Saturday, January 16, 2016

Goodbye, Bowie.

I don't cry over celebrity deaths. While I feel a great sadness for when one of my favorite idols leaves this planet, it's not like I knew them personally. Hell, I haven't cried at any of the funerals I've attended. Not a one. And it's not because I'm such an asshole. I think. I just don't cry a lot.

That ended today. During me and Ramona's walk, some big, off leash dogs cornered us. Ramona got aggressive, but didn't bite them. It was scary, and fortunately over quickly. As I hurried Mo away when the owner finally rounded up her mutts, I was in such a heightened state of alert and panic and fear that I began to sob. Like, snot tears sob. But my tears weren't over our dog encounter, they were for David Bowie.

Triggered by my heightened state no doubt, all of these memories and emotions flash flooded into my brain. The time I made my little brother a David Bowie mix tape for his 13th birthday that started with "Changes" (puberty joke), and ended with Starman. Smoking pot for the first time while watching "Man Who Fell to Earth." Dancing until the wee hours at Neo, an old punk club he frequented during his brief stint in Chicago. Holding the hands of my best friends at their wedding while singing "Modern Love." From cross country road trips to belting poor renditions of  "Heroes" in my shower, David Bowie has always been there, and I think that's why I'm so upset. His death doesn't feel like a celebrity death, but the death of a dear friend's.

When I got home from my epic sidewalk sob fest, I watched the last music video he ever made, "Lazarus." The opening shot is him in a hospital bed with bandaged eyes, looking pale and thin in a way that was no longer intentional. After a melodic intro, he starts to sing. "Look up, I'm in heaven." I couldn't help but look.

Though terminally ill, he made his fans a beautiful goodbye telling us all that he was okay. He continued to give while he was being robbed. Even if the song was terrible (it's not, of course), the gesture is so pure and good that I can't be sad anymore. Instead, I'm just grateful for this wonderful weirdo's body of work I've enjoyed my entire life, and will one day force my children to enjoy as well (until they graduate college, realize I'm not the total lame ass they always thought I was, and start to comb through Bowie's music and movies with the same wonder and awe as I did).

All I have left to say now is, thank you, David Bowie. I don't believe in heaven, but I will continue to look up and see you in the stars.