News for Atascadero, CA|Tuesday, May 18, 2021
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Obituary for Sarah Murphy 

Sarah Murphy.

–Our beautiful daughter Sarah passed away a week ago Sunday evening. She died from an accidental overdose while living at a sober living house in Santa Rosa California. She had been battling addiction for 9 years. Sarah was a beautiful and intelligent young woman. She had a great sense of humor and a warm loving smile. She lit up any room she entered with goodwill and a kind heart.

She was a talented artist who was inspired by the beautiful coast of California which was prevalent in her paintings. She was an awesome baker and enjoyed cooking. She played soccer and volleyball in school. She was a rock collector who loved to hike and explore. She loved no place more than Big Sur. Her love for children was reflected by the deep love given to her from her nephew Bradley.

She gave of herself to everyone she met in big ways and small, a smile, a helping hand, or a reassuring hug. Her addiction took so much from her. It took her desire to do the things she loved. It took her ability to show her love. It took her smile. It took her sparkle. It took her sense of humor. It took and took and took until it took her life.

When Sarah was 16 she had to have surgery to remove a large growth under her arm. She was prescribed an opiate pain killer. It triggered in her brain an unrelenting craving that ultimately took her life. She had been through 5 different rehabs over the course of the last 9 years. Outpatient therapy, detox centers, AA meetings all in hopes of breaking that awful grip that stole her soul and took her ability to live the life she should have had. Sarah had just finished a 2-month stay at a place called Olympia house in Santa Rosa. It’s a rehab place where you are closely monitored, counseled while living with others dealing with similar problems.

Once the insurance runs out your next best option is sober living. She found one that she really liked. There is much more freedom and but still group meetings and a house manager who tests residents for drug or alcohol use. She had been there about three weeks before she died. The week before she died, she was allowed an overnight visit and came home. It was so nice to see her in her true self. Before she left, we hugged and she hugged me so tight. The next week she seemed to be struggling. We were in close contact with her. She had a string of bad days. Mid-week she texted me that she was so grateful for me. We were a little concerned but that is a constant when dealing with this problem. On Sunday at midnight, our phone rang and it was the manager of her sober living house. He said Sarah was at the hospital. We called the hospital and they said there was no one there under her name. My wife who works in a hospital knew that meant she was dead. We confirmed it soon after.

When people say I can’t imagine the pain and sadness you must feel it’s true. I could never have imagined it. It’s a numbness that’s constant and a physical pain in the chest that comes in waves and makes you understand the meaning of a broken heart. You cry often sometimes a whimper other times uncontrollably not sure when or if it will end. Today after a week of funeral home visits, graveyard visits, picking out final clothes for Sarah and hours going through 100’s of photos for a tribute to her we had a viewing of her just my wife and I and daughter Amy.

The COVID requirements are such that only use three were allowed to attend. I had dreaded it. One of the craziest things is the mind’s inability to believe that it’s really true, that she’s really dead. It keeps entering your mind from the first moment you hear the dreadful news. To see her today lying there so still, eyes closed, cold to the touch was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. We stayed there for four hours crying, reminiscing, laughing, playing music on our phones wondering why and often still not believing it was true.

I’m going to miss her so badly. She was my best friend as well as my daughter. We enjoyed each other’s company. We’ve been through some really tough times together and also had so many great times together. She was a great traveling companion. She could make me laugh and I would always try to do the same to her. Her laugh was legendary.

Sarah was a peaceful, loving child. At her elementary school she was chosen by her peers to receive their highest award the Fruit of the Spirit Award two years in row. It was for Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, and Gentleness. No one had ever won it two times before. It has been reassuring through comments on her Facebook site from people that she has met on her journey those qualities were recognized by all she met. They typically say: amazingly kind sweet soul, helped me, put a smile on my face, one of my best friends, blessed to have had her in my life.

I’m struggling with how to wrap this up. I think I would ask that you reserve judgment on those you may see struggling through life be it family members or strangers you encounter in your daily life. Until you know the whole story of someone you cannot truly know their heart. I would also like to say that you should never let an opportunity to tell those you love how much you love them. Hug them long and hard, make them laugh when you can, and treasure each moment with them. That said, we love you all family and friends.

A memorial service will be held on Aug. 15 at 10 a.m. at the Willow Creek Mennonite Cemetery on Vineyard Drive, across the street from Opolo Vineyard 7110 Vineyard Drive, Paso Robles, California.

The Paso Robles Daily News accepts and publishes local obituaries and death notices free of charge from individuals and local funeral homes. See information and tips here on writing an obituary. Please submit the obituary a few days before services, if possible. To submit an obituary, please email it to with “obituary” in the subject line. Please email a photo along with the obituary.

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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the A-Town Daily News wrote and edited this article from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on , Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog. He can be reached at

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