Constance Ann Samora-Snyder went home to the arms of her heavenly Father Saturday November 6, 2021. Connie was born in Walnut Creek, California in May of 2000. She is now reunited with her grandmother, Maria Rosario Talavera and her great grandparents, Hector and Odilia Talavera. She has preceded her husband Michael Snyder, daughter Esther Violet; her parents Christopher and Shana Samora; siblings Esperanza Samora, Esmeralda Samora, Christopher Samora Jr., Anastaysia Galaviz, Vanessa Delgado, Andrew Siders; and her beloved nieces and nephew Skylie, Finnegan, Jamie, Jenna, Kyla and Victoria.
Standing 4'9", Connie was anything but short on personality. She was ambitious, outgoing and bullheaded like her father. Her petite stature, sweet voice and shy nature led many to believe she was a frail flower. Yet under that thin facade she had the heart of a lioness. Her father's "ride or die", she was quick with a jab in the ribs any time he got out of line. She lived her life on her own terms and played by her own rules without fear of what anyone else may have thought. She loved hiking, fishing and hunting with her husband. She felt most alive out in nature in Queen and Cloudcroft. She was a fierce friend to have and a great defender of those whom she saw as having been wronged.
Life turned upside down in June of 2020 when a long bout of illness was finally diagnosed with no time left to waste. After months of misdiagnoses, Connie found herself airlifted into the care of Dr. Victor Test at the Texas Tech University Medical Center. He was finally able to give the answers none of us wanted to hear.
A hole in her heart had gone undiagnosed since infancy and had caused a condition known as Primary Arterial Pulmonary Hypertension. Long story short, the blood vessels in her lungs had been ravaged by two decades of unnaturally high pressure from her heart. Prognosis: Connie would require a central line installed in her chest that led directly to her heart. The medication in her pump would temporarily sustain her life until the eventuality of both a heart and lung transplant.
The medication was introduced incrementally over the span of two months. With each increase the side effects would return. Each increase brought nausea, headaches, jaw and neck pain with a host of other side effects. She was the strongest person I've ever known. She once had her teeth drilled without Novocain because she didn't like feeling numb. This was a whole new experience in pain and gripping fear that seemed like it would have no end. She was lost and confused, unsure if she even wanted to continue this seemingly endless fight. Then she found Evolution Worship and their song "Rattle".
"This is the sound of dry bones rattling. This is the praise make a dead man walk again. Open the grave, I'm coming out. I'm gonna live, gonna live again." With that, Constance decided to do just that. She was home and finally reached the therapeutic levels of her medication. For the time being, she would no longer be increasing her dosage. Dr. Test became a second father to her. The man would do anything for her. She was his star patient. She was doing better than he had expected and the hole in her heart had actually begun to close. She got used to her routine and was soon visiting friends. She started to resume parts of her life that she was unsure she would ever experience again. Her story was told in a prestigious medical journal, all the while her walk with Jesus grew stronger by the day. It was now quite common to receive a scripture reference over text with an "I think God wants you to read this". She was usually right.
Remember when I said she was able to resume many things? Well, several months later we were told we would be expecting THREE grandbabies within six months of one another. We thought we were in shock until Connie sat us down with some news of her own. We would now be expecting a FOURTH! Although several precautions were in practice that would normally prevent such a pregnancy, it seemed our little Esther was meant to be. Her doctor buried his head in his hand and told her that childbirth would most likely make her heart literally explode. He said that termination of the pregnancy held similar risks as Constance's heart could not withstand general anesthesia. Our daughter wasn't going to go that route. "I don't believe in termination." she said. She was ready to fight anyone who tried to convince her otherwise.
Constance and her boyfriend Michael chose, despite all obstacles and scary unknowns, that they loved each other enough to weather any storm. They decided to wed. Their wedding was beautiful and so was their love for one another. After four months of waiting in the hospital, Esther Violet was born into this world "for such a time as this". Connie's color returned to a level I hadn't seen in years and both mom and baby were cleared to come home much earlier than expected. A patient and kind mother, Connie was inseparable from Esther. Michael, ever kind and patient, never left their side nor did he leave them in need of anything.
Connie grew in her faith day by day! Her thirst for knowledge of scripture was insatiable. I usually have little problem answering questions about faith and scripture, but this little girl had questions that were on another level. She had her father and I pouring over scripture and quite curious ourselves. She asked me once why Noah had sent both the raven and the dove out of the ark and what that meant. After being completely stumped by scripture, I turned to an internet search and found that this subject had been hotly contested by biblical scholars. So were many of the questions she had. The student was swiftly becoming the teacher as her timely words continued to enlighten and encourage us on the path of our own relationships with The Father.
As time went by, Connie began to lose color again. She reported that she was just feeling tired. In reality, the allergy she had developed to the adhesive in her port dressing had exacerbated to the point of a severe staph infection. She was air lifted once again and treated to several more weeks of Dr. Test's world class care. She was forced to be without her little miracle baby and that weighed on her heart like a ton of lead. She soldiered on and recovered enough to come home.
She was still feeling weakened but she decided to go ahead and attend the New Song women's retreat. She gave her testimony and floored the congregation with her story of struggle, strength and an unflinching faith in her Redeemer. She proclaimed her faith in her Lord. She shared that He had promised her that her condition would unite what was broken in her family. She knew He would heal her whether on this side or at home with Him. She bravely shared her struggles and fears. She told of the times she had felt like giving up and how she had found renewed strength in another song.
This new song was "There Will Be a Day" by Jeremy Camp. "I know the journey seems so long. You feel you're walking on your own. But there has never been a step where you've walked out all alone. Troubled soul don't lose your heart, 'cause joy and peace He brings. And the beauty that's in store outweighs the hurt of life's sting." The last thing she said that night as she laid down the mic was "I'm not afraid anymore!"
Shortly after the retreat, Connie's health took another dive and she was returned to Dr. Test. She had been diagnosed with yet another staph infection. Her system was not only failing to respond to the antibiotics, she was suffering adverse reactions to them. It was clear this time that she was just plain tired. Her sister Esperanza and I went to sit by her side. She was expecting a procedure to remove water from her lungs. We later found out that her kidneys were no longer able to withstand the high doses of antibiotics that were being thrown at them.
Several days after her sister and I had returned home, we received the call from Dr. Test that we all dreaded. He wasn't altogether sure she was going to make it out of this. We all hit our knees before the Lord. Our friend Mindy headed straight out. Chris and Esperanza were close behind while Michael and I were to head out the following day due to his work responsibilities. It was not to be. Chris, Mindy and Hope were all unable to gain access to the hospital when they arrived. Dr. Test stayed by her side well into the night. While even he didn't expect her condition to decline at such a rate, our beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister and dear friend gained freedom from all that had her bound on earth. She flew home into the arms of her Father. Mindy would later say that she believed Connie felt all of our prayers and knew it was ok for her to resign this hard-fought earthly battle in exchange for her promised restoration in His glory.
Dear sweet Constance, we hold your precious memory as we hold your heart in the form of the precious gift you have left us in little Esther Violet.
Please join us at 6pm on Friday November 19th at Oasis Church to celebrate the amazing life and strength of this most extraordinary young woman who granted me the title of mom.
In lieu of flowers, please consider lending your prayers and any financial donations to the care and raising of Connie's little miracle, Esther Violet.
** Footnote from her father: Constance did not receive the current experimental gene therapy and did not contract nor die of the highly promoted fear campaign known as the COVID19 plandemic.