This is not what I want to be writing about at 4:15 p.m. on a Sunday. In fact, this is not something I would want to write about ever. This is not what anyone wants to read, myself included. I don't know where to begin or where to end without repeatedly saying how heartbroken I -- as well as many of Clemson University's student body -- am at the delivery of this tragic news.
Around 2:45 a.m. this Sunday, Samuel Cadden passed away due to blunt force trauma received after his Jeep struck a tree, officials announced. He was headed toward Anderson on U.S. 76 when his vehicle went off the road. Not many more details have been released at this time.
However, I don't want this article to reiterate a news piece. I don't want this article to just highlight Sam's last minutes with us on this Earth. Instead, I want this article to serve as an offering of many condolences and memories made with the Sam we all knew and couldn't help but love.
I had the utmost pleasure of meeting Sam this past year at the beginning of our fall semester. He had a smile that could light up a room and whenever he had something to say it was as if his voice commanded your attention. He was interesting to listen to. He kept you engaged. He cared about what you had to say.
We both made the borderline-terrible decision of taking an online class together and even though it really was as awful as we both thought it would be, those are some of the memories with him that I will now cherish most. We would procrastinate studying for our exams until the night before, insisting we need to take a "break," that normally turned into an hour, which normally meant we would be in Cooper until 4 a.m. He'd text me the next day asking me how I did and we both would tell each other the not-so-surprising news that we could've done better if we maybe hadn't started studying 24 hours before. Regardless, it was one below average grade that was worth one night of just laughing and cutting up with him.
He had big dreams and a bigger heart. He had a charisma that's so hard to find. He set the standard for so many guys and girls alike. He would look out for you before he would even think of looking out for himself. He was a "Hey beautiful" whenever you needed it most. He was a people-pleaser, a story-teller, a bear-hug giver, and Clemson University has truly lost a little light on campus.
I was on Sam's Facebook -- which is already overflowing with love from the people who loved him most -- when I found a quote he had posted in his bio way back when:
"Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best." -Tim Duncan
Sam truly did give everyone the very best version of himself and that is the only way I will choose to remember him.
Sam, Clemson misses you already. I miss you already. But I know you will keep God laughing until we meet again one day. And when the sun comes out after a long Clemson thunderstorm, I will know it's you and smile.
Please continue to keep the Cadden family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this extremely difficult time.