A Brother's Eulogy

by Jonah Price


When my parents brought a newborn Sam back from the hospital, the first thing I said was “can we take her back.” To this day that has been one of the dumbest things I have ever said, because my sister Sam was one of the most incredible people I have ever known.

When I first started thinking of what I was going to say here, I was worried that I would be rehashing the sentiments of each person before me. But then I realized that every single person here could get up and say a different reason why Sam was such an amazing person. Sam was always there for anyone and everyone who needed her. She was compassionate and empathetic while at the same time strong and passionate. Without any protest or hesitation Sam would move from the second floor into the basement to practice the cello, so I could focus on “doing my homework.” She was an activist who was truly motivated solely by the principals of social justice and equality.

I know its cliché to say, but I have too many good memories of Sam to share today. So I will share just one. Two years ago our family did a backpacking trek across the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. The first night it rained, not a drizzle, not a downpour, but hurricane level rains. The next morning everything was drenched: our clothes, our tent, our backpacks, and our spirits. We were only a four-hour hike from the entrance and had another three days of hiking to get to Machu Picchu. Plus the upcoming day of hiking was to begin by climbing up a mountain where temperatures were 15-25 degrees.

The entire family wanted to go back and take the train to Machu Picchu—except for Sam. She hadn’t even considered the idea of turning back. For her the only way out was advancing ahead. Singlehandedly she convinced us to climb the freezing mountain in soaking clothes. There’s no way any of us would have made it up the mountain without her motivation and encouragement. And I kid you not, as soon as we reached the peak the weather cleared up and the trek down the other side of the mountain was one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever been on. I chose this story because I think it embodies who Sam was, and how I will remember her. She was someone who pushed people to do great things, yet was supportive and kind along the way.

What truly makes me the saddest about this horrible, horrible tragedy is that the one person Sam couldn’t help was herself. She spent so much time helping other who needed her. But it wasn’t that Sam couldn’t deal with this world, it’s that this world couldn’t deal with Sam. Our society made her feel ugly and unwanted; when in reality she was a beautiful soul who was so important to so many people. 

Sadly, there is no path back, we can only move forward. We must because the last thing Sam would have wanted was for any of us to suffer. Sam I will always love you and there will not be a single minute that goes by where I am not thinking about you.