My Grandad’s old school held an exhibition in remembrance week, focusing on all the old pupils who had fought in the armed conflicts of our country. I...
"REMEMBER LAST NIGHT." A short story.
November 11, 2014
On Death and David Bowie.
January 25, 2016
I haven’t written anything for a while. The thing is, death has been chasing me, and while it hasn’t caught me, it has fucked me up. Messed with me, put strange thoughts into my head, made me question…you know…things.
Not my death, someone close to me, their death. It’s coming, but slower than expected. It’s torturing the one it’s following, real slow, like a black storm on the edge of vision, whipping up terror as it builds.
But it also has its claws deep into me, this pursuer of my blood. I know it wants me and it knows all my weaknesses and because it’s pursuing my blood, one of my family, it knows how to get inside me.
So all I can do is fight it. One thing I’m good at is fighting. Death knows this, so it comes at me when and where I’m at my weakest. In the cold, dark hours of a winters’ night, when sleep is as elusive as a dancing star on the edge of my vision. When a sheen of sweat, that shouldn’t be there, races across my body. Death surfs through it, gets inside, snuggles down, feels real comfy and then picks away, deep inside my brain. Things we should have done, things we should have said.
While death toys with the one you know it’s coming for, like a cat toying with a fragile, injured bird. It sends out its message through others, keeps hacking and scything people down. And so while I was distracted, death swooped in and took …..David Bowie.
I hadn’t thought of Mr Bowie in a long while. Years in fact. I hope he wouldn’t mind me calling him Mister. I didn’t know him at all, so I thought I should show a little respect.
While death comes for my Dad, still stalks him and makes me go back to places in my mind I haven’t been for a while, the death of David Bowie helped me make a little sense of some of those places I’ve been.
I can remember being eleven years old, full of confusion and angst….. in the grip of another persons’ complete and utter madness. What adult takes a pair of scissors and scythes away with them, ripping at hair and skin? I still can’t answer that……. Thankfully there was David Bowie and his songs. Hidden moments from a transistor radio. I had nearly forgotten them. The sublime message he sent to my eleven year old, messed up head. ‘You’ll be okay, it’s okay to be different, to be confused. You can go to other galaxies in your mind. You’ll be okay. And thankfully …….. I did and I was……So thank you Mr Bowie for being there for me and for taking me back there and the golden years……… for taking me out of that place once in a while………. so I’ll grieve for you too.
Death knows you’re going to grieve and it wants that from you. It knows well, that it doesn’t matter how much you love the person that it’s coming for, even how well you knew or liked them. It wants the price from you, and that is your grief.
It wants your grief for the person it is here to take and it wants your grief for yourself, that part of you that comes from that other person. And that is the hardest part of all, grief comes even before death, and death likes that, likes when you can see it coming and can do nothing about it.
I don’t completely understand why I can’t shake death. It’s chasing all of us, just at different rates. We know it’s coming for us, what awaits us. But then we don’t know what awaits us either, that’s the paradox. That’s the fear that death feeds off.
It makes me go deep inside myself, question the very essence of my being. I know that I am what I have been made and what I have made and built. I refuse to blame anyone and I try to forgive ……….. Except, maybe myself …….
And death says, ‘I’ll take that,’ as it slings a glittering scythe over its shoulder and slouches off into the dark coils of your minds’ night. Disgruntled, but knowing that its time always comes.
I think David Bowie would have a message for death though. Along the lines of……..‘you don’t scare me.’ And to everyone else, ‘don’t be afraid to make mistakes.’ …….
David Bowie’s art was not what he heard, but what he helped us hear. For that alone, we absolutely love you Starman.