I will love how you made me appreciate small towns. The closeness. The ridiculousness. The everyone knows everyone else business”-ness. The beauty of riding your bike to your friend’s house. You showed the world how the desire to leave and the desire to stay could co-exist. I love how you made me appreciate the beach where I live.

I will always love how you made Gram such an important character. In doing so, you reminded us about the importance of grandparents. Gram taught us about love. About boundaries. About expectation. About the power of forgiveness and the existence of redemption.

I will always love how you put Joey Potter front and center stage – and in the center of all our hearts. I love how she was a tomboy. How she was awkward. How she was brilliant. How she was beautiful. Joey was someone to idolize. Thank you for that.

I will always love how Joey and Jen became friends. High school romance can be fleeting, but high school friendship can last a lifetime.

I will always love how you made Jack gay and Andy have a mental illness. I know that made a difference to friends of mine. It’s powerful to see ourselves reflected in the stories we watch. It’s important, too.

I will always love how the gang – Dawson, Joey, Jen, and Pacey, were the nerds. The misfits. They weren’t the cool kids, but they were so very cool to me. I wasn’t the cool kid, either. I felt like I had found a tribe.

I will always love how you let Dawson be an unabashedly feeling, romantic, and mushy man. Looking back, it’s nice to see that represented on television. Looking forward, I hope we see that more.

I will always love Pacey Witter. There are too many things to say about this. But I’m pretty sure Pacey was my first love – or he was the first person who made me believe in love.

I will always love how Pacey and Joey ended up together in the end. Thank you for that.

I will always love how you made first-time sex awkward. I will always love how you threaded that with the desire for it to be special, too. It was real. It was true.

I will always love how things didn’t always end the way I wanted them to. The relationships were messy, the friendships were messy, school was messy, life was messy. It was a good preview of real life.

I will always love how, if I ever hear “I Don’t Wanna Wait”, by Paula Cole, I will immediately smile. I’ll think of simpler times, like high school. It’s a walk down memory lane for three minutes. That happens anytime I hear a song off of the soundtrack – so thank you for introducing me to music that very much became the soundtrack of my own life. And yes, I bought the CD back in the day.

I will always love how you put love on a pedestal. The simple, honest, real need for love. Because really, when it comes down to it, isn’t that what drives us? Love for a mother, a father, a brother, a sister? Love for a friend? Love for a boyfriend? A girlfriend? A husband? A wife? I do believe that love is the connective tissue that binds us all. I do believe that was your driving force.

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