Submitted by Linda Smith:
Life is a Highway, and a busy one at that. From the moment people enter this world, people begin passing through our lives on a daily basis. Some pass through with nothing more than a smile and they are gone. A few slow down and share some time before moving on. Other stop, settle in and become a very special part of our lives.
I’ve been blessed with knowing some absolutely extraordinary people throughout my lifetime. One is a very special young woman in Parker. She came into my life quietly, but made an enormous impact. I first met her when she was attending Parker Dam School with my granddaughter. Her reddish hair and freckles came to life with that beautiful smile and you just couldn’t help but love her spirit.
Samantha Shontz was born on April 12th, 1983, the daughter of Bobby and Jody Shontz of Parker. She attended the local schools and later worked at BlueWater Resort & Casino. All her goals and dreams for her future changed one day in early 2007, when she was diagnosed with sinus cancer and immediately began treatment.
During the beginning years of her treatment she continued to live her life as normally as possible. She did not let it get her down, she faced each challenge the cancer threw at her with courage, strength and faith. She fell in love, just like every young girl her age. One day she was surprised to learn she was going to become a mother. She was very aware that she needed more surgery and treatment for her cancer and the pregnancy would put an extra strain on her body. Sam listened to the medical words of advice, but she also listened to her heart. She wanted to be a mother, to hold her child in her arms and love him forever. And that is exactly what she did.
On August 18th, 2008 Sam delivered a beautiful, healthy baby boy. She named him Joseph. As her battle with cancer raged on, she poured her heart into being Joseph’s momma. She knew how precious every day was and she was determined to make each of them an unforgettable memory. When Joseph looked up at Sam, he did not see the physical scars of her battle with cancer. He merely saw his Momma and all her love for him. He was her life and her reason for living.
During the 6 years of Sam’s battle, not once did I ever hear her complain or feel sorry for herself. She did not let the disfiguring scars of surgery and treatment prevent her from living every moment of whatever time she was given. She always believed she would prevail, and she faced her enemy with the intensity of a veteran soldier. She packed a lifetime of living and loving into less than 30 years.
There is a saying, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it is about learning to dance in the rain.” Sam ran head-on into the storm and danced with the grace of an angel. She was one of the strongest people I have ever met. I admire her courage, her strength, her wisdom and her undying faith.
On October 25th, 2012, at home with her mother, Samantha received her angel wings and quietly left us. But she will live on in the hearts of those who were blessed to have known and loved her.
Happy 30th birthday, Sam.
Big River, CA