The picture above is me reading the lyrics to “Let’s Go Crazy” as a tribute to Prince during a fundraiser I was hosting on Thursday evening. It had been exactly one week prior, when I was setting up another fundraiser for my community, that I heard the news… Prince had died.
As a Minnesotan, I was always impressed that Prince stayed trued to his roots by building his recording studio and home base at Paisley Park, a suburb not far from my home. However, I did not really know Prince and his music well because when he really started hitting the music scene in the 1980’s and 1990’s, I was finishing up nursing school, got my first job as a nurse, got married, started raising a family, started a new job, got divorced, remarried, relocated to Colorado and was focused on my family and my corporate career.
I was so busy that for the most part, I forgot to listen to the music in my life…
Then Prince died a little over a week ago and I realized that I missed something important. I missed out on the memories and the joy that Prince so freely gave his fans. Don’t take me wrong, I had heard his music back in the day, but I never really listened to it. So I spent the days after his death, listening to iHeart radio’s tribute to Prince while I went on my daily walks with my dogs.
What I realized very quickly by listening to the lyrics is that I wished I had been listening more intently to Prince back in the 80’s and 90’s. The words to some of his songs resonated deeply within me… he sang of very personal feelings and experiences that I could relate to, and I think his music would have probably helped me during some of those darker times of my life back in those days.
Then I remembered the tragedy in his life, the death of his baby child. Prince and his wife at the time, had a baby boy born in December 1996, a baby named Boy Gregory. Boy Gregory died just seven days after his birth due to a rare skull defect. Then Prince and his wife suffered a miscarriage shortly after… two child losses in a very short period of time.
It wasn’t the pop star who I grieved for on my walks, my sadness was for a man who is a grieving father and for his ex-wife who is a grieving mother.
The fact that Prince suffered the tragedy of child loss hit home for me, because I just finished writing my soon to be released book: The Mourning’s Light: Life After Child Loss. Listening to the stories of grieving parents and growing up in a home shadowed by the grief of child loss, gives me a bit of a different perspective on Prince, the perspective that he lived life as a grieving father for many years but he didn’t share that with his audiences.
Prince is The Artist. Prince is a musical prodigy. Prince is outrageous. Prince is generous. Prince is one man whose impact has been felt world-wide. Prince is also one who has suffered the greatest tragedy of all – the death of his children.
I say Prince IS because as he says in his song, Let’s Go Crazy, he believed in an “afterworld… of never-ending happiness”. He may have left this earthly world, but his spirit lives on – in his music, in the stories of his generosity, in the stories of this petite man taking on the injustices that he encountered in his life and career with true grit and passion.
“Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Electric word life. It means forever and that’s a mighty long time. But I’m here to tell you there’s something else. The afterworld. A world of never ending happiness, you can always see the sun, day or night… If you don’t like the world you’re living in, take a look around you, at least you got friends… Let’s go crazy, let’s get nuts” ~Prince~
In my mind’s eye, I see Prince dressed in all of his costumed finery,sitting with two healthy, happy little children on his lap in that beautiful after world where the sun is shining all day and all night.
Prince is smiling like we have never seen him smile!
(“The Symbol of Love” aka Prince)
So let’s go crazy and let’s go nuts in this life. Let’s get crazy happy when we listen to the music of our lives, and let’s go nuts with gratitude for all the blessings we have in this awesome crazy, nutty world we live in!