Yesterday morning, while so many of my friends were celebrating an amazing accomplishment with the final race of Dopey, I was at the vet with Le Mops. What had started three weeks ago as an ear infection had suddenly turned quite serious, he woke up unable to walk. This wasn’t a slow, gradual leading up to his lameness. He could walk Saturday. He couldn’t walk Sunday. I have so many thoughts about what caused this, including the rimadyl he was prescribed Monday. The vet had other ideas. He was checked into the animal hospital. That set the tone of the day. I took a nap, but mostly just sat around sad.
It was surely a hoax right. When someone doesn’t share their battle, it seems unreal when it ends. An 18-month battle with cancer ended peacefully, just two days after his 69th birthday and two days after his latest album dropped, along with a long, dark video about rising from the dead. Was that his final farewell? Did he publicly draw his own curtain across the stage of life and no one noticed? It took about 20 minutes before his son posted a confirmation, and then it was all real, everything came crashing down.
Facebook and Twitter quickly turned into a David Bowie tribute. People from all walks remembered or grieved, most in shock. Every now and then an auto-post about someone’s old blog post would shatter the moment, reaffirming for me why those auto reminders about past content are terrible. The world was mourning, almost as one, except that one gal who tweeted 14 Reasons Why She’s the Best Runner or whatever. Aside from the few auto-generated tweets, my Twitter feed was, for once, completely united.
Celebrity deaths don’t usually affect me much. It was sad when Lemmy died a couple weeks ago, but it wasn’t heartbreaking. So many amazing authors passed away in 2015, but I didn’t mourn. Today I mourn.
There has been a David Bowie for every part of my life: Labyrinth, Ziggy, Afraid of Americans…a David Bowie album came out shortly after I moved to NYC and I stood in line for hours to get it signed, but really I just wanted to be in his presence. A chance turn of bad luck at a Bowie concert led to a hushed late-night dinner with him, Iman, and a dozen friends in the basement of a long-forgotten restaurant. I ordered a hamburger and didn’t eat it, because I hate hamburgers. Bowie may have been a little more Jones that night, but it’s all a blur of time. I wish I’d been a little more engaged in the experience at that moment, but I was young and stupid. I had another chance a few years later. I have a million David Bowie stories, but none of them really matter. The man in front of me, the singer in my head, the performer on stage, the legend in the stars–all may be gone but none will be forgotten.
I do admit, I checked on Ziggy Stardust before bed and made sure Gilly, Mars, and Special Man were okay. I also thought a lot about spider and weird, who died a couple years ago. These are lizards.
Last night, like this morning, my first thought is I have no words. But of course I have words, I just don’t know where they belong.
I didn’t sleep last night, instead waffling between cuddling the girl pugs and playing Bowie songs on repeat in my head. Now it’s morning, and I wait for Le Mops’ neurology appointment, reminded too much of Chewie’s journey. Chewie whose birthday was just a few days ago. And I’m a mess. And a new batch of people has just woken up and discovered that last night that the man who sold the world has left it.