The only celebrity whose death–or impending death–upset me was, of course, Warren Zevon. When he announced that he had a terminal illness my world was rocked. His music is on every day in my life and I sort of consider him the poet laureate of my adulthood. I didn’t cry on that September day, though and I didn’t cry on the September day a year later when he actually died. The only time I cried was when one of his songs came up on iTunes Shuffle unexpectedly.
I didn’t cry when my grandpa died. In fact, the only death for which I’ve so far cried is that of my dog. I’m just not a cry-er, I think.
If I were to cry over every sad thing in this world I quite simply would never stop crying. Ever. War, famine, poverty, illness–there is no shortage of things to cry about on a daily basis.
For me and my belief system, death is a transitional step–no different, really, than sending a kid off to college or getting married or finding a new job. In fact I think all those transitional steps exist in life to prepare us for the Big Transition.
Michael Jackson died yesterday. I know you know this if you’re reading this on a blog in 2009, but in case I print these off and save them in a book for my neices and nephews I think I need to make clear why, on this June day, I’m defending my lack of tears.
I’m not crying for Michael Jackson. If I had decided to get it into my mind to cry for him I would have started around 1991 and never stopped. The last 18 years of his life have been a cacophony of strange, the likes of which the world has rarely seen. If I am having any reaction at all to his death it’s most likely a sigh of relief on his behalf. He was clearly not at ease with who he was on this planet. He was obviously hurting–news reports now speak of daily shots of Demerol–and as someone dealing with pain I understand all too well the sense of welcome calm that the transition of death holds.
I am sad for his life and what it became. But I’m saving my tears for the deaths that rend my soul.