In 2009, I lost a friend I grew up with. I was so devastated, it took one year, 18 days, 3 hours and 12 minutes before I cried for her. I know because I counted every second, every day, every week. When I finally did break down, it was a gut-wrenching cry from somewhere deep in my soul; a place I hoped would never reveal itself again. I don’t remember sleeping, eating or anything else, really, but for four days I cried non-stop.
I have this amazingly innate ability to compartmentalize my feelings; a coping mechanism I am sure was developed as a child, but that September day in 2010 when I finally cried, I knew a pain for which I was unprepared. I struggled through it and in 2012, I put it away in its own neat little compartment in my heart and in the recesses of my mind. And that was that.
Or so I thought.
I woke up a year ago today and that pain I packed away four years prior was the first thing I saw staring at me from across the room. It said, “Pop Icon Prince Dead At Age 57.” I stared back in utter confusion and disbelief, my head swimming as I tried to make sense of what I was seeing. The man, whom I never met, but through his gift, his tenacity, and his drive shaped who I was. I learned about life from him; he helped me to embrace all of who I am, to love every part and to never apologize for being authentically myself. For that I will always be grateful.
Today, my soul cries. One year and my soul still cries for him. It feels like that September day in 2010 all over again. I don’t like this new reality at all, but this time, I won’t be putting my feelings away in some compartment, I will just deal.
We will all just have to deal.
And the world will understand because Prince didn’t belong to just one of us, he belonged to all of us, he was our gift from God sent here to remind us that there’s no shame or sin in being ourselves. And to love who we are, unconditionally, just as we loved and still love him.
My post, “I Wish U [Soul] Heaven” from April 21, 2016:
I woke up this morning and my heart was broken, shattered into a million pieces, and my tears fell to the ground like (purple) rain. It hurts, it burns and it has left me truly overwhelmed with emotions I cannot clearly define. To me, artists like him, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye and Teena Marie were immortal. They each occupy a special place in my heart, in my very soul. They were my favorites. They could do no wrong and could never die. They were here, they gave us all they could possibly give and then one day, without notice, they were gone. He was the last and now, like Michael, Marvin and Teena, he is gone.
Gone. My Prince is gone and I am devastated.
I believe there is a soul heaven, a “place where all the good [soul] children go.” Today, it’s gates opened and welcomed him. The last of my musical idols who transcended the boundaries of musical artistry has now transitioned. My final inspiration is gone and I feel it in every possible way.
Rest eternally in New Power Soul, my sweet Prince. Take your seat beside the King of Pop, the Prince of Motown and the Ivory Queen of Soul. You’ve more than earned it.