There may be radio silence on here for a little while. I just lost someone very, very dear to me under horrific circumstances and I imagine it’ll be some time before I can articulate how I feel about it.
On Friday morning, life changed as I got the news that Sean, my “other brother,” had been killed in Indiana just hours before. I called him my brother because he was just that – though not biologically my sibling, he was as close to that as you can get without DNA.
He’d started out as my brother’s good friend from junior high school, but quickly became one of us. I was Sis. My mother was Mem, and he loved her like one, sending her cards and messages on her birthday and Mother’s Day. My dad was G-Dog – a perfect nickname for the jocular yet deep, loving relationship they shared, where Sean looked up to him like another father. His friendship with my brother always seemed more mature and supportive than most guys of their age. And when I got married, my mom said, “Now I have four kids. You, Brendan, Sean and Rob.”
At some point I hope to write further about Sean and his life. How you never saw him without a huge smile on his face. How he’d hug you more tightly than you’ve ever been hugged in your life. His deep laugh that warmed your heart. His incredible work ethic that eventually led him to law enforcement, where he was on his way to becoming a town police officer.
And perhaps best of all, his unwavering loyalty to his friends and family – his willingness to drop whatever he was doing to help you out. It sounds cliche, but there was nothing cliche about Sean. His generosity was well beyond his years.
In late April, Sean lost Norm, one of his best friends in the world. It shattered him, but he appeared dedicated to keeping his friend’s memory alive. He was in Indiana last week to collect some things Norm had left him, including a truck that he’d hoped to finish restoring.
It was reported that Sean broke up a fight shortly before he was killed. That rings true to the Sean I know. He’d stick up for anyone; protect anyone he thought was in danger.
While it was horribly surreal to read news reports of his death, I was oddly comforted by the story written in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, in which colleagues and family friends described him as a “great kid, a great friend, an asset to the community.” All true, and more.
Just 27, Sean leaves behind his parents, Paul and Tracy; his brother, Paul Jr. (PJ,) PJ’s wife, Melissa and their newborn daughter, Grace; his brother Ryan and endless people who, too, called him a loved one.
Sean was at my wedding in 2009, and posted photos of the event on Facebook with the album titled “Sis’s Wedding.” I can’t find the comment now, but I remember a friend of his posting confusedly. She knew Sean was the youngest of three boys.
The friend said something like, “You don’t have a sister?” And Sean responded, “YES, I do.”