I had some big plans for this rainy, rainy morning. But the first thing that happened was that my mum called to deliver the sad news that our good friend Rodney Gage passed away. Rodney was a great presence in my life. He was this tall, gorgeous black man who played the pedal steel guitar like angels lived in his very fingers and toes, and when he would sing strong men wept. When I was born my parents held me and then he did. He loved telling the story and showing his great big hand and how I fit right in his palm. He was a bit of a shady character, and fostered complicated relationships in his life, not always tender or respectful of the feelings of those closest to him - his wife, Connie and his son, Joaquin. But we are all a bit broken, are we not? And everyone has their story, and makes their choices to live and die as they will.
Rodney had been ill for quite a while, at first being diagnosed with bladder cancer a couple of years ago, against which he fought valiantly. Chemo and more chemo. Then, a few months ago, they found brain cancer. He has been on a steady decline since. As far as I know he passed peacefully, at home, (ish, as much as home is where you hang your hat). He and my mother were very close and she is quite sad, though unable to come here right now as she is up to her eyes with the pending opening of her show. My heart goes out to her, since I know she would like to come down and be with Connie right now.
My own relationship to this passing is still out of my body. It has been a long time since Rodney and I saw each other with any regularity, but I did see him a few times a year. I think for both my brother and I it touches on the passing of our own dad, and makes it slightly confusing to untangle the emotions. Certainly this has not got my innards spilling out onto the ground, stinging and sharp, as the pain was with Phil. But the weather seems appropriate, and I think this is a more reflective kind of grief, a softer kind. Something more fond and sweet, less despairing.
The thing I have noticed about death is it's ability to bring people together. Phil's death had the lovely effect of reconnecting me with two old friends, and the connection continues. There is a woman I have been very close to in my life, and this year things fell apart. It has been a layered break up, and I think about it all the time. Not sure whether I am doing the right things, divesting myself of it, etc. But it has been what it has been. Rodney had a real fondness for her, as they used to see each other a lot at my family's house, years ago. He always asked after her and thought she was wonderful and lovely. So I called her today to tell her. We had a good, if slightly forced conversation, and we are going to see each other tomorrow. I'm trepidatious, but it will likely be sweet. I feel like staying guarded, but I know that that can sometimes make me icy, which I don't want to be.
I have also had several phone calls regarding work, which is heartening. Looks like I will be able to start at a couple of things this week, and have some interviews as well. And a couple of choices to make. Feast or famine, right?
So now I am off to the Bodyworlds exhibit at Sciencworld, which is an interesting choice for today.
Hug someone today, I know I will.