These words are from Jeff, another former classmate, from journalism school in Ottawa. Sean and Jeff continued to stay in touch over the years bonding over their mutual love of basketball, music and movies. Unfortunately, that contact was lost when things took a serious turn for Sean last year.
“Hey Sean, your wife asked me to write something about my memories of you and our relationship. I was flattered beyond belief to be thought of as someone worthy of having a memory of you, especially because of our falling out and the way I treated you. Maybe your wife sees how much in pain I am in losing my best friend just like she did, and can let go of all the personal drama I wish I had the strength to back in the day in recognizing that I truly loved you and always will and despite our wires getting crossed, at the end of the day that’s all that matters. To best summarize my relationship with you, one needs to understand that that’s me, a big-mouth who’s emotional, stubborn and opinionated as opinionated can be. You didn’t care, though, and you accepted me from our first interaction, and the most important thing I’ve ever taken from our time in school was that very acceptance. They can say ‘We were young’ etc etc but you and I both know that we connected because we were old-souls. We connected on a cosmic level even siblings and family sometimes can’t achieve. Your opinion of me mattered more than anyone else combined, because I trusted, respected and held you such high regard that even when you and I had our falling out, I didn’t hold you to blame, but rather myself. I knew that I had pushed you too far, tried the patience of one of the most patient people I’ve ever met, and I was ashamed of that. I let you down when you did nothing but help me up. To the average observer outside the situation casually looking in our falling out was an atrocity of friendship, a perfect example of how not to treat a friend. What they won’t understand, though, which I have come to realize, is that our falling out played out exactly how it was going to. A lot of what I felt over the last few years, fear of losing you, fear of falling out of touch, fear of your tuning me out, that was, as messed up as it seems, in total tribute to the regard I held you in, and the fact that we cared so much about each other led to what happened. You and I could have just stopped talking, slowly and slowly go through our days talking less and less, but our relationship was bigger than that and of course it went out with a big bang. There have been many lessons learned, don’t get me wrong, and these are lessons and values that I’ll carry with me until I join you in your peace, but I just think our fate together as friends was not justified, but at least easier to digest when you take into account everything. You’ve missed some crazy stuff over the past year, bro, from a teenager who killed herself in BC, to a nurse who killed herself, and then last week someone killed a bunch of kids not even 7 years old. It’s an ass-kicking to deal with, on an emotional level, and part of why I was as upset as I was then was because as so many who loved you and had their own personal stories with you, your guidance, love and understanding and making sense of the world and what we living are left behind live through is the most heart-breaking part. I know that you are up there, though, offering that same wisdom, that same understanding, that same shoulder to cry on for those who suffered as much as you did down here and we are now. I have no doubt you are leaving behind the same impact on the spirits of those you’re crossing in Heaven then you did here, and maybe it’ll have a trickle-down affect on how they handle their responsibility as angels. I was always encouraging us to work on a project, do something constructive together, or talk about things like #24 because I wanted to bring out the best in you, I wanted to show you that you know, because you were challenged by your disease it didn’t mean that you had to live a life different than the one you knew. I wanted so badly for you not to feel limited, not to feel scared, not to fear tomorrow but make the best of today. Little did I realize those were things I needed myself. If I have something I regret most out of all of this, it’s talking too much, not listening enough and truly believing your psychical being live forever. In everything I do now I make an extra effort to stop talking about stupid shit, listening to not only the important things but taking from them and valuing those who have supported and loved me more and more. But, I can’t believe you don’t think Kobe is better than Michael, I’ll take that one to my grave myself in disagreeing with you. But then again, you’ve always been the Michael to my Kobe, so I won’t hold it against you.”
Photo: This picture was taken by me at a party in Ottawa in 2004. I remember it being a toga party, but most of us had lost our togas and got back into something more comfortable before the night was over.