Saying goodbye is never an easy or enjoyable thing to do.
I was born in Alaska. My parents came here the summer before I was born to help friends start a Mexican restaurant in Anchorage. After I was born, my grandfather died. My parents returned to Utah where my grandmother and the rest of my family were living, and never returned to Alaska. Shortly after my fifth birthday, my parents divorced. I never saw my father again. I didn't hate my father for leaving. I remember how it was when he was with the family, and I always knew that things were better without him there and that my life would have turned out much differently if he had been in my life growing up. He never tried to contact my younger sister or me after he left. We didn't know where he was or what he was doing.
Just before I turned 21, I found out through my father's uncle that my father was alive and well and had been living in southern Utah most of my life, and that I had a younger brother, Sean, who was 14 years my junior. My sister, who was still living in Utah until 1995, went to visit them just before she moved to Virginia. After her visit, she never heard from our father again and she lost touch with our brother, who was only 11 at the time.
We did try to look for our brother. However, never finding a phone number or address, no matter how hard we looked, we'd just about given up hope of finding him. The fates that be had other plans for us. In November, my niece found my brother on MySpace.
Since November, I've talked to my brother weekly. The conversations lasted for hours, and hours. I got to know Sean during those chat sessions. He was funny, passionate, and full of piss and vinegar (just like me). He always thought that my sister and I didn't care about him, but he found that we certainly did, and that we just didn't know how to find him. We were looking forward to building a great relationship and had already begun to build that brother/sister bond. He talked of coming to Alaska some day, as our father had talked about this place often. I was planning to go to Utah to visit. He teased his nieces about their boyfriends and their web pages on MySpace. He was enjoying being an uncle. I also discovered that I have a nephew, Sean's son, Weston. I found out so much about his life in such a short time and looked forward to every phone call, even if he did tend to make them at midnight and insisted on talking so long.
I found out by talking to him that our father had died of a heart attack summer of last year. Since I never got to talk to our father, Sean showed me our father through his eyes. Our father was Sean's hero. The man was far from perfect, but he always made time for Sean, taking him camping, fishing, tossing the ball around in the yard, barbecueing for Sean and his friends, and giving Sean advice that he respected. Sean didn't have an easy childhood, but he loved our father very much. Seeing him through Sean's eyes gave me a new picture of him, and let me know him in a different way than I'd remembered.
In December, Sean went in for surgery and found out that he had a rare type of non Hodgkins lymphoma. They caught it early, and he had a 90% chance of cure with chemotherapy. He went in for chemo last Monday. He was supposed to be in the hospital for a week. However, the doctor gave the medication incorrectly, administering the full dose, undiluted, into my brother's shunt, straight into his system with no buffer. Within hours, my brother was paralized. He was diagnosed as brain dead with no brain activity within days. This morning, they took him off of life support.
My brother was only 23 and wasn't supposed to die. He had just come into my life again, just to be taken away. I will miss our phone calls. I will miss talking to him. I am forever thankful that I got to have him in my life for the time that I did and that he showed me a part of our father that I never knew.
I found out through Sean that I also have another sister who just turned 11. I don't understand why I lost Sean, but I gained a father, a brother, a sister and a nephew when I found Sean again. I also gained people in his life who knew and loved him whom I will continue to get to know Sean through, through their memories of him.
Thank you, Sean, for being a part of my life the time that you were. You brought more to my life in the short time you were in it than you will ever know. I will miss you. I love you.
March 9, 1984 - February 6, 2008
Sean is survived in death by his son, Weston Auchinachie; his mother, Laura Auchinachie; his sisters, Cristine Auchinachie, Cynthia Robb, and Shannon Auchinachie; his nieces, Mariah Auchinachie, Kaylee Ann Jeffreys and Dezirae Auchinachie; and, by his family and friends throughout Utah and the US. Sean was preceded in death by his father, Harry Raymond Auchinachie, and by his much loved grandparents, John and Beverly Stock.