At 7:44 this evening, surrounded by his family, Sam died. He was the youngest brother of my friend, and college roommate, Amanda. He died of cancer.
The first time I met Sam I was 19 and he was 14. I was his sister's college friend and I had come for a weekend visit at their house. Amanda's mom still teases me that I showed up for my first visit with a basket full of dirty laundry (and I did!). Sam was a chubby faced kid, one of those chatty, cheerful boys who liked to hang out and talk about pretty much anything. I remember him talking about Boy Scouting, how one becomes an Eagle Scout, and things that were happening at school.
I was long gone from Clemson by the time he was a student there, but I know he loved Clemson University as much as anyone who ever attended. He was a true orange-blooded Tiger fan.
He spent the last several years living in Hot-lanta, but every chance he got he headed to CU to watch a game and cheer for the Tigers. He was still a funny guy, who always had a quick wit and posted lots of funny stuff on facebook. Facebook was perfect for someone like Sam, he had about eleventy million friends, all of whom he kept in touch with online. He had two brown labs, named Clemson (Clem) and Calhoun (Callie).
Sam got sick just a few months ago with cancer. He moved back to South Carolina and lived with his parents while having chemo. Amanda, and her other brother, Jay, were nearby. The whole family pulled together and loved him and supported him and helped him fight hard, but in the end, his body was worn out and overcome. A couple of weeks past his 40th birthday, he left this mortal life behind.
I personally think that right now there's a large band of angels playing Tiger Rag on their harps, the orange flags are flying, and Jesus is welcoming Sam to his eternal home. Sam is at peace, and all that's left is for those he left behind to grieve, to remember him, and to be thankful for having known him. God bless you and keep you Sam.