Nadia Harumi Smit, 26, and her mother, Nenita Smit, joked about having a goodbye party for Nadia, before she headed back to SF State to finish her last year of college. Nadia picked out the largest white cake she could find at Costco for them to share.
“But I didn’t think this ‘goodbye party’ was really going to be goodbye,” said Nenita.
While driving back to SF State with her boyfriend, Troy Miller, Nadia, an SF State journalism major, died in a car accident in Merced County last Monday, Aug. 27.
She told her mom ‘I love you and take care of yourself’ and hopped into their red, rented Chrysler Sebring. But then she opened the door and ran to hug her parents and brother goodbye again.
“We were all joking, telling each other ‘you’re sticky and sweaty’ and we all laughed,” said Nenita. “It was one of the hottest days in San Diego and [Nadia] was still wearing her black boots with pink fluorescent tape.”
Around 4 a.m. that morning, Nadia and Miller, 19, an SF State undeclared major, were driving down I-5. Tired from a long day of errands, Miller lost control of the wheel. They veered to the right and the car flipped over four times.
“When we realized what was going on, we both looked at each other,” said Miller. “I turned to Nadia and said baby just let it happen I love you; I love you.”
Without a seatbelt, Nadia had been ejected from the vehicle.
Miller raced to her side. She was lying on the dirt side of the road 12 ft from the wreck, motionless. He checked her heart rate and gave her mouth to mouth.
He didn’t sustain any serious injuries from the accident, just bruises, scraps, and burns from his seatbelt.
“It was like something out of a horror movie. If you’re okay, you call their name and you expect them to answer. I called her name, but there was no answer,” he said.
Also known for her striking tattoos, especially the one over her left forearm that depicted an intricate drawing of an old Japanese battle scene, Nadia had a thing for 60s and 70s vintage dresses and checkered gray, fake fur coats.
For the last three years of her life, she followed Veganism religiously. She’d kick anyone out her room for carrying, wearing, or eating an animal product– even Ritz Bits sandwiches. She deeply cared about life and humanity.
On rainy days, she’d stay home all day in her pajamas, smoking cigarettes, playing Guitar Hero and other video games with her boyfriend.
After she graduated, she wanted to travel to Amsterdam and visit family, buy a house in either San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego, work at a magazine, get married, and adopt kids. She was insistent about not having her own, said Miller.
The VegNews magazine summer intern doted on and fed stray cats, dogs, and even wild raccoons while tending to five cats of her own: Dolly Mama; Mongo Jerry; Annie; Tofu, and Shippo.
The funeral service was held on September 1, at the Glen Abby Chapel in Bonita, Calif.
With make-up and hair done by her best friends, said Nenita, Nadia laid in her casket, dressed in a white half-coat coordinated with a black and white stripped shirt, a pair of low waisted skinny jeans, and skull patterned tennis shoes.
As she would have wanted, her parents placed the cremated remains of her deceased cat Mama Kitty and her Boston terrier Oreo with her when she was buried.
“If it was up to her, she would adopt every cat, dog, animal…and keep them all in our room and none of them would be put down,” Miller said.
A loaf of bread and garbanzo beans was all Miller and Nadia had left to eat one day. With $10 dollars left of their money in her pocket, Nadia purchased cat litter and cat food for her feline friend Tofu. Nadia refused to doubt her animal-tarian logic. She explained to Miller: “Tofu didn’t ask for us to take care of it. She was given to us. We asked to have the cat so we need to put her first.”
Nadia leaves behind her parents Nenita and Tom Smit and her younger brother Nicolai.