Samantha with her family...Peggy, Perry, and her little brother, Daniel
Samantha, Daniel, and their puppy, Rosie
My leadership class (PALs) has three teams ready for action at Relay for Life tonight. Forty plus kids, three tents, lots of food....but most important, hearts for friends and family that are fighting the fight of their lives or that have been overcome by the monster that is cancer. This relay...this year...is most important to me. I haven't talked much about how cancer has wormed its way in and around everyday life near me, my family, and my friends. But we don't like it. One bit.
In January, my dear friend lost her daughter to leukemia, and that sweet little angel is missed every day, all day, but she sure is making a mark from Heaven. We still feel her, she's still throwing parties and heading up fundraisers to help others conquer what her body could not, and her strength and her livliness are her family's will and peace to continue on and spread the word. I miss that little Samantha...when she was not even a year old, she came and spent weekdays with the boys and I while her momma worked. She learned to crawl and how to scream at the top of her lungs if Brady bugged her, and I must have fed her tons of Keebler chocolate chip cookies. She loved them, and she learned to come in and say, "cookie?" with a sweet little question mark at the end. Brady read books to her. Bodie played trucks with her. She grew, and she grew, and she grew...and she was a flower girl in my wedding. She sat at pretty tables in a tea room having lunch with her momma and I. Life got in the way of us spending much time with them, and then we found the same friendship still existed.
And then they found the cancer.
I was blessed to be able to see her again, to take her hats that my mom crocheted for her, that she wrapped over her wispy hair with a sass that only a little fashionista would have. I kissed her warm little face and told her she was an angel. I'll never forget how that felt. And then a few days later Jesus took her home. Oh, what heartbreaking sorrow it is, and unimaginable emptiness and hurt her family feels. But, oh, what joy she still brings every day with memories, life-changing events, and little beats of angel wings that I know they hear, because I can hear them too.
So, tonight, I will walk for Sam. I will walk for Nancy, for Lynn, for Nicky, and for Charlie. It matters not that I am responsible for 40 kids, and have the late shift; it's nothing compared to the sleepless nights and endless struggles and worry and stress my family and friends battle against. See you on the track...you're coming, right?
Sam wrote a poem (she was quite the little poet) that was published in her celebration bulletin and read at her celebration service, and words that are loved by many. I wanted it on my shirt so that she would be walking with me tonight. She's a fighter, that little miss. Here's the poem:
Just Like a Weaving Kit by Samantha Schmidt
Just like a weaving kit every life has knots and twists.
They take patience and kindness,
Just like our everyday lives.
There's friendship and love and a bit of hate.
There's joy and sadness and lots of worrying.
There's people who care, especially God.
Just like a weaving kit, every life has knots and twists.