Sunday, January 12, 2014

My Captain, My Captain--Sam Berns RIP

        In reading the news on the internet I came across a story on Sam Berns, a 17 year old victim of Progeria, a rare disease that causes relentless premature aging of all organs causing a premature death of a body that has experienced 5-6 times its chronological age. The story of his courage and will to fight this disease and not wallow in self-pity had reached the owner of the Patriots who were to face the Colts on Saturday. He informed Sam that he would like him to be the honorary captain for the Patriots  for that playoff game. Sadly, Sam who probably would have been the most inspirational captain ever to set forth on the field at Foxboro died the day before the game.
        After reading the article, complete with a photo of a very tiny,  old looking Sam, and drying my tears, I wrote this. Sam's story reminds me of the ancient proverb of "I cried because I had no shoes, until I met the man with no feet." I hope the poem strikes and emotional cord and reminds you of no matter what adversity you may be facing, you can get through it.
My Captain, My Captain 
Too many of us live in a 24/7 world with so little time to decompress
The pressures of life’s material and emotional needs in waves of growing stress
Count your blessings that your body is not diseased into a WinZip aging without a rest
A life where seconds become hours, days become months, a month becomes  a year
Who among us could face the loss of youth and the immediate, unrelenting aging fears?
Sam Berns was such a youth and his photo should bring most of us to tears
But his courage and spirit was of a man, among us lucky to know him, without a single peer.
Progeria has claimed another victim ere one day before being an honorary captain on a Patriots playoff field.
You do not have to be a Navy Seal, first responder, or Good Sam, to a hero be, only to an illness not yield
At one in eight million Progeria is probably the rarest of the rare
Most of us afflicted would stumble into deep and depressed despair
How could this happen to me of all people? Give me sympathy—it is so unfair!
But Sam Berns put on another set of non pity emotions to wear
To face and fight a disease with a belief in a cure, but never, ever to quit
On Sam Berns the rank and suit of “hero” is clearly a well tailored fit
The owner of the Patriots wanted him as a captain to face the Colts in their playoff game
But Sam Berns died the day before—Progeria is a deadly disease next to impossible to tame
What is important now is not a football game, traffic or whether the internet is slow or fast
But rather to live life with a purpose and make sure your hugs of love are frequent and  last
I knew Sam Berns not at all and for his parents I pray for God’s healing grace
But I firmly believe that because of the people his story touched, our world is a better place
Sam, if you are reading this on a warm tranquil lawn under the sun or halos’ beams
Not sure how many players or how many games, but I suspect that all the souls and Angels will want you to captain their team.
© January 12, 2014 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet

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