Let me start by saying that this may be the toughest post that I've ever had to write. Over the weekend the World as we know it changed in an instant. I was taking my Sunday afternoon nap and was awoken by a text and phone call, letting me know that my friend Dan was being taken to the hospital. By the the time I had gotten there he was already gone. Just 45 years young. A husband and father of 2 beautiful young ladies. In the days that have followed I've learned just how many people loved our friend Dan.
Let me share with you some of my favorite stories about Danny - I met him about 8 or so years ago through the dance studio that my youngest daughter trains at, The World Of Dance. At the time, she was just 3 and only performing a solo for the competition team. Anyway, I was told that the dads all gather on Thursday before the competition to "load the prop truck". I had NO idea what that was all about but went to help because it seemed like the right thing to do. While we were just getting started and putting some props on the truck another father saw the tattoo on my forearm and said "Yankee fan, huh? Good, you can help bust that guys b**ls over there. He's a Red Sox fan". So that's exactly what I did. From there it was nothing but laughs and great times.
One of my other favorites to tell is the time that he was trying to move one of the dance props and was having a really hard time. The prop was a "magic box" - The magic box was about 6-6 1/2 feet tall and only a few feet wide. Something that if needed, could be moved by one of the dads. In this case however, Dan was having a pretty hard time picking it up. Reason being was that the prop had a floor on it and Dan was standing inside the box trying to life it. To explain a little further, he was literally trying to pick himself up. I remember him looking at us and saying 'Why's this thing so heavy?' He used much more colorful language but you get the idea. Me and a couple other dads looked at him and said "Dude, the thing has a floor that you're standing on". That story has been told at least 2x a year since.
Those are a few of my favorite memories but barely scratch the surface of all the memories that I have of Dan.
Now, let me tell you a little about the man that we lost this weekend. It's been said countless times that he was the "life of the party" and he was. No matter where he was, he was the guy that wanted everyone to have a good time. He made sure that everyone was included and comfortable. He was the guy that when something was needed he would help without hesitation. No excuses. He was always there when you needed him. He was also the Dad at every dance competition that cheered for every single kid on our team. All of the kids were his "kids'.
Danny was also a father and husband. They were his pride. His life. His everything. To Bella, Kylie and Becky - I'm sure you know how much Dan or your father loved you guys. I just want to make sure that you're told that again. Everything he did was for you guys. He was so proud of all of you. I personally would love to watch his face when you guys were on stage dancing. To watch him light up with pride when you guys danced were such great moments. You could see the pride on his face instantly. And his pride in you guys was not limited to just watching you on stage. He took great pride in you every single day!
We lost someone very special to a lot of people this past weekend. I know that right now things are at their darkest but we will go on. We will get through this. We will because Danny would want us to and would push us to smile again. Keep in mind that just because you can't see him anymore, does not mean he isn't with you. He is! He is right next to you.
For those that took the time to read this, I would like to thank you!
For those that haven't seen it yet, there is a GoFundMe set up to help his family. Since his passing was unexpected the family has been burdened with financial responsibilities that were not planned for.
CLICK HERE to visit the GoFundMe and donate. Thank you in advance to anyone that may donate.
To close this I just want to let Dan know that I love him and will miss him dearly. God broke the mold when he made Danny. Rest easy bro.