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As I write these words, I'm still completely overwhelmed with grief over the loss of my dear son, Sammy. He died one day before his 16th birthday.
This tragedy began when he had gotten locked out of my apartment. As teenagers are wont to do, he had lost his keys. Instead of asking the doorman to let him in, he decided to go to the upstairs neighbors balcony in order to try and climb down onto mine (I always left that door unlocked.) He didn't make it.
Sammy was the happiest, most joyful child I have ever met. I am forever grateful for the privilege of being his mother, even for just a short amount of time. His positive, loving nature has affected so many lives.
My purpose of this blog post is not to solicit sympathy from my readers or to raise awareness about the dangers of teenagers doing risky things like this. Although I have recently found out that teenagers do this all the time! I vow that at some point in the future, I will do something to raise awareness about this dangerous "trend" in the hopes of saving even just one life.
But let's not talk about his untimely death. Let's talk about Sammy's life and use his shining example to improve our own lives and our relationships with others.
What I want to tell you about is what Sammy did that made him happy... everyday.
1. He was GRATEFUL, even for the little things.
Constant, unending gratitude is truly a magnet for miracles. How can anyone be depressed or unhappy when we feel immense gratitude for what we do have? We can be grateful for so many things, it doesn't have to be something grand. Even just being grateful for a beautiful, refreshing breeze on your face can change your entire day.
I want to share a couple of stories of how Sammy exemplified this gratefulness in his every day life. A few days before he died, he came into my room wearing only his underwear. He had that look on his face that he was about to say something funny. He always made us laugh. Instead, he told me how grateful he was to me for always making sure he had wet wipes in his bathroom! He went on to say that he knew that there were people in the world that didn't even have toilets, let alone toilet paper. But he was extremely grateful that his "ass felt great" (his words). He then thanked me again and gave me a hug and a kiss. I laughed at how cute this interaction was, but Sammy did things like this everyday.
On one other day near his death, I had been running short on time and was rushing around so we could make his brothers basketball game on time. I needed to feed my boys, so in typical single working mom style, I heated up some frozen chicken nuggets and french fries. Sammy ate every bite and then thanked me profusely for the wonderful and delicious (??) dinner, along with his usual hug and kiss.
These are just two stories that stand out in my mind but Sammy did these types of things everyday, all day!!
2. He went out of his way to make others feel GOOD.
It's the traditional Jewish way to sit Shiva (a mourning period) after the burial of one of our seven closest relatives (Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Son, Daughter or Spouse) for one full week. There are many customs and rules regarding this, but the basics is that everyone comes to visit your home to grieve with you and give their condolences. Plus, they came bearing gifts, anything we might need plus so much food was delivered to the house daily! I'm forever grateful for my family and friends and the amazing Jewish community here in Miami Beach for their much appreciated assistance. Anything we asked for was taken care of immediately! We would never made it through that brutal week without their help, prayers, and outpouring of love.
I had never had to sit shiva before, and honestly the first few days I was downright angry. I just wanted to crawl into bed and not come out for a week. Yet I had to be present to greet these people that only meant well and wished to comfort us. But every time I hugged a complete stranger (or even a close friend) with tears in their eyes, I would start sobbing (again). I was starting to think that I didn't have any tears left, but they keep flowing.
On the third day, my attitude towards the shiva completely changed. A women came up to me (another complete stranger) and told me a story about Sammy. She said her family had recently moved here and her son was attending Sammy's school. She admitted that she and her family didn't speak English very well, and her son was having a very difficult time. On his third day of school, he was in the bathroom crying. Sammy came in and asked him why he was crying. He said "I have no friends."Sammy said "I'll be your friend!" without a moment of hesitation and immediately added him on Snapchat. Not only that, he got his other friends to welcome this new kid as well. THIS WAS THE TYPE OF PERSON HE WAS! He went out of his way to make everyone feel included in the group and good about themselves. I can't even count the amount of times he told me I looked beautiful when I clearly was not feeling my most confident.
There are so many stories just like these ones about Sammy, because this was his way of life. It came naturally to him, he didn't even have to think about it.
