Thursday, January 28, 2016

Under Pressure

Three years ago today Todd died. Three weeks ago David Bowie died. 

The night Bowie died, I imagined he and Freddie Mercury were performing one hell of a duet in heaven. Todd was sitting on the bench watching their performance in complete awe.  

My dark but lovely fantasy about Todd and Bowie hanging in heaven reminded me of a drive we shared, years ago, on the way to chemo. 

Even though Todd fought his battle publicly, he was a very private person. I was lucky enough to be Todd’s confidant when his fears and frustrations crept to the surface. We had some of the best conversations riding in our car. 

That morning, Todd was quieter than normal until the song “Under Pressure” came on the radio.  He tapped along with the opening chords and looked over at me with a loving, affirmative grin when I said: “Man, this is the best song.”

Since it was one of the only songs that Todd and I both happened to love, I seized the moment and turned up the volume all the way.  With the windows rolled down and the speed accelerating, we belted out the lyrics together. When the song ended, Todd spoke with passion and optimism. He suggested we use the song in one of our Seas It videos. “Under Pressure”, he felt, completely captured his daily struggles with cancer and the challenges of life, in general. Particularly, when Bowie sings:

It's the terror of knowing
What this world is about
Watching some good friends
'Let me out'

I suppose that’s how Todd felt during many of his treatments and hospital stays. He rarely (if ever) complained and never felt sorry for himself. In some ways, listening to this song with Todd gave me a glimpse into how solitary he felt.  As a caretaker, I always thought Todd and I were fighting the battle together – and, we definitely were. But in addition to the battle we were fighting together, Todd
was quietly fighting his own heroic battle.

I think that’s why I like my Bowie/Govvy fantasy so much.  They were both heroes on earth and, now, they “can be heroes, forever and ever” in heaven.