This past weekend, I went to East Hampton, NY to spend the anniversary of Sean’s passing with his family and friends. Steph, my sister, and I caravaned with Steph’s family. We started our adventure on Saturday around 9:30 in the morning and were making pretty good time despite a bathroom break, followed by a lunch break, followed by a “Courtney got sick in her shoes” break, and finally followed by a “Stop at Kmart so Courtney can get some clean clothes to wear”.
We spent Saturday evening with the Carabines chatting while Alex played DJ. It was really great to have some time with the Carabines before everyone came up to talk and share stories.
On Sunday, everyone else came up to visit and there were probably 20+ people there to share the day with Sean’s family and friends. We gathered at Main Beach around 2pm to “christen” the bench that Sean’s parents had placed in memory of Sean. The bench overlooks the spot where Sean and Steph were married on the beach. Sean loved Main Beach and Steph says they stopped there on their way in and out of town (and many times in between). Sean liked to park in the parking lot facing the beach and listen to music in the car and watch the ocean.
I didn’t really know what to expect from the event this year. Would it be a celebration of Sean or would it be a somber affair? It turned out just the way Sean would have liked it. The kids were running all over and playing in the sand. Everyone else was smiling and happy and enjoying each others company. A few people took a few minutes to themselves and visited the surf where Sean’s remains were placed last year but the overall feeling was that of celebrating this great man’s life. We were having a blast taking pictures on the bench. The only somber moment came when we fulfilled a promise made to Sean by some of his high school friends and played “Don’t you forget about me” from the Breakfast Club movie. We all hung our heads and I don’t think that’s what Sean would have wanted. I think next year if we do the same thing, I’m going to suggest that we make it karoake to keep things cheery.
After the beach, we returned to the Carabine’s home for snacks and to exchange “Sean stories.” Sean was a great story teller and you always thought his stories were exaggerated (greatly). Then you would meet his parents and they would independently confirm the stories and you were even more amazed. Matt started an activity where we each told our favorite Sean story that we were there for, and our favorite Sean story that was told to us. We were laughing and having a great time.
It’s weird but I’m actually looking forward to returning next year. I had such a great time thanks to Sean’s family and friends and I can’t wait to get back together with all of those great people that Sean surrounded himself with next year.
The Buddhist have a tradition of not celebrating birthdays, but they celebrate the date of death because that is when a person enters the process of rebirth into hopefully a better life because of their actions in this one. I have confidence that Sean will be rewarded for all the great things he did for people in this life and I think a celebration of his journey to the next life is very fitting.
You can see the pictures from the event on my picasa page here: http://picasaweb.google.com/grimes.shawn/SeanCarabineInMemory2008