The effects of 2016 linger. It was a harsh year.
I cannot move on to 2017 without reflecting on people who died in 2016, whose deaths hurt me; whose deaths leave a void. People whose deaths have made my life smaller.
David Bowie, Glen Frey, Paul Kantner, Keith Emerson, Merle Haggard, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Leonard Cohen, Greg Lake, Leon Russell, Guy Clark, George Martin.
That is a much abbreviated list. There are many more people I could have included but I tried to stay true to the pain and the sense of loss. Tried not to sensationalize.
The deaths of Leonard Cohen and Muhammad Ali floored me. Left me stunned and disoriented; brought the tears on and left such a hole in my heart.
These people, all of them, meant something to me. They had an impact on my life; they inspired me; they grabbed a hold of me in my formative years, they got into my heart and they redirected my vision of life; my understanding of it.
Everyone but Muhammad Ali and George Martin were musicians, and George Martin is the dude who produced the Beatles, worked closely with them throughout their careers, who was their musical guru.
This is not a coincidence. Music is everything to me. It is the thing that slammed me on the side of the head when I was ten years old and never let go.
As each death occurred, I felt a chapter closing on my life. Taken cumulatively, these deaths force me to face a harsh reality.
Obviously most of the people who have inspired me are my age or older. They will continue to die and my life will continue to shrink.
It is an ominous feeling. People who have done so much with their lives and touched so many people are fading away. In doing so they are making a commentary on my own life; forcing me to take a closer look at where I am, who I am and what I can reasonably expect or hope for as a future.
The window is closing.
In the past few years I have felt the hole in my heart growing and, as a consequence, I have felt my heart itself diminishing.
Took a heavy duty blow in 2016. It was rough.
Death, man. It is the final punctuation. The ultimate arbiter and the one thing that forces a life to be reviewed with finality.
Other peoples' deaths carry a message, especially if they mean something to you.
I am still a bit overwhelmed.