Eulogy for Toby
By Tom and Laura Faber

We are unprepared to stand here today in front of you with shattered hearts.  Looking out at this sea of loving faces, we’re overwhelmed with the love and support you show.  There are so many of you whose shoulders we’ve cried on for the last week, and so many whose shoulders we’ll cry on for the rest of our lives. 

For all of Toby’s friends, thank you so much for the fun and love you brought to his life.  And even if we’ve never spoken directly, know that we’ve been watching and taking joy in seeing you grow and flourish.  Please keep in touch, invite us to your recitals, tell us where you’re going to college and beyond, stop by and have a cup of tea with us and say hi to Ferdinand.

 

There’s just a tiny bit of audience participation we’ll ask: please, everybody, if you would have helped Toby if he had reached out to you with his troubles, raise your hand.  Now look around and know that whenever you are troubled and feel alone, there are that many people who want to help you. Whatever your imperfections or anxieties are, they are part of what makes you human.  We all have to learn to ask for help so we can be there to help each other.

We have no answers to the hundreds and thousands of questions that we desperately want to ask Toby.  Our confusion deepens our grief.  There is so much we don’t understand and can’t say, so let us tell you some things we do know about our dear boy.

 

Toby was born under the roar of the Blue Angels on a gorgeous August day.  He giggled in his sleep and had a tendency to get hiccups when he laughed hard, which was often.  For the past 5 years or so, he spent most of his time at school and at dance, but if he was home, he was likely to be found parked in the green chair in our living room with a laptop and a cat in his lap, long lanky limbs sticking out in all directions farther and farther. 

 

Toby and cats.  The affinity was genuine and deep.  Not only did he love his own cats, but he also made friends with new cats he encountered wherever he went.  He had just the right balance of inviting and holding back that usually made him the first in the room for the cat to approach.  Like a cat, he was graceful and fleet of foot – and also finicky.  His plate frequently contained tiny fragments of a disliked food, meticulously separated out.  He liked to observe a situation for a while before jumping in.  From walking and talking to reading, writing, cooking, making friends, playing on the playground, driving and even dancing, he watched from a distance and listened for a long while before he would show what he learned.

 

From the very beginning, I have kept speech journals for all my children, recording their progress as they learn to communicate and develop their own particular style with words.  As any of you who knows any of my children can guess, there was a lot to write!

Ever efficient, one of Toby’s first words was the multipurpose “tah-dee,” meaning Toby, Daddy, Katie…and kitty.  Some of the most important things from the start.

I called him my Velcro boy when he was a toddler and preschooler and he loved to be snuggled into my sweater.  He would ask “You papoose me, Mama?”

September 2004, age 4: In the car, Toby is asking about rules and laws.  Laura explains that someone who understands all the laws is called a lawyer.  Toby says “Oh!  Like God and George Washington!”

August, 2007, just before his 8th birthday: Toby was complaining about his loose tooth bothering him.  Having just had his 2 front teeth removed at the dentist, he said he wanted to go to the dentist to get this one removed painlessly.  I replied “No, that costs $50, but if you want to pay for it yourself, I guess we could.”  His quick question: “Does that include tax?”

Summer 2015, almost 16: Upon being asked to stop tapping his feet on the dishwasher (he was sitting on the counter), Toby declared: “If it exists, you can dance on it.”

And the last entry, just this past November: (You need to know that Toby drank soy milk his whole life and was a vigorous shaker). When baking whoopie pies and discovering that buttermilk needs shaking despite the carton having no instructions to that effect: “Soy milk is more self-aware than buttermilk.”

 

From the time his Aunt Kalithea introduced him to them at age 1, mangos were one of Toby’s favorite foods.  When he was in Vietnam in 8th grade for a month, he was required to both journal and send letters home. Efficiently, he just sent me his journal entries.  A thread that weaves through his eloquent descriptions and astute observations is the meals he ate, featuring mango prominently.  Just a few months ago, I ran across a printout of his journal and mentioned it to him in one of our evening conversations.  He picked it up, made a whisking motion for me to uncross my legs so he could sit in my lap, and proceeded to read through the entries, expanding the details and telling stories.  I laughed time and again when the entry said something like “I got a mango pancake, although it was more like a crepe folded in half with a slice of mango inside” and it would unleash a torrent of details about the gorgeous misty valley they then walked through.  In landscapes both familiar and novel, Toby often noticed the beauty and remarked on it, whether it was the morning light on the lake as we drove to school or the majestic vista from the summit of Mount Baker.

