My best friend died yesterday of a heart attack. I guess it takes shock about 12 minutes to turn to grief. And then I cried. And I couldn’t stop. So did lots of other people.
Samantha had just told me not so long ago that she had known me for ten years and she had never seen me cry. Kind of ironic. Here I am swollen eyes. Headache. Pitying myself for my loss, selfishly. I guess that’s what tears are, really. Just pools of pity. I hate crying. I hate it so much, I really don’t ever do it. Maybe it’s because I do feel like it’s a selfish act. For so many reasons. But I gave myself a small window of selfishness. I gave myself until noon to cry and then I stopped. No, it’s not that easy, if that was your next question. It’s a skill I’ve honed over the years in my attempt at happiness. Like that saying goes, “it’s OK to be sad and to cry, just don’t unpack and live there.”
I can’t unpack there, Samantha wouldn’t want that.
Samantha was the embodiment of light. It’s not often that you meet someone who genuinely cares about and supports you. Samantha was one of those people. Always checking in. Always making sure we were all OK. She wanted all of her friends to succeed in every endeavor they dared to venture. And when we were scared to venture, she would validate our fears and encourage us to do it anyway.
Samantha had so many friends. And there are a lot of us who would not be friends if it weren’t for her. She brought together a group of different bodies. She was the United Nations of our group. She made sure we were all represented and we were all getting along. She was the center of our friendship universe. She made sure that we had experiences together. She made sure we had one on one experiences with her. She knew about my anxiety issues and the fact that I can’t always be in a crowd, and although she never really believed me because she said I hide it so well, she made time out of the group to catch up with me. I know she did it with a lot of us. She planned the trips, the parties, the girl’s nights, the outings, the innings, everything.
She left behind a 22 year old daughter, who is the best of everything Samantha was. She’s funny, she’s brilliant, she’s a critical thinker, a humanitarian, and a friend. And Samantha left behind a tribe of broken-hearted women. But she left each of us with a piece of her and instead of leaving her daughter motherless, she left Melina in the hands of dozens of women who were shaped and changed and loved by her mother.
The world seemed a little grey today without her, but honestly, it was so fucking bright just because she was in it and that light cannot be put out. So I will not cry any more tears for her, because that is not what she would want. I believe she would want me jamming out in my car with the windows down singing JT’s Can’t Stop the Feeling before she would want me shedding any more tears for the loss of her. Because, as huge as this loss feels, what she left behind inside me is more than what her absence leaves. She was my confidant. She was my Game of Thrones shit talking go to. She was my cheerleader. She was my best friend and more. And she found time to be all of those things to so many of us.
She taught me how to take a tough situation and smile through it. She taught me how to be strong and stand up for myself. She taught me my worth when I doubted it. She set me straight when she thought I was wrong. She went out of her way to check on me when I disappeared. She invested so much time in our friendship that I know for a fact if she spent that much time on the others, she had no time for herself. She taught me the importance of fostering relationships. She taught me the importance of making time and creating memories and sharing lives.
I don’t know what it’s going to be like tomorrow when I see something on Facebook and I want to tag her because I know she will think it’s hilarious. Maybe I will do it anyway. I will keep in touch with everyone better because she is going to want the friendships that she facilitated between us to continue.
I hope that wherever she is, she is looking down on all of us and she is proud of this family, this community, this world, that she created here. And I hope she doesn’t worry about her daughter, Melina. I hope she knows that we will pick up where she left off.
Melina said earlier that Samantha held so much love for all of us in her heart, it just couldn’t hold any more. Not many people can say they’ve been loved that much. So foster your friendships. Cherish your relationships. Tell people you love them. Make that phone call. Be that friend. Samantha was so good at doing all of those things, I bet she didn’t leave behind one friend with an ounce of guilt about what they wish they would have said her to her, because she made us all better friends, better people.
Rest Easy, Sam.