There is something about a celebrity death that always gets me in a soft spot. Regardless of how much or how little I might have cared for the celebrity who has passed away I still find that reminder about my own humanity, about my own lacking, my own legacy.
Davy Jones died today and it hit me hard, much harder than I expected. He was 66. He died of heart failure. My heart failed a little when I heard the news. I googled it to make sure it wasn’t a hoax. That’s been happening here and there on social media outlets. But it is true and I admit, I dropped into a full on sob when I discovered this.
Sure, there was the realizing my own mortality part of it, the loss of someone who is still so young, comparatively speaking, but it was more. The moment I read the news I was transported back in time. I was 8 or 9, sitting in my cousin’s basement listening to The Monkees, watching re-runs of the television show, acting out our own plots for the show, choosing up which Monkee we’d be marrying. I didn’t pick Davy. He was the easy choice. Mickey was too much of a jokester. Mike was too serious. I always picked Peter, he was kind of the oddball and I had a thing for the underdog I guess. Still, the loss of one Monkee, even if it wasn’t the one I planned to run off with, was a striking loss.
I had to ask myself what it is that hit me so hard. Why am I so moved by this particular loss today?
I’m tempted to say it is because it was so sudden but that’s not quite it. Unexpected is maybe closer. And then the image that came to me was that of a door being opened, a door that has been closed for a very long time. On opening this door a flood of memories come out, a flood of emotions, long-lost hopes and goals, young thoughts and daydreams.
Here then was my childhood, laid out before me all over the floor in the hallway. Each memory scattered there was a time capsule, a toy chest, a ticking clock. I saw myself at every age I can remember playing with dolls, reading books, running and jumping and then I saw myself systematically shelving of all the artifacts of that age. I was in a hurry to grow up. And I realize at that moment, I am no longer that little girl and then also, I am exactly that girl, even now, always. I am not grieving Davy Jones but the girl who loved Davy Jones when she was 8, the girl that knew all the words and dance moves to the songs, the girl who really was a daydream believer.
There is something about death that opens a little door in each of us and spills out pieces of our lives into the hallway around our feet. It is, just then, our choice as to whether we’ll shovel it all back in quickly and quietly or stop a moment, sit down amid the mess and put our hands on each bit of pain and joy we have stored up all this time.
One small but important piece of my childhood passed away and that piece meant something to me, something I had packed away all these years. It spilled out at my feet today and that is why I sobbed into my pasta this afternoon and why I spent some time on the floor, sifting through the memory of who I used to be.
Rest in peace, Davy Jones. Thank you for reminding me of that daydream believer I had packed away.
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