I lost my beautiful friend Sam in 2005. She was my neighbor growing up in Tucson, AZ. I went to school with her, but as I am older, I graduated in 2000 (she graduated in 2004). We had a lot of fun times growing up, I used to see her everyday, my parents were friends with her parents. We rode the bus together on many occasions, and our parents picked us up from school on many days. We celebrated Halloween, birthdays etc.
She was the drum major and got along well and was friends with almost everyone at school. Her sense of style, beauty, intelligence and confidence always awed me. She was the most generous person you could ever meet. All the girls wanted to be her, and guys wanted to be friends with her.
I went away to college, and in 2003 we moved to Australia (my mom is an Australian). I still kept in touch with Sam through phone calls and emails. I heard from her dad that she was going to join the Army because that's something she always wanted to do - serve her country. She wanted to get a Masters degree in Psychology and work as a criminal profiler at the FBI.
2005 came, and I heard from her dad that she was being deployed to Iraq. I was scared for her, but was also happy at the same time for her because this is what she wanted. The last time I spoke with her was on new years day. I planned to visit her for her birthday in July.
Sam was killed in Iraq on April 17, 2005 after her Humvee was struck by an IED. I was completely devastated. I couldn't believe it (I still can't believe she's gone). She was just 18.
I couldn't go to her funeral, but honestly I don't think I could have handled it. I visited Sam in Arlington in 2008 and also went to Tucson to visit her parents and our old house. Sam's mom passed away from cancer in 2009. I did go to her funeral though.
I visited Arlington again in 2012, but haven't been back since. I turned 32 this September, Sam would have been 31 in July. I feel so guilty, so so guilty for still being around and living my life. Lately, I am missing her more and more and find myself having bouts of uncontrollable sadness. I broke down at work the other day, because I saw something that reminded me of Sam.
I wonder what her life would have been if she was still here - I am sure she would have achieved everything she wanted to achieve - because that is the kind of person she was; strong and determined and a beautiful person outside and in. I heard from her dad that she was an exemplary soldier and was liked by everyone there. On the night she was taken, she displayed enormous strength and courage.
I miss you Sam and will see you again someday. RIP Drum Major, RIP Soldier. Thank you for giving your life so that the rest of us can live better.
RIP PFC. Sam Williams Huff 07/12/1986 - 04/17/2005