Belonging

Living Through Loss

We all have people in our lives that we do not want to ever, ever lose.

By Michelle Martin
Published January 11, 2016

I can't arrange the mise en scène exactly - it was over 30 years ago. I think I was at work when Sue called to say she came into a pair of tickets, did I want to go tonight? Maybe it was for the next night...

In any case, the plan was for me to get on the train in Oakville, get off at the Port Credit platform to meet her, and get back on the train together to the Exhibition stop. We managed it, giddy with excitement, and made it to an early place in line.

When the doors opened, we spilled through with the rest of the crowd, and then spent the next couple of hours slowly worming our way up toward the stage. Prince songs played over the sound system (when I picture it, I hear Little Red Corvette).

Soon - or maybe not soon, maybe it was a really long time - the piped-in music gave way to a set by Rough Trade. Wow, Carole Pope looked waaaay too small - we were going to have to work a little harder before the main act came out.

The nearer we got, the more aggressive the crowd became. At one point, my arm was pinned back behind me in the crush, and I was dangerously close to being injured.

I told Sue to put her hand over her mouth and then I started yelling, "Omigosh you guys, she's going to throw up, get outta the way!" They parted as if for Moses, and we made our way to a relatively clear spot, about ten feet from stage right (on our left).

Coolness.

Yesterday afternoon, my daughter had company, so they could plow through a little grade ten math together. I poked my head into the dining room at one point, and Julie told me her friend had recently been to a concert.

"Nice," I said, readying my retort to any report of young whippersnapper concert-going, "I saw David Bowie in 1983."

Her friend's eyes widened: "I'm jealous!" Yes, yes of course you are.

Later in the evening the phone rang. It was Sue, of all people. She caught me putting laundry away, "A Sunday evening chore," she observed. It had been years since we'd spoken, day-to-day grind, kids, jobs, time, life, etc.

But there was a reason for the call. Her husband had passed away in November. Cancer took him away from her and their young adult children, far too soon.

Oh, my dear.

They muddled through Christmas, and now life - well, life carries on. It must. Oh, Sue, I am so, so sorry.

News this morning of David Bowie's passing brings to mind all those memories of long ago. But I won't presume to say I mourn him. I didn't know him. All I knew of him was his music, and I can listen to that whenever I like, no problem, no tears, just good memories of great times.

I think, rather, of his own family and how much they loved him and will miss him - his touch, the sound of his voice, his face. This is their loss.

Today I'm thinking more of Sue and her loss; I know how deeply they were in love. They loved each other as profoundly as Stephen and I do, and we cannot fathom life without each other. We all have people in our lives that we do not want to ever, ever lose.

If you say run, I'll run with you
If you say hide, we'll hide
Because my love for you
Would break my heart in two
If you should fall
Into my arms
And tremble like a flower

—David Bowie, Let's Dance

Praying for you, Susan.

Michelle Martin lives in Hamilton where she and her husband are watching their 10 children fly the nest, one by one. She has been published in both the Hamilton Spectator and Raise the Hammer, as well as in the online edition of the National Post and, more recently, in the Canadian Urban Transit Association's Urban Mobility Forum. Michelle is coordinator of the Community Access to Transportation program. She was formerly on the writing/copy editing team of the original Crown Point hub paper, The Point. However, the opinions she expresses in Raise the Hammer are her own. She sometimes tweets @deltawestmom

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