It’s a weird sense of presence – his absence. I note things I want to tell him, catch myself thinking about the next visit … remember odds and ends, tidbits of memories from this story or that anecdote. Received emails from various folk, “Sam’s People”. He put so much fun and love and all-around good feelings into circulation. 🙂
The formal obituary with details of his life will be submitted to the papers soon. Lee asked me for some kind of something…what I wrote doesn’t follow the obituary format so probably won’t be included:
Sam left this life as he lived it &emdash; quietly and without inconveniencing anyone. His heart was huge and his needs modest: good wine, good friends, and lots of laughter. Sam had his foibles, no doubt, but he never lost sight of the things that matter most, such as dealing with the immediate, listening well, dropping a well-timed joke, encouraging people to get along, pointing out the sheer absurdity of life’s many twists and turns. “Twas ever thus!” he would pronounce. If he liked something it was “bitchin’”, and if he didn’t you’d find out about it sooner or later (unless he thought it would hurt your feelings, then he wouldn’t say). Sam had a talent for appreciating the struggles everyone faces in life. He had a great deal of empathy and compassion &emdash; it was never hard for him to imagine himself in your position and comment on some redeemable – or absurd! – aspect of it. Not that he was saintly! His irreverence is probably what most endeared him to the many people fortunate enough to know him. Life is often inexplicable or ridiculous: Sam flirted with this boundary whenever he could &emdash; playing practical jokes and expressing his affection through an incongruous mixture of teasing, innuendo, and outright confrontation. He appreciated what he received from people, and never looked back on his conscious choice to love generally rather than specifically.
Never married, Sam’s chosen family spans the globe, extending from friends and colleagues in Massachusetts and Vermont, blood relatives in California and Colorado, old college buddies in Washington State, to his Brazilian family and countless other host families in a dozen or more countries throughout South America and all across Europe. Sam got around! He wanted nothing less than for others to also experience the joys of connecting across national and cultural differences.