People come into your life in strange and not-so-strange ways. Sometimes you meet at a coffeeshop over lattes or across the pumps at the gas station. I met my husband in math class in the 6th grade. Sometimes you find each other through the internet over shared interests. And sometimes you see people singing on TV one day by mere chance, decide you need to know more about them, and then find yourself on paths to unlikely friendships.
That's how I came to know the men who make up Celtic Thunder - and over the ensuing years, they have become my friends. Sometimes frustrating, to be sure -- but always very loved.
Sometimes you forget that the people in your life can change.
It was with shock, great sorrow, and many tears that I heard the devastating news that our beloved George Donaldson passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday night. I am heartbroken.
I first came to know George as a performer -- initially through his work with Celtic Thunder and later as a solo performer with his own shows. There are a lot of hoops to jump through to snag front row seats to a Celtic Thunder show. But the reason I have willingly jumped through them is George. Quick to smile and engage with his audience, George has always been a joy to see perform. Along with a warm inviting voice that is a pleasure to listen to and a smile that invites you in, he's made many a night a complete joy for me. His solo shows were doubly wonderful, and I can only thank Divine Providence that I decided to take in as many of his shows on the past fall's CT Cruise as I did.
But where George has meant more to me is off-stage. Some of my most grateful moments are ones in which George saw me and extended support. I have never seen George when he wasn't ready with a giant smile and his arms open wide for one of his beloved big bear hugs that crush the air right out of you.
This isn't doing him justice at all.
George is wonderful. He could always make me laugh -- quick with a joke and a hug. The thought of never seeing his wink or the twinkle in his eyes again fills me with such sadness. I loved him. I'm sorry... I can't find words to describe what he meant to me.
To George -- Thank you for so much. You have always been so kind to me, in ways that no one else was, and I wish I would properly convey how much you have always meant to me. You're half of why I show up. Thank you for every time you have made me laugh. Thank you for every time you have made me cry. That one night... It meant a lot to me. Thank you for your trust and your honesty and your openness. You made those months easier. I will miss you so much, from the very depth of my heart.
To the Celtic Thunder family -- I am so sorry. You have my heart. Always.
To my fellow Celtic Thunder fans -- It is a strange thing to mourn for someone you've met only a few times - or even not at all. Isn't it? But, what you feel right now is real, too. And it is okay that we feel it.
Finally, to Carrie and Sarah -- If there was ever a common thread to weave through George's words over the past years, it would be his absolute and total love for you both. You were so clearly the joys of his life and we all felt that. It was something that made me respect him so much. I can only imagine what you are going through right now. Sarah is the same age as my youngest daughter and my heart truly breaks. My love and deepest prayers are with you both.
Sometimes people come into your life in the most unorthodox of ways. But, perhaps what really matters is that they were there and that you shared something worth remembering and worth grieving for.