Most of the time, it doesn't seem like he's gone. Not yet. When we're in the US we typically talk to him via Skype once or twice a month... so it just feels like we'll talk to him "in a little bit". I think it will really sink in when we go back to Thailand and he isn't there for a visit.
|Rusty and Sam holding a gift from our Karen friends.|
Sam was always so supportive of the kids we care for, calling and checking in to be sure they were well taken care of.
I can't believe that just over a year ago, we didn't know this man. In the short time we have known him, he has truly become family to us. Losing him was almost like losing a grandfather, because that is how much he loved us and took care of us (and the way we tried to love and take care of him). We have re-told our favorite "Sam stories" the past few weeks with laughter and tears. He was such a kind, funny, tender, compassionate, generous man. I will miss the twinkle in his eyes and the funny way he had of putting things!
|A picture taken on the mirrored "wall" behind Sam's favorite countertop restaurant in Thailand.|
He introduced me to mangosteen that night and was so excited when I told him it was my new favorite fruit!
While in Thailand last March, we got to celebrate Sam's 81st Birthday. He told us not to make a fuss but I'm so glad we did, considering it was his last. We took him out to dinner and for some reason there was a firework show that night! (I told him it was for his birthday, haha!) We surprised him with a CD Player and an MP3 Player in his car - full of his favorite music - which really tickled him. He couldn't believe 800 songs fit on that little jumpdrive! At the end of the night we gave him a piece of chocolate cake and sang to him. I found the video today and cried remembering all his little mannerisms. Can't you see the twinkle in his eye?
We found out from his son that Sam was actually a war hero. He served in Korea and in Vietnam for 12 years. He won 2 bronze stars and 1 silver star for valor - apparently he continued going back for his men under heavy fire. Of course he was too modest to tell us that.
|One of Sam's favorite things to do was take us out for coffee and ice-cream after dinner. Here we are at his favorite place!|
We only knew him for a year, but it was truly an honor to share in his last year of life. I'm eternally grateful that God crossed our paths and gave us the great blessing of a relationship with him! We are forever changed because of it.