HAVE YOU EVER lost a loved one? A family member? A friend? How did you deal with it?
LOSING LOVED ONES
2017 HAS BEEN ONE hell of a year. A lot has happened. Some good, some bad, and everything in between. 2 weeks ago my youngest sister’s boyfriend, Sean, lost his life in a drunk driving accident. So this was a particularly stressful year. And we weren’t expecting this during the holidays.
IT WAS SUDDEN. There wasn’t a chance to say goodbye. To intervene. To do anything, really. He was just gone. My family was devastated.
SEAN WASN’T LEGALLY family but he was was family to all of us. He was at every birthday party, every holiday, every family get together. To my kids, my nieces and nephews, he was Uncle Sean.
I HAD SEEN HIM on like December 13th or 14th. And on the morning of the 15th, my brother sent me a text asking if I had talked to my mom or my sister. If I’d heard: Sean had died in a car accident the night before. It took me a second to absorb that. Not our Sean? The Sean that was always around, that showed up to all our family parties, that was here during every holiday?
I WENT OUT AND GAVE my little sister a hug. She said she found out through a friend, online. They thought she knew. Sean had gone to a party the night before. He was drunk, so a friend gave him a ride home. This friend was drunk too…
HE WAS SPEEDING, took a curve too fast, and lost control of the car. It rolled, hit a tree, a fence, and I believe it hit someone’s house. The car was literally destroyed. And the kicker? The driver survived the crash. It showed up in our local newspaper, and the sight of the car brought me to tears. It was horrifying. I still can’t really look at it now. Seriously, don’t drink and drive. Ever.
I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE that it happened. Sean was only 22. I saw him every day. My kids loved him. The last time I saw him we were heading to our car to drop my wife off at work. Sean walked out, barefoot, and asked if we needed anything and what my kids wanted for Christmas. I told him that my son and my daughter were really into Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball right now. He smiled at that, shook his head, and I gave him one last hug. My son and daughter waddled out of the car and rushed up to give him a hug and to say goodbye. Sean knelt down and scooped them into his arms. That was the last time we saw him.
I REGRET NOT TALKING to him more. My sister always told me that he really liked me. He always tried to get to know me more, always asked how I was doing, and would always said hello when I saw him. We saw each other all the time, we talked, and he was always there.
BUT I NEVER REALLY got to know him. I’m a solitary person, an introvert, and I keep everyone at arms length. I have trust issues, and I don’t make friends easily or often. At all, actually. And while he was always asking me how I was, what I was up to, or simply saying hello whenever we crossed paths, I’d smile, say I was fine, and that would be that. I was actually planning for 2018 to be the year that I actually started sharing and talking more with him.
I NEVER TOLD HIM how much I appreciated the love he showed towards my kids. That the simple gesture of buying my daughter a whole box of ice cream for her birthday, buying her that big Rainbow Dash plush, or always hugging my kids when he saw them, meant a lot. I always meant to let him know that I thought it was awesome, that he was awesome, and we really appreciated it. Sean also got free ice cream from his work. He stuffed the freezer full and said we could eat as much as we want. My kids were delighted.
I ALWAYS TOLD HIM thank you, hugged him, but I never actually sat down, shook his hand, and told him face to face how much that it meant to me and my wife. He always wanted to know what we needed, or what my kids wanted, so that he could get them the perfect gift. Sean was always passionate about everything he did.
MY FONDEST MEMORY of him was when we played the card game, Munchkin, together. One time, in a very spirited game, we were laughing, high fiving, having a grand ol’ time destroying everyone with the various cards. And when we were done, Sean just said, “Hey man that was really fun! I feel like we bonded. We were bonding!” I just smiled and said, “Yeah, man.”