 

With boundless love and enduring gratitude, thank you for celebrating the life of our cherished, amazing son.  When my kids were little, someone once told me that having children is agreeing to have your heart on the outside of your body for the rest of your life.  Now it is time to take Toby back into all of our hearts, where he will live for the rest of our lives.

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Memories of Toby
Tasha and Kate Faber

Kate: Hikes, dances, late night conversations, cat snuggles in his chair in the living room. I remember once he came home from a backcountry hiking trip with Eli with his back covered in huge welts – maybe bug bites or maybe a heat rash, but either way Mom and I were like “why do you even go on these trips???” and Toby made it clear that we really had no clue.

Tasha: I will think of Toby whenever I turn on the seat warmer in the car.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I order a mango lassi.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I wear a blue jacket.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I impersonate an animal.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I read a history-related book.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I hear about a freshman being taped to the wall in the Bush theater.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I get stuck behind a slow biker in the arboretum.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I drop Tasha off at All That Dance.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I meet someone who likes WWII.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I lace up my hiking boots.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I eat trail mix or ice cream, or drink coconut water from the commons.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I visit Evergreen or Bush.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I fly a drone or toy helicopter.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I watch a physical comedian perform.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I wear or see funny socks.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I make myself a box of Annie’s mac and cheese or defrost a frozen burrito.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I do someone else’s makeup, especially eyeliner.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I brush the cat.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I have commons duty.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I see a school picture where the smile doesn’t quite come out right.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I go to Friday ballet and Hip Hop.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I play Settlers of Catan, Spite and Malice, Shanghai, Stratego, Risk, Axis and Allies, Monopoly, Legos or Wedgits.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I’m under a fleece blanket.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I eat a pizza bagel or a deep-fried wonton or drink soymilk.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I do partnering or contact improv.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I snuggle up with a cat.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I take dance pictures.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I walk by the beach at Magnuson Park.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I edit a classmate’s paper.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I see the kid in the school musical who really just wants to dance.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I sit in the Gracemont window nook.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I see that it’s raining or snowing and decide to go out anyways.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I get to school early.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I stop to watch the trucks at a construction site.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I eat pizza with just goat cheese and drink root beer.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I take an orange-flavored motion sickness pill.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I have a cat on my lap.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I hear a fun fact about D-Day.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I watch tv with my family.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I see a creatively decorated cake.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I wear jeans.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I watch Cheaper by the Dozen, Happy Feet, Ratatouille, Harry Potter, or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and whenever I read The True Meaning of Smekday.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I drink out of one of those blue water bottles.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I go to a cat café.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I listen to KEXP.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I am the last to know about somebody’s new relationship.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I eat bell peppers.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I watch the Blue Angels.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I do a front attitude.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I put my hood up.

T: I will think of Toby whenever I tap dance on the kitchen floor.

K: I will think of Toby whenever I wrap myself up in a fleece blanket.

 

These are a fraction of the images and memories that come to mind when we think of Toby. We hope that they will spark images and memories for you, too, that you will carry with you and share with us.

 

Toby is so much more than these fragments, though. We hope that they will also help you remember the whole Toby, as they did for us.

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Remembrance of Dear Toby
By Melissa Manning, English Department Head, The Bush School

 

I am so honored to be asked to put together words today that can shine a light on who Toby was and what he meant to us. My heart goes out to all the teachers whose passion for teaching, like mine, was rekindled in the nurturing of Toby’s extraordinary gifts, every elementary and middle school teacher who passed him proudly and gently, into the next set of eager hands.

Our hearts are broken today, as we shudder at the thought of a darkness big enough to make Toby choose to end his life. We’ve all been in such shock and confusion. Toby can’t be gone, because for him to be gone would seem to mean the death of love and light itself. Rituals such as this one help us grieve our loss, but the thought that keeps me going is this: that which lived so vibrantly and vividly in Toby can never die. The joyful dance that was Toby’s life has no coda. Love can be hard sometimes, but Toby always made it look easy. Toby should be here, with us. If he were, he’d be handing out bags of candy, easing our pain with jokes and sly comments.

