Never Forgotten

What is happiness if you don’t share it with the ones you love?

I’ve been blessed for the last 45 years to have been married to the most wonderful man and blessed to have three incredible children and four grandchildren.

But my thoughts every now and then go to what I lost.

It was the end of the Vietnam War. Soldiers were coming home. POWs were being released. But the one person I wished for so many years to come home never returned.

I love this man with all my heart. He was my whole world. He also loved the Army and was proud to serve at a time when the military wasn’t popular.

I was happy for him. I support him when I knew a lot of soldiers never returned from Vietnam.

None the less Samuel left. We never made any promises to each other. But in the back of my mind I prayed Samuel would come home to me.

Sadly, Samuel perished in Vietnam. I never knew the details of his death even 47 years after the war ended.

Nathan has made me happy for all these years. He’s made me laugh and smile. He held me when I cried, and he knew the reason why I cried.

Nathan never questioned me about Samuel. The craziest thing is that Nathan and Samuel were very close friends.

Nathan always knew I loved Samuel and I still do. I miss him, but me loving Samuel doesn’t mean I stopped loving Nathan.

Me and Nathan share a strong bond. One that doesn’t go away. Between the both of us we share a lifetimes worth of memories of Samuel.

These memories we share of Samuel we share them with our children. I hold nothing back from my kids about Samuel. They know I love him.

Nathan was in the Army when he met Samuel. They became fast friends. Samuel was a pilot. Nathan was a platoon leader.

I always hear from Nathan that Samuel saved his life and countless others.

That always makes me smile. I always knew Samuel was a hero and he’s still my hero.

My kids always ask me how I can love another man while married to their dad?

I tell them Samuel was my first love and you can never forget your first love.

I never forgotten Samuel. Every year on his birthday I go to the cemetery and set the flower he always gave to me on top of his grave, a pink rose.

I also sing happy birthday. Nathan comes with me. I know Nathan is always happy to visit Samuel..

Samuel’s last words to me “Be strong. Be brave, remember I will always love you no matter what happens to me.”

Those words are burned deep into my soul. I will never forget and have never forgotten the last words Samuel said to me.

I wrote Samuel’s last words to me in my journal and have lived by them all these years.

I tell my kids and Nathan to be strong and be brave everyday. I know I am even though I lost a part of me, but I gained something more, more than I ever wished for.

The story of how me and Samuel met is something I will never forget. How could I?

It was the summer of 1969. I was at the lake when our eyes landed on each other. I was seventeen. Samuel was eighteen. He smiled at me and that was all it took.

I went and introduced myself as Vanessa. He told me his name is Samuel.

We talked all day. We found out we had a lot in common. We both liked the lake, chocolate ice cream, running, dancing and so much more.

Later that day Samuel asked me out, of course I said yes. Samuel picked me up in his Chevrolet Camaro.

Like a true gentleman Samuel picked me up at the front door of my house. Thankfully my dad wasn’t home.

I remember the dress I was wearing. A pink dress with matching shoes.

My hair was up in a pony tail. I also had a pink bag. Samuel told me I looked beautiful. That was the first time I smiled in front of Samuel, but it wasn’t the last.

Samuel took me to dinner, nothing fancy which I liked. We order the same meal, steak and potatoes.

That’s another thing we had in common. We loved the same foods. For dessert we shared ice cream and apple pie.

After dinner Samuel took me to the drive-in. I watched Samuel’s profile. He was a handsome man.

I don’t recall the movie we watched, but we laughed throughout the entire movie.

When the movie ended, me and Samuel talked more, then he took me home. Being the gentleman he is, Samuel walked me to the front door and kissed me.

Samuel’s lips on mine was pure magic. I never wanted it to end.

Throughout the rest of the summer me and Samuel were inseparable.

During the fall of 1969 the war in Vietnam was intensifying. Samuel told me he signed up for the Army. I told him how bad it was.

Samuel’s next words are etched in my memory, he told me “I’m an American. I love my country and I will fight for my country. I will not be a coward.”

A coward Samuel wasn’t. I was proud of him. His beliefs were so strong nothing could sway him, that’s why I love him.

The day Samuel left I went to his house. I hugged him and told him to stay strong.

Samuel told me the same thing. He also told me to be brave and no matter what happens to him that he loves me.

I told him I love him and that I will write to him. We never made any promises to each other because none of us knew what tomorrow held for us.

Samuel left and I went on with my life. I wrote to Samuel and he wrote back.

As time went on the letters were few and then none came. The only news I received was from the T.V.

As the war was coming to end soldiers and POWs were coming home. I prayed and hoped one of those soldiers coming home would be Samuel, but my hopes were dashed.

The first time I met Nathan is the day he told me about Samuel. I fell on my knees crying.

Nathan got down on his knees and held me. Over the next couple weeks Nathan helped me with my grief. The rest is history.

Nathan has been good to me for all these years especially when I talk about Samuel. He’s let me mourn and cry for Samuel, for that Nathan will always be the love I have dreamed about since I lost Samuel.

Samuel, my first love, the man I mourn for all these years and the one I still love and always will.

Samuel, a love never forgotten, always in my dreams, always in my heart, always my love until we meet again.

Culled from by Melinda Madrigal

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