One of the stories I've told myself and others is that I'm ok with death. I grew up in a funeral home after all I tell them. But that's not quite accurate. Yes my grandmother's father and brother owned a funeral home and yes I visited all the time. But all the time wasn't like full on living there and I rarely saw the funeral side of it all unless of course it was a family member's funeral (of which we've had quite a few). And I've realized I've never been that great with death, I just learned how to deal with it after dealing with so many.
I am my grandmother's first grandchild and my mom was a pretty young mother so that means when I was born a lot of my elders were still alive. I grew up with my grandmother so I got to see her dad, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, other relatives and friends. And there were a lot of them. A LOT. I always remember gatherings at our house so I came in contact with a whole lot of people growing up. I did experience new births - I got new cousins all the time and after 17 years, I even got a sister. But I experienced a much higher death rate especially since my great grandfather died when I was a kid. It was around my birthday when he got sick but I don't remember the year. Anyway, since then it seems like I've lost at least two close relatives a year ever since. At first, I got it. My older relatives would pass in very natural scenarios. Then the game switched up and people started dying with no rhyme or reason.
And they deaths kept coming.
A classmate died. My na-na got sick then never got better then died. Someone got into a car accident and died. My uncle, like my mama's brother I'd seen my entire life, died. My little cousin died. Like don't remember the last time I saw her because I never would have guessed it would be the last time because she just got sick and a few months later died. My favorite uncle who may have also been my cousin because that's how country life is died. I also experienced the death of major celebrities, politicians and historically notable. Death was not only reserved for those I personally knew but even those we collectively know through the culture were leaving as well. Death would hit everyone.
The times that I find it most difficult to deal with death is when I recognize it all around me. Since my family lost a huge light in my cousin Bobcat in mid February, everyone I know has experienced the personal loss of a love one. The world has mourned losses in the entertainment world - Natalie Cole, Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Harper Lee, Phife Dawg, Gary Shandling, Patty Duke, the beautiful Vanity and yesterday, Prince.
Prince Rogers Nelson.
The artist formerly known as the symbol for male/female.
The most beautiful man in the world. Still. He was everyone's favorite artist's favorite artist. He wrote songs that you could dance to all night or make love to or recognize what was really going on or just vibe out to - choices were endless with his track list.
Prince left the Earth plane on April 21, 2016. My heart broke. I've only seen one Prince show (for which I'm eternally grateful). I love his music and he was the first visual I had for "sexy". Prince represented the mystery in life - how does he still look so good? how is it that he is attractive to everyone regardless of sexuality? how is his makeup so flawless yet I'm still so attracted to him?how does someone so sexy back it up with such talent? how is he so damn cool? So much mystery. But now he's gone. Leaving me with one question - who is next?
It's only April. I'm not sure how much more death I can handle. I need a minute to get back to okay.