(I first met Sean when he was 17. It was not an auspicious meeting: he was in Juvenile Hall, where he had been for a large part of the previous 4 years, and I was newly involved with his mother. I had worked with homeless kids at one point, and arrogantly felt that I would be able to relate to him right from the get-go. When we met, I believed I had met a younger version of myself, and it was many years before I understood that this was his version of Steve Jobs' "Reality Distortion Field": an ability to make people think he and you connected and that therefore he was receptive to your advice. In reality, that didn't happen until much, much later in our relationship. He would have been 43 in May. Alysia, my daughter, was his oldest daughter, whom we adopted.
(I put this in drafts back in May and didn't publish it for some reason, but yesterday was the 5th anniversary of his death, and I want him to know how I felt.)
Hey Sean, it's Yogi. Man, I hope you're doing OK, wherever you are and what ever you're doing. We got some bad news today: Jamie Rodriquez passed yesterday or today. Sucks big time, I know. You and he were so close and he really never got over your death, even though a lot of people tried to help. Kind of like Alysia, but more out front, I think. She really took it hard that you two didn't reconcile: she kept waiting for you to reach out to her, and I couldn't help her see that you really couldn't do it, but that if she would, you would meet her. But your sense of manhood wouldn't let that happen and that's too bad too.
Anyway, the better news is that the family is doing pretty well. We miss you, of course, especially your Mom and Michael. He's growing up to be a good man, even though he's still got some ways to go to get out of the holes he's dug for himself. But mostly he's just getting by, he's got a girlfriend and we're helping when we can and when it's appropriate.
Mom is still pretty broken up about your and Alysia's deaths. So close together just whacked her hard, and it still creeps up on her pretty often. We wonder what would have happened if you were still here, and of course she has her "If only"s and "Why did I?"s, like you'd expect, and just like I do. I don't think we know the real story of your death, and I doubt we ever will. I don't entirely believe the trial testimony: there are holes in the narrative, and some explanations missing. But that's done now, and we have now to deal with, right? You always did live for the moment, and for the people around you, even if it did piss off your parents, the courts and anyone else. You were always your own person. Alysia saw that in you, and tried to emulate it sometimes. You both has such big hearts. And such little care for consequences! I try not to be too angry with the two of you, but sometimes it just guts me that you both could risk everything without any qualms, or considerations of what might result. And boy, did we all pay for that.
Anyway, your girls are fine, I believe. We talked to the oldest, H, a few times in the last year. She wants to go to private culinary school and then open a B&B, at 18. We're trying to work with her, but she wants what she wants, and won't hear that there might be another way. Sound familiar? Your ex is still just as she has always been, so we don't speak. Maybe one day she'll figure things out, apologize and try to make amends, but I won't hold my breath. We are going to help H with college, and the others as well when they get older.
We're up in Sacramento, tomorrow we're going to pick up a new puppy for Aliana and then drive home. We had dinner with K and a friend of hers and another friend of Mom's, and now we're back at the hotel, getting ready to hit the sack. But I wanted to wish you a happy birthday before I went to bed, so here it is.
I love you, son. I hope you've always known that.
Your other step-dad, Yogi