I’m not really sure how to categorize this feeling of gratitude today, but I think perhaps a day like today is exactly why I need to always search for the little gifts – or, as fate may point out, the big gifts as well.

This morning I woke up in a really bad mood: I’m tired from a long, hard season, my mind is already on vacation (am I there, yet?) while my body sweats in these hot costumes, I miss my husband, I miss my family, I miss my parents, this has been a challenging run of shows, and I’m swimming in oceans of new notes and words and feel like I’ll never get it all learned in time. And what do I hear upon arriving at the theater? That the Teatro Real family lost a dear member today: Josè Luis Fernandez, a 34 year old carpenter for the theater, a son, a husband and father of 2 young children was killed in a motorcycle accident earlier in the day. The man was beloved. To sum up the words of a fellow worker, “Of course, you never want anyone to die, but especially not him – he was too good.”

I don’t know that I ever met him. It’s possible that he was one of the pairs of hands working the scenery that I met with a “buenos tardes”, but never knew him by name, but I wouldn’t know a face to go with the name. But I do know that, as I’ve written here many times before, it takes countless people to put together a show, to enable me to walk on stage and open my mouth, and this theater, of all the theaters, is an incredibly special family, so I feel the loss in my own, small, but deeply felt way. Tonight, the show was dedicated to his memory and his honor, and I hope that in some small way, it helped carry him onward.

It makes me realize, once again, how precious, and fleeting this life is. It makes gratitude spill out of me that I can wear hot costumes at the end of a long season, tired and exhausted, and sing the notes of Mozart as if he had written them just yesterday for us all to hear anew. It makes me look at this photo of father and son, lost in a moment that belonged to just the two of them, that shows life’s enormity in its most beautiful glory, and feel more gratitude than I knew I possessed.

I wish the family of Josè Luis all the strength and comfort to walk through these days with each other, knowing how special his presence here was.