Two words with one huge meaning.
Over the weekend, my father was in the ER three separate times with unbearable pain from cancer. It is eating him from the inside out. We are reaching a turning point and, while I wish my Dad could live forever or have whatever Keith Richards is still having, I know the reality of the situation.
When I was growing up, my Dad and I had a strange relationship. Specifically, my mother was ill for a long time and he did a lot of defacto single parenting. My Mom was in and out of hospitals and was in no shape to parent. My Dad spent countless hours trekking me to dance, after-school stuff, Girl Scouts, etc.
We found a common ground in two ways–reading and music. My father claims to be the original music snob–he alleges to be the first person in Northern Indiana to get the debut of a then-unknown band called the Rolling Stones. He also claims he was the first of his friends to hear the Byrds. Most of his extensive record collection is stored away, but those songs remain forever. Two generations of my family have seen the Stones-him and I.
Together, we discovered Midnight Oil, The Cure, Social Distortion, Joy Division, and many more bands. He would drive me down to Indy to see my first concert in Indianapolis (Depeche Mode with Stabbing Westward and Primal Scream) and sped through Chicago traffic like it was the Indy 500 to drop me at the Rosemont Horizon to see the Cure for the first time in 1996.
Do I know how long he has exactly? No. This past weekend made it clear the timetable is speeding up and I can’t lie and say I’m not scared. I am, for him and for my Mom, who has depended on him for much of her life.
This morning, I learned of the death of David Bowie from cancer. It made me even sadder. Bowie was more than just music and showmanship–he made contributions to the cultural zeitgeist of the 20th and 21st centuries. Hell, I can hear his influence in The Cure’s “The Hanging Garden” (what is currently on my Itunes Radio). Like Lemmy Kilmeister, Bowie recorded and played until he passed. He loved making music enough to fight for it to the death. I believe the same will be with my Dad-while not a musician, his passion for listening and singing woefully off-key is rare and is one of the greatest gifts he’s given me.
“We can beat them, just for one day, we can be heroes, just for one day…”