This is a touching and heart wrenching letter from “The Cello Guy” (Steven Sharp Nelson) to “The Piano Guy” Jon Schmidt that was posted after efforts were stopped to find Jon’s daughter. Our hearts go out to them as they have lost a precious piece of their soul.

This has been a week I never want to remember, nor forget.

My heart is broken in two.

I can’t adequately express the anguish I felt as I watched my friend, my brother, run up river, fighting against an ice cold current, shouting his daughter’s name at the stoic river banks on each side—straining his voice above the din of the white water.

White noise from rushing water typically calms and lulls the mind. But instead, for us, it stirred up intense anxiety. A panicked helplessness. No one should ever have to feel this way. Especially a father desperately searching for his daughter.

Our search started on trails but quickly transitioned off trail, where we soaked ourselves in rain-encumbered underbrush — often above our waists. Many scaled up and down cold, unforgiving slopes. There was an urgency — we had to shake off the sense that everything started to look the same. The sheer vastness of the area threatened to overwhelm our senses. With Annie’s precious life on the line we couldn’t leave one stone unturned. But there were so many stones to turn. Worn down by weather, strain, sleeplessness and unease, we plowed through rocks and trees one agonizing step at time.

This is the kind of thing you read about and refuse to believe is real. And there we were, right in the middle of it.

I wanted to wake us all up from this awful, surreal nightmare. It was as if we were sitting behind impenetrable glass, watching a disaster unfold, yet all we could do was bang on an unyielding transparent wall.

Thousands of prayers were being offered. Hundreds of people were there at the scene doing their best to comb every trail and beat every bush. The story was all over the news begging for any clue.


It just wasn’t right. It’s not fair. It doesn’t makes sense. I can’t process it. The visceral man in me cries angry tears and looks for something or someone to blame.

But those kinds of feelings haven’t taken root in Jon.

Read the rest of Steven’s letter at The Piano Guys.