After the election night in November, the mood on campus was grim. Toby anticipated this, so he put up a sign at school the next morning that said, “You are all wonderful people.” I wonder what sign he would have made for us this impossibly hard week. The only way I am coping is by holding Toby close and carrying him forward. It is love that brings us here, and the love in Toby that will continue to make me a more giving, patient, and joyful person.
 
Toby was that exceedingly rare thing: a fully integrated human - body, mind, and soul. He was kinetic, with an irrepressible spirit. After a long day of hiking, playing silly games, and telling stories in the campsite at Snow Lake, Toby suddenly jumped up and declared to his middle school friends that he was going to put on a show; he tap-danced his heart out. This same Toby was a gentle soul, who set aside time before each day, each performance, to turn inwards and collect and compose all the wonderful pieces of himself. Toby lived to make other people happy. His gift to me for writing his college letter was not just something homemade by Toby; he needed to know which flavor of Whoopie Pie was my favorite: first thing Monday morning, Toby presented me with 4 freshly baked, vanilla-filled whoopie pies, evenly arrayed on a piece of hard cardboard covered in tinfoil.
 

Toby was so goofy and funny, but he had an intellect that was utterly incisive and probing. One of my great pleasures was discussing literature with him, accompanying him down the path of his insights, watching him put disparate pieces together into an intelligible whole.

 

According to one friend, Toby was an “annoyingly safe driver” but he was also the kid who taped candy bars underneath the chairs in the Soundbooth so that he and Zoe could have a stash that none of the actors could get their hands on. Toby taught himself the Morse code, became fluent in Chinese, and showed up two years ago to do the 20-hour WFA training with us teachers, just so he could make his mom feel less anxious when he went hiking. Toby was down-to-earth and incredibly present, and yet he seemed to live in a space of wonder and receptivity the rest of us can only visit. He was a star in our firmament and a cornerstone of our community. He was brave and fearless, actively choosing to do only the things that brought him joy; he left the theatre to take up dance his sophomore summer, and never looked back. He didn’t care that the other kids had already trained for several years. He danced with abandon, because it made him happy, and he ...was ...electric. At the spring Showcase last year, Toby was in at least 4 different numbers, beaming, full of grace, and totally in his element.
 
Thanks to the stories we’ve been sharing on Tom’s website and our conversations this week, we’ve been able to find moments of relief from the pain. It is impossible to remember Toby keeping his hoodie up all year in English 9, and not laugh out loud. He wore that same hoodie every day, until spring term, when he changed it out for a more seasonal one. He even showed up for Winter Ball in a “dress” hoodie. First week of 10th grade, Toby grinned at me and said, “do you notice anything different?” and I realized I was seeing his hair for the first time. The hoodie phase was over.

 

I loved what Toby’s grandmother wrote about his smile this week: “it was joyful, sometimes devilish, as if there were a secret joke.” I dare you to picture Toby smiling with his eyes and not have your own face break out into a big smile. These memories of him will continue to float to the surface, constantly reminding us of what Toby knew so well: that the best part of our lives is made up of everyday interactions, the small gestures of kindness that connect us one to another.

A story I’d like to share has to do with Willa. She said it was okay to tell it. One day I was sitting in my office and heard someone sobbing in the bathroom. I rushed to see who it was. Willa had forgotten to fill out two supplements on her USC application, which was due that day. Her wrists were hurting, and she didn’t see how she was going to finish it. I had just passed Toby in his window nook, so I did the only thing any mature, responsible adult would do in such a situation. I said, “Let’s go find Toby.” So we did. Toby, being Toby, dropped everything and spent the next hour and a half typing out Willa’s dictated answers to the essay questions. The story doesn’t end there, because his friendship that day not only stomped out that crisis; it turned tragedy into celebration, as tears became shared laughter at the comedy of the situation.

