On Christmas Eve, my roommate died. I’m going to let that sentence hang in the air, despite the shock of it. I didn’t use the phrase “passed away,” because I prefer transition, but also, the two of us liked to call things by what they were. In that energy, why don’t we talk about platonic soulmates more? No, I’m not just being all new agey… which I am proudly, but it’s true. I’ve thought about this long and hard, and people dying in the time of Corona don’t get funerals. Since I’m immunocompromised and we live in a hot bed of ignorance – known as Florida – our high cases made it nearly impossible for me to see him. For the last four months before his death, I’d been adjusting to living solo, with the hope that he would survive a six organ transplant as soon as he was healthy enough to be on the list. This may seem like a tall order, but he’d lived 10 years with no intestines, getting all of his nutrition from a port in his chest. He ate for fun, though. You know what…this has given you the wrong impression of my roomie. Let me show you what made him my soulmate before you paint this dreary picture of a 46 year old guy with a bag where intestines should be. That’s a true physical description, but hear me out.
- I’m a foodie. Sean was a foodie. Although he got zero nutrition from food, we went on great food adventures. Before we were roommates, we would hit up a new place to eat every week, It slid to about once a month once we lived together, but majority of the food on our pantry shelves were his. He got bored quickly, and he could only eat about once a day. I’m donating a ton of things to homeless shelters. On the other hand, he introduced me to amazing restaraunts and cuisines.
- I’m positive there is no conversation we didn’t have. Literally, we talked about everything without judgement. Most of it revolved around our plan to inject the world with positive change and conspiracy theories. Let’s be honest, you can’t do too much good without raising a few powerful eyebrows. That didn’t stop us from trying. I’m still trying.
- He never fussed that I didn’t wash the dishes until there was a full load in the sink. That’s a huge point in the soulmate category for me. Don’t worry, they didn’t smell.
- Due to our compromised immune systems, we were in a heavier lockdown than the average bear. No one was allowed in our home, we only met others in parks, and we got out to the wild outdoors often…and usually together. How was it possible that we never got tired of each other? We worked from home, lived at home and went out together. Somehow, we still managed to have things to talk about until 3am.
- We grew spiritually together during the pandemic. Yes, we were those people who used the pandemic to go inward and work on ourselves. No, I don’t do any drugs. lol. But we grew a lot. We found a peace that didn’t depend on the things people were complaining about. With everything going on outside of our home – add that to our conversation pile – there was a way we made our home a sanctuary, even when we needed to escape to the quiet side of the beach, a park or a trail.
- He made it ok for me to simultaneously feel like a failure for not desiring to date, all the while being polyamorous. He supported my healing from a relationship with unhealthy communication and traits and participated in the worst idea we ever had. That was speed dating. We thought it would be great to speed date. It was horrible, but we went together. We also quit together; with a vow to never do it again.
- There were times we didn’t see each other for days, since I’m a room person and he was a living room person. Plus, we had completely different schedules. When he was going to bed at 3am, I was waking up for yoga. We both thought it was comforting that our home was watched 24 hours a day.
- We adopted random stray lizards and geckos that found their way into our home during the summer and fall. We named them and everything. I finally revealed to him that I’d been sheltering spiders and lizards for a year or so. We removed quite a bit of corpses.
- He understood and shared many of my pet peeves. Even the weird ones you swear no one else will understand. Part of that revolved around our shared distaste of being medically disadvantaged due to faulty genetics in a country that doesn’t value their people. It was supposed to be an entire podcast called Coffee and Cream.
- I think the most important thing he did for me was make my transition from marriage to single. I told him about it over my first bowl of pho, and the guy who hadn’t lived with someone in almost 10 years says, “My lease is up. We should be roommates. I’ll find a place.” I’d only know him for 9 months at that time, but he did all of the work apartment hunting and sent me photos. I won’t discuss why I needed to get out of my marriage home asap, but I will say, because of Sean, it was a seamless transition. At no point did I feel like I was unsafe. Two years later, I see this turning point in my life as a death and transformation that has been one of the best decisions of my life.
All of this to say, well, this is why I asked the close members of my tribe to send him love and light as he transitioned. His stepmom and I were his medical surrogates, but she did the heavy lifting. It’s weird, because it’s not sad, to have to send his pantry items to a homeless shelter and all of his medical supplies to a free clinic for the homeless as well. I think it’s because those conversations consisted of him telling me how much love he felt when he died on the table a decade ago. He also said he was forgetting that feeling, the more negative the world had become. With the pain and complications, he was ready. Things he couldn’t admit to others, since they would see him as less brave, or not see/hear him at all, he only told me. This time every year, we would drive around, looking at Christmas lights. He became depressed, and this was something he did with his mom before her passing. I was unaware that she passed, from the same disease he had, on a Christmas Eve. Her parents also passed the week of Christmas Eve. His great-grandmother also passed on Christmas Eve. He didn’t pass, though; he transitioned. Oddly enough, I hear “Mama, I’m Coming Home,” by Ozzy Osbourne when I think of him dying. He was a musician, and that was his genre. It’s not a Christmas song, but it’s a pretty perfect Christmas Eve song.
In loving memory of Robert “Sean” White 07/08/1974 – 12/24/2020