On Friday I was confronted with the tragic news of the passing of my musical icon, Prince. I stood stunned in silence and disbelief, Prince was immortal, men like Prince don’t ‘die’. This is not real!
Upon hearing of Prince’s death I felt overwhelmed with sorrow, I sobbed and cried for a man I had never met. Somewhere within my heart there was a place always reserved for him, a personal catalogue of Prince memories that belonged to me all of which stemming from my treasured youth to my current middle years. Prince and I were to grow old together, I need his music more today than I did yesterday.
Today I am honouring my grief because Prince represented something deeper and richer for me than most felt. I spent many hours analysing his lyrics, studying the artworks on his albums and connecting with Prince friends around the world (in a day). My pen pals offered me great solace when no one seemed to understand foolishly, we would share our inner most deepest secrets about Prince in letters that I have kept as a momentum of my youth. This time in my life was before the onslaught of the internet or ’email’, they were simpler times and less complicated with technology. These connections with other people who understood my passion for Prince validated that it was important to set your own rules and create your own pathway in life. It was about human presence and ‘connectedness’ – something we have sadly lost over the years.
The greatest pleasure in my life was being able to purchase Prince’s new music. To be born in an era of musical brilliance is a privilege reserved for those who appreciate talent. I was young and on the journey of self-discovery, Prince was my navigator, my map and my rocket ship to the moon. Prince’s music was my fuel and it was a constant companion in all phases of my life.
Losing an icon is about losing one’s self-identity. I invited Prince into my world and it served a purpose for me. I am able to express who I am because I always felt a connection with him, so losing Prince is about ‘letting go’ of the child who spent hours mesmerised by this extra terrestrial of a human being. Prince represented HOPE that if you applied yourself you surely will succeed, amidst some disappointments but regardless, there was always HOPE. He broke down stereotypes and gender roles, he was humble and an advocate for the disenfranchised and disadvantaged. His music served to re-define the norms, his voice was a tool that reached his masses of fans all united for their love of his talents and now in our grief.
Mourning for an icon is about facing our own death anxiety. We can not deny that all living things must die, accepting this reality is a difficult one. The enormity of their legacies are beyond this realm. My children’s children will be studying Prince for years to come, I hope to be alive to witness this legacy.
“Legends also succumb to death, she awaits all of us lurching from behind”.
The death of these extraordinary people encourages us to reach out to others and spread good will. United in grief we must console and respect the griever’s passage of rite to feel what needs to be felt for as long as they need too. Losing Prince for me is about cherishing what he practised in life and that was:
I don’t have any more words for now but just silence in recognition of a man who gave us so many fond memories. His music spoke volumes to me so today I feel muted……
Written by Janice Butera
MAY U LIVE 2 C THE DAWN