Samantha's Eight Rules of Life, a Eulogy
My wife, Samantha Wildeford, passed away this week.
While I'm sad that she's gone, I'm so happy she could pass away with myself and all the others who loved her. Her life wasn't always kind to her, but she filled it with such love and kindness to everyone. She touched so many people and I'm really happy to have been a part of that.
I admire her strength, her bravery, her courage, and her caring.
She was my best friend, I love her always, and I will miss her very much.
To honor her memory, I present Samantha’s eight rules for life:
First is rule number one.
Rule number one for Samantha is to always have something to look forward to.
Samantha was always a girl who would get really excited about things. I would love seeing her wide smile and her whole face light up when she’d be excited about even the simplest of things, like going to Chilli’s.
Samantha would plan events a little bit in the future and it would get through her hard times by thinking forward to an event in the future.
It’s harder to be sad when you know happiness is coming soon.
Another thing Samantha was pretty great at was journaling. She’d write these journals and occasionally give some of them to me.
And each page would be flawless. I had no idea how she would write out a page in pretty purple ink and not have anything crossed out or messed up and not have any pages torn out or redone.
That brings me to Samantha’s rule number two: Always write in erasable ink.
One time in high school Samantha would be bullied by the same kid every day. It was brutal. The kid was so mean to her.
But Samantha was always nice to him. She’d ask him how his day was going. She’d compliment his backpack. She’d never let herself be bullied.
One day the bully asked Samantha why he was being so nice to her after he would bully him all the time. Samantha said that she imagined he had a hard home life and that he was taking it out on her.
The bully relented.
Thus rule number three: Always take the time to get to know people. You never know what they’re going through.
Another thing you have to know about Samantha is that she loved to bake. She’d make cookies, brownies, cupcakes, you name it. Samantha loved sweets and she loved sharing this joy with others.
She had a specific rule for making brownies that she wanted me to share and it goes as follows:
Rule number four: When making brownies from a mix, the clumpier you make it the better.
But Samantha didn’t just like to bake. She also liked to cook. And she liked to invent things. We have so many Samantha inventions in our house. She was constantly coming up with new ways to do things.
One thing that she invented was called “Sam Spice” and it was a little spice in a mixer jar that could just spice up everything. We’d put it on popcorn, vegetables, all sorts of things.
She never told anyone the recipe, but she told me the recipe could be revealed after her death.
So here it is – Rule number five: Sam spice is equal parts sugar, salt, pepper, pabrika, onion powder, and garlic powder.
Try it and tell me what you think.
Samantha didn’t just spice up food, though. She also spiced up life. Samantha loved life and she loved having fun. While she was very sick, she never let her adversity hold her back from having a fun time. And we’d have fun doing even simpler things, like going for a stroll outside, or going to Target, or going to the aquarium. And we’d have fun with more outlandish things, like owning a carnival-grade cotton candy machine.
Too many people are afraid to have fun, worried about what other people would think. Too many people think they’re too busy to have fun. Samantha never let any of that get in her way.
So that’s Samantha’s rule number six: Don’t be afraid to have fun.
Samantha liked to do a lot of things. She was never alone. Samantha was a family girl. And while she sometimes would have complicated relationships and hold grudges, Samantha loved her family. When we first met, she would gush on the phone about how perfect her big sister is and how she’s was a goddess. She had so much love for all of her family.
And her family loved her back. The way they came together for Samantha’s final moments, looking after her literally 24/7, was truly a sight to behold. You rarely ever see love like that first-hand - people banding together for their loved ones like that - but it exists all the time. Samantha had the power to bring that out in everyone. And I'm glad I got to experience it.
And thus, rule number seven: Always remember the power of family – and love.
Samantha loved love. And that brings me to Samantha’s final rule, rule number eight.
Rule number eight is don’t be afraid to love - because you never know how much time you will have left.
While I wish we had more time together, I'm endlessly grateful for the years Samantha and I did get.
We knew from the beginning that Samantha was sick. We knew from the beginning that our relationship wouldn’t be permanent.
We always hugged each other and told each other that we love each other every time we left the house, just in case something would happen.
We lived everyday like it could be our last, because we never really knew if it would.
...Until it was.
So, in closing, and in honor of Samantha’s memory and Samantha’s love, I hope you all hug each other a little tighter today.
Because nothing in life is guaranteed to last forever.
But I know Samantha would say what really matters is not how long our time together will last ...but how we treat each other in the moments we do have together.
In loving memory of my wife, Samantha Wildeford - June 27, 1994 to Oct 23, 2022
"Samantha's Eight Rules of Life" are based on (1) conversations with Samantha about things she wanted to have shared, (2) journal entries by Samantha outlining some rules to live by, and (3) personal views and observations based on how Samantha lived her life. There were several more rules, but I pared it down to the most essential eight.