I've known Bobby at least since he was 10. I've watched him grow as a performer and as a person through working with him at our local theatre and from watching him in his high school shows. In the last year alone he starred in his high school musical, was prepping to open West Side Story, had landed a role at our theatre as the Candy Man in Willy Wonka, and just last week found how he was going to get the chance to play one of his dream roles - Jack in Into the Woods. He was on cloud nine. Friday night he wasn't feeling well. He took some Mucinex and went to bed.
Saturday morning, Bobby didn't wake up.
You feel like you've got a decent part of life and how things work figured out, and then something like this happens and you can't recognize anything. Nothing seems to make sense. Nothing looks like it should. Nothing feels right.
There are no words to describe just how good of a person he was. He never let me escape without a hug. He made sure that by the time he walked away from you, you had a smile on your face and no matter what, you did. Bobby was genuine. He was bursting with energy and kindness. And this kid had talent. The pipes on that kid were unbelievable, his acting was fabulous, and his dancing was even better. Even as a child he soared above nearly everyone on that stage. He was a natural. He was beyond passionate. He loved his craft and he lived it. Bobby was going far. He never walked on that stage and didn't surprise me in some way. And when he came to me after a show and I reminded him how talented he was, I have never seen eyes glow so bright.
The thing about Bobby was he made a difference in a way that most 17 year olds can't even fathom. He wanted to better himself, better others, and better the world around him and he did. He still is. Our community is in shock. Despite all the tension and feelings and personality clashes, Bobby has let us put it all aside and band together in this time where we need to. Bobby is leading a healing process. Bobby is doing exactly what he's always done - helping.
Bobby, we miss you already. You were one of the brightest kids I have ever met. Thank you for those hugs. Thank you for the thousands of laughs and smiles. You've touched every one you've ever met, and it's never been more apparent than it is right now. I wish you were here to see it, and I wish you were here to see us coming together...you'd be proud of us. I'm going to leave you with your own favorite quotes from your facebook:
"everything happens for a reason"
"everything is only temporary"
"Love and Happiness is contagious. Spread it"
Sing your heart out up there, kid.