“My mom crossed over last week,” the actor, 43, captioned an Instagram slideshow featuring photos of himself and the former Broadway dancer. “Even though we knew this was coming — and had actually thought we were at the end nearly a year and a half ago — I’m still in shock. I’m grateful she’s no longer in pain, I’m sad, I’m angry, I’m relieved … all at once and in different moments. Just trying to hold space and allow for it all.”
The Dawson’s Creek alum went on to write, “To thousands of kids, she was ‘Miss Melinda,’ a gymnastics teacher with a big heart, a creative spirit and a mantra: ‘There’s no such word as can’t!’”
As for his and wife Kimberly Van Der Beek’s kids — Olivia, 9, Joshua, 8, Annabel, 6, Emilia, 4, and Gwendolyn, 2 — they loved their “magical grandma … Grammy M.” James gushed, “[She had] a big laugh and a basement full of costumes and Christmas lights.”
The Connecticut native concluded, “She was my mom. She gave me life. She taught me how to tumble. Drove me to my first auditions. She believed in me based on nothing but her own intuition and she passed on a craziness that has been crucial to not just my success, but my own personal happiness. I don’t know what the grieving/healing process looks or feels like from here on out. All I know is anytime my kids — or any of her students — want to dress up, or get on a stage, or dance, or even just think of her, they’ll have a little extra love from the other side backing them up.”
The Varsity Blues star celebrated Melinda’s 70th birthday earlier this month with a throwback ballet photo of the former gymnastics teacher.
“This is my mom,” James wrote via Instagram. “She turned 70 yesterday, but there’s a part of me that will always think of her like this: joyful, artful and doing something that completely defies the laws of physics. I love you Mom. Thanks for the rebel spirit. And the flexibility.”
Melinda and her husband, also named James Van Der Beek, welcomed their son in 1977, followed by son Jared and daughter Juliana. When the Pose star was 15, his mom brought him to New York City to get an agent. She is survived by her husband and three kids.
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