Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Remembering Sean

I first officially met Sean D'Souza about a year ago, along with his lovely bride, Beverly Ann D'Cruz(@flotch) at a social media food event at Menchie's. We had been invited by Mary Luz Mejia to come on out and compete to create an official Menchie's yo-fro creation. Crammed in next to each other we sampled our Menchie's custom creations and those two rascals managed to beat me out for the big prize (an iPod Nano) with their "Tropic Thunder" sundae. Ok, I'll admit it, that exotic fruit concoction towered over my "Some Like It Tart" dessert. One can never begrudge a champion their prize. Little did I know that as the year would unfold I would share a different kind of journey with Sean and Beverly.

I had seen Beverly at a few different social media gatherings and I liked her instantly. Originally from India, you can't help but to love a girl who tells you that she's a "Bombay girl and I can shank anyone who gets in my way." I laugh everytime I think about the moment Beverly first said that to me. Any guy who can handle this little fire cracker has got to have some sort of chutzpah. It just endeared Sean to me even more. As the months went by Sean would tag along to many events and slowly I got to know more about him. The one absolute I knew about Sean was that the boy could really eat! We are talking about some serious food consumption. To this day I still can't figure out where he put all that food. I'm quite sure that Sean lived his life vicariously through his wife's food adventures.

The other thing I came to learn about Sean was his passion for sports, in particular basketball. I just loved getting his goat by constantly talking about what a loser Kobe Bryant was. I could never turn down the opportunity to poke the stick through the fence. It always got him going. There was such a joyful synergy and sympatico between Bev and Sean that it couldn't help but be infectious when you were around them. The times that we began to share always seem to involve delicious food, much laughter, lots of libations and a great respect for friendship and family.

My husband Dennis met Sean at the very first Food Truck Eats. I was helping out my friend, Chef Rossy Earle, dish out her Panamanian goodies. It was a searing, scorching hot day and towards the end of it I took shelter under the only shade I could find. There was Sean, sitting on the ground, like me seeking shade, as he slurped up Kulfi. We gabbed for a bit but I couldn't help but to notice that his dialogue was slow. He seemed less engaging than he was at Menchie's. At first Dennis thought that Sean might have been imbibing a little too much but I knew differently. Some time after that Beverly finally told the world, through her personal blog, Potato Chops and Boneless Chicken, that Sean was battling a brain tumor. This was one really crappy hand that they got dealt. No matter what though, it was clear to me that Bev and Sean would play whatever hand they had because at the end of the day, they always had each other.

So we all dug in our heels and decided that we would put our best foot forward and give as much love and support that friends could as this fight moved forward. I'll never know how Beverly and Sean ever managed. They looked this monster right in the face and said "if you want me you are going to have to take this to a WWF UFC level smackdown...."

I don't want to dwell so much on the sadness of losing such a lovely friend so early in his life. I rather take a few minutes to lift up and celebrate the memory of what I knew about Sean and how much I enjoyed our friendship. While his life may have been cut short, it was filled with the love of a good woman and some people go through their whole lives and never experience the true love, respect and devotion that Bev and Sean had for each other.
What do I want to remember? Man oh man, that boy could eat. Oh wait, I've already said that. :) We hosted a seafood boil, inspired by our friend Peter Minaki (@kalafagos), that featured 3 lobsters, 3 crabs, a couple of pounds of prawns, a couple of pounds of little neck clams and all the other trimmings. I remember sitting across from Sean in our garden. The dining table sat under the big 'ol pine trees on a perfect summer night. The fire pit was crackling and all I could hear was the slurping and cracking of seafood as I looked across the table at a young man smiling like a Cheshire cat as he tucked in to the table of seafood bounty. That was the young fella that his wife affectionately called Seanigan.
From there on in we took every opportunity to share, dine, crunch, nibble, savour and taste all that we could together. I got to eat Goan food with their family. As our mutual friend Mario Stojanac would say "Goan Goan Gone..." We always laughed at that comment. Laughter is what kept us strong during those last few months.

