Dearest Mr. A,
It's 11:54 PM. I just got the news and I. Am. Speechless. So I sat down at my computer to let my fingers do the talking because sometimes they work better than my brain. If you were here, you'd tell me that writing is cheaper than therapy and likely make a joke about me being "just this side of crazy". The more I think about it, the more I think you might have had a good point.
There were so many days when your dry sense of humor brought a smile to my face. I can't remember a time when you didn't have a Starbucks cup in your hand. I think of you whenever I hear the Fast and Furious soundtrack. You knew the importance of a good pair of shoes. I often thought that if I came to your classes and just did the warm-up with the girls that I'd have the rockin'est core around. I've watched my daughter dance many dances and know, with great certainty, that the best she's ever done were those she did for you. You pushed hard but there was never a question about just how much you truly cared. I can't count the number of awards you won for your breathtaking choreography. You shared your gift, your passion, your creativity and raw talent with and motivated many, many young dancers, some of whom have gone onto greatness as a direct result of your influence.
I had my suspicions, you know, about what was going on, but kept them to myself even when we had those long talks. I wanted to come to the hospital last week but got the word that you were in ICU and only family members were able to visit. Somehow, given your strength and youth, it never dawned on me that you might not bounce back this time. I wish I'd had an opportunity to say good-bye. You've been taken away from us far too soon. Life's twists and turns are often cruel, and my children know this already. However, I haven't yet found the words to even try to begin to explain it to She Who Was Over the Moon That You selected Her To Be In Your Company This Year... a.k.a. She Who Dreamed Ballerina Dreams Of Dancing Arabian with You Someday... she who doesn't understand things like this... because really, none of us do.
Rest in peace, dear Mr. A, knowing that the world is a little less bright without you in it, realizing that you were loved unconditionally by all those whose lives you touched, and that you will be remembered by each of us, not only for who you were, but for what you inspired.
With Great Respect and Affection,