This will be the only year that I mark the death of Prince. I’m not one to remember the day loved ones die. I rarely can even recall which year. That doesn’t make them less or more dead and I, personally, find it to be quite unhealthy to focus on someone’s death. Instead, I remember them fondly in moments that happen organically. I don’t look for signs or create moments. Something will happen and my Granny will come to mind. On her own. I don’t have to conjure her. I guess I’m saying I don’t dwell.
Prince’s death, however, dwelled for a bit. Which doesn’t make sense to a lot of people. And that’s fine. My life doesn’t have to make sense to you, thankyouverymuch. I stopped listening to music. All music, not just his. But then that went away. The tears stopped falling as soon as I was reminded that he’d died. It got easier. It got better.
Today there are reminders everywhere and I’m fine. I am having my own Prince Only Music Marathon in my car and at my desk today. And I was fine.
Until “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man” came on and I was singing and dancing and then suddenly I felt my voice catch in my throat on that sad lump of realization that I will never ever again be in the same space as Prince to sing and dance along with hundreds of other people while he’s on stage exuding the most joy I’ve ever been in the presence of. The man was ALIVE on stage. He was doing what he loved and there was no doubt. He loved music. He loved performing. And, oddly enough, he loved us.
I grew up in a really small town in WV so I didn’t have a lot of the same opportunities as others. He didn’t come there to do any shows and my family couldn’t have afforded to send me where he was going to be. I didn’t even have a way of finding out where those places would be. There was no Internet. I have no idea how information was even disseminated back then. It’s a mystery to me and I lived through it.
Once I was married, money was still tight. I sacrificed a lot and didn’t allow myself to partake in a lot of things. Like, when the Internet did become a thing and there were Prince fan clubs that he ran. You had to pay a fee. I didn’t feel that was an expense I should add to our household. But through the years I’ve read about how he participated in the forums. He got to know his fans. He became friends with them. He did special things for them. He offered them advice. He was a friend. And I missed out on that. Which is fine. That’s how life is, really. Growing up the way I did I understand that life has sacrifices and times that aren’t easy. That’s not how life works. But I can’t help but read these stories with a sense of regret. That’s likely just part of my grief.
Instead of holding on to those regrets, however, I am going to hold on to the memories of the shows I did get to attend. The times I was in the same space as him being part of something magical. Something joyous.
I will likely never forget where I was when I found out he had died. The first reading of the news that something was wrong at Paisley Park. The demands I made in my head for it to not be him. The chat I was having with my friend, Randi. All of the texts, phone calls, messages pouring in from people that know me and care about me in some kind of way. The people that simply love drama that wanted to create it in my life and be part of it. The closing of my office door so I could silently wail about this deep sadness that I was not expecting or ready for. My boyfriend contacting me immediately after the meeting he was in to make sure I was ok. Him going to see “Purple Rain” with me, despite him not being a Prince fan in any regard. The compulsive buying of any magazine I saw with his picture on the cover. Never forget. But hopefully the specific day itself will fade from my memory like it has for all of my other loved ones that are no longer here. Because life is for celebrating, not mourning.
Life is for living. Go crazy, punch a higher floor.