Imagine the horror of having a close friend kill himself. Even worse, imagine having that friend put down his final thoughts in a chilling letter that details the last few desperate weeks of his life. Such is the sad situation faced by Nick Cvjetkovich (a.k.a. Sinn Bodhi, f.k.a. WWE's Kizarny and TNA's Sinn).
On Wednesday, January 26, 2011, the lives of Cvjetkovich and his wife, former WWE Diva Stacy "The Kat" Carter, were changed forever when they received an eerie text message from their good friend, Shawn McGrath (p.k.a. Shawn "Bad Seed" Osbourne). According to Cvjetkovich, the message was not a cry for help, but a quick goodbye. "I look back at that text, and I know it was just a farewell from him," observed Cvjetkovich. "So true to his form, Shawn did not want to be a bother to anyone. He went through great detail to accommodate other people, even at his darkest hour ... he even paid his rent a month in advance. That is just the kind of guy he was. He didn't want to bother anybody. He just wanted to leave."
Upon discovering McGrath's body, Tampa authorities also found a long farewell letter, which was later published online by Nick, Stacy, and others. Although some questioned their decision to put the sobering letter online for all to read, Cvjetkovich was very quick to defend his decision—and his friend—saying, "It's exactly what Shawn would have wanted. When you read the opening line of the letter, it says 'To All Who Care.' Shawn would have wanted everyone who did care to have the opportunity to hear what he had to say."
Recently, I had the chance to talk with Cvjetkovich for 60 emotional minutes, and listen as he sadly recalled the loss of his very close friend and colleague Shawn McGrath.
Brady Hicks: First off, condolences on the tremendous loss you have to be feeling right now.
Nick Cvjetkovich: Thank you, Brady. My emotions and my thoughts are attacking me at every direction, just trying to make rhyme or reason. Shawn was one of the nicest, most sincere and genuine guys you could ever meet. Sometimes people were a little put off by him because he could use snarkiness as a defense mechanism, to bury all that he had going on. Those who got to know the real Shawn, however, got a real treat.
BH: Please tell me a little about the circumstances in which you actually came to know the "real" Shawn.
NC: We were originally on shows together in OVW (Ohio Valley Wrestling, then a WWE developmental territory). I just really enjoyed his comedy. He would have to redo take after take after take ... all because Al Snow, who was the producer, would not be able to stop laughing. He just had such a natural delivery ... so funny and so talented. Through our interactions during our time in developmental sprung an extremely close friendship that we had up to this day.
BH: Knowing Shawn as such a great friend, what do you feel are some of the circumstances that led to all of this heartache?
NC: Shawn was a great guy who was just fed up with being sad. And he was sad about a lot of different things. He had just had enough. But at the same time, he was a really courteous guy. I think most people are in it for the now. What can you do for me today? Shawn wasn't like that. He was very attentive and concerned with others' thoughts and feelings. He felt best when those around him felt happy, no matter how he might have felt inside. That's just how he was.
BH: Can you elaborate on some of the things that caused Shawn such deep sadness?
NC: Shawn was very melancholy, by nature. He was estranged from his family. There were details about his family I don't even know, and I was his closest friend. He was really private about some things. So he had family issues, then his wrestling dreams were shattered upon his WWE release, and in what I call the hat trick—his three-for-three—was that Shawn's love life fell out the window as well. So, as much as he had friends around him, I think he just really felt alone and was just lonely.
BH: So you believe the pressures of a strained family, career troubles, and, finally, failed romances just kind of got the better of him?
NC: Stacy laid it out best, and the way she put it just hit me so hard: Shawn had finally gotten a taste of this one true love for which he had been searching, when suddenly it was all just swiped away from him. Basically, Shawn was atypical of so many wrestlers in that he never went for having 10 strippers on each arm. He never looked to bring home a different woman every night. And I guess the best way to put it is that losing the girl was not the end-all, be-all for Shawn, but it was yet another problem in his life that he was just a little too sad to deal with. And I think he was just like, I'm so over it. I'm out.
BH: Looking back on the emotional text message you received from Shawn on January 26 and upon reading what he had to say in his final letter, what is your reaction?
NC: I didn't think Shawn would do something like that. I look back and kick myself. How stupid could I have been to be Shawn's main confidante and not put my finger on what was coming? I could just see the sadness in some of the things he would talk about. His body language alone would just tell such a story about a pain I couldn't fathom. Even though he had friends, Shawn felt he was perpetually alone.
BH: And this feeling of isolation is something you think Shawn struggled with for years?
NC: Who knows how long? The document he typed his final letter in was started in early-January. That means he was drafting his final goodbyes for almost a month. I mean ... who does that?
BH: If nothing else, I can't imagine the torment of knowing my best friend's final, suicidal words are out there, lingering forever. In that letter, Shawn alludes to so many personal, private, negative emotions, compelling him to want to "check out." Why did you feel it was so important to make his words so available to the public eye?
NC: That letter should be sitting there, being a thorn in people's side. It's a really stiff reminder of what life will do to you. I'm not even pinning this on wrestling, but life in general. People just need to be more accountable ... and nice. Stacy and I had a long talk about publishing the letter, actually, and we both kind of felt that was what Shawn would want. His letter reads, "To All Who Care." Shawn felt his voice was never really heard in life, so I'll be damned if it wasn't going to at least be heard after the fact. I actually also had a couple of his family members reach out, and the only ones who said anything were those who were appreciative of us putting his words out there.
BH: What, if anything, do you think can be learned from all of this—in the wrestling industry and in life?
NC: There are always things people can do to fight the perception that it's bad to turn to others for help, and that goes for any facet of life. I think one of the biggest things is that people just need to be nicer to each other. Not just in the wrestling industry, but in any kind of job, and in life as a whole. A smile is really contagious. Can it really hurt sometimes to just look somebody in the eye and talk to them as a human being, sometimes? I think in Shawn's case, a little more compassion could have gone a very long way.
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