Toby had that power. In 9th grade, his object essay was addressed to his backpack. It begins: “Why are you still so heavy? Why are you weighing me down? I tightened your hip strap half an hour ago, so why is there more weight on my shoulders now than there was at the trailhead? I love you, it’s true, but you just make me so angry sometimes.” Toby made peace with his backpack when he realized later in the day that it actually gave him lift. He writes: “The lake was stretching into interminable blackness, with just the harsh white light from my headlamp piercing through, and the rain was catching in the light like snow, coming down slower than physics says it should. You helped me get across the rocky shore, jumping from one rock to the next, and if I had missed one step it would have been an ice-cold bath for both of us. Yet you who had been so heavy for the last three miles of uphill, you who had insisted on being unbalanced and sending me crashing to the side of the trail in a spray of freshly-mixed mud, you now were bouncing from side to side in time with my stride...Crossing that river near the end was no problem, thanks to you. You were like the weight on a pendulum, swinging me across that gap between the slick granite boulders.”
 
I’ve gone back to read through all the writing Toby did for me over the last 4 years. I grinned at his description of Chris McCandless in Into the Wild, because it sounds a lot like Toby himself: “He wasn’t an idiot, running blind into adventures that were far over his head; rather, instead he was a calculating, cool-headed fellow.” For the grammar quiz the Writing Center made the freshmen take last spring, Toby didn’t pick just any sentences to illustrate the correct use of quotation marks. He quoted from Henry David Thoreau, “Where I Lived and What I Lived For.” In an essay on Song of Solomon last term, Toby wrote about how one’s own sense of purpose enables love for others:

“From Pilate and Hagar to Macon and Milkman, the amount of purpose they have in their lives directly correlates with how much love they have for themselves and how much love they are able to put out into the world. Some of Pilate’s final words are true for all of the characters in the book: as they know more, they love more.”

Again, if this doesn’t capture Toby, I don’t know what does. When I went back to Thoreau this week, I was struck by a quote I’m sure Toby knew:

“To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?”

I met that man in Toby. Thanks, Thoreau, but Toby had you hands down in the humor department. An excerpt from Toby’s Common Application Activities section reads:
 

1.         Babysitter

I’ve been sitting for the same families for five years and have honed making blanket forts into both an art and a science.

2.         Hiker
With my WFA certification, I’ve been to the broad, sandy beaches of the Olympic Coast, the glacial summit of Mount Baker, and everything in between.
3.         Barista
I work at the coffee bar in the lobby of my dance studio and I have a recurring nightmare about the time a customer ordered a dry soymilk cappuccino.
4.         Dance Classes
Although my favorite genre is tap, I also take ballet, jazz, modern, hip hop, and lyrical. The way I like to put it is, “Everything except Irish!”
 
Okay, no Irish dancing, but dance we shall, and make music we will for the rest of our lives from the precious moments we were blessed enough to spend with Thomas (Toby) Faber.

 

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Tribute to Toby
By Maygan Wurzer, Founder & Director, All That Dance
(on behalf of Toby's teachers and fellow dancers)
 

Dance is so powerful -- I imagine we all share so many emotions watching Toby’s life and talent on that screen… 

 

Dance was clearly a place where he expressed himself too - his joy, his gracefulness, his strength, his vulnerability, his connection to others and his sense of self.

 

It stirs up such strong feelings to see Toby dance larger than life and it makes my task of talking about him nearly impossible.

 

How can I share the essence of what we knew of Toby as a student, a mentee, an Honor Club member and Company dancer at our school?  I know all-too-well that sharing attributes with just words for someone we love - who has died -  is not ever enough.

 

And Toby would definitely prefer dancing over talking - so I’m not off to a great start here...

 

When Laura and Tom asked me to speak about their son, the reason stems from a long-standing tradition at our studio to talk about our graduating seniors at the spring recitals.  Apparently Toby had passed on a similar ritual at his school and told his mom the senior speech he wanted was the one he would get on stage with his ATD friends from me at the the shows in June.

 

One thing that is so sweet about that is … he assumed I would be the one to get to speak about him. Truth is, even though director is behind my title, it’s more of a group effort and I likely would have had been hard-pressed to get dibs on him, since I haven’t taught him in years.

 

While Toby was my student early on, he was touched and taught by many at our studio. And because we teachers are all on stage together in June and because we all contribute our thoughts on our precious dancers,  I would like to ask Toby’s teachers - past and present - to stand with me while we remember him together.

