I always forget the date, but never the day. Or where I was.
We had a house on 85th, close to the intersection of Aurora. And gods, every day was so damned hard.
I remember the announcement on the TV.
I remember the pain-sodden anger of his wife’s voice at the funeral. And I remember it was a grey day, a classic Seattle non-spring day when the sun just can’t be bothered to break the cloud bank.
I can’t remember whether it was really unseasonably cold or whether it just felt like it.
I remember that I was young, and pregnant with my second child. I remember that we were often broke and had to share the house with a ton of people to make ends meet, some of whom were pretty crazy.
I remember losing the last shred of belief on that day that money and fame were the source of human joy in living or the panacea to end depression.
I remember the chill I felt when I saw the footage of his Unplugged concert for MTV, and saw that he had surrounded himself with white lilies.
I remember the dream I had, years later, where I was sitting beside him in a rattling subway car, riding the night train to the Land of the Dead. I remember the blue-green fluorescent light that made his pale skin and cornsilk hair shine silver, and his eyes dark, and his lips blue. I remember that I actually spoke a few words aloud, challenging his brooding solitude, some nonsense about how it would have been nice if he had stuck around so that I could have the chance to really meet him–the ultimate bullshit entitlement of the fan!
I remember how he gave the barest shrug and turned away, looking out into the black mirror of the darkened window pane, and how I felt his silent command to get the hell away and out of this dream before I ended up at a station from which I could not return.
If he were alive today he would still be three years older than I am, a grand old man of 46. I cannot help but wonder what he would have done with the 19 years that have passed. What music and poetry and art would exist. What would have gone differently in the lives of the people he loved.
I cannot help but wonder how many years I may have left, and how I can best spend them being something other than dead.