Missing You Never Gets Old

One year ago today, I woke on a chilly weekday morning before dawn. Tangled in the web of a bad dream, I’d jerked up in bed and remained in a state of wide-eyed apprehension until throwing off the covers and surrendering to the day.  Wrapped tightly in my familiar old robe, I trudged to the kitchen, propped myself up at the counter with a cup of coffee, and reached for my phone.

After slogging through a maddening lot of junk emails, and a couple late night texts, I surrendered to the siren call of Facebook. I scanned the first post that popped into my feed, from an old friend from high school days. I can’t recall the exact words she used, but she was torn to shreds as she passed along the news I never expected to hear: David Bowie was dead.

I read her post over and over. I checked the BBC and sure enough, it was true. I cried as the shock bore into me, and I felt a pain I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t felt for the death of even some people I actually knew. Weird to some, I know, but the knowledge that this artist was no longer breathing shook me to my core, that place that even my husband or my kids can’t touch. The lush, dark place from where I grew, molded and guided by the things around me, showing me who and what I wanted to be. The place within myself I truly became aware of as an adolescent.

And what did a British man in his late 30s have to tell a struggling teenager in Texas?  That the perceived weirdness and oddities I languished over in the mirror were not only okay but should be embraced. Not that I always listened to his advice, sadly. But the message was there.

And then, of course, there was the music.

Ample rock obituaries and tributes have been written about this man and his influence on music and the world at large. But what I’m thinking about as I sit here listening to his final album, Black Star, released just two days before his death, is how he still inspires me creatively.

Gary Kemp from Spandau Ballet described Bowie on Sirius XM's Volume, and he summed up my feelings quite nicely:

David Bowie allowed people who weren’t musicians to be creative about themselves, with themselves, and for themselves. To paint an image greater than their boring lives and walk out onto the street like that. He gave us the license, the validation, to be greater than we are.

This is precisely what spoke to a teenager in Dallas putting on her Catholic school girl uniform to face her peers and what speaks to me today, as a forty-six year old woman heading to a PTA meeting. Live bigger, dream wilder, nurture your creativity, never be afraid to change. Life is more than what you’re allowing yourself to live.

In trying to explain his loss to someone who isn’t a music fan, I’ve described it as such: it’s like a favorite color is missing from the box of crayons. Let’s call it Silverstar. You love to sit at the table in front of the window and color the trees and sky you see through the smudgy glass.

Sometimes, you imagine it’s nighttime, and you draw the heavens. Even before creating the black background of night sky, you instinctively reach for the Silverstar crayon, but your fingers land in an empty hole between Barn Owl Gray and Timberwolf. Both nice colors, in their own right, but not Silverstar. No other color in the box has the same juxtaposition of thoughtfulness and glam, shimmer and soul. You look around the room and see all the other pictures you’ve drawn over the last decades using Silverstar and admire their tenacity.

But you will never color with Silverstar again.

David, I’m thankful for your ability to reach through glass, metal, and wood into the heart of a girl who didn’t know herself. And every time I listen to your music, I feel your grasp on me again, reminding me to set aside the distractions and create. Not for what it can be or who will see it, but for the sake of art itself. To release my own brand of emotion and beauty into the world that wasn’t there before.

“Someone will appreciate it,” he said. And we did.

The moon flows on to the edges of the world because of you
Again and again 
And I'm awake in an age of light living it because of you 
Better take care 
I'm looking at the future solid as a rock because of you 
Again and again
Wanna be here and I wanna be there 

Living just like you, living just like me 
Putting on my gloves and bury my bones in the marshland 
Think about my soul but I don't need a thing just the ring of the bell in the pure clean air
And I'm running down the street of life 

And I'm never gonna let you die 
And I'm never ever gonna get old
 - David Bowie


  1. This is just fantastic, moving and inspirational both in remembrance of him and from your words themselves! Nice to "see" you today-always a treat when you post (even when I need tissues) ;)


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