Once I got back today from my morning falling into the scary hands of modern medicine Jim asked me to give him an eye rub. This is his ritual he asks for many times per day, at least four or five. I sit on the farthest end of our sofa, he lays with his head in my lap while I rub his eyes, his forehead and gently rub his scalp. He's a toucher/touchee type.
Usually while I perform my wifely rubbing duties I watch a little television. Usually something like 'Real Time With Bill Maher' or 'Last Week With John Oliver' but sometimes things as variety as 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' to The History Channel or PBS. Today as I turned on the set in preparation to rub it flashed onto CNN with the breaking news that Prince had died. Musician/artist Prince Rogers Nelson of 'Purple Rain' and scads of music.
I've not kept up with Prince, and he's not been one of my all time favorites even though I thought he was very talented. During a large bulk of his career I'd been attending my old church and limiting my musical selections to Christian music. But his music was part of the soundtrack of my life in my early twenties - pre-Jesus.
It was highly surreal to watch Wolf Blitzer and Larry King, both ancient and not anyone I would ever peg as Prince fan's, discuss his influences and career. How sad his passing.
Of course I'd heard of his recent health problems and been suspicious of the news his handlers put out about his medical emergency being the flu. I think as the days wend on we're going to discover he was seriously ill and hiding it from the world. I don't blame him. Who wants their personal business splashed across TMZ?
One of the things I had to do was call up a family member by marriage that absolutely loved Prince. She'd followed him all over the place during his concert tours. She's heartbroken, she seems almost as devastated as she was when her father died. While I didn't take the news of his passing as badly as she did I have nothing but sympathy for her and others hurting from this news. This has been an awful hard year, losing people that did mean something to me, like Dale Buffin Griffin and Keith Emerson.
At least I'm grateful I'm not still working for the floral ordering company. I was working the night that Michael Jackson died and still remember the eeriness of that night. Almost everyone that called in to order flowers either had the news on in the background where I could hear details or they were a weeping and wailing fan attempting to order flowers to be sent to the funeral home. It was a hard night as I ended up doing a fair amount of emotional hand holding of grieving strangers until my shift ended at midnight. I suspect those working for the company are going to see a repeat this afternoon and tonight as the reality of his passing sets in.
For Michael what we ended up doing was taking down the names and phone numbers of those that wanted to order an arrangement to be sent to the funeral home or memorial service before one of the supervisors started working the phones in the morning to our West Coast affiliates to find out who was going to be handling the arrangements.
The outpouring of grief and love was overwhelming when Michael Jackson died and I suspect it will be much the same over Prince.
Music is such an important part of most people's lives that when one of those that have deeply touched them passes on it's like losing a family member.