Open the Bottle

WCCO’s Jordana Green honors a friend who was full of life

Samantha Edwards used to refer to herself as SAMazing. She was. I met Sami when I interviewed her for a position at my husband’s company. He founded a vodka company and was looking for a market rep. Sami’s background and sparkling personality made her a perfect fit. The relationships she built, her knowledge of event planning and the inner workings of the liquor industry made her a valuable asset to us. As the company evolved, so did Sami, and eventually she left for another position. She stayed in touch and we only wished her the best. A few months ago we learned that Sami, at age 37, dropped dead in her bathroom from a congenital heart defect.

My husband and I attended a celebration of Sami’s life on Saturday. It was fun and tragic. There are very few words of comfort when someone so young is taken so suddenly.  Seeing her mom, sister, and dozens of friends show up at her celebration was a comfort. Sami was a walking party so it was only fitting to party for her.

As a former Miss North Dakota, with friends all over the world and a smile for everyone, Samantha led a big, bold and good life. She now has a scholarship and charity funds donated in her name.

I now use the laptop Sami used when she was working for my husband. Her name pops up when the computer needs more storage space. (Her iCloud is full… oh the stories those pictures could tell!) I love the digital reminder of how Sami lived a big, passionate, fun life. I believe the pop-ups are her way of telling me to live a full life, or be SAMazing while I’m still here.

During the celebration of Sami’s life on Saturday night, her former roommate told us that Sami had given him one of the first bottles of my husband’s vodka sold in the U.S. It was still unopened. I told him, “If there is anything to learn from Sami’s life and death it’s that you should open the bottle and enjoy the vodka!”

I really hope her roommate went home that night, opened the bottle, and made a toast to Sami, L’Chaim (to Life)!

This week, before we enter the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), I wish you a year of life, health, success and happiness.

This blog is dedicated to Samantha Edwards and all those who open the bottle, embrace life and are SAMazing, L’Chaim!