Best friends: A very small note for Andrew Ridgeley and Mark Hamill.

My mom died when I was fourteen.  Remember that for later.

When I was 17, I knew a guy at my Roman-Catholic high school named Jason. He was tall, nice-looking, and the prototypical life of the party. He died of a massive heart attack when we were in grade 12. He’d had a congenital heart defect which he and his family knew about — but very few people at school did. Our school held a memorial service for him, and I happened to sit near the front. I clearly saw Jason’s closest friend, and later wrote in my journal “Please help him God, he looks like I did three years ago.”

He was sitting in the pews beside the altar. With the family.

My first thought when George Michael died was for Andrew Ridgeley.  Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go was released in 1984. I was 9 years old, in grade 4. I loved George, obviously, but it was Andrew I had a crush on – he looked more attainable to me (for a superstar adult who lived in Britain). He looked nice. It always bothered me a bit whenever I heard a joke about him years later (“the other one from Wham!”), because I had felt overlooked all the time too. But think about this: they’d known each other since they were 17 years old. He was likely the first person George ever told he was gay…in the early 80s.  Yes, George Michael was the utterly talented, charismatic sex symbol. Yet I think it’s now very clear, there would have been no George Michael without Andrew.

And in the same week…Carrie Fisher. Whom I adored so much in When Harry Met Sally, but who had to forever after be Princess Leia. Princess. A princess who can lead an army, shoot a laser, fix a spaceship… oh that’s not normal? Oh well, that’s what 10-year-old me thought a princess was.  Sorry Disney.  Another reason I looked up to her: she was so pretty, yet not unachievably beautiful, like the supermodels my sisters and friends and I were inundated with in the 80s and 90s. , Carrie Fisher I could actually look like! (I didn’t remotely resemble her, but I felt I could.)

Amongst the explosions, taun-tauns, Ewoks, and VADER, my favourite scene in all the  Star Wars movies is Luke asking Leia about her mother. Yes, I loved, loved, loved Han and Leia, but I identified with Luke and Leia. They were destined to be best friends. And I always felt that same twinge about Mark Hamill whenever I heard a joke about him.  Whatever else happened (or didn’t) after, he was Luke Skywalker.  And there would have been no Princess Leia, no Carrie, without Mark.

Hug your closest friends. Be the best friend who becomes family.

 

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This blog is not a diary.

My grandmother, whom I previously mentioned here, passed away three weeks ago.

I have tried, as much as possible, to maintain this web presence as my public/Writer face. I established this blog and website to discuss theatre, and plug my own work.  WORK, which indeed involves me.  It’s not a place to very publicly whinge about my private life.

Which is why I haven’t blogged recently. My life, and those of everyone in my family, have been consumed by very personal loss.  Even if I could have written about it sooner, it’s not only my loss to talk about.

And, I simply have no idea what to say about it, even now.  It was long – she first became ill in 2005 – and it was slow, for her to go through, and for us to see.

It’d be easy to say she was my grandma – everybody has grandparents, and when they’re gone it’s a hole in your existence. Perhaps, unfortunately – like me with my mom – you didn’t have your grandparents very long, or you didn’t know them at all. Nonetheless, because of them, you’re here. However, if you did know know your grandparents, and don’t have them anymore…then that’s not enough to explain the hole.

I could say factual things: the house of my grandma and grandpa – who died in 2002 – was where my sisters, brother, and I went for EVERY vacation while growing up.  They literally supported me while I went to university. My grandma let me crash with her again when I came back from Scotland.  None of that explains it either.

The best I can come up with is that my grandma was one of my anchors…in the good sense. I almost always hear of anchors as a negative metaphor, holding someone down. Well, if you want the ship to move, and you can’t weigh anchor, then yes. But of course the anchor is also what keeps the ship from floating away randomly.

Without my grandma…practically all of my anchors are gone. She was the major reason I came back to Edmonton in 2008. So… do I just bob around now? Or steer myself somewhere and build a new anchor for myself? I’ve already answered that – and to end cryptically, that’s where my WRITING comes back in…and I’ll talk about that later.