Sunrise: February 24, 1988 Sunset: August 24, 2018
Civics, Culture, and Community Engagement
By Aminta Kilawan-Narine, Esq.
“The hardest truth of life is its end. And the beauty of the End is, There is a Life before it. Live.” This was the last quote Samantha Bishun, or Sam, posted on social media. Wiser than some twice her age, Sam chose to live each day of her life to its fullest. She was a woman with countless friends who became family, a true testament to her affable personality, compassion, and free-spirited nature. She touched many lives in the three decades Earth was blessed with her presence. To honor Sam’s memory, here are a handful of reflections from just a few of her many friends, who, alongside her loving family, will continue living Sam’s legacy.
RICHARD S. DAVID, DISTRICT LEADER-ELECT, NYS ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 31 – The day I opened our campaign office last year, the first person to arrive was Samantha Jones (Bishun). She brought a beautiful orchid. On the many late nights I spent there, she would visit me. She hosted fundraisers, registered voters and organized volunteers. She looked out for me. Of course, we also had many milestone memories long before any campaign – her wedding, her daughter and many, many celebrations. Her last Instagram post was of us hanging out one fine Sunday afternoon, three weeks ago. I will remember her most on Diwali because I will have nowhere else to go celebrate.
ANOOP PANDOHIE – My favorite memories of Samantha are those filled with shots, laughter and “ole” talk, but my all-time favorite thing was when we would talk about flowers. Whenever I would see a flower I liked, I would send her a picture of it and she would tell me the name. I would then google it, order it and send her back pictures of how it looks in my garden.
SHIVIE SUKHDEO – For the 11+ years of knowing the S family we have truly grown to be friends that became family. Making them, Samantha included, my number ONE “Partners in Good” has resulted in serving and helping countless people. My favorite memory is helping Sandra and the family pull off Samantha and Steve’s dream wedding just four years ago. The flower shop and home in Lawrence holds many more great memories for me. Samantha, as you LIVED we will ensure your legacy LIVES on and we will all LIVE life to its fullest.
FAUDIA BAIJNAUTH – Ah. Sam. She was as selfless and kind hearted as they come. She loved to laugh, to give, to love. She had the most contagious smile that instantly took your troubles away. She was the friend that made sure she told you how much she valued and loved you even when you may not have deserved to hear it. She reminded you to be kind, to help those in need. In fact, she lived her life serving others. She cared so deeply for the human race. She made lemonade out of lemons and danced wildly in the rain. Sam was stronger than she seemed, braver than she believed and smarter than she ever thought. She was the glue that held all of our hearts together.
SOSHANA KHAN – We went to Mazi in celebration of Steve’s birthday earlier this year. I’ll always remember seeing exactly what love is. Steve was in his zone for Throwback Night, dancing and singing away for Sam. In attempt to not blush, Sam tried covering her adorable smile. I’ll never forget that smile and the way she’d look at Steve. I’d always think, this is the type of love everyone deserves. To find someone who adores you completely.
ZAMAN MOHAMED AMIN – One of my greatest experience with Sam was visiting the Ganesh Temple with her. She loved going there to offer prayers. Her love for her religion was very strong. She always made time for God and the temple. I will miss her dearly.
MOHAMED Q. AMIN – Our friendship began in 2012 after coordinating a Holiday Luncheon for 100+ families who were affected by Hurricane Sandy. Sam was known for her brilliance and creativity at Elegant Floral Design, but I valued her fierce commitment and allyship to the LGBTQ community. Not only was Sam an avid supporter of the LGBTQ Liberation Movement, but she ensured that her family and friends affirmed the identities, respected, and treated everyone around her equally. Sam was only 30 years old but lived each day to the fullest with an abundance of love, selflessness, and authenticity. This reality is unbalanced and unfair, but she leaves an unmatched legacy built on togetherness, acceptance, happiness, traditions, and family.
MELISSA BHIKHAM, MD – I will always remember how excited Sam was to celebrate her birthday on Shivratri a few years ago. In lieu of a birthday party, she was genuinely happy to invite us all to the Ashram to celebrate instead. It was with the same zeal for life and authentic excitement that she celebrated the achievements and successes of her friends as if they were her own.
ANDRE NARINE – Sam has a beautiful spirit that emanates to those she kept close. Amongst multiple unhappy relationships, I asked Sam for roses as this girl was different. Sam asked for a picture, instantly excited, being the considerate person she was, stopped and brought me roses. I truly believe she blessed the whole thing, shortly after, I realized I had met my soulmate. Sam created magic in her existence.
