Dear Mr. Conroy,
How do I say thank you to you for all you have done for me when my feelings about it are so big and words are so small?
There is no way to describe what it means to me to have your name and your praise on the jacket of my book—what it means to the young girl I once was who learned to write by reading and rereading your books, who listened to your rhythms, was healed by your insights, discovered a way to transform the language of pain into beauty by studying you.
If ever you’ve had anyone in your life who was a giant to you, someone you admired and tried to emulate, whose influence shaped your very being, then maybe you’ll have some idea of what you’ve given me—a perfect stranger—for no reason other than your giant, generous heart.
Please know I will do my very best to pay that generosity forward—your heart to my heart to the next heart and so on. It is the only way I know how to thank you.
I was so sorry to hear about your recent cancer diagnosis. I hope all the love and healing you’ve put into the world comes back to you tenfold, giving you all the energy and strength you need to get through this. Like all the best people you seem to be made of love and grit—I hope they serve you well now. We need you to stay.
Thank you thank you thank you for being wonderful, extraordinary, larger-than-life you. You will always be a hero to me.