How They All Connect
Posted on January 18, 2016
2015 came to a thud of a close, didn’t it? Well, maybe not for you, but it certainly did for me. I lost two people who I cared about in the last two months of the year and I was kinda done with the Grim Reaper. Sadly, just because I was done with him didn’t mean he was quite done with all of us. The bugger’s sickle needed some sharpening, I think. My freshman year English professor once told us “We’re all going to die, but we never think it’s going to be us, that we’ll be the one who lives forever.” If that’s true, and it might be more true than false, that means some of you are going to have to go, just not the ones who’ve gone recently.
I used to enjoy when I’d hear a song by David Bowie. I knew the popular material and, believe it or not, my grandmother used to have a couple of his albums on 8-track—for those of you who remember 8-track. Incidentally, and I don’t know why I remember this, but the one 8-track tape I owned was John Williams’s score of Superman: The Movie. Anyway, it was last year that I started getting more curious about David Bowie the actor, so I bought The Hunger and Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. He was absolutely captivating, striking, he had presence, and there was an air of mystery about him. He honestly left us wanting more in both film and music.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the passing of Natalie Cole too. My grandmother absolutely loved her song, Unforgettable, as did I. Not that Unforgettable was her only hit or good song. It wasn’t. But like the song, Cole herself matches the title and I always think of my grandmother whenever I hear this song.
Then news of Angus Scrimm broke, that he had passed away just before David Bowie, I believe. For those of you who don’t recognize the name, Angus was a force to be reckoned with in the Phantasm horror films. That man took years off my life after watching him play The Tall Man in Phantasm. The 89-year-old was described by all those who knew him as one of the kindest, sweetest, gentlest men you could ever hope to meet, which was a testament to his abilities as an actor because that man scared the hell out of me. I may have even going through puberty late because a couple of important bits of my anatomy didn’t want to descend after watching Phantasm.
I’m going to miss Alan Rickman as well. Most folks cite his role in the Harry Potter films as how they remember him most. Or Die Hard. I first saw him in Die Hard, but I absolutely adored his character in the underrated and uneven The January Man. My father-in-law loved him in Quigley Down Under, but who could forget him in Dogma and Galaxy Quest? I still remember going to see Galaxy Quest with my husband when he was still my boyfriend. We’d been together 4 years then compared to our nearly 21 years now.
Though I never met David Bowie, Natalie Cole, Angus Scrimm, or Alan Rickman, all four played a part in my history. I listened to their music with my family, saw their films with my parents or friends, and have memories that intertwine. They’re all connected. And it’s starting to feel like the older strands are beginning to unravel as these people pass away.
I’ve been forced to ask myself how I’d like to be remembered…if I’m going to be remembered at all. I have no children, no nieces or nephews—you hear that, Undersexed-Brother-in-Law???—and nobody in my family who I’m close to outside my parents. My father is dead, my father-in-law is gone, and my grandmother is 85 years old. Outside of my husband, I have my mother, my mother-in-law, and my grandmother.
A great many more people who played some part in my life, regardless of whether or not I met them, are going to be passing away this year and in future years. This will escalate before it starts to slow down. And as these people move on, it means those of us who are left will be the ones who keep the pilot light on or a candle in the window.
I think I’m finally at an age when I’m starting to appreciate life more than I ever did before. It’s more fragile than we think. It has more to offer than we realize. And there are more treasures than money or materialistic things. Not that I’m willing to give up my materialistic items just yet. Hands off my tiny Blu-Ray library, thank you!
Being remembered wouldn’t be so bad. People still reading my books, looking up my blog posts if they had questions about my books, or about me. I’d remind them of a song lyric by Alphaville from Heaven On Earth (The Things We Got To Do):
“The things we got to do
Dance like no-one is watching
Love like you’ll never be hurt
The things we got to do
Sing like no-one is listening
And live like it’s your last day on Earth”
It’s pretty good advice.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.