A year ago, after a workout at Echo Park Lake, I went to the climbing gym. I avoided going on my phone because I was afraid to open Facebook. It had been a couple weeks since I had last visited Dr. Sean, and I had been through this process twice before. Unable to preoccupy my mind, I left the gym almost as quickly as I entered. I went and sat in my car and stared at my phone. I heard Sean’s voice in my head asking me “what the fuck are you waiting for?” Sean’s tone was equal parts motivational, fearless, and sassy. He was courageous and wasn’t one to waste time. At workouts, if he passed you, he wouldn’t hesitate to encourage you to get your ass moving. He was blunt without being antagonistic or judgmental. So when I heard his voice, I grabbed my phone.
I opened Facebook and sitting there atop my newsfeed was the post. The one that announced to the world that Sean had lost his battle. I cried. I cried a lot, and then when I felt like I was ok to drive, I began driving home. I took the same route home that I would go when I would drive Sean home from a workout. Every red light was a respite from holding back tears.
For those that don’t know Sean, here are a few memories that I hold dearly.
- One workout back during the Hollywood Bowl days, Sean passed Baby Joey on the stairs. Sean looked at Joey, who was roughly half his age, and asked him why he was passing him. Joey looked back at Sean, and before he could respond, Sean said “bullshit, I shouldn’t be passing you.” I remember the look on Joey’s face before he raced up the stairs and passed Sean.
- “Fuck them, be you.” These four simple words were echoed by Sean. Sean despised bullies and naysayers. He believed that everyone had a right to be who they wanted to be, and that no one should judge someone for the things that they love or want to do.
- Last I visited Sean, I gave him the positivity award along with a couple cards from the tribe. We agreed to him bringing the PA back to the tribe when he was healthy enough to return. During my visit, Sean asked me if I knew what the worst part of having cancer was. I stared back at Sean unable to come up with anything to respond with. Without even as much of a grin he looked at me and said “sometimes I poop myself and don’t know that it’s happening,” and then he cracked a smile and laughed. I laughed and told him that he wasn’t allowed to make me laugh about this. With that same fearless tone that was Sean, he said “hey, it’s ok, sometimes shit happens.”
A year ago tomorrow, we lost an incredible member of the tribe. While I can’t bring Sean back, I can carry on his legacy. You can too. When you’re at the workouts, don’t forget to encourage your fellow tribe members to push a little harder. Don’t be afraid to race your new friend. Remember to tell those naysayer voices to fuck off. You are strong, you are powerful, you are capable of pushing yourself beyond your mental boundaries. And hey, if you happen to throw up during a workout (like I did my first two NP workouts), remember, shit happens.
- Run to Women’s March
- Firecracker code NPLAX10
- GSA Event
- LAM Water Station
- Pasadena Half – Good luck to all of our racers this weekend!!
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