Lows and Highs

3 08 2013

I was home this week for originally my sister’s birthday party. A couple days before my flight, my mom called and told me my grandpa’s health was declining quickly and to be prepared for what might happen.

Gpa had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s several years back, probably seven years ago. He had been off and on medications to help with uncontrollable movements and decline in overall mental and physical health. It was hard to witness and I’m certain even more difficult to live. He was in a few nursing homes and my family in MO would visit him frequently. He had recently been put on morphine for the pain and had been unable to eat.

My sister had planned a birthday celebration last Saturday and had put a lot of time into organization. I am not able to come home frequently so it was also a perfect time to see everyone. So, we decided to go ahead with the party. It was a lot of fun and so nice to see everyone! It was themed “Stache Bash,” so we had mustache party favors, decorations, an even a mustache piñata. There’s something so comforting about catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, and yard games.

The next morning Gpa passed away at 3am. And as it turns out, it was really good timing for something terrible to happen because I was home, my mom was home because she knew I would be there over the weekend, and a few other family members were randomly in the area. Sometimes it takes a death to make you realize what your goals are and what is important in life. Family is everything, but in times of work stress or general life milestones I sometimes forget my roots. Family and friends are there for you regardless of your success or failure.

We banded together this week and accomplished what is normally a difficult thing for families to go through. I believe Gpa is in a better place and not suffering anymore. I also got to learn a lot about him, through his former athletes, friends, and family. Funny stories, weird quirks, and the legacy he left behind as a leader and coach for 26 years. He was so respected and those he coached were brought to tears remembering the lessons he instilled in them.

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We went to visit the school he coached at; a new gym was built about seven years ago and they named it after him. They had his state titles hanging, and we asked about how they have been doing since he retired over 20 years ago. The principal told us their students had won exactly one state title since Coach Samson ran the athletic department!

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I would like to remember Gpa how those he trained remember him. Though I never personally watched him coach, he did teach me and my sister how to play a mean game of cards, and helped me with my golf swing and endless games of trivial pursuit.

We went out to eat before my trip back to CA, and as I wait on my flight, I am focusing on the positive. I am returning refocused and backed by the love and support of my family and friends. So nice to be home and celebrate loved ones past and present!

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