My Leap List

Friday, December 30, 2016

Saying Goodbye to the Strangers I Loved in 2016

     It is complicated when you feel grief for someone you never met.  You know the person you love isn't who they really are, but the love you feel is no less real.  That person touched your life and changed it for the better.  Their songs, the person they played on the screen, the books they wrote, mattered.  They were there for you when the rest of the world turned away, or they made you laugh when real life was anything but funny, or they helped you be strong when you were afraid.  We find solace sharing our grief with other people who felt the same love.  It is magical to think of how much of a difference we make in each others' lives in ways we can't even imagine.
     This has been a year of many of those moments for me.  It started with the loss of David Bowie.  For me, he will always be my Goblin King.  When I was a teenager, I wanted to live in this movie.  I wanted to wear the dresses and dance at the masquerade ball and live with the Goblin King.  When I was struggling with anxiety and depression, I would listen to some of the songs from the movie and get up the bravery to go to school.
     Gary Shandling was another person I miss from that time in my life.  His humor made me laugh when the real world was dark.  I loved his way of looking at the world, of laughing at himself, and never using his humor to hurt others.  He taught me that humor doesn't have to hurt.  Watching the Gary Shandling Show was my reward for getting through each week.  I saw him the other night on an old rerun of The Tonight Show and laughed just as hard as I did then.  I miss him.
     Alan Rickman was loved by so many as Severus Snape, but for me, I fell in love with him in Truly, Madly, Deeply.  His performance made me believe that true love was possible.  He gave me hope.
     Gene Wilder will always be my Willie Wonka.  He was delightful in so many movies, but this was the one I loved.  He was one of the best parts of my childhood.
     Florence Henderson and Alan Thicke made some amazing parents.  Their understanding and love for their kids influence the way I am as a mother to my own kids.  I'm sure they had weaknesses if I watched them now with my older eyes, but as a kid, I thought they were pretty perfect.
     Carrie Fisher and Kenny Baker were my summers.  Sitting with my brothers and sister in the movie theater watching Star Wars over and over was one of the highlights of my childhood.  We spent many summers playing different characters from the movies and creating our own epic adventures.  Watching Princess Leia cry when Han gets frozen always makes me cry, even now.  Kenny Baker was an amazing R2D2.  You know you are an amazing actor when you can get us to fall in love with a droid and forget he isn't really alive.  The emotions he shows when fighting with Yoda and talking to Luke always touch my heart.
     Garry Marshall created the shows that I loved most as a kid - Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, and Mork and Mindy.  His characters felt like friends.  Henry Winkler and Robin Williams were loves that I took with me as I grew up.  
     Harper Lee will be missed as the author of one of the most inspirational books I have ever read.  Every time I read it, I find something new to take into my life and become a better person for it.  Her work is still timely and relevant in so many aspects.  Sadly, I wish that I had stuck with To Kill a Mockingbird and not read the sequel because it ruined part of my vision of her.
     George Michael has been the voice of most of my life.  I remember the first time I saw him on MTV singing "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" and wearing his shirt that said "Choose Life."  It seemed like a message sent directly to me.  From the Wham days to his solo career, I grew up with his songs on my playlist.  They cheered me up, gave me solace, and his voice soothed my troubled mind.  His death this year has been the hardest for me.
     As I say goodbye to these strangers I love so much, I hope they are in a better place of love, laughter, and peace.  Thank you for making me the person I am and making such a difference in my life.     

1 comment:

  1. thanks for this beautiful reflection on your life and some of the countless lives that have influenced yours! happy brand new year 2017 to all of us!