2015 was a rough year. Loss came to live at my house last year. She was an unwelcome and unpleasant houseguest, and not just because she brought along her friends Grief and Despair (is there anything worse than unwanted houseguests?). The unpleasant guests didn’t kill me, but they did kill my creative spirit. As much as I love writing and performing, it’s hard to be funny when you’re living in the pit of despair.
2015 ended well. Grief and Despair moved out when Hope moved in (they can’t stand her glimmery goodness). I spent New Year’s eve surrounded by family of heart, and woke up feeling cautiously optimistic. I decided that, since 2015 didn’t kill me, 2016 was going to be my phoenix year.
My New Year’s resolutions were to return to writing and stand-up, and (perhaps) to try my hand at other creative endeavors.
It started out well.
I posted several pieces, and journeyed far outside by comfort zone by learning to paint (or trying to, at least) at Gamut’s “Shelter Art” event at our local animal shelter.
2016 felt like a bright shiny new year….and then cancer stole Lucifer*. For the first time ever, I was completely derailed by a celebrity death. I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of David Bowie’s music. I was, however, completely enthralled by him as an artist. He was the man who taught me to be myself, no matter what. He showed me that it was possible to reinvent yourself, at all ages and stages. He was an amazing person and performer, and, as Mark Ruffolo tweeted, he was the “father to all us freaks”. I may look like a suburban soccer mom, but my soul has always been more Ziggy Stardust than average white chick.
Then cancer took Alan Rickman. I loved him Truly, Madly, Deeply from day one. Not only was he a versatile, amazing performer/writer/director, he was an amazing human being. He was a feminist and an activist, and he did so while remaining a gentleman. In a world where celebrities strive for publicity, his charitable donations remained low key and oft overlooked. I just learned about this video for OneClickGiving, which he did as a favor for student charity filmmakers after they contacted him about a campaign to help refugees.
And today cancer claimed one of my childhood heroes, “Grizzly Adams” star Dan Haggerty. I remember watching the show, and getting the feeling that this gentle bear of a man was just as kind as the character he portrayed.
They say that things happen for a reason. I still don’t know who “they” are, or come up with a reason that we still haven’t found a cure for cancer. I have, however, found a reason for loss, thanks to the amazing gentlemen who moved on this week. Thanks to David Bowie’s last picture and Alan Rickman’s adventures with helium, I have learned that Loss may travel with Despair, but she also travels with Joy. I have learned that Loss is an important part of life – she reminds us that life is fragile, and too short to be taken so seriously. I have learned a new definition for LOSS.
*Neil Gaiman’s Lucifer in his Sandman series is supposedly based on David Bowie. I’m not sure about that, but I know for a fact that he inspired The Return of the Thin White Duke