Shane, the love of my life, lost his life to suicide on July 22nd. I loved him dearly and miss him every day; I can’t believe it’s been almost a week already. We connected on a deep level because of our craziness and had such fun together. Even though our personalities were quite different, we complemented each other. It’s an awful feeling knowing and accepting that he’s gone. I never thought this would be the subject of one of my posts.
I could sit here and write about mental illness and what we need to do now, but that’s not going to appropriately honor his memory. What I want to do instead is just write about Shane as a person, so that everyone can know who he really was. He was a funny, caring, beautiful soul who deserves to be remembered for what he contributed to this world, not why he left it. Of course there are so many more things about him that others experienced, but I want to tell you who he was to me.
Shane loved music and singing. His absolute favorite was Godspeed You! Black Emperor. He even had plans to get a huge arm and back tattoo based on one of their album covers. Other favorites of his were Run the Jewels, The Knife, Modest Mouse, Bjork, Bright Eyes, Bob Marley, Sublime, Pavarotti, Sigur Ros and Simon & Garfunkel. We used to listen to Cecelia in the car, alternating harmonies. He was a great singer. We also went to some great live shows together, like Banks, Franz Ferdinand, The Gipsy Kings and Damien Jurado.
Shane loved cats. His pride and joy was his rescue cat, Shu Shu, and he always talked about his former cats with lots of love. He volunteered for a while with a cat rescue group, which is where he adopted Shu Shu from. At least half of our conversations revolved around our three kitties and their crazy antics. We would watch cat videos constantly. Anytime we saw a cat out in public, he always had to stop to pet it. We would always buy each other cat-related gifts and he had a vast collection of funny cat T-shirts.
Shane loved Korea. It was his favorite place. He spent five years of his life there, working, making friends and learning the culture. He spoke the language amazingly and taught me how to read it and some useful words. One of the first things he taught me how to say was “saranghae”, which means I love you. I had the privilege of going with him in April to his second home and I had my own personal tour guide, which was incredible. I’m glad he was able to see the country and his friends one more time.
Shane loved flowers and gardening. Every week, he brought home fresh flowers to put in several vases throughout the house (which Loki then ate as a snack). He would also come home with so many house plants that we soon ran out of planters. He maintained a beautiful rose bush in front of our house and we planted a variety of fresh herbs together. Very soon after I moved in, we bought two new trees for the yard, a dogwood and a magnolia. He loved the idea of caring for something and watching it flourish.
Shane loved cooking, eating and craft beer. One of my favorite activities with him was cooking elaborate, delicious meals. We would often buy a whole fish to grill or make our own charcuterie boards. For Christmas, we cooked an entire Korean meal together. And each time we cooked, we sang and danced to either the Frankie Valli or Italian cooking station. We also loved going out for oysters and local craft beer, making sure we supported all the new Charlotte breweries. But his absolute favorite food was tacos!
Shane loved art and decorating. Our house was full of art, including walls dedicated to cats, Korea and pieces we bought on our travels together. When we were deciding on paint colors for the rooms in the house, he picked them out with such detail. He was obsessed with HUE lights; we had them in our loft and he’d always be changing the colors up. He always had a vision of what he wanted. Everywhere we traveled, he always made sure to buy an art piece, magnet or shot glass as a souvenir to display at home.
Shane loved reading and writing. He was the most intelligent person I’ve ever known. He knew so much about so many different topics. He spent his free time educating himself. He learned Korean in just three months. His favorite books were Lolita and anything by Faulkner. But his true gift was writing. He had such a talent for putting words together and even published some Korean textbooks when he lived there. He also loved poetry and would share his favorite poems with me, which he read beautifully.
Shane loved video games, good films and shows, and board games. His favorites were EverQuest, It Follows, Ghost World, anything by Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson & Christopher Guest, Game of Thrones, The Americans, Chappelle’s Show, Mr. Show, Key & Peele and Catan. EQ was his way of escaping his troubles, almost like his meditation. He loved showing me his favorite movies, many of which I’d never seen before. We always enjoyed cuddling up to watch our favorite shows or play games together.
Shane loved politics. He was a very passionate progressive who wanted nothing more than this world to be at peace and evolve. He had a disdain for the current state of affairs and would talk politics with anyone who would (or wouldn’t) listen. He loved getting into political arguments on Reddit, but the core message was that he always hoped for a better, more accepting society. I always admired his strong interest in important issues.
Shane loved meeting and helping people. He really enjoyed striking up conversations with random people anywhere we went. I always enjoyed it because I’m on the quieter side, so it helped me to open up too. But the thing I admired most was how much compassion he had for the less fortunate. In December 2016, we organized a fundraiser for the homeless of Charlotte that was all his idea. We helped so many people that day, and I’ll never forget how humble he was in talking to each person who got one of our care packages. He had a huge heart for both people and animals in need.
Shane loved to laugh. I think the thing that made him laugh the most and the hardest was Howard Stern. He was a lifelong fan and related to Howard on a personal level. I’d hear him listen to it in his office or the shower and his laugh would made me laugh. He was a goofball who loved to make others laugh too. He would dance like a fool or sing really loud. His funny stories got me every time. When he really got going, he had the best, longest laugh in the world. It’s one of the things I’ll miss most about him.
Shane was a really special person. I don’t know if I’ll ever find someone who loved me the way he did; it was a unique love and we had so much chemistry. He was always so honest with his feelings. He told me he loved me at such random moments that I knew he meant it. I felt beautiful and secure when he looked at me. He was so incredibly handsome and the butterflies never stopped for me whenever he walked into the room. I always hope he knew how much I loved him in return. He was my guy.
But it was the little things he did that melted my heart. When he got me a spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol to defrost the ice from my car easier. When he bought me ice cream or cannolis after a hard day. When he asked how my therapy appointments went each time and actually took the time to listen. When he always let me have the last bite of a shared dish. When he teased me for leaving crumbs everywhere, or how slow I ate. When he tickled me until I thought I was going to pee my pants. Those things stick in my mind the most.
He was a gem and I’m forever grateful that I had the time I had with him, even though it was entirely too short. I feel like there are so many more things I could write about him that I’m missing, because he was such a dynamic person. I’ve realized in the last week how many lives he truly touched; he is missed by so many people. I have found myself talking to him quite a bit, hoping he can hear me. I hope more than anything that I get to see him again one day or at least feel his presence until that time. So rest easy, my dear Shane. You are so loved and will be in my heart until the day I die. ❤