On life and death and the whole damn thing.....
Pete and the Clancys
I'm not much into the cult of stardom and notoriety and grieving for people I've never met. Maybe seen. But not met. But in the last few days two people dear to me have died. I say "dear". One was an elderly aunt, well into her nineties. A powerful role model for her children and nieces. More on that on a later post.
The other was Pete Seeger, also in his nineties. I saw him in concert a few times and never met him but the heart wrenching grief I've felt astounded me. Until I thought: this is all tied up with your aunt's death and peace and flowers and your own optimistic youth. You've been stoic about that.
I held back the tears when a brother told me of all my aunt's surviving children singing her favourite songs at the service. They were all great musicians in the family. But then Pete. His passing has unleashed something fierce in me. A mourning of the hippie me, the younger me. When aunts and uncles were alive and the protests against the Vietnam atrocities felt like they could change the way we did things. When I did put flowers in my hair and wore long dresses and asked where all those flowers had gone. When I first awoke to the injustice and misogyny and patriarchy and the military industrial complex and never went back to complacent sedation again.
Pete helped me do that. And you should have seen him play with the Clancy Brothers. I cry thinking of it.
Meanwhile, who'll ask about all those flowers now?