It’s Day of the Dead and while on the surface, it appears to be a morbid holiday, at its core it’s actually a very sweet holiday. Day of the Dead is a Mexican tradition where those who have passed are celebrated. While it’s easy to remember those who have passed recently, as time goes on, the memories fade and the remembrances can be few and far between.
When Luke Perry died last spring at 52 years old, it was kind of a shock. Not kind of, it was a shock. How devastating for those of us who hung his poster on our walls. I for one was Team Dylan all the way and Luke Perry hung out at the end of my bed. Rumor has it he was a wonderful human being, also. All the more devastating for those who knew him. In all my celeb encounters, I never had a Luke Perry one.
90210 was an event on Wednesday nights in the early 90’s. Most of the girls in my dorm would hijack the common room. It was the only shared TV in the building. When I moved out of the dorms and into an apartment I used to work Wednesday nights. I recorded every episode on VHS. It was a big deal. He was a big deal.
The death of Luke Perry is all the more devastating because he wasn’t that much older than us, I’m talking to you Generation X. We now have to ask ourselves, can we really be that old? I mean, we’re mid-life for sure, but mid-life is mid-life, it shouldn’t be the end.
Death is awful and it’s sad and it reminds us that we’re just as vulnerable as anyone else. Death doesn’t discriminate. No one wants to talk about it, but it’s inevitable. I don’t even like writing about it, but it’s been on my mind.
I always say, death is a part of life, it’s going to happen to all of us, and chances are you’ve grieved the death of someone you loved. My dad died when he was 51 years old. Younger than Luke Perry. He probably didn’t eat as well as he should have, and he had a Scottish temper for sure, but he had regular check-ups and he was active.
I have lived my life differently than my dad did, on purpose, but I inherited the Scottish temper, and I can get really stressed out about things which makes me overthink like a Mofo. I’ve actually worked hard at getting rid of that nasty habit. My spiritual journey has also had positive effects on my health. At least, I hope it has. I feel like it has.
Around the same time as Luke Perry’s death, a teenager at my daughter’s school died. She was confused and had a lot of questions. She didn’t know the kid, but the day after it happened, she got in the car and said, “Today was just so sad. People were in the halls crying, and everyone was sad. It was awful.”
Within that same week, a co-worker I worked with briefly passed away as well. He was younger than me and he was a wonderful person. Clearly gone way too soon.
Shortly after that, my ex-husband sent me a text to say one of his best friends suddenly passed away. He was in our wedding. Again, he was a wonderful person, he was younger than me and he left behind a young family.
All of this happened around the four-year anniversary of the death of another former co-worker. This one I was close to. She was a wonderful person and younger than me. And she left behind a young family.
While I certainly don’t feel old enough to be losing my peers, the reality is, we are. Because there is no set timeline on life, there are no guarantees that you will have a tomorrow, and none of us knows how our story will end. All we can do is be a willing participant in it while it’s happening.
My advice is to do things that make YOU happy. Engage with people, not profiles. Tell those around you how much you care for them, and don’t sweat the small stuff. Take control of your health – mental and physical. Call your mom. Buy the shoes and drink the wine. Eat cake for breakfast. And after we’re gone, may we be so lucky to be celebrated by our loved ones for years to come.
Live your life.