom not having her in my life.
Sarah was an amazing person who wanted everyone else to enjoy life as much as she did. She lived every day to the fullest, with seemingly boundless energy – she would even go for a run after a 13-hour OB shift but still arrive early for our weekly pub trivia game. She had a knack for bringing people closer and frequently hosted or organized get-togethers to ensure that we all made time for the important people in our lives. She loved to share her cooking with others and hosted our intern class’ Friendsgiving with her parents, along with a myriad of other BBQs, s’mores parties, and more. She focused on the small things that most overlook – from picking up mail for people who were out-of-town, picking others up at the airport, and wishing us good luck the night before Step 3. We even learned that she kept the text-message read receipt on because she felt she owed it to people to know that she had read their message and that she was accountable to answering it.
Sarah was an incredibly compassionate person and was a wonderful doctor. She had already enriched so many people’s lives and was going to do so much more good in this world. We are profoundly saddened that her light was prematurely extinguished.
I am writing this letter not only to convey what a joyous person Sarah was, but also to thank everyone for their generous outpouring of support.
To Sarah’s family, thank you for your love and kindness. We have met you several times during the short span of residency thus far and have been amazed by your thoughtfulness. You adopted us into your family and we are truly touched.
To my intern class and their partners, thank you for being there. We have spent so much time together this past week, reenacting Sarah’s first hike, winning trivia in her honor, and just staring at walls together. I am so incredibly lucky to be grouped with you all. You are all family and I love you.
To the second- and third-year residents, thank you for your support, hugs, and, most importantly, covering our shifts so that the intern class could be together. I know that you are all grieving as well and am incredibly grateful that you volunteered to work our inpatient services in spite of your own mental anguish.
To the chiefs, Family Med faculty and support staff, thank you for your constant offers of additional support and organizing all the logistics. Again, I know you are also struggling with the weight of your emotions and appreciate that you are doggedly trying to muddle through uncharted waters. From organizing support groups to rearranging schedules, to making sure we have food available, to doing, well, everything. You guys are amazing people and I am so thankful to be part of this caring program.
To the residents, faculty, and staff in the OB and Pediatrics departments at the U and at Salt Lake Regional, thank you for your understanding and compassion. You are covering some of our shifts and we are lucky to be part of this culture. I know you are also hurting, many of you worked with Sarah on various rotations throughout the past seven months.
To Proper Burger/Brewing Company, thank you for hosting trivia every Tuesday. Through these weekly events, we grew far closer as a class and laughed so much. We made a lot of happy memories there, although it may be a while before we come back as a group. But your burgers really are delicious.
To the community at large, thank you for your outpouring of support. We are continually being surprised by the far-reaching lives that Sarah touched. The little things make a big difference and that is one thing that I want to continue for her. Sarah may no longer be here in body, but I promise she will stay with us in spirit.
We love you Sarah and will miss you every day.
A candlelight vigil will be held on Monday, February 4 to honor Dr. Sarah Hawley at the Univerity Guest House in the Fort Douglas Ballroom at 7:00 PM. All are invited and welcome to attend.