In less than three hours, 2016 will be but a harsh memory and 2017 will begin. What can I say about the year I don’t care to remember but will never forget? In a nutshell, 2016 has been the year nothing made sense. Prince is dead and Donald Trump, imp that he is, was elected to serve as the 45th President of the United States. And I don’t understand any of it. Not at all.
It is like I entered into some unparalleled universe on April 21 where the lines of reality, fantasy, and horror were corroded and much of my time since has been spent trying to find my way out of it; or last least find peace and some semblance of sensibility where there appears to be none. And common sense, such that it is, seems to be on a permanent vacation.
It has left my heart not wanting to leave this year behind even though my head knows better. It was a terrible year, one I wish I could forget. But because of these nonsensical circumstances, I doubt I ever will be able to erase it from my mind.
Everything that happened this year was colored by the loss of my idol, my most favorite musical talent of all time, and a teacher of sorts. If I had to say one person who taught me as much, if not more than my parents, one person I could look to and say, “he helped raise me,” that person would be Prince. And he never knew it. Through his music I learned things about love, sex and that being different isn’t so much the detriment we tend to believe, but a unique gift bestowed on only a select few. Being different, quirky, is something to be celebrated, out in the open with no regrets. I also learned from him that it can, at times, be a lonely existence when you are different by societal standards. He gave us his music and that was often, for me, the gift I needed to make it through many lonely days as a child and teenager.
His influence on my life, through his music, has had a greater impact than can ever be expressed in words and I am hurt beyond belief that he no longer walks this earth and by how he left it behind. There is a hole here that no other artist or person can fill. I am 42, and I will live the rest of my life in a world he is not a part of. At midnight, we will enter into the first year of my lifetime where he does not exist, but as a memory, and I am devastated. The election in November was just insult to injury and solidified my stance that 2016 was the worst year ever. On some level I am glad it is almost gone. On another, I wish I could go back to March, equipped with all the knowledge April 21st on has provided.
I hope that 2017 will prove to be a lot kinder, more loving and spare us our legends. I hope… but if I learned anything from 2016, there are no promises, no guarantees. And life, as we have learned all too painfully, can be fleeting.
Prince, you were greatly loved and are greatly missed.
***Upon finishing this article, I learned 1977 was a more deadly year for celebrities. I don’t know why The Telegraph, CNN, and others thought this would be some sort of consolation, especially for those of us who can’t remember 1977, but they did. And it was insensitive, to say the least.