An Open Letter from Nick Cvjetkovich (aka Sinn Bodhi, Kizarny)

[Ed. Note- This Saturday, I will be sitting down for a what i expect to be a very emotional interview with Nick, for the PWI blog.]
Photo by Nick Cvjetkovich

Shawn McGrath aka The BADSEED
by: Nick Cvjetkovich

Selfishly, I miss my close friend Shawn McGrath, he is no longer here for me to play with. Shawn took his own life January 26th, 2011 R.I.P.

Wednesday January 26th I received a call from Shawn’s idol… a concerned & confused Al Snow… Who, like myself along with several of Shawn’s other closest friends had r…eceived a disturbing text… “My name is Shawn McGrath… The door is unlocked and there is a letter explaining everything.” Al and I both hoped it was a terrible joke—that it was Shawn being the BADSEED— but it was not…
We all scrambled to call 911… Police were dispatched… It was too late… That text was NOT a cry for help… It was a good bye…

I felt helpless and worried and angry at myself that I was not in Florida at the time of the text to speed to Shawn’s aid. That would have been useless but it still ways heavy on me. I know Shawn very well, unfortunately better than his family. Shawn was not a spontaneous man. Shawn, however, was very intelligent, regimented and courteous. This was planned. To send that text was Shawn’s last errand on a list of things to be done before his departure.

What I am writing here is simply my view on this matter. It is not my intent on being malicious or flattering to anyone. I have spoken with both Shawn’s mother and brother, Kevin regarding Shawn’s Farewell Letter… They both understood that it was posted out of good intentions and did NOT expect me or my wife to take it down. Shawn’s Farewell Letter reads, “For all who care”… My only goal here is to help Shawn’s voice be heard as it was evidentially not in life. I would like to give my opinions on Shawn as a man, his Farewell Letter and how to possibly find a silver lining somewhere in this disaster… I would also like to explain that after reading Shawn’s Farewell Letter over and over and over again—I do not agree with everything in it. This letter—for better or worse–is composed of Shawn’s purest thoughts. Some people consider it brave. Some people are offended. For those who appreciate it and can better themselves from it then I think you will help Shawn rest easier. For those who are offended I think that that only exposes your lack of character… How dare you be more concerned about looking badly in a letter rather than morning the loss of someone so tormented they felt that suicide was their only option? How dare you?…
I feel very stupid to realize that I may have been Shawn’s primary confidant and yet I was too naïve to comprehend the magnitude of his pain. I know that there was no stopping Shawn but again, it still and always will weight heavy on me. When Shawn was having fun it was usually over laughing about SouthPark, Listening to Metallica, watching the Bears or talking about some silly road story mutually experienced. He wanted very badly to be happy. He tried very hard to better himself at every turn yet he would always end up talking about the things that caused him the most pain.

Again I reiterate— this article is just my opinion. I believe the three things that were Shawn’s undoing aside from Shawn himself was his love life, his shattered dreams and his estrangement from his family. I want to spend minimal time writing about any negatives in Shawn’s life and instead focus on the positives…

Firstly, Shawn’s broken dreams… It was Shawn’s lifelong goal and desire to be a pro wrestler with WWE. He accomplished that as he was a performer in three of WWE’s Developmental Territories (Farm Team Leagues), OVW, DSW and FCW. This is no small accomplishment for any of Shawn’s naysayer’s—blood related or otherwise. Since Shawn was a Bears fan I will use a football metaphor… There are approximately 30 NFL teams and what 20-30 guys per team…? There is ONLY about 150 active wrestlers give-or-take in the WWE, including the WWE Developmental system… So in comparison to how difficult it is to get into the NFL, just do the math and see what an accomplishment it is for Shawn to make it to WWE in any capacity whatsoever! I’m very proud of him for that. When you are living your dreams no matter what they are—THAT is the greatest thing in the world next to finding your soul-mate as far as I am concerned. When your dreams are shattered for any reason at all it breaks you in some way. How you pick up those pieces speaks volumes about you as a person. I have been thru a lot of what Shawn has in this regard therefore having the tiniest insight on just how hard his emotional struggle was. So many wrestlers have sent my wife and me condolences for Shawn and have confessed to having similar thoughts and fortunately the lack of courage to do what he did. I will admit openly that if it wasn’t for meeting my wife Stacy that it might very well have been me instead of Shawn! I certainly do NOT condone what he did. I hope this awful incident in combination with other sports related suicides will help fuel anyone, be it WWE or the NFL or any other company or person with the means to take greater measures in preventing future nightmares like this. Not because they have to but because they want to and have the financial means. I do know that both the WWE and the NFL already do various studies and have various programs relating to rehabilitation… But new and more effective ways should always be explored and despite my mixed feelings about WWE I do believe WWE will do so.

