Friday, May 16, 2014

A song for PJ

It has been a long time since I last blogged.  Admittedly, I've been busy and in some ways, this blog was the one of the things that suffered for it.  (This is even the first post I have for the year 2014.) But today I post again because I realize I need to mark this moment down so I never forget it happened.

We lost dear sweet PJ earlier this week.    He is a friend and an inspiration and he burned so brightly, cast loving light so widely and sadly was taken so soon.  I'm not quite ready yet to talk about the circumstances that lead to his passing.   And I'm still being selfish about certain other stories.  I still feel the need to keep them inside.  To hold them close to my heart, as I did many other things since Rocky and I got back together.

But Rocky suggested I share this little... oddity.
And I guess in some ways its a tribute to PJ that I can share.

PJ and I met at O bar many years back.  I met him through another good friend of mine, and upon learning he was so far from home, I decided I wanted to make sure he had a great time each time he was at O.  So I sort of "adopted" him and made sure to reach out to him to feel free to have me as company in any time he needed it.  Given the passing, Rocky and I have been talking about PJ a lot.  And among the many topics we find ourselves remembering about him, we realize we never really had a "song" for him.  You know how sometimes, you have this song that just expresses or captures someone you know.

Prior to his death, I rediscovered David Bowie's Space Oddity when it was partly covered in the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  I found I liked the song and its narrative lyrics.  I added it to the list of songs I'd play at work.  Or while driving.   But since the passing, I've found myself more and more latching to the song without knowing why.  I'd be humming it out of the blue.  I'd be playing it in the car.  I'd be listening to it at work, or while at home, and I'd find myself tearing up.  I asked Rocky about this and he felt it was a haunting song that I probably just connected with.

Today, on the drive home, things snapped into place.  The images slid into place and suddenly it made sense why the song has been running in my head.  It seems my brain had, to cope with the loss of PJ, already formed a montage.. a soundtrack of sorts.. of the events to help me try to accept PJ's death.  This probably sounds stupid and foolish, but for me it made sense.

PJ is Major Tom.  He's off on a new mission in a place none of us have dared to go.  We've always been proud of him and his achievements (down to us knowing the shirts he wears has been Mossimo).  Major Tom's experience matches what PJ is probably experiencing as he "leaves," floating in a peculiar way.  How the stars don't look familiar anymore.  He feels very still, and yet he senses his "vessel" knows where to go.  He knows he's far from everyone.  Yet he can see that we, those he left behind, are sad.

We, Ground Control, lose his signal.  We lose contact.   We cannot reach him, or think he cannot hear us.

And the song, just like it did in life, ends abruptly.. fading away... leaving us to make sense of things.  To deal with things.
PJ, this is Ground Control.
Know we already believe even in this journey, you will excel.  You will accomplish things others do not expect.  Someday, we will be on our way to join you there.  And when we meet again, we will praise you like we always have for your courage, your skill, your generosity, your love.
Planet Earth is blue, but only because we're still missing you so much and believing you're gone for good.  But we will soon embrace the fact we will have a chance to meet again.  And that you will always be watching over us, seeing us from past 100,000 miles.
We love you, PJ.
I'd like to end this blogpost for now with the music video of the song from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.



Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills
And put your helmet on

Ground Control to Major Tom (Ten, Nine, Eight...)
Commencing countdown
Engines on (Seven, Six, Five...)
Check ignition
And may God's love be with you (Four, Three, Two, One, Liftoff...)


This is Ground Control
To Major Tom
You've really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it's time to leave the capsule
If you dare

This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I'm stepping through the door
And I'm floating
In a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today

For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do

Though I'm past
One hundred thousand miles
I'm feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much
She knows

Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit's dead,
There's something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you....

Here am I floating
Round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do


You are a friend.  A brother.
You are someone I will dearly miss.
Soar high, PJ.  Don't look back.
We will be right behind you.

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