A Tribute to Sam: Beloved Son, Brother, & Friend

I was born, one day I’ll die. The in between is mine.

My brother Sam was born on January 23rd, 2001 in Hoboken, NJ; the same one-square mile city as Frank Sinatra. When I first saw him, I immediately knew that I was going to have to learn how to share. Although he was much smaller than me, I was earnestly very scared of him, and for good reason too because he was fearless, and had a great throwing arm. His projectile object of choice was anything within arms’ reach. Legos, wooden blocks, food, it didn’t really matter. Sam would get you with it.

My brother Sam was a man of action. He walked before he talked. He would beat up kids much larger than him when he was just a baby. He even took the training wheels off of his own tricycle before he was 5 years old. We found him riding around the cul-de-sac one day not understanding how he was able to learn how to ride a bike on his own, much less how he managed to teach himself how to use a wrench.

My brother Sam was a ladies’ man. He was a bona-fide heart-breaker. Sam had more love interests before starting college than I ever had, or probably ever will.

My brother Sam was a dare-devil. Sam climbed to the tops of roofs and to the tops of trees. He loved being on top of the world. Consequences were beneath him. And so was the ground, which he proved was solid when he fell and broke his wrist.

My brother Sam was an artist and a creative. He made wands with his hands, murals on the walls of refugee centers, and drawings with his mind that only he could understand. He was musical, mastering clarinet and the piano. Sam even made an effigy of himself in his bed, and belayed down the side of our house in the middle of the night to meet up with a girl at the park just to make out. He was only caught once, but I honestly do not believe that was the only time this stunt occurred. Like I said, Sam was a ladies’ man and a dare-devil.

My brother Sam was an activist. Sam canvassed with Beto, volunteered at the Amaanah Refugee Center, and protested with Black Lives Matter.

My brother Sam had great taste in music, and was the life of the party. Somewhere along the line, you became the cooler sibling.

My brother Sam was a good friend and a great brother. He was unconditionally kind and considerate to those around him almost to a fault. You could always count on him to show up when he was needed. Even when it came to taking his friends to the hospital, he would be there. He gave so much of himself and his love to others. And we love him deeply in return.

My brother Sam was the miracle child of our family. My brother Sam was brave. Born on the last day of the Year of the Dragon, he tricked fate and made a deal not to be born on the next day, which was the first of the year of the Snake. For that trade, God bequeathed his purpose as the Protector of our family. Suffice it to say, he saved us and those around him more than once.

My brother Sam believed everyone had a purpose. We think of legacy as something that someone older leaves upon someone younger. In Sam’s case, I’m not ashamed to say it was the opposite. Sam’s legacy lives on through me, my family, his loved ones, and his community. Sam taught me how to be a brother. Sam’s existence made our family experience things we otherwise would never have done; dragging us to go on family vacations and visiting different parts of the world. Sam taught me how to be more selfless. Sam taught us how to be kind. He had a beautiful heart and a beautiful mind.

My brother Sam was deeply empathetic, and from a very young age could always feel the pain of those around him, feeling a responsibility for their suffering. Regrettably, the isolation of the pandemic made this weight too great to bear. I want people to know that my brother is not defined by his mental suffering. He is defined by all those great things he has accomplished, the beautiful person that he was, and the legacy that he forever imprints upon me, my family, and his peers.

Although we are all extremely saddened that this is the last time we will see you again on this Earth, we are glad that you are now at peace forever. I am eternally grateful for the time that we shared together, and I am incredibly proud to call you my brother and my friend.

Brothers now, brothers then, brothers until the very end. Sam The Kind. Sam the Brave. Sam the Savior. I love you Sam. Thank you for always being the Guardian Angel to our Family and Your Friends.

Rest in Peace, Sam (01/23/2021 - 03/07/2022).

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Juanito Qiaoder 
Pearland, TX
Mha of Greater Houston Foundation Inc 
Registered nonprofit
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