I see you’ve thwarted my secret plan to someday arrange a meeting between yourself and my husband for his birthday. You old coot, you!
The world has been without you for several hours now, and that’s several hours too long, if you ask me. In those hours, I’ve been crushed again and again by the possible meetings I had always imagined with you.
We were waiting for you to do just one more tour. I had planned to wait for a relatively quiet moment between songs, and shout “YOU ARE THE SOUNDTRACK TO OUR LOVE!” I thought you would appreciate that. I envisioned winning some contest and getting backstage passes to see you, waiting to tell Jaron until the day of the concert, letting him smother me with kisses, trying to play it cool while you shook our hands.
None of that will happen now.
You are Jaron’s most important musical influence behind the Beatles, and he will never even see you play live.
The reality of what won’t be literally makes me cry.
But I saw something on Facebook today to the effect of “The earth is billions of years old, and yet you got to be alive for the tiny sliver of it in which Bowie was alive.” That’s really true, you know? Everyone who is born this afternoon or later will never share the world with you, and I got a 32-year stretch. That seems very generous of the Almighty when you think about it.
In lieu of that, I want to be grateful. You’ve done so much in my life. It’s painful to think that I can’t thank you in person, so I’m doing the next best thing and broadcasting my thanks to the world.
Thank you for being such an inspiration to my husband. If he had ever met you, I doubt he could possibly have explained what your music meant to him. You’ve given him so much energy and so many ideas, and I’m soul-deep indebted to you for that alone.
Thank you for creating such a huge discography.
Thank you for not exploding and dying early from all that cocaine; I’m really glad you stuck around and kept producing.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for living to see the release of your last album, and for crafting some of the songs as a sort of goodbye to your fans. That you thought of us as people to reach out to in your last months is a comfort.
Thank you for making an album called Hunky Dory that my new boyfriend Jaron loaned me the summer of 2005 when we were apart and lonely for ten weeks.
Thank you for giving me the courage to stay at my internship that summer. When I was homesick and the experience wasn’t quite what I expected, I wanted to turn around and come home. But every time your song “Kooks” asked the listener to “take a chance with a couple of kooks hung up on romancin’” I knew that I could take a chance and get through one more day.
Thank you for singing “Changes” to me through the headphones while I sat on a plane and digested the fact that I was growing up.
Thank you for making me dance all the way to class that one spring whenever I listened to “Diamond Dogs” between religion class and adolescent lit.
Thank you for making Jaron and I almost run the car onto the curb because we were laughing so hard at the fact that you had rhymed “Picasso” with “asshole.” That was a ballsy rhyme, good sir.
Thank you for being the backdrop of some of my happiest memories, which are visiting Jaron’s family the summer we fell in love. Thanks for singing “Joe the Lion” and “Heroes” while we played cards in the hard, hot summer sunshine.
Thank you for being the one musician that was our thing.
Thank you for being in The Labyrinth and having such an effect on Jaron’s early life, and for narrating The Snowman and having an effect on mine. I still think you were a better narrator than that old guy they added to the DVD.
Thank you for creating anthems for the misfits, the outcasts, the people who know that something is off between us and the rest of society. I imagine your representation of misfits probably saved depressed teenage lives, or at the very least, sanity.
Thank you for writing songs that I will be singing for the rest of my life, because it’s basically impossible to forget, ignore, or tire of them.
Thank you for writing “Golden Years,” which was the song we played at our wedding, listened to on the car ride of our honeymoon, and touch base with every so often today.
Thank you for writing the song “Boys Keep Swingin’” which we have alternately danced to and considered making a Mark Driscoll music video of. No matter what is going on, that always makes us smile.
Thank you for writing “Fill Your Heart,” which Jaron used in his scavenger hunt marriage proposal.
Most of all, thank you for being the soundtrack to our love and our life together. It seems monstrously unfair for you to have done so much for us, while we have no chance to even say thank you. The best I can do is promise you that we won’t ever forget you. I promise we will cosplay as you, listen to your albums, watch your movies, sing “Kooks” to our first child, raise them on the Labyrinth, talk about you, read about you, remember you fondly. You taught us to fill our hearts with love, be heroes, and enjoy our golden years. I hope you enjoyed all 69 of yours.
You hot tramp; I love you so.
The friend you never knew,