 

When Toby first started at ATD, he took Parent-Tot with Teresa and he moved on to pre-ballet/tap with me. The interesting sidenote his mom recalled was that Toby only ever watched class - he never participated.  I must have blocked this out as his teacher (perhaps hard to acknowledge a child not wanting  to dance in the owner’s class??)

 

While we always give dancers two choices - to watch or to dance - he was a staunch supporter of the ‘watch only’ part of that choice.  His observant nature and willingness to return week after week to watch other dancers take class was perhaps an early sign of his true dedication to dance.

 

When watching week rolled around and I had yet to get him moving in my class, I remember telling Toby’s parents, I’m not sure how this will go… We all anticipated him off to the side and yet, that’s not how he took class at all. He came in, danced the entire time without missing a step and participated in front of all the parents to boot! Clearly he had been paying very close attention all this time.

 

He literally danced for all of class - start to finish - and then after his show-stopping performance in pre-ballet/tap, he announced to his mom on the way out of the studio that he would only dance at home from now on.

 

And boy, did he mean it. It wasn’t until fourth or fifth grade he returned to dance.  I was honored to hear more about how his return came to be earlier this week when talking with his mom and dad and his sisters Kate and Tasha.

 

In the Faber family here is this great rule - outside of school, you must try something musical and you must try something physical.  Toby apparently had always been given the option to dance, but chose other activities and artsy things every time. Even drumming - with all of his rhythm - wasn’t sticking.

 

It seemed that nothing quite satisfied him the way dance did and when his mom presented him with the schedule of classes at ATD once again, she pointed out - you know, taking dance could fulfill not only your physical activity but your musical one as well, right?  Toby replied, “I didn’t think that it would count because dancing is so much fun.”

 

Thus, All That Dance welcomed Toby’s return.  Boys-only tap for several quarters and I got a chance to actually have him dance during class, not just at Watching Week. he Toby gradually added many other styles of dance to his repertoire. His impressive list after more than ten years as a student at our studio included:  modern, jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop and lyrical.

 

And anyone who knows Toby, knows he was constantly in motion - there was no standing still - feet in a running shuffle of sorts or hands in motion. Clearly he had found his place to be back at ATD.

 

As I was privileged to hear more stories about Toby this week, there was one that had me nodding and saying to myself, of course he did. Toby was on a school camping trip in the Enchantments Forest and they were all gathered around a large rock as a group in the backcountry. Apparently this large rock in the open area and a willing audience had Toby hopping up and tapping on top of it - and not just a quick 8 counts or so, but as the story goes for almost a good three minutes -- awesome improv in the great PNW. What a true tapper!

 

It was also rumored that on this trip Toby acquired a behind - and by that, I mean a place where his pants could actually rest on… With regard to pants, I found out this week he only added a pair of jeans to his wardrobe when one of us teachers made it part of a costume for a piece he was in!

 

Karyn shared Toby was excited about his pants for her lyrical piece last year - he exclaimed ‘these are so comfortable and fit really well - I’m never taking them off.”  Turns out they were pajama pants. We all agreed one fond memory among us was the length of Toby’s pants never could quite keep up with the length of his  long legs.

 

Speaking of costumes, we were grateful Toby loved all of his - in fact, he could be found modeling them proudly in the lobby or studios most times. Nothing fazed him. Unitards in bright colors (think Charlotte’s company piece), sequins (of all colors), accessories and the like. He was game for anything we creative, artsy types threw his way.

 

His sisters had heard Toby described as a gentleman and people thought he should have come a british accent. I always thought with his smile, long legs and amazing rhythm, all he needed was the top hat for any leading role on Broadway.

 

As artists we teachers could list descriptive words about our students for days… there are three that stood out among Toby’s many wonderful qualities:

 

An artist, an intellect and a caring young  man

 

Intellect - Toby was so stinking smart. He knew the water content of any fruit you happened to be eating and would tell you. (he was also known to combine eating icecream with vegetables)  Toby asked great questions in class and would often stay after class to share a fun fact, ask about a phrase or combination and he was really genuinely intellectually curious about the world.

 

When Karyn asked her students who inspires you to be true to yourself, Toby’s answer was Abraham Lincoln. She thought ‘there’s one of those unique individuals who learned lessons from the past and applies them today.’   Toby had a unique way of stringing together words that left many of his teachers either speechless - or quoting him for days. Toby had been awarded early acceptance to Swarthmore college and he and his excitement about this was something he shared with Teacher Philippa, who he menteed for.  Toby as a mentee brings me to caring...

