Sunday, June 5, 2011

"He was born on a summer's day, 1951."

Because I have a lot of musical "friends" on FB, I received the news today that Andrew Gold had died. I didn't recognize his name, but I did recognize his hits. There are a lot of musicians like that, I think--people you don't realize you know until something puts it together for you. Like a eulogy. It was only today that I found out he'd died at 59, of a sudden heart attack.

Even though I wouldn't have been able to pick Andrew Gold out of a lineup, and didn't know him by name until today, news of his death has hit me hard, because it echoes A's death. A was born on a spring day in 1951; they were born the same year. And A died, also too young, of a sudden heart attack.

My feelings are a jumble: frustration that men of a certain age are so vulnerable to deadly heart attacks; sadness that I seem to be moving into a stage of life where the actuarial tables showing that the mortality rate quadruples once you're in your 40s are illustrated daily among friends, family, and acquaintances; and also envy, that Andrew Gold and his loved ones got an extra 5 years that my sweetie didn't.

It's selfish, I know, to find in someone else's death, some other family's misfortune, an occasion to think about my own loss and my own pain, but I am not immune to triggers; it'd be more surprising if, given the parallels of the cases, if I didn't make those connections.

I learned Friday that the wife of a coworker has most likely received a death sentence, via metastatic cancer that was just found. They're probably in their sixties, but still relatively young, to me. Maybe they will have a miracle happen; but miracles are always a bit thin on the ground.

That's the thing about death. It's easy enough to accept intellectually as something that happens, and something that happens to every living thing. But it's difficult to accept the mighty upheaval it causes in your life and the lives of all who are left behind. Death in the abstract is simple enough; death, concrete and immediate, is complex, and takes years and years to unravel. How many years? I don't know; I'm still unraveling it. Obviously.

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