I believe it's impossible to be unhappy or depressed when you're making others feel good about themselves. Any simple act of kindness has enormous benefit not only for the person, but for yourself as well! Smile at a stranger. Hold the door open for someone without expecting a thank you. Run after a man that just dropped his wallet and give it back to him! Tell someone you love their outfit or their earrings. Tell your coworker how smart she is and how much you admire her. I could go on but...
One applicable quote from one of my favorite authors Maya Angelou says: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Sammy will be forever remembered because of the way he made everyone feel good.
3. He completely TRUSTED GOD and his divine plan.
We spend so many hours of our life that is wasted, either feeling guilt about the past or worrying about the future. But once you put your complete faith in God and his plan for you, I can guarantee you will find happiness, no matter what is going on around you!
Sometimes it's so SO hard to do this. I miss my Sammy so much it hurts me physically. There is a huge hole in my heart that will never be filled. I know my life will never be the same. I'll never be able to hug or kiss him or watch him grow to be a man. My sorrow has overwhelmed me and I'm sure it will stay with me for the rest of my life. But it is helping me to share this article with all of you who may be depressed or unhappy because it doesn't have to be this way! Happiness is a choice.
So many people struggle through life, unhappy or depressed because they feel that life is unfair. Maybe they didn't get exactly what they want. We push so hard to get that dream job or to get one specific person to fall in love with us and are bereft when it doesn't happen. But what if God has something BETTER planned for you? What if your trials are exactly what your soul needs to learn to make you stronger? I'm still learning to surrender to God's plan for me. But Sammy was one person that had complete unwavering faith in God and his divine plan. My goal is to strive to be just like him everyday.
Sammy wrote this paragraph below as a school assignment, one month before he died. It had such a profound impact on me and it completely touched my heart. This was a perfect description of him-these are his own words:
"My Hebrew name is Yitzchak. It was the name of one of our forefathers, the son of Abraham. Its literal translation means 'he will laugh"'and this is my outlook on life. There is a famous quote that says: 'Man plans, God laughs' and it means you are unable to have full control over your life and that Hashem (God) is behind the scenes, pulling the strings. Both of these connect to demonstrate that life can't be steered by anyone and that Hashem has a plan for you. It should be known that everyone has a destiny that only Hashem knows, but you have to make the right choices to become the best possible version of yourself, which I strive to do every single day."
My blog is about dating, relationships and finding love, but I believe this story can be related to our quest to find true love. If we can make a conscience effort to do these three things that Sammy did, we will find true happiness, with or without a partner. When you are truly happy and love yourself you GLOW and are like a magnet to others with the same vibe. Once you can reach that place, love will find YOU.
Sometimes being rejected by someone we were dating and really liked is not an actual rejection, it's God redirecting. God has someone more compatible for you that is searching for you right now! Often times not getting what we want is the most wonderful stroke of luck. Always keep believing in love and that YOU DESERVE IT! Be patient and trust in God's divine plan and timing. I've been divorced for 11 years now and had been getting impatient about finding my life partner. But now, because of this beautiful thing Sammy wrote, I more fully trust God and have surrendered completely to Him. After all, he's pulling the strings! I don't mind waiting to meet the One, God knows what I need right now and I trust in his divine plan for me.
Life is so precious, and in an instance, it could be gone. It's amazing the way Sammy's death brought our families closer together. But we shouldn't wait until someone dies to become closer with our families and friends! Bury those grudges and let go of that anger. Forgive someone who isn't even remorseful. Don't stop loving someone just because they stopped loving you. Stop judging other people and accept everyone for who they are. We are all on our own path and are at different stages of spiritual evolution. Respect other people's opinions and beliefs, not everyone is the same, nor should we be. We don't always need to be right or convince someone that they're wrong! Treat every person with compassion and kindness, you never know what they are going through.
But most importantly, tell your family and friends everyday how much you LOVE AND APPRECIATE them, because you may not get another chance. The last thing Sammy said to me was: "I love you mom."
RIP MY LOVE!
Samuel Issac Farkas January 9, 2003-January 8, 2019.