Dear Sean, My Heart Is Hurting
Our friendship began the night we met. It was August 12, 2018 in downtown Cleveland. My friends and I ended up at a table at FWD nightclub with you and your friends. Thanks to your charm, and that handsome face, we immediately clicked.
In a short time, I realized there was so much more to you than your good looks and your sweet personality.
Over the next year, I got to know you pretty well. I opened up to you about my past. You were supportive and understanding. I shared with you the challenges I faced at the time, and you gave me strength, encouragement, and confidence. You also took me for sushi, became my pen pal (exchanging a billion texts a day), and helped me set the foundation for my business. Sometimes, I’d even get you to stop by my apartment just to give me a hug.
As our friendship evolved, you’d often share your wisdom and perspective with me.
Vividly, I remember you once telling me a lesson you learned while serving in the military. You told me you were pushed so much physically in the military that you realized that the moment you feel like giving up – the moment you feel like you have nothing left in the tank – you always have a bit more fight left. You can always go more.
I left Cleveland in June of 2019. You came over and said goodbye to me. You told me we’d see each other again in Miami or when I returned to Cleveland. Little did I know that would be the last time I’d ever see you.
About two months later, you texted me, “I have a miracle.”
You proceeded to tell me, in text, about how a week earlier you had a seizure while home with your daughters. Your daughters called for help and got you to the hospital, where they found a tumor in your brain. You sent me videos and an actual picture of the tumor inside your brain. It was too much for me to absorb over text, and I asked you to call me, which you did.
At that point, you still didn’t know if it was cancer, but you told me, “Don’t worry. Whatever it is, I will be OK.”
When you officially told me it was cancer, I don’t think my mind could fully process the reality of the situation. In fact, I still don’t think I have fully processed it. As time passed, I checked in on you here and there, and we chatted about life and other things.
When I first launched The Unsealed, you read nearly every letter, and signed up as one of my very first members.
After I thanked you for signing up, you said, “Your stories are helping people, Lauren. Your strength/story is touching.”
You made me believe that this lofty dream I was pursuing was not only possible but worthwhile.
While we didn’t talk much about your cancer diagnosis, and you certainly never told me your prognosis, you did tell me your circumstance taught you that no matter what, you always have to look at life from a positive perspective. When I told you I felt like I hit a wall with my business, you told me to be thankful I am here to hit that wall, reminding me that each day is both a blessing and an opportunity.
I used to tease you that you were a feminist, but you truly were, believing that women, including me, could be or do anything they so choose. I remember you even spent time on a weekend, helping teach young girls how to code.
Your daughters were your world, and you never wanted to miss a volleyball game or dinner time. If I called you while you were watching a movie with one of your daughters, you wouldn’t answer. Your time with your children was precious to you – and that was true from the moment I met you.
During your battle with cancer, you began to ride your bike – a lot. You decided to join the Great Cycle Challenge, aiming to ride your bike 200 miles in a month to raise money, not for yourself but for children battling cancer. You were among the top fundraisers in the country.
In the most challenging moment in your life, you devoted your time and energy to helping others that were suffering.
Sean, that is who you were. That is who all your friends and family know, love, and cherish.
A little less than a year ago, I asked you how you were, and you told me you were OK and that you were going to try some experimental treatments. Without going into detail, I knew what that meant. I didn’t hear from you much after that, and I feel sad that I didn’t reach out as I should have. I think, subconsciously, a part of me didn’t want to face the reality of losing yet another young person close to me. I am sorry I wasn’t there for you as much as I should have been these last few months. I promise, it wasn’t because I didn’t care.
A few weeks ago, I had a funny story I wanted to tell you – a mystery that I finally solved. When I texted you on your phone and Instagram and didn’t get a response, I knew it wasn’t good. Ultimately, your best friend and your mom filled me in. I am thankful I texted when I did, as I was able to send you cards and tell you how much you meant to me. Your mom even said that when you saw the card was from me, you had a huge smile across your face.
I am absolutely heartbroken right now. You were one of the good guys and didn’t deserve a battle with brain cancer. With that said, I want you to know that the man beyond the charm and the handsome face has left an indelible mark on my heart.
Because of you, I will keep fighting when I feel there is nothing left in the tank. I will keep pushing to build The Unsealed, motivated by the fact that I know it meant something to you and can and will help many other people. And I will always wake up every day with gratitude and a positive attitude.
While I am mourning the loss of your life, I will continue to celebrate you through how I live mine.
I miss you already. Thank you for genuinely caring about me. You will forever inspire me.
With love and lots of hugs,
P.S. I heart you.
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First off I’m so very sorry for this loss. Sean, from everything you’ve written, was an extraordinary man. This tribute is both heartbreaking and inspiring to read. It is heartbreaking because a great man and Father was taken from this life so very soon. Reading what you’ve written is inspiring however also. It shows the profound impact he left not only upon your life but everyone that was blessed to know him.
They often say that how those we leave behind remember us is the result of the way we’ve lived our lives. From what I’ve read here, he lived an incredible life. He didn’t leave the impact he did by chance, he left it by choice and that is everything. With so much hatred flowing through this world, it is people like Sean that help us believe that we can make a difference. Not only did he show kindness, he lived it. It only leaves me wishing I had the privilege of meeting him. In a way I did through these loving words you’ve written here. If only a glimmer, it shows me how great we can be as people.
Knowing how incredibly kind and caring you are Lauren, it is not surprising that people like Sean were drawn towards you. The magnetism of who you are never fails to inspire and encourage others to be the best versions of themselves. I know I’ve become a better person in the short amount of time I’ve known you.
I know you will carry his memory on with you in everything you’re about to do. I’m also sure he’ll be looking on with pride and a smile to see you accomplish that which you endeavor to do.
I have prayed that his family and friends find comfort in knowing that the pain of cancer is now gone from him. I pray that time brings comfort to those who mourn his loss and cherish his memory.