Sunday, June 14, 2015

Of Love, and Loss, and...Longtime Patrons.

Today was a sad day...
Today we said goodbye to a friend. His name was Dean. He and his close knit family have been patrons of ours since 2004. Every show, every year, this family shows up in force to support us, buying tickets and making donations of some kind. I'm talking fathers, mothers, uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins...this is a huge and vivacious family.
Dean and his wife particularly enjoyed our yearly presentation of The Rocky Horror Show, for which Paper Wing Theatre is well known for.
Today, we showed up for Dean.
I don't know how other theatres do it; certainly there are many different ways to honor and thank the various audiences that come to see shows. But I know how we do it.
We hug patrons after the show. We embrace and take pictures. We throw big dinners in costume. We remember the individual patrons that support us by name.
And sometimes, we get to give back.
Dean was taken at the young age of 32 in a motorcycle accident that wasn't his fault. He had a wife and an absolutely adorable 18 month old daughter. And they just found out last week they were expecting another child.
It was all extra devastating.
We felt helpless...not exactly family, but friends, and saddened by the news; what could we do?
Then Dean's wife reached out to me. She asked me to read her part of the eulogy at the memorial service. I was honored to speak her words aloud, words that she said she couldn't get through. 
I prayed my voice would be clear and loud. It was. I prayed not to sob through it. I didn't.
It was my honor.
It was a gift to be able to do something for Dean and his family, after they have given us so much.
Actors from our theatre, even ones that barely knew Dean, showed up to support the family. I was proud of us...proud of our theatre family. And pleased to hear over and over how much our presence there was appreciated.
Longtime patrons were converted to extended family when Dean's father embraced me and said "Thank you for are family to us and to Dean."
What a privilege.
Good bye Dean. I know you will be Time Warping with us from the other side.

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