Dear Dr. Wang,
I waited to write to you until I learned from Kirsten Neelands that my writing wouldn’t imposed on your privacy. I had hoped to talk with you at your daughter Candy’s memorial reception but, unfortunately, the opportunity did not present itself. I have held thoughts of you then and memories of Candy since then and trust that my writing to you now to share some of them is not unwelcome.
I think of Candy often.
My memories of her are vivid despite the short time, just three months or so in my design class, that I knew her. Candy’s presence in our class was like a bright, intense light. I remember clearly looking out into my students’ faces and seeing hers looking back—focussed, alert, determined and questioning.
Candy and I often needed a lot of discussion to arrive at a shared understanding of her work. I appreciated her insistence on clarity and her willingness to engage in a detailed exchange about her work. In this way, her strength of character and self-knowledge impressed me.
When Candy decided to take a leave from classes that fall, her presence was missed by all of my students and me immediately. I have yet to have another class acknowledge a departure and express their concern over the absence of a fellow student like that class did that fall. I sent Candy several email messages to let her know that we missed her but I never heard back from her. I know that we couldn’t have imagined her struggles at that time but still wish that we could have reached her in some way.
When Candy returned in January we exchanged brief emails and had a fleeting conversation in the hallway at school—all in hope of setting a time to meet and catch up. I have to say, my hopes of having a time to meet and to talk with Candy continued longer after it was no longer possible.
I appreciate finally having the opportunity to tell you how much it meant to me to know your daughter. Candy’s bright spirit is a strong, recurring memory that reminds me of the intense inner life of those around me, particularly of my students, that forms their lives and informs their work but is not always otherwise expressed. Candy’s memory reminds me to strive to be mindful of the seen and unseen, of the vividly expressed and of the quiet implication.
I hope that you are well and have found comfort and resolve in your life,
With warmest wishes,
October 30, 2005