I've been lucky most of my life. I hadn't know a single person that I cherished to die until I was 27. Sadly, I have lost another friend this year. Someone who was a part of one of my proudest life achievements. Someone who let me live with him when I had no place to go. Someone I had the honor of calling a brother of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. That leaves the count at 5 since last October. One of my closest friends, Chauncey Wilson, was the first. That was one of the most devastating times of my life. Soon after, my father very narrowly escaped the grasp of cancer and is still fighting. Months later, my Aunt Izetta Walton passed, Christina Marie Orozco was taken in a motorcycle accident, my Uncle Willy, and now Joshua Snell. It would be an understatement to say that it has been a rough year. One thing that I have learned quickly though is accepting death never gets easier. You don't get immune to losing friends or family. It's going to be hard every single time. But it does remind me of something everytime I do experience it. It reminds me to do things I lose focus of. To call or text people I say I care about, but never show. To keep dancing. It's very strange, but everytime I've lost a loved one, I've been in a situation where I could choose to stop dancing and go home OR wipe my tears, get up and hit the floor. Quite literally 2 of the 4 times. With Chauncey, I was touring through China and Bahrain and I had to decide whether to go home and attend the funeral or stay and finish the tour like I thought he'd want me to. I stayed. When I found out about Joshua, I was at a rehearsal for the dance company I'm with now. I cried in the hall for about 30 minutes. I was asked if I wanted to go home and I wiped my tears stood up and went back to rehearsal. That wasn't the end of the sadness by any means. I just knew I had to continue. I couldn't stop. I had to return to my sacred place in order to be ok. That place, for me, is the dance studio. I had to keep dancing, otherwise all I would do is drown in my sorrows which isn't helping the people I lost or me. The people that I have lost know me to be better than that and I will not disappoint them. Also, it clears the table of these arbitrary things that I allow myself to be overrun with. Fights with friends about stupid things, making money more important than chasing my dreams and remembering who in my life is important and why. That's why I keep dancing. To remember that their impact on my life is what really matters, not the fact that they are gone. That what they did to me, for me, made me better. I have to keep going, keep stepping, keep jumping and keep turning because being frozen does nothing for them. That time could be spent paying homage to their memory, to being a better human, and to being the person they believed you could be. Of all of these people, my Aunt Izetta was the only funeral I had the opportunity to attend. It hurts to not be able to be with friends and family in times like this, especially with Joshua's service in a couple of days, but I know when I see them in heaven their not gonna be disappointed that I didn't attend their funeral. They're gonna be disappointed that I allowed it to stop me from dancing and I just cannot let that happen. I have to keep dancing.