Secondly, Shawn’s estranged family… I am not anywhere clear on why exactly Shawn kept so distant from his own blood. He has brothers and sisters that live close to him and yet he kept them at a great distance. I didn’t even know that he had siblings until not too long ago and like I stated early I may have been his closest confidant. From what little Shawn had shared with me and from what I have learned this week it is my guess not so much as belief that Shawn was very wounded by some of his family and that instead of forcing himself to pick and chose and to divide family ties that it would be easier on himself and the ones he did care about to remove himself from the lot. I called Shawn’s mom and I was very uneasy when her first words were, “I’m sorry for your loss.” My heart broke for Shawn as it hit my thick skull that I knew him arguably better than she did. I mean no disrespect to his mother, simply an honest observation. She was very nice and calm and soothing. She was genuine and confused, wanting to make things right as best she could. I made her aware of Shawn’s Farewell Letter and I warned her that it was harsh. She was very open minded and assured me she would give it her best attention and handle his arrangements as he requested no matter how alien they seemed to her. Shawn poorly attempted humor in his Farewell Letter talking about the Bears… Now it is my turn at ill timed humor… I truly hope Shawn’s mom can stomach watching SouthPark as to get the silliest of glimpses into the playful side of her son.

Thirdly, I believe the two different love interests in Shawn’s life were only guilty of being selfish and unaccountable in a very typical and clichéd way. They simply treated Shawn like a jerk which is awful because he was such a caring person. Unfortunately it was their prerogative. I think Shawn had struggled and failed to find happiness his whole life. I believe what both of these two girls had inadvertently and inconsiderately done was show him a taste of the happiness he was so desperate for and then took it away. I am no Mother Teresa myself, I am not casting the first stone but I truly hope both of these girls grow from this for the better and do not try to deflect!

The positive aspects of Shawn’s life…
I singled out Al Snow on purpose at the beginning of this article—not to embarrass or upset him— but to rather hopefully flatter him as he was one of Shawn’s only positive mentors in life and in his dreams of pro wrestling… A business Shawn loved and then was made to hate. He talked about Al not because he was a great coach (The guy talks to a Head for Pete’s sake!) but in all seriousness, mostly because he simply looked up to how Al conducted himself like a man in what Shawn considered a shady world and a shady business. Al and I had dinner one night in Louisville a few months back where he conveyed to me how highly he thought of Shawn’s talent playing such a funny character as BLINDSEED. We both did not understand why like so many other talented guys, the WWE let Shawn slip thru their grip. I later relayed Al’s opinion to Shawn and thought he was going to cry out of joy from his idol’s positive critique. Shawn refused to go to wrestling events anymore. It was too painful, reminding him of his lost dream. That might sound ridiculous to you if you are a person that has not experienced their own dreams. Yet when Al was wrestling at a show I was on in Orlando not too long ago Shawn insisted on driving my wife and I there like a bat outta Hell!

Shawn was lucky to have many friends whether he realized it or not. I believe though that he did realize, however, there was just nothing any of us could do to bring him out of his melancholy. Ronnie, Lexi, Titan, Shawn’s friends from work etc!!! I’m sad and angry that Shawn robbed me of all the laughs and adventures we were supposed to have! There was plenty more together yet to come! BUT I’m happy that he is no longer in pain and gets to see what is next!

The Silver Lining to all this: The morning after Shawn’s passing I received a call from Shawn’s brother, Kevin. He sounded just like Shawn and it was very creepy! He said that he didn’t know me and would like to, however time was of the essence and that since Shawn was an Organ Donor we needed to act fast. He stated painfully that it seems that my wife and I knew Shawn better than anyone in his family. He asked if I wouldn’t mind giving the medical staff at LifeLink Shawn’s medical and personal history as best as I could to help decide whether Shawn was eligible. I agreed instantly. I spent quite a bit of time with LifeLink answering anything and everything to the best of my knowledge. Shawn’s ultimate legacy will be that with various skin and bone grafts he managed to help upwards of 30 people in need as well as giving a girl sight for the very first time! I admit to selfishly being proud to have a small part in this. Wow!… Wow?… Look what my friend did!!! I will again make a bad attempt at humor since Shawn did and say that it is with massive joy AND irony that a BLIND wrestler gave someone sight! Kevin, Momma Badseed and everyone that truly knew Shawn should be proud that he was and is in their lives…

Your friend always buddday,
Nick


One Response to An Open Letter from Nick Cvjetkovich (aka Sinn Bodhi, Kizarny)

  1. Avatar Melissa Payne
    Melissa Payne says:

    Your letter about Shawn really touched me. I knew Shawn in Phoenix (I am the younger sister of one of Shawn’s old high school friends). You are right, Shawn was a pretty great guy. I was looking at some old pictures the other day of Shawn, mike (my brother) and another one of their friends on a trip they took to LA ten years ago. They were great friends. although I was 4 years younger than they were, Shawn would always talk to me and whenever I saw him at work, he always would stop to say hello or joke around with me. I have never forgotten those things. Shawn and my brother had last spoke a few years ago I believe, so I always knew what he was up to and I followed his career. My brother and I were just recently talking about him and I was wondering how he was doing. This is terrible and the world is missing a great guy! On another note, I am happy to hear that with Shawn’s organ donations, the amount of people he has helped gives me a little peace…..that part of him will go on. I’m glad he had such great friends in Florida!