Sunday, December 16, 2007
Leader of the Band
I'm not sure what it says about my state of mind to admit this, but for some years now I've come to associate December with death. Because this is about the time when one or other of the news programs airs a montage set to melancholy music of all the people who have passed away earlier in the year. Among those people will be Dan Fogelberg who died today at the age of 56 from prostate cancer. This year marked the 25th anniversary of his top-10 hit Leader of the Band, a folk melody about the love and admiration a son had for his father. Of course, back in 1982 there was no way I could have appreciated its lyrics--I was entering that age when there's really not much love left over for anyone but yourself. I guess what's been bothering me all day is that earlier this afternoon my 77 year-old father asked me to take him to Yosemite in the summer. I must have looked at him dubiously. This is a man who now has a hard time navigating stairs. A trip with my father to the terrains of Yosemite? How could he manage? And what would the two of us do there? I changed the subject, but not without wondering if this was some kind of last request for a final road trip before heading into the eternal horizon. Being HIV+, sometimes I think that I'm the only one in this world who's allowed to grapple with mortality. It's vain and irrational, and not an entitlement anyone should want to claim. So why do I do it? Is there any way to stop it? Where do you find answers to all the hard questions?