An Examined Life: On Grief, Sin, and High School Theater
Cheryl Dumesnil

God love ya, Cheryl. I am so grateful for this latest essay of yours. Your writing — brimming with love, pain, appreciation, and insight — helps me to process the loss of TA. I met him and began my journey with him in the old Benson Theater days just after you left (I was there 86–90), and so I knew Phil and Elisa more directly than you, unfortunately. And yet I feel that knowing Tom (a name I felt that I didn´t “earn” addressing him, somehow, until after I graduated college) makes me a part of a kind of lineage, an extended family of men and women who all found themselves on that (crappy, small, magical) stage.

Thank you for facing the darkness, and coming back with these words. Your writing is infused with the light of what he gave you, and what he continue to nourish in your own relationships, work, and community. Your example helps me to absorb both his loss as well as the magnitude of what he gave me. I think I´ve spent the last 31 years of my life, since I first met him in ´86, trying to live up to what he sees in me.

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