Saying goodbye to "Sean the Cook"
I don't write a lot of personal stuff anymore. I don't blog often, I don't journal anymore and I don't share personal things or day to day life all that much. I can't say why I've shut down but I can say that I feel sad that it takes the death of a friend to get me to sit down and record what's going on.
Sean was a lot of things to a LOT of people. He was a son, a brother, a father, a husband, a friend, an employee, a cook, a partner in crime - but to absolutely everyone, Sean was a SMILE. You all know what I'm talking about, THAT SMILE. He had a way of lighting up any room he entered with his incredible spirit. For a small guy, Sean's personality was larger than life.
Funerals are the most uncomfortable thing possible for a lot of people but I get them better now than I did before. On the way to the funeral home this morning I thought it would be nice to put on some Beatles music. I cannot hear the Beatles without thinking of all of the late night karaoke renditions from Sean the Cook of Twist and Shout and Oh! Darlin. But I couldn't do it. The minute Twist and Shout started in the car I lost it and began bawling my eyes out. Not ready yet.
Sean's service was standing room only and I'm not sure anyone would expect any different. Seeing so many old friend's faces is such a bittersweet thing at these events. Everyone is hugging and glad to see someone familiar, so many loved ones. But then you say the obligatory "how are you?" and remember why you're all there and just wish the circumstances were better.
If you ever want to feel awkward at a funeral, carry a camera. Usually behind my favorite lens I am CONFIDENT but I have never accepted a request to take photos at somebody's memorial service although I've been asked a lot. I definitely got some weird looks but most people understood and for me it was just about doing anything I could to help out the family who's grief is beyond anything I can comprehend. We all feel so helpless in these situations so for me to have a "job" to do actually made the whole thing a lot more bearable.
After the memorial we all headed to Players for some food, drinks, sharing memories and a beautiful balloon release in Sean's honor. His family and friends all gathered and told some of the funniest stories of Sean we could all remember and then wrote on balloons to release together. If you've ever been lucky enough to be a part of the Player's family, you know how beautiful it was. I saw nothing but love and affection not only for Sean but for each other - I can't quite find the words to express how meaningful it is when someone can drop an old grudge to welcome you into a big hug and say it's good to see your face. Because when it comes down to it, we can get mad at each other, love each other, hate each other, despise each other's politics or beliefs but we are all one and we are all family. We are all part of communities and we all matter and when someone gets snatched away from us far too soon and when we never would have expected it - it sure makes you love a little harder and forgive a little quicker. It really felt good to look around the bar and see all of the love and community. I am truly sorry that it took the death of someone we all loved to bring me around for the first time in a year or so. Life just seems to get away from us...
The balloon release was absolutely beautiful and I'm so happy to have witnessed that. It was a beautiful day for a beautiful soul who as his son said to us all on the microphone today "isn't coming back because he went to be in heaven."
On the way home from the service, "Twist and Shout" came on the radio. This time I sang it at the top of my lungs with a huge smile on my face. This one was for you Sean.
We all love you Ryder and we love you Rach and you know that this huge village will all be there to support you in bringing up Sean's mini me. Let's remember this desperately painful sudden loss each day in a way that honors Sean's memory and reminds us to LOVE as thoroughly as possible, to let the things that don't matter go, and to live every moment like its your last. <3