I memorialize a lot of musicians and other pop culture figures here. I do it because I think it’s important to note their passing into the next plane. I also do it because, like most living people, death scares me. It’s a natural fear, although one uniquely human. I’m pretty sure mole rats don’t sit around in their burrows obsessing over the inevitability of their deaths; they’re probably too busy hunting for food or making baby mole rats. It makes me wonder if our big brains and the commensurate level of self-awareness are really worth it.
What this boils down to is that I take death pretty seriously. I hurt a little for everyone who is left behind when someone they love passes. (The person who died is actually okay at that point; whatever fear, pain, or suffering they experienced while alive is gone.) I grieve along with them. I also grieve for all those I’ve loved who are no longer here, people and animals alike. (We lost a beloved kitty just a few days ago, and I can’t tell you how much Mom and I miss her.) It all adds up to a lot of heartache. Sometimes it is easier, sometimes it’s better, but it never really leaves you. But suffering over that pain is a choice. And while I feel that pain and grief, I don’t wish it gone. I don’t revel in it, but I try to accept those emotions and feel them. It’s okay to hurt; just don’t make it the only thing you feel.
Which leads me back to today’s song. My extended family recently became a little smaller in number and a lot less fun. My mother’s cousin, Mike Foster, died several weeks ago. It is still a raw wound, but I know that he’s not really gone from the Universe. (Mike and his family are Christian, but I don’t think my beliefs conflict too much with their vision of heaven.) He’s not here physically and that’s what hurts, but his energy is still part of everything else. Mike was generous and open and loving with everyone. And, like my much missed Daddy, he never met a corny joke he didn’t tell to everyone within hearing distance. Mike had a wonderful sense of humor, even if it did make you groan occasionally. For whatever reason, his passing made me think of this wonderful old John Prine song. (I know I’ve probably posted this one before, but I’m too lazy to look it up right now.) I know Mike wouldn’t want people to be sad about his death. He’d want them to celebrate his life and have a good laugh in his honor. And for people like me who take death a little too seriously, this is a great antidote for that.
Have fun in the next plane, Mike. Love you.