To the editor:
I wonder if a day goes by that Sean Googin’s family and friends don’t think about that horrible Fourth of July weekend in 1992. On some level, I carry Sean’s death with me all the time, too. It’s a constant reminder that life is fleeting, and that no matter how good a life we create for ourselves, there is always the possibility of the unthinkable taking place.
I still struggle, 20 years later, with the irony of such wonderful parents losing one of their children to a man who was so grossly neglected and abused by his own.
There are details from that weekend that I will never forget, like how unseasonably cold it was the day Sean died, and one of my friends’ observations that the west winds were blowing that day. Her father always said that bad things happen when the west winds blow.
Even though the town’s annual carnival was just a short walk from our house, I remember that none of my friends felt like going. We stayed on my parents’ porch that entire afternoon and evening, and if the yard had been better lit, one of us would likely have seen Jeffrey Clark, as the canoe he used to dump Sean’s body was found weighted down by our dock a couple days later.
I remember not being concerned when word spread around town that Sean was missing. He was a nice kid, from a great family - it was impossible to believe that anything bad had happened to him.
But it did. And nothing was the same after that.
There was so much fear in our once-ideal small town. We needed someone to blame, but had no one. We didn’t go anywhere alone. We clung to each other, yet there was some degree of evaporated trust in all our relationships because it was impossible to believe that nobody knew anything.