"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight." ~ Kahlil Gibran
|Sam Daniel Holland ~ August 2004|
I have admired Lisa & Dale since the beginning... always in awe of their attitudes, sense of humor, and ability to find the very essence of who Sam was, despite his "disability." And if you ever met Sam, you'd know that he was FULL of personality, silly, seemed to "get" things on a higher level than most, and he had a unique way of seeing almost to your soul... hard to explain, but he had my heart from day one.
|Kisses from Mom!|
I can remember our first meeting like it was yesterday. I remember Lisa & I had just finished a long day of classes to learn a new therapy to help our children. I remember her getting Sam out of the car, we stood in the parking lot, and she handed him to me. I MELTED. He was a lot bigger than Claire, smiled at me, and he had the same crossed legs as she did. He felt familiar -- like I'd always known him. He was stiff like Claire, and he too had seizures. This had become our "norm" as well, and there was just something so COMFORTING about having him in my arms. He softened into me, it even felt like he was trying to hug me... so open... honest... pure... nothing but LOVE. I remember I held him for awhile, planted plenty o' kisses on his beautiful cheeks, and I reluctantly gave him back up to Lisa as they were leaving.
I would have other similar encounters with Sam over the years (though not nearly enough, as we live 10 hours apart), and each time, my old friend and I would reconnect, and LIFE WAS GOOD. (No really, IT WAS! Those of you who were blessed enough to know Sam knew that his "uniform" was his mustard yellow "Life is Good" t-shirt ~ SO incredibly fitting for a boy who was the KING of lovin' life.)
|Dale & his "Peanut"|
Our most recent get-together was in July of 2008 in Chicago. We may or may not have allowed major bed jumping and mayhem to occur in our hotel room... SHHHHHHHHH!!!!
|I am pretty sure Cal was the instigator... and Sam encouraged him with his constant grins. |
My heart was so full that day.
|Lisa & Sam ~ July 2008|
|Cal & Sam creating a Dwarf Sandwich|
|My Buddy & I|
Over the years, sadly, I've witnessed many children I loved pass away, and each time I hear the same things over & over... "He is in a better place now" and "At least he's not suffering anymore" and "God just lends us these special children for a short time" and "It happened for a reason" and "God will not give you more than you can handle." While I know these things are said to help comfort those in need, I have realized that in reality, these trite phrases do nothing to provide comfort whatsoever because until you've walked a mile in Dale & Lisa's shoes -- or anyone else who has lost a child -- you cannot even FATHOM what this loss means. Even I can't.
You wouldn't understand that Dale & Lisa have used countless therapies to benefit Sam over the years & were always seeking out new things to try with him that might better his life in some way. You wouldn't understand that they just re-did their entire house to make it Sam-accessible. You wouldn't understand that they spent hours researching alternative ways to help Sam with various issues that arose. You wouldn't understand that Lisa & Dale watched their child have a stroke & a GI bleed & overcome it all with strength like I have never before witnessed. You wouldn't understand what a light Sam was at his school, to his teachers and therapists, and what a role model he was to his peers. You wouldn't understand how it works to have a child never "grow up" developmentally -- who required total care forever. You wouldn't understand how you learn to communicate on a level that is SO DEEP, words aren't even necessary. You wouldn't understand how it feels to invest SO MUCH OF YOURSELF into a child with a very different kind of love given in return. You wouldn't understand that he was his parents' WORLD, their entire lives. Peanut was their only child -- their perfect, precious son -- who, though he never spoke a word or walked a step, accomplished more in his 14 years than most do in a lifetime.
"Grieve not... nor speak of me with tears... but laugh and talk of me... as though I were beside you. I loved you so... 'twas Heaven here with you." ~ Isla Paschal Richardson