The Internet is reeling–Twitter and LJ both crashed for a while, as did the LA Times website and to some extent the MS-NBC site, I am told–and I don’t know HOW I feel, other than a little overwhelmed and sad.
Because not only did Heaven take Ed McMahon just the other day and then Farrah this morning, but also Michael “Jacko” Jackson as of a short time ago. Jacko was only fifty and was a health nut, as I understand it . . . so that one is a shocker. We were kind of expecting the other two, although you’re never really ready. That’s three celebrities in the span of a couple of days. The old superstition holds true.
(I’m counting David Carradine in the previous celeb threesome with Sky Saxon and the Carbondale character whose last words purportedly were, “I can’t believe Keith Richards outlived me!!”)
Last Friday, just before my brother-in-law’s surgery on Monday, one of my sister-in-law’s co-workers threw a pulmonary embolism and died in exactly the same way–she was dead on arrival and was revived, but died again without regaining consciousness . . . she was thirty-six and in “perfect health.”
This is all a wake-up call to each of us to say, “Live for today. Be happy today. Live as if today were the last day of the world.” Find something beautiful in the chaos and ugliness and smile about it.
My mother’s first words on hearing about Jacko were, “Thank God that [Our Favorite Older Celebrity] is safe!” I merely thought it, as I don’t like to sin out loud. Aren’t we awful? But we are steeling ourselves, because many of our favorite celebs are getting up there in years, and it’s scary. [And we believe in the by-threes superstition.]
We mourn. We hurt. For these people, but also for all the unsung . . . the hundreds of people who also crossed over to the Other Side today and who were ALL just as important as these celebrities, people you’ve never heard of but who were someone’s child, someone’s friend, someone’s co-worker. “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee,” wrote John Donne. But the part they quote far less often goes on: “[A]ll mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.”