Your death has been unexpectedly hard to come to terms with. I’ve never been a super fan, yet I somehow regarded you as some sort of balancing force in my universe. Knowing that you continued to exist made life seem sane in the midst of often painful chaos. Now you’re gone and I feel a little lost without you.
You were one of my earliest musical memories: riding in a camper top to Lake Okanagan with my cousins when I was 4, listening to Space Oddity and Changes over and over.
You were always there in the 1970s when my family did day trips “ up the country” to escape San Francisco’s bleak and chilly summer fog. I remember hearing Ziggy Stardust, Suffragette City, Rebel Rebel, and Fame blaring from the poolside pinball arcades. Even now, those songs evoke the feeling of warm summer air caressing my skin, the smell of pool chlorine and Sea & Ski tanning lotion, the taste of barbeque flavored potato chips and ice cream sandwiches.
The songs Heroes and Ashes to Ashes were a comforting presence during my awkward, friendless tween years. The lyric, “…want an axe to break the ice, want to come down right now …” summed up my feelings of isolation and depression perfectly. The lyrics of the song made me feel understood and accepted. I can’t thank you enough for that. You probably saved my life.
You also turned me on to a wonderful book – The Man Who Fell To Earth. To be honest, the big reason I asked my mom to buy it for me was because your face was on it and 9 (10?) year old me was instantly smitten. Pretty face aside, the book turned out to be sad and beautiful. I could instantly relate to Thomas’ feelings of isolation, grief and anger. Once again, thank you.
Since you passed away, I’ve been getting better acquainted with your music. Boy do I ever regret not paying more attention to the stuff you did in the last 25 years. I really regret not seeing you in concert. That said, I’m thankful for the body of work you left behind. It should keep me occupied for at least the next decade or so.
I wish your time with us wasn’t so short and you had 20 more years to spend with your family and friends. I grieve for the cruel and senseless suffering you had to endure in the last few years of your life. I am deeply sad for your wife, son, and daughter who will feel your absence deeply on holidays, at college graduation, on wedding days, at the birth of your grandchildren and during those difficult times when they long to hear your kind words and bask in your comforting presence.
Thank you for being such a positive presence in my life. I expect that I will miss you for quite some time. I send you love and blessings wherever you may be.