"He's gone. He's been down a few days."
My face crumpled and my body convulsed as I absorbed the information, only confirmation of what I already knew.
"Do you want me to call someone?" I stared at him. "Do you have a religious affiliation?"
"What is your religious affiliation?"
"Catholic." More emergency vehicles rolled by, their sirens silenced by this point. A car marked "Kern County Coroner" passed.
It was true. Sean was dead.
Nearly 10 years later the memories are still fresh enough to come flooding back when the news of a celebrity suicide captures the headlines.
Robin Williams, 64 years old, was a beloved actor. We felt like we knew him. We knew his voice. We knew the twinkle in his eyes. But we didn't know the depth of his internal struggle.
I was closer to Sean than anyone in the world on the day that he died. I knew things were bad. I've spent years putting away the guilt I felt for not stopping him from putting that gun to his mouth. Some people say I should feel angry at him for leaving like he did. They would say that I should be angry at him for being selfish. But they didn't know his heart.
What I feel much more powerfully than any other emotion when I think of Sean is a simple sadness that he is dead.
I am sorry I ever had to call his dad and say, "Sean is gone." I am sorry that his mother will never dance with her son at his wedding. I am sorry that I have found my soulmate, and somewhere out there Sean's is looking for hers but he's not here to be found. I am sorry that we never got to have a real break-up, a real good-bye. I am sorry that his 36th birthday just passed, but the world will never know a 36 year old Sean.
I am sorry that his life was cut short at 26 years old. I am sorry that at 22 I had to find his dead body, call the police, answer investigative questions about his last days, go to his funeral, be the battering ram for his mother whose grief far surpassed mine and whom I was the obvious target. I'm sorry for the way that he's haunted my past relationships, and now that the guilt has been shelved and my memories of the event are bearable I am sorry that I ever had to come to terms with the death of my young boyfriend and best friend.
As I mourn the death of Robin Williams with the rest of the world, I can't help but mourn Sean. He was the Mork to my Mindy, my best friend, forever young, and out of this world.