 

Toby cared greatly about everyone around him. When Halloween rolled around and kids dress up at ATD, Philippa recounted a story of their Saturday dancers who picked a fun dinosaur tail for Toby  to wear as a costume. They delighted in how he looked - so tall, like a real dinosaur.  In her words “Toby was so wonderful with the young dancers, using his soft-spoken generous energy to make them feel secure and loved.”

 

A parent of another dancer  shared how impactful Toby’s genuine interest in her daughter was - as he would greet her every week at Greenwood and talk before their Tap II class where he was a mentee this year. And Alexandra shared how much she would miss conversations with Toby - where he not only got her sense of humor, but was able to dish it out himself.

 

Mary also verified he told the most excellent terrible jokes. She also fondly remembered many beautiful conversations she had with Toby about feminism over the last couple of years.  She said “He was always so concerned about being the best male ally he could be, the best friend possible to all the young women of ATD. And he was so supportive and and kind to all of his peers - he genuinely cared about each of them so much.

 

And lastly - Toby the artist. He had such a strong work ethic, clean and methodical - great technique, but yet so willing to take risks. And his ability to create his own rhythms was unparalleled.  Karyn and Haley shared teaching Toby this year in Teen Tap VII - the style of dance we are convinced he loved the most…

 

In Haley’s words: I always strive to see my dancers not only execute technique well but to also let go and just dance. Feel the music, hear the rhythms, move their bodies as their own---not just how I tell them to move their bodies. Toby was doing that and it kept getting better and better. He worked very hard and I could tell dance really spoke to him.

 

Karyn shared,  “Toby's tapping was awesome to behold too because I could see in a him a little bit of all his previous teachers. As he continued to develop and learn new skills he never forgot what he previously learned and I'm pretty sure that was how he approached everything.

 

Three words don’t begin to cover him… and he would still prefer we be moving.

 

As I close, it is not lost on me that some of us have been gathered in the Center for Spiritual Living to remember another wonderful person’s life… my late husband Wayne.  And for Toby’s life to be forever linked to Wayne’s is both heartbreaking and heartwarming for me.

 

Wayne and I used to talk about how much ATD - our studio - meant to our students and I was able to see that with my own eyes as I stood in Toby’s room looking at photo after photo of his classes through the years - floor to ceiling pictures of all of his class recitals, and Honor Club and Company posters and a prompt from one of his ATD teachers I’m sure -- up on his wall as well.

 

What is so striking about those photos is how Toby chose to arrange them. They were all facing out with only his class photo showing, the one of him by himself was always hidden behind another group ATD photo.  He loved his fellow dancers - he loved being a part of the ATD community and he put you all above himself - literally out in front time and time again.

 

I can honestly say Toby loved ATD just as much as Wayne did - and I choose to believe the these two sweet people have already connected and are engaged in stimulating intellectual topics. But secretly I also hope that Toby will help Wayne finally master his grapevine or boxstep - as these were terms Wayne threw around as if he knew how to do them, but he didn’t.

 

As we grieve Toby because his life was too short, can we please help each other remember his positive impact in our lives that will always be so big…

 

Nicole shared a sweet story of all the girls in her modern class lifting him up and twirling him around in the air as if he were  ‘snowflake’ - it made them all laugh -  his nose was practically on the ceiling. Continue to share these stories with each other - he will live on even more in each of us that way.

 

And because I need to bring dance in just one more time in honor of him, am sharing a quote from Judith Jamison (of Alvin Ailey Dance Theater) that we believe encompasses the essence of Tobes - Haley’s nickname for him:

Dance is bigger than the physical body.
When you extend your arm, it doesn’t stop at the end of your fingers, because you’re dancing bigger than that.  
You’re dancing spirit.

I would ask all who loved Toby and all who will continue to dance with him in their hearts, to reach beyond the end of your fingers and remember that your dancing spirit is one he would want you to not only keep - but cultivate.

 

Toby - everyone at ATD loved you, we loved teaching you and we loved the person you were.

 

To say you will be missed is just the beginning of a new dance you have started in our hearts.

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