I was driving my toddler son to daycare when the news came on the radio that John Lennon had been shot and killed. I had to pull over to the side of the road. I just started sobbing. Throughout the day and night I listened to the radio stations, recording most of it, and I kept those tapes for years. It was the first time I ever cried over someone I didn’t know. I thought it was the violent way he died after being about peace for so long. I had just purchased the Double Fantasy album and he seemed so content. I just felt very sad.

I didn’t really feel bad when another celebrity, singer, actor etc died for a long time. I remember feeling bad about Stevie Ray Vaughn. I had just seen him in concert and had spent years turning my friends onto him.

Whenever celebrities die and there is an outpouring, I sometimes think, as a grief counselor, that the grief is somehow connected to losses in their own life that they have not dealt with. Easier to mourn the loss of a complete stranger than to deal with your actual, real, losses. With the exception of John Lennon, I’ve never really shed a tear for anyone that I didn’t know. Many times in my life I’ve found it hard to shed tears for those I do know. I’m not a crier though the past few years do not bear that out that well.

When Clarence Clemons died, I felt sad, but also grateful. The 70s and 80s Springsteen concerts whether in a big arena or a small club are some of my happiest memories. The 5 or 6 hours of playing…the 70s when Bruce would tell long stories, without interruption by the fans, and play a lot of “oldies” like Gary U.S. Bonds songs and other great classics. When Bruce would take a half hour to tell a story and the audience would just listen. When those who were there knew about him by word of mouth because he had not had a top 40 hit yet and most of his songs were too long to play on the radio. Those concerts were different than the ones that came later, after Born in the USA, and there was something special and magical.

When the Big Man died, I played a lot of live Bruce and smiled. I could see the concerts in my head. I knew when the lights would come up. I knew when they would dance in sync with each other. I was so so so happy I had been there. I was so happy that I saw them again in 99 after not seeing them for almost 15 years. It was good.

Yes, I was sad that the Big Man had died. I played a lot of Jungle Land and Tenth Avenue Freeze Out in his honor. I had his Red Bank Rockers albums and played those too. But I also felt amazing that I was lucky enough to have known those days. I thought of him, played songs that honored him. I didn’t really talk about it much. I didn’t cry.

I thought back on all those Jersey days…the bands…the clubs…the SSJ…Miami Steve (Little Steven)…etc….all those carefree days. I remember being up front and person for Bruce shows. I’ve stood under the Big Man while he did the Jungle Land sax part and I can never ever hear it without chills.

The past few weeks I’ve been really feeling Michael’s absence. I sold his pool table and there was a crack (repaired) in the slate and the guy just let loose on me. I had no idea about it. Michael never told me he had the table repaired. The man who bought it was livid. There was NOTHING wrong with the pool table, the slate was repaired professionally and it was fine. But the guy thought I deceived him etc.

I am pretty assertive and don’t take a lot of guff…but I had no idea what to say. I felt angry at Michael for leaving me with this mess. For leaving me….

The next few days and weeks other things happened that made it feel as if the world was crashing down. I felt angry at Michael for leaving me with this mess. For leaving me…

The winter had been rough and I needed this pool table thing like I needed a hole in the head.

So I heard, on the radio, that Davy Jones had died. when I heard the news, coming right on the heels of the pool guy and being angry at Michael and feeling as if my life was falling apart, I sat down and cried. A lot. It didn’t feel like a 66 year old man died, but more like a 19 year old that I had a crush on as an 7 year old. It was that boy that died. That dark-haired, wide-eyed boy.

And I wanted to scream that life feels so random. So f’ing random.

I couldn’t read any of the news reports. I tried to watch a couple of Monkees episodes and couldn’t. But I put on the music and cried and cried and cried.

Grief just sucks. So very much.

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