As weeks passed Sean became somewhat less stable and getting out and about became more challenging. Even as his movement became impaired we sledded along, getting out to events such as TUM and a Pop up restaurant event at The Bunty which featured the inaugural kickoff of Fidel Gastro. Even after an evening of mawing down on piles of Matt Basile's sammies and other assorted goodies, Sean could still find space to finish the outing off with a nightcap of Fish Tacos. Did I mention that this boy could eat?

On Monday, January 23rd, as the world was celebrating Chinese New Year, ushering in the Year of the Dragon and 86'd Mondays at The Drake was hosting Fidel Gastro's first official appearance, Sean was celebrating his 32nd birthday from his bed, surrounded by friends and family. I consider myself very lucky to have shared those hours with him and came to visit with a lucky red new year's envelope in hand. A girl had to always remain hopeful. This was something I learned from Bev.

On a personal note, I'd just like to extend thanks to Matt Basile and Kyla Zanardi, for the kind tenderness that they showed by taxi'ing over some Fidel Gastro sammies that Monday night. When asked if he wanted some sammies, Sean gave us the big thumbs up and Fidel Gastro's came through. It was just one of those really special moments and I think that this tweet pic says it all.
On Thursday, January 26th, late in the evening, Sean Richard D'Souza lost his valiant and brave battle to the demon that was poisoning his brain. I drove home that evening to Caledon,numb and sad because I knew that the stars were shining just a little less brighter that night. We had lost a good friend. The world had lost a shining star. A beautiful young woman had to say goodbye to the love of her life.

Sometimes life is hard.

As I finish off writing these words in remembering Sean, I've got Snow Patrol blaring on my stereo. I'm pretty sure that Sean would have liked that. Last thing that really comes to my mind and I'm very certain that Sean would have laughed.....Elvis has left the building. I'm pretty certain he was carrying one of Fidel Gastro's Mac & Cheese sammies on his way out, no doubt to meet up with our friend.
In loving memory of my friend, Sean Richard D'Souza. January 23, 1980 - January 26, 2012 RIP
Posted by coopSpeak at 8:33 AM


  1. Beautiful tribute Mama Coop. Sean is for sure smiling down on us and will be with us always - especially when we gather at the dining table.

  2. Beverley,
    Thank you for your loving comment. I think you are right, no matter what table we sit at to break bread, Sean will always be with us. I'll stick my tongue out at him and remind what a goof Kobe Bryant is!
    Big hugs, MamaCoop

  3. Lovely piece Christine...lump in the throat stuff and a reminder not only of the fantastic times we crammed into the last few months but also to go out there and keep enjoying our lives, which can be all too fleeting, fair or otherwise. I'll think of Sean everytime I make a kale soup - one of his favourites. And I'll be sure to always leave a little tasting in the pot for him...MS

  4. Hello Christine, I dont know you but your writing moved me to tears and took me back to the years I met and spent with them in Dubai. Its hard to put how you feel into words, especially in this time and you've done it wonderfully. Sean had this innate ability to make people comfortable. From being a stranger he became an amazing friend. It was hard to imagine, even being so far away, I felt quite numb on the morning I went to work and had a message from one of Bevs friend. All I could reminisce were the beautiful memories of times spent together with them. Till the end I was quite hopeful of him coming through it , as I thought he fought it , and indeed fought very well for a few years. Great knowing he had a pleasant birthday and was surrounded by all those he loved This a lovely tribute to such a wonderful person that will be missed dearly by all of us

  5. Charlene, thank you so much for taking time to post your comments here. You are so spot on when you said that Sean had the innate ability to make people comfortable. From the first minute I met him I liked him. The world was a far better place for having him in it. Don't let your tears be of sadness, rather let them be tears of joy for a life that Sean lived well. I just know he'd prefer it that way.