I’ve been staring at this screen for quite some time. Each year as this day approaches, I wonder what will come to mind, and what I could possibly write that could be much different than the previous year. Regardless, I know nothing will ever fill the void of her absence.
Do I sit with the grief and sadness? Should the day be filled with tears or laughter? Do I celebrate her life and the time we had together? Do I swipe through old photos and reflect on the eighteen and half years she was here? Do I think about everything that has happened in the past ten years since she’s been gone? What could I possibly do to honor the person that she was and all that she would have become?
I’ve grown to realize that whether you have someone in your life for 18 days, 18 weeks, 18 months, 18 years or 80 years, the power of the impact that the person has on you is not always dictated by the duration they are here with you physically. There are events in life, especially the ones involving those leaving and entering this world, where we are transformed as individuals. When we part ways with someone as they depart our lives, in any aspect, our very essence is often transformed. And when we bring new life into this world, we are in a sense reborn as a new version of ourself.
Over the years, I knew that it would not necessarily get easier, and at times, things would actually seem even more heavy. Seeing friends and family members, or even complete strangers move through their own loss and heartbreak would reignite the feelings and emotions. Always wanting to empathize and be there for them, but also recognizing that each person moves through things differently. And then, all the other loved ones I’d say goodbye to and navigate not having them here.
Not having Samantha here for the big moments, like holidays and birthdays hurts, but more often it’s the ordinary moments when I miss her the most. With everything that has happened over the past decade, one of the most difficult things has been experiencing life with Braylon without Samantha. I think of the bond they would have. I see so much of her in so many things that Braylon says and does.
If you knew her, you know “how lucky we are to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”. If you didn’t, here’s a portion of what I wrote ten years ago to try and capture just a tiny piece of all that she was and will forever be:
“If Samantha wanted to do something, she would find a way. Being told she couldn’t, wouldn’t or shouldn’t was not an option. In a paper she wrote this past year at Worcester State she mentioned, “Some fears are worth taking the risk, meaning they can make you happier if you face them.” Samantha was not afraid to face her fears. That is, if she even had any. I can’t recall a time in which she was scared to try something new or was hesitant to take a risk.
As a young child, Samantha had her infamous “funny face” that would always bring joy to those who were with her. Over the years, she continued to find ways to make people laugh through her crazy ideas and creative mind. To some, she may have appeared as shy. Always remaining humble about the things she was good at, often left people pleasantly surprised to see Samantha’s talents and achievements. I remember when she decided to quit both dance and piano, because she would rather write her own songs and make up her own dances. Why should she have someone else tell her how it needed to be done when she could pave the way for herself? Always excelling academically, she also was a very skilled artist. I couldn’t believe how beautiful her drawings were, and that was just like Samantha to brush it off as if it was no big deal.
Most recently, she decided she wanted to join the Nursing Program at Worcester State ensuring she could assist in bettering the lives of others. Her plans and dreams didn’t stop here, she tossed around the idea of opening a business together one day, because then we could do things our way – not having to answer to anyone else. Again, this was just like Samantha – she always had her own plan in mind.
Samantha has made me a better person. I’ve learned more about life from her than I could ever imagine. I know we all have our own stories with Samantha – stories of laughter and tears, successes and failures. All of these memories captured a special moment in time and now tell the story of the beautiful woman that Samantha has become. I will never forget any one of these moments and I ask that you all don’t either.
Because Samantha lives on through all of us and I know she’s somewhere laughing at all of us, with that beautiful smile, thinking we’re foolish for crying. Because that is the way of Samantha – not allowing any time for being sad because she’s too busy living life to the absolute fullest and planning the next adventure.”