SEAN SARJOO – My first encounter with Samantha was at a non-profit event 9 years ago. She was filled with energy, enthusiasm for life, family and friends and an unforgettable exuberant smile. Every memory we shared afterwards was filled laughter, unity, love, support, and a bond of friendship that will forever reside in my heart forever.
RANI SINGH – I met Sam one year after she migrated to the U.S. Our friendship at the beginning was awkward only because her English was horrible and I couldn’t speak or understand French. So we decided that I would teach her English and in the process she’ll try to teach me French. At first, I thought this would be it. Two strangers teaching and learning from each other. Little did I know our relationship exceeded all my expectations, Sam always knew that we would have been best friends for eternity; because of that Sam will always be my rainbow at the end of the tunnel.
SUNIL SUKHDEO – On the festive day of Raakhi; Sam, “Dear Brother by tying this thread on your arm, I have put all hopes in you, a time might come when I may not be around, Always Remember me.” Me, “I will keep up the integrity of the relationship of Raakhi, it’s a delicate thread but our relationship is strong and will last a lifetime.” Bhaiya Mera.
SHIVANIE RAMKUMAR – A daughter, a wife, a mother, a sister, our friend. This is the legacy we have from you. You taught us love, you gave us strength, you gave us might. A stronger person would be hard to find, and in your heart, you were always kind. You fought for us all in one way or another. For all of us you gave your best, your love in our hearts, we’ll eternally keep. You made us family. I will always remember that day we met at mandir during Navratri. We love you Sam. Ron and I miss you so much. #ForSam #YourTics
TAMILA MISIR – Sam was not only my friend, she was my bhowgie. I vividly remember asking her to play this role for me. I wasn’t even married yet. Sam was ecstatic. The morning of my wedding Sam was at my home bright and early with yogurt and milk in hand ready to shower the dye off of me from the Haldi Ceremony. Friends like Sam are rare to come by and I was blessed to have her apart of my life.
TRISHA SINGH – The hardest thing for me is not talking to someone I talked to almost every day. Besides being a beautiful person and an excellent listener you always found a way to make everyone laugh and build great relationships. Besides all the events we attended together, I’m truly going to miss the times we spent together with our girls Sophia and Aria. Our spa and play dates were the best. While watching them play and fight, we talked about how we’re going to keep that bond between them. We always said they will be best friends forever. We couldn’t wait to spy on them at the club or even parties, while taking shots wearing sunglasses. But don’t worry Sam, Ravi and Steve will spy together now. I love you and miss hearing you.
TANUJA SUKHDEO – One significant memory of Sam I have is when I tied her and her husband, Steve, together on their wedding day. In that moment I realized how much love and admiration I have for her. Her last text to me on the day she went into the hospital was “Have Fun with Life.” That’s who Sam was and is. She lived her life fully and encouraged others to do the same.
LETICIA KHAN – Sam is the type of person you can have endless fun & deep conversations with. Do random things, like go to AC at 10pm. She was a loving mother & wife who found so much joy in motherhood & marriage. I have so many wonderful memories with her. She is just simply amazing! I love her dearly and am missing her so much!
SONIA SARJOO – Sam had a heart gold. She always went out of her way for her friends and family. Sam and I were trying to plan a wine and paint night. But, we couldn’t come up with a day that worked for both of us. So, for my birthday, Sam organized a wine and paint night with our friends. We had a great time. Sam was such a thoughtful person who went out of her way to bring joy to everyone that knew her.
DIANE WATROUS – My dearest friend Samantha Bishun has gained her wings. When I was pregnant, Sam was the first one to be at my house along with my husband when my water broke and was the first person other than my husband to see my daughter at the hospital. I don’t believe that anyone dies, we just lose our physical form because we live to create memories and by the looks of it Samantha created more memories in her 30 years than most people do in a life time, a lot of people just exist. Not Samantha! She lived! Rest in paradise.
Sam is survived by her husband Steve Bishun and daughter Sophia Bishun; parents Mrs. Sandra Nandalall, Mr. Steve Sawh and Mr. Dev Nandram; sisters Stephanie Sawh, Sabrina Nandram and Sangeeta Nandram; grandparents Mr. &. Mrs. Babooram Nandalall and many other loved ones. May Sam’s soul rest in peace and power. May she shine brightly on all who knew and loved her. #YellowPower #ForSam