We’re running a little late tonight, as we usually do on Sunday nights. My oldest is in the shower, and she has her music playing in the background as she always does.
Only tonight it’s different. Tonight it’s special music playing. The same music she’s been playing all day. Music from the Glee soundtracks.
Aub is sad and lost today. My girl has had a lot of loss in her young life–her Papa, her Cap, her Maemae, and her two great-grandmothers. She knows life isn’t always about answered prayers and happy endings. She’s way too young to know these things, but she knows them anyway.
But tonight her heart is breaking in a different way. A young actor, someone she never met, has died. She didn’t know him personally, but she felt as though she did, as he was a star in a show she’s only recently found and watched–Glee. This has broken my girl in ways that I can only imagine. It’s the first time someone young that she felt a connection to has died, and it’s just hard.
I remember very well August 16, 1977. For whatever reason I was the one to hear the breaking news about the death of Elvis Presley. I went in the kitchen where Mama was cooking supper and told her. She thought I was kidding. When I assured her I was not, a hush came over both of us. I was sad. While Elvis was not related to us, it sure felt like he was. Daddy had so many of his albums and we watched his movies when they came on TV. After I told Mama, it was time for me to go out and prepare the bottle for my calf and go feed him. I remember how dark and unsafe the world suddenly felt when I went to the shed for the bottle and formula. My world was shattered in a strange way.
I know this today has shaken the sense of immortality for more than just my girl. There is a family and a young woman who loved this young man and whom he loved. There are friends and co-workers and people who knew him in passing. And there are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, who “knew” him through his show, who will miss him and grieve this loss in their own way.
He played a fictional character. I know that. But this grief is real, not disenfranchised. Tears have been cried under my very own roof. And as police and investigators try to make sense of what seems to be a senseless death, the grief will continue.
I’m sorry, baby girl. It’s a broken world. Not much makes sense anymore, especially not Death and who it claims when. I don’t know how to help you through this except to say, I love you and I will listen. And maybe, just maybe, I will sit and watch a marathon of these shows with you. In memory of a talented young actor and to do what we all do when Death creeps in and reminds us of how fragile it all is–to huddle close and love each other.
Hoping that light and peace beyond all understanding will reach those who are grieving and mourning tonight. Tonight I leave you with something my girl sent me with this message: “Indulge me, I’m grieving.” A talented young man is gone, may he rest in peace.