As many of you know on Friday, July 26th, we lost one of our best friends, Will Gray. He had been courageously fighting aggressive cancer for the past 10 months. It still doesn't feel real or that he could actually be gone...but that seems to be normal territory when you're grieving someone...especially someone so young...he was only 33. While we are thankful that he is no longer suffering and having to deal with the horrendous nature of this disease, we are at the same time absolutely heartbroken at the loss and are trying to deal with the major hole we feel in his absence.
Writing has always been a way for us to process...to deal. So I, Kate, decided to blog, but I don't think that one blog will be able to wrap up all the feelings that are inside me. So, I may blog about Will everyday from now until Christmas....seriously I may blog a hundred more times because his scope of impact, his encouragement and his love were just that profound and great.
When Jill and I met (all the way back in 2003) we met Will that very same day. He was an "artist-in-residence" at the music school that we were attending. From that day forward Will has been involved in our career. He coordinated every album, did consulting for us, and for the past 16 months had been unofficially-managing us. This time last year when we were working on the release of Heart of Stone we literally spent hours on the phone with him each day. Will had a knack for anticipating anything we could want or need and for executing it with the greatest of precision. Will was AMAZING.
During our release week he flew to Nashville to be with us through all the events. He showed up at our door early September 18th (release day) with flowers, donuts and a huge smile. We sat together and between interviews he would update us on where the album was on the iTunes chart and we all cheered and woop-wooped. He also designed the Skinny Jeans T-shirt as we were sitting there. These are some of my favorite memories. Seeing the album get to number 39 was such an incredible feeling...it felt like hard work paying off and that we were all in it together :)
Will loved us and believed in us. He really, really believed in us. And if I'm being honest, that is something that terrifies me the most now that he's gone. Sometimes I have those days, those days where I think that there is no reason why I should be doing what I'm doing. That I'm not good enough. Or talented enough. Or thin enough. Will, from day one, always encouraged us. He told us that we had something to say. Something to share with the world. That we, in our own way, had a light to shine in darkness. He believed in me and in us...and that's what scares me...when I am having those doubtful days, who will be there to believe in me like that? One particular time that we were having a rough time, Will & Angie sent us a care package with candles, candy and sweet notes telling us to keep pushing forward..to keep working hard.
We would not be where we are today had it not been for his loving guidance, brilliance and effort. He cared for us so deeply...more than in just a typical manager way. And now in his absence every and any question that comes up that is related to career, music or the industry we immediately think, "What would Will say?" Any new song we write we want to play for him.
I miss him.
In his last text conversation with me (less than a month before he died) he again did what he always did. He encouraged me. We had sent him a new song we'd recorded & he asked what our plan was with the release...(Will drilled into us how important having a plan was...)
So, what do I do in his absence now? I try to do what he did. I am going to try and work harder and love more. Will was the most inclusive person on the planet. He was everyone's sounding board. He had incredible wisdom. We will miss him more than we could ever express.
Thanks for sending your love over these past few weeks. Thanks for your prayers and your emails and your tweets. Thanks for believing in us. We love you guys.