WHEN I FIRST MET HIM I remember he asked me if I had ever played Altered Beast. I told him no, but of course I had! It was such an absurd question to me at the time because it was one of my childhood favorites. He adamantly told me that I should go online and play it. After that day, I never told him it was one of my favorite games growing up. That me, my brother, and my cousins would frequent it at the arcades and jumped at the chance when it was released on the Super Nintendo. It was a game that meant a lot to me. I should have told him.
SEAN LOVED VIDEO GAMES. And as most of you know, I am an avid gamer. We could have had a lot to talks, since we have a lot in common, if I had shared my interest in games with him. Another missed opportunity.
I ALSO REMEMBER a few months back I really wanted to watch the Teen Titan’s movie The Judas Contract. I just happened to see it on the table one day, and it ended up being Sean’s. I didn’t say anything. He asked my younger brother if he’d seen it, and my brother just said that he hadn’t. I wanted to scream and geek out that I wanted to watch it! That we should throw it in and watch it right now! That I was a big fan of the original Teen Titans cartoon. But I didn’t say anything. I should have. I should have geeked out like crazy. Damn.
I OFTEN FIND MYSELF wondering if things would be different if he had asked my sister for a ride. Or if we were closer, and he had asked me. Or if he would have slept it off at the the house, or had not gone to the party at all. Would things be different?
I WISH I HAD the power to rewind time. I’m really into the Re:Zero anime and the anime Erased. In both shows, the characters have the power to go back and change things. And I think about how that power would come in handy right about now.
I WAKE UP SOMETIMES and hope that it was just a bad dream. That I’ll see Sean working on his car, cooking in the kitchen, or I’d see him and my sister walking out, and everything is fine. Everything is good.
IT WAS WEIRD during the holidays. After the accident, I tried to get into the holiday spirit. I turned on Christmas tunes, but the songs about togetherness and all that just seemed so hollow. It was like the world was a little emptier now. Cliche, yes, but I never really knew what that meant till now. It was hard to think, to motivate myself to do anything. It was so surreal, it still is, and I had (have?) difficulty fully comprehending and dealing with it.
A FEW DAYS AFTER the accident, I told my brother about my regrets. That I wish I had spent more time talking to Sean. That I should have just opened up and let him know about my work online, my love for games, for Doctor Who, what I was planning, and all that. And my brother’s answer made me start crying. He said: “I guess you can tell him now. I’m sure he can hear you.” Damn dude. I cried, but it made me smile, too.
ON CHRISTMAS MORNING, sometime after 2am, something like that, after we had all opened our presents and the kids were still awake playing with their newly acquired toys, my sister went to her room to put things away. My sister-in-law was back there with her, and they were both freaking out about the window? It looked like it was dripping, but it wasn’t raining. So I went outside to investigate and the sprinklers were on? And one sprinkler (the one below her window) was spurting upwards, towards the glass? Our sprinklers are on a timer and never go off at that time and the sprinklers have never shot up and hit her window, before.
THEN, MY SISTER ALSO told me about when she went to her friend’s house the other day, and the lights started flickering. Her friend’s husband tried to fix the bulbs, but they were fine. So my sister said jokingly, “Okay, Sean. Can you stop?” And the lights stopped flickering.
ME AND MY WIFE like to believe that it was Sean. That he was trying to get my sister’s attention, because he never got a chance to say goodbye. Maybe we’re reading too much into it, maybe it’s just sentimentality. But whether there’s a logical explanation or not, we don’t care.
REST IN PEACE, SEAN. You’ll be missed and things won’t be the same without you. It happened too fast, man. It really did. I will be sure that my sons and my daughter will remember you. You’re gone, but not forgotten. This is a really good picture of him, by the way 🙂 I think he should have had his hair like that more often. He looks hella G.Q.!
HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone. Don’t drink and drive. Be responsible. And ring in the last of 2017 as amazingly as you can. Here’s to a brand new year, a new start, and more opportunities in 2018. Love you all. Stay safe and we’ll see you next year.
THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading. Please take care all, you all rock. Cheers.