Sean P. Marks: 1987–2009
Sean Patrick Marks, age 22, died Thursday, December 10, 2009 at his home in Raleigh.
Sean was born August 9, 1987 in Roanoke, VA, but grew up in Raleigh and knew it as home. He graduated from Enloe High School in 2006, and was employed as a pharmacy technician at Kerr Drug Stores. Sean defined himself using his exceptional talents in music and visual arts. Though reality too often inhibited his dreams, his passion for them will always remain.
He is survived by his parents, Bob and Pegi Marks; brother, Paul; grandparents, John and Alice; and his extended family and close friends. His presence will be sorely missed.
Some passages you neither expect nor wish to author. Unfortunately, pen had to meet paper for this purpose when my brother passed away earlier this month. It is but a glimpse of the person Sean was; it was the best tribute we could create.
When friends and family found out, the reaction was frequently: “I’m so sorry; I have no idea what to say.” I’ve been in that position before, but never did I believe I’d be on the receiving end. I just want to share my personal feelings on that: great! Even experience can’t teach you quite what to say, and I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone. So for your own sake, I hope you never have to learn this pain.
- Full obituary, The News & Observer
- Memorial page, Brown-Wynne Funeral Homes
- Facebook group
- Musical selections:
Words fall short
For anyone who knows me well, I have a penchant for putting together words at memorable occasions. My parents (and, more surprisingly, many other parents) have not forgotten one such speech toward the end of high school. The point is never simply to talk, but to articulate the elusive and ethereal aspects of an experience so they may be better remembered.
I wanted to make sure my brother’s funeral was a special thing, a fitting tribute and message to those left behind. So here’s what I was able to cobble together:
To describe what we’re all enduring, everyone says there are no words. Among us is one person who knew that better than anyone; my brother, Sean. He said with music that which words cannot; his talent was natural, and that I will always admire.
Though imperfect, like each of us, Sean’s heart was full of love. He loved his music and his family and his friends. Through the many trials life presented, he still loved these in the end. We can hear it in his music, see it in his pictures, and feel it in his deeds.
Sean never would have wanted this. While nothing can ever fill this void, we can honor his life by finding within ourselves the things that he loved. We can find them and share them, just as he spent his life trying to do.
Sean has been part of my life forever. We grew up together, and were supposed to grow old together. I will cherish all the memories we shared. I hope to share his passions with others, because they’re his gift to all of us.
Brother, you left us too early.
I’m told the room was full, but I honestly can’t remember. I gazed out from where I spoke, but I didn’t really see. My message was this: remember Sean for who he was, and help touch the world as he would have. Though he no longer lives among us, he can live in (and through) our memories.
Words can never fully capture a life lived fully, but at least I tried.
All good things…
Depending on how long you’ve known me, you may already have known that my brother and I went through a rough patch toward the end of high school (for me) and into my first year or so of college. The good news is that we had worked past that, and got along well. The bad news is that our reemerging kinship was cut so painfully short.
I wish I could say this is my first experience with death among my peers, but it’s not. I’ve always felt a lingering guilt about that, because it didn’t hit me as hard as maybe it should have. I didn’t know anyone personally, which made it easier for me. This time, it’s practically the opposite: it’s not just a peer or just a friend, it’s my brother.
Back then, our motto became “live for thirty-two,” but now it feels like mine may become thirty-three instead. I just hope it doesn’t happen again.
ASIDE: I think I now understand how hard losing someone can be. It’s not only the initial loss, but also the recurring reminders and passing thoughts that reopen one of life’s most painful wounds. To anyone whose pain I’ve not understood before, I’m sorry; I think I understand now.
Life goes on
I write this not because I will forever hang onto the past, but because I acknowledge that I and everybody else need to put this behind us. Our lives need to continue, even though Sean is finally at peace. Life wasn’t always easy for him, though even in hardship he managed to find some joy for himself. He’d want us to keep finding joy for ourselves, too.
That said, this is simply my way of archiving and remembering things that I feel are important, both about his life and about his passing. I don’t want time to erode some memories; it’s a worthwhile venture to perserve them while I still can.