One of the most difficult things I’ve had to do as a father was to sit my two daughter’s on the couch and tell them that a childhood friend has died and another is in the hospital fighting for her life.
Then I think about Heidi and Kristen and Faith and the pain and emptiness that they’re feeling today and of the physical pain that Andrea and Emma are enduring after their accident and am overwhelmed with grief.
Like many people in our Bluffton community, I’m heartbroken and so incredibly sad and am struggling to make sense of how such an incredible young woman is gone so soon.
As kids, it seemed like these girls were always together. You would think I would have a hundred pictures of Sarah with Grace, but could only find these few from a 6th grade Soccer Game in September 2013 and a 5th Grade class field trip to Camp Driftwood on St. Simon’s Island earlier that spring.
I love that Grace is dressed in her pink cap and sporting a Justin Bieber tee-shirt looking as sweet and innocent as can be. If you knew her you know that she loved music and had her own sense of style.
And I love that these pictures capture the different sides of her personality: being adventurous by holding a python with Sarah and petting a baby alligator and simply being awesome with her twin sister and friends.
Classmates with Sarah since kindergarten, I would always see Grace in the gym playing basketball and at school functions and on the soccer field. Their Mom’s and I were friends and the kids were good kids and we all watched out for each other and carpooled when needed and we all took care of each other.
And now, just two years after she led our soccer team to a recreation league championship and Sarah switched focus to volleyball and Grace started running track suddenly, Grace is gone.
A victim of a hit and run car accident on her way home from a track meet that has left Sarah’s best friend from elementary school Emma Dewey and her amazing mom Andrea in the hospital fighting for life.
I’m not sure that words can convey the sadness and senseless loss that I am feeling this week. Personally, I’m having trouble keeping myself from falling apart whenever I look at my girls.
As someone who’s lost a brother in a car accident, this tragedy has really hit home and I’m most worried about Grace’s twin sister Faith. I’m not sure how or what to say, but know that I must reach out to let her know that I’m here for her, no matter what.
Thinking back, I will always remember Grace’s laugh and her smile and her being an amazing student athlete – in the gym, on the field and on the track.
She’d become obsessed with running these past few years and I remember how proud I was the day I learned she’d made the Bluffton High School Cross Country and Track team as a middle schooler.
One of my fondest memories of Grace was her selecting Amanda to be on her team during soccer scrimmages, because Mandy was the youngest and Grace was cool like that.
Amanda even tells a story of the time that her 5th grade class paid a visit to Bluffton Middle and Grace spotted her and took her on a private tour of the school.
She didn’t care that Sarah’s sister was a year and a half younger than her and was a grade behind her in school. Mandy was her friend and that was that.
Rest In Peace Sweet Grace. I will always remember you as such a beautiful soul, gone much too soon. Our Bluffton community grieves with your parents and sister today. We are so sad.
YouTube Video 5.13.2016: Emma Dewey – Walks for 1st time since accident
Donations are being accepted to help cover Andrea and Emma’s medical costs. If you can help, please visit: Go Fund Me
Grace Hanson Sulak, Sept. 20, 2001 – May 7, 2016 Obituary
Additional links: Island Packet – Remembering Grace Sulak