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SamFor Sam

27 July 2004

Sunday 18 July 2004 - began like any other Sunday. Bit of a lie-in. A cooked breakfast. Then the phone rang, it was Nad and I instinctively knew something was wrong. My mind went into overdrive. What? When? Who? A knife went through my heart. Sam was gone. The awful reality had not even entered the equation.

Shock and disbelief was rapidly replaced by anger. Why God? Why Sam? Sam who loved life and had everything to live for. Anger and despair at the total devastation of my closest friends when there are no words and no gesture that can comfort them.

But after a while you have to let go of that anger a little otherwise you drive yourself crazy. Then you can reflect and remember the happy times.

I have known Sam’s mum for more years than I care to remember. Old Greasbyites our paths crossed again 20-odd years ago when the Bencheiks moved into the same road. Sue, Az and Nadia their beautiful little girl.

Then along came Sam. A gorgeous, happy baby with lovely brown eyes and a big smile. Their family was complete.

The following years we were in and out of each other’s houses. Every Xmas morning was spent together. We proudly watched our children grow into well adjusted young adults. Celebrating their achievements. They were all doing so well.

Mind you, it wasn’t all Walt Disney. We had our adolescent episodes like all families. In his early teens, like any young lad, Sam would have an occasional “Kevin” moment, and poor Nadia suffered immeasurably during the annoying “little brother” phase. Many a night I would be round at theirs. Az would be watching telly or having a pint, me and Sue in the kitchen putting the world to rights over a bottle of wine - Nad and Sam would be upstairs. Suddenly Sue would stop in mid-sentence as a commotion erupted above us. Most of the time I hadn’t even noticed - but Sue’s internal antennae was constantly tuned into her kids.

“Listen to that”, she would say, “Our Sam’s driving me mad Cal”, and I would say, “Ignore it Sue”. But she couldn’t. “Sam, come here”, she would bellow up the stairs, and in he would come with that Bart Simpson “it wasn’t me” expression on his face. Sue would put her stern head on and try to be cross with him, but he would stick out that bottom lip or switch on that dazzling smile and her heart would melt.

Never was a son so loved, a brother so adored, a grandson so cherished. Anyone who visited the Bencheikh household can testify to that.

Sam grew up to be an incredibly handsome young man, but it wasn’t just those movie star looks. An amazing personality evolved. Sam had the X-Factor! That special charisma that lit up the room and charmed everyone he met. He had humour, warmth and compassion.

He loved his family. He loved his footie. He loved his mates. He loved life.

There was so much more he could have done. he had so much to offer. Sam hadn’t yet realised it yet but the world was at his feet.

I was privileged to know Sam since the day he was born and I still can’t believe he has been taken from us. But I do believe this. I believe you are watching and listening, Sam, and probably saying to yourself, “OK, shut up now Deirdre, you’re embarrassing me”. So I’ll say goodbye for now, God bless sweetheart. Till we meet again. I will miss you Sam.

Carole Yelland
A.k.a. Auntie Carole / Deirdre


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