|Photo credit: Sarah Raanan|
Yesterday, January 11th, 2016 when we all heard the news that David Bowie had passed away on January 10th from an 18 month spasm in the throes of cancer... I felt nothing. I was sorry to hear of his passing. I certainly took time to read about him and celebrate his legacy of artistry and music yet I felt zero sadness. The magical wonder that was David Bowie lived a tremendous life. He chose not to publicize or share his cancerous Journey. Perhaps Bowie wanted to go out remembered as the vibrant colorful collage of mystery and music that he was and still is. He died so privately that it's almost as if he still lives. His legacy is huge; the chameleon that he was. Bowie transformed and restyled himself so many times from thrift shop styling to Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, to the very drugged out insane and nasty Thin White Duke. He was Hunky Dory and The Man Who Fell To Earth. Bowie was Pierrot and a Goblin King in the movie, Labyrinth. In the 80's he seemed to embrace the ordinary 80's pop-star-in-a-plain-black-suit persona and later became a reclusive Outsider, the Older Dude with the long hair, and now we all know his final resting place is Blackstar. It's no coincidence that his newest and last album, Blackstar, came out on January 8th, Bowie’s 69th birthday; only 2 days before he died. That's simply wondrous and in true Bowie form, startling, shocking and the outcome... NOT ordinary but electrifying! I have no idea what type of cancer or treatments Bowie endured while he skilfully, competently, and expertly produced what's being touted as some of his greatest work ever. Bowie kept his cancer private and obviously continued to work hard and produced an album that will skyrocket in sales and downloads.
This is about David Bowie but it isn't. I am familiar with his music and know most of his work, and what I learned about the man, born David Jones, yesterday made me stop and think about how I've been publicly sharing my own cancer Journey. A lot of what I've "produced" is a result of being forced down a fork in the road on my life journey three and a half years ago when I was first diagnosed. I went public with every detail almost before the anaesthesia from my surgery wore off; posting pictures on Facebook with tubes coming out of my nose and every other possible orifice.
My tears started flowing today when I learned of the passing of a young mother. I saw splendid and lively photographs of mother and daughter via a friend's Facebook post accompanied by grievous tragic news of her passing. Evidently I had completely blocked out our one and only meeting from my memory. It was a sunny summer day at a work event at the waterpark. Just now my husband reminded me that I had a difficult time coming face to face with her. I was friendly and engaging and she and I spoke for quite a long time. According to my beloved, I recoiled during a private moment at her unmistakably pallid condition. It was mere weeks after we'd received the news that my cancer returned, metastatically relentless for the third time. I selfishly couldn't embrace the possibly-inevitable-future-me. I received a few updates about her deteriorating footing in This World until my sweetheart stopped sharing altogether; protecting me from sorrowful debriefings. And I failed to ask.
David Bowie was a talented artist with unique style that will never be reproduced. Bowie had intriguing androgynous beauty. He lived to the fullest for 69 years so his life wasn't too long and certainly not too short. He lived and died on his own terms and his cancer journey went undetected by his fans and the media. For me, Bowie's death symbolizes a celebration of his colorful life by virtue of the undeniable legacy of music and performances that are timeless. I don't believe David Bowie died with a heavy heart. He went on his own terms after an amazing life leaving a legacy that has already "gone viral" as Meta-Bowie.
You will NEVER know what it's like to be dying until you are and I shed zero tears for David Bowie who lived life to the fullest and squeezed every last drop out of it for 69 years and went out on a high note.
I am crying today. The stark difference between real life and what is "Meta".
Today, I weep bitter tears for a little girl who lost her mother. As I inspect and analyze each delightful pose and jubilant smile, from a photo session only one year ago, the loving bond between mother and child grabs me by my soul. I cannot escape the finality and it's not about me. A woman; a mother of blessed memory had metastatic cancer. I knew that and so many people I know are in mourning over her tragic and premature passing. These beautiful photographs of a smiling mommy and daughter are a tribute to a beautiful life lived with love and devotion. I promise to hold a meaningful space for her young daughter in my prayers and deepest longing for a future filled with the eternal love that her mother left behind and a hopeful future surrounded by those who will continue to love, teach, and protect her.