Today is the last day of 2009, and I feel–like others–that I should speak to it, though words for the year aren’t coming easily. In MY house I sit, thinking of what the year has brought–for one, I bought my first house this year. By far my largest purchase and biggest responsibility to date happened in June of 2009.
As grim as this sounds, 2009 was a year of death it seems. Kicking off 2009, was the death of my 92-year old great-grandmother, Granny Montano in February. The woman had been around my entire life and while I understand that we only have at most a hundred or so years on this world, the thought in the back of my mind was I’ve got 8 more years with this strong woman. When she hit 90, we knew that at any moment she could, very easily, leave our world. When she hit 91, the same thoughts were abound and at 92 those passing thoughts became a sad reality. The day my Aunt Lulu’s number–midday–appeared on my work caller ID, I knew someone had left us and it was her. She passed in her sleep, an ideal passing if there ever was one people say, but I suspect the knowledge of death far outweighs death itself. She told us, for months, she said “I’m dying.” This isn’t an obituary, it’s merely an ode to the longest living relative I’ve ever had and by far the most eccentric woman to ever influence my life.
My mom and two little brothers came to visit me, spur of the moment which totally isn’t in my mom’s nature. They helped me get settled and then ran off to get my brother a new truck. In 2009, my little brother turned 16!!! I remember being fifteen and thinking I would probably die before sixteen and when I turned sixteen thinking the same about eighteen and every milestone age until I reached thirty. It somehow, oddly, stopped; the fear of death before I reach some age-assigned goal. I digress, yet again morbidly.
2009 brought several celebrity deaths, most unbelievable for me and what he represented–my entire childhood–Michael Jackson. MJ was the first African American I had known, well known of, and admittedly I had a crush on him. I wrote many Dear Santa letters for that MJ doll with the red jacket and solo white glove. I even talked my mom into buying me black leather pants once for Christmas, but by then it was the early 90s and I was convinced I was destined to be Alanis, until Alanis Morissette became Alanis and pretty much opened the flood gates to all female angst. That was supposed to be what I did in life, but luckily for me I could turn lyrics into long-winded stories so goes my road to novels. Let’s see, there was Farrah Fawcett, DJ AM, Bea Arthur, Billy Mays, Brittany Murphy (on my birthday at the same age I just turned, 32), Charles Lewis Jr (Tapout founder aka “Mask”), David Carradine, Dominicke Dunne, Ed McMahon, Ed Kennedy, Frank McCourt, Jett Travolta, John Hughes (another creative weaver of my childhood), Les Paul, Natasha Richardson, and Patrick Swayze (yet another childhood figure). These are just the ones in my pop culture zietgeist of 32 years.
My wife tells me I talk about death a lot. As I was taking that in, she informed me that Korean-American suicides in NY doubled in 2009.
Cheers to the end of 2009, raise that glass high and for crying out loud don’t drink and drive.
See you in 2010.