Samuel died suddenly on September 13, 2023. He entered this world as a beautiful, spirited, wide-eyed baby. He spent his first five years in Nova Scotia where he loved to read, play, and go to the beach with his dad. He moved to Lucan, Ontario at age 6. As any young person, he was energetic, full of hope and potential, and was adored by his family. He loved his friends and was always seeking acceptance and belonging, often to a fault. He grew to be a capable musician, playing piano and guitar with ease. He played hockey, football, and soccer and then, at age 12 fell in love with the sport of lacrosse. The game was his passion, not only because of the sport but because of the sense of community that was created by coaches, specifically Ron Elijah and the London Jr. B team. Samuel was at home and at peace when he had a stick in his hand.
Unfortunately, Samuel began to struggle with addiction and mental illness at a very young age and though we don’t want this to define him, it has been a reality of his journey that we cannot ignore. Despite multiple attempts at sobriety, including a 22-month period of sobriety supported by the community he found at the Pine River Institute, he continued to fight addiction. His battle with addiction and mental illness pushed many people away from him, especially over the last two years and he found himself struggling deeply with loneliness. He faced many difficulties. Every day was a struggle.
Recently Samuel made a commitment to rebuild his relationship with his family. He soaked up stories from his Grandad and expressed after a recent visit how much “I love to hear Grandad laugh”. He learned to sew pajamas with his Grandma and they developed such a special relationship he called her his “best friend”. This past year he enjoyed visits, many laughs, and competitive games of crokinole with his Grammy, Nappy, Uncle Tony, and cousin Annah from Nova Scotia. When feeling well, he went to the gym with his mom or tried (rather poorly) to take up running with her. Every day he told her he loved her and flooded her DM with silly videos to make her laugh. He enjoyed discussing all things related to food with his dad and watching shows together. They shared the same humour, laughing with and at each other often. He took pleasure in driving his siblings crazy but always had a spunky, “Hey, girly pop!” greeting for his sister and was proud to see his little brother embrace lacrosse as he did. Samuel worked hard to connect and repair and we know he just wanted to feel love. We enjoyed a family dinner together on Sunday and had been in touch every day until he died. Despite it all, addiction won the battle but it did not win over our love for each other.
Samuel is survived by his parents, Jana Bayer-Smith and Howard Smith, his siblings Kaija and Cohen, his maternal grandparents, Ron and Barb Bayer, all of Lucan, Ontario, his paternal grandparents Howie and Sharon Smith of Ostrea Lake, Nova Scotia, his uncle Tony Smith and cousins Austin and Annah Smith of Ostrea Lake, Nova Scotia. He is predeceased by his uncle, David Bayer, who, if there is a Creator, is learning how to play lacrosse right now with his nephew.
Special thanks to all those who reached in to help Samuel and his family over the last 8 years. Samuel’s journey has ended and we will miss him dearly but our relationship with him will never end. He is loved, to the moon and back, by us all.
Visitation will be held at Haskett Funeral Home, 223 Main Street, LUCAN on Friday, September 22nd from 5 – 8 PM. Registration is appreciated. Please click “Register Now” below to register.
Family and friends are welcome to join for a campfire and time for sharing stories of Samuel’s life on Saturday, September 23rd at Wayne and Karen Hodgin’s farm, 33721 Coursey Line, Lucan (follow the laneway to the bush behind the sheds) from 3 – 6 PM with words of remembrance at 5 PM. Please bring a chair with you.
Donations in memory of Samuel can be made to the Pine River Institute in Shelburne, Ontario, or Stratford/Perth Shelterlink.