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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Where Were You on December 8, 1980?

I hope everyone doesn't mind that I seem to be veering off-topic this time.  Actually I'm not, because living with ALS is not about talking all the time about my woes and challenges with everyday living, but also reflecting on life and passages and having the time to reflect on the events that have an impact on our lives.  My life is about so much more than a disease that I have had to learn to live with.  Having ALS or any chronic illness is about reflection and also relating the important concept that there is a PERSON sitting in that wheelchair, and often a person who lived a regular, healthy and full life before getting sick or hurt.

I realize that I haven't been updating the blog as often as I would like because I seemed to have a writer's block as concerned ALS.  I was just bored with writing about a disease all the time.  Thankfully, I am stable and there were not a lot of changes.  I think I will have the will to update more frequently if I make it about me and not about the disease all the time. 

Is it possible?  Could 30 years have passed since Mark David Chapman senselessly shot John Lennon to death?  Could it be that the last time we saw him alive was when he was just 40?  What would he be like at 70 years old today?  I think he would be a supporter of President Obama and certainly would be very disturbed about the situation in the Middle East, and the fact that we are at war.  I am sure that he and Yoko, AND SEAN, would be out there demonstrating, making speeches, and even speaking on behalf of candidates whose positions they believed in.  I'm so sorry he isn't with us anymore.  I still miss him, and I don't think he would have been any more slowed down at 70. 

Yesterday at the Dakota, where Yoko still lives, and at Strawberry Fields in Central Park for John's
birthday on October 9 of this year [John's 70th birthday] fans of all ages gathered.  What was most striking to baby boomers such as myself, were the kids who were there who were not even born when John was murdered.  I cannot even wrap my head around that!  As a kid, I don't think there was any dead musician I would have worshiped like that.  It's testimony to the influence John and the Beatles still have on the world.

I thought a lot yesterday about the concept of legacy.  John Lennon left such a legacy to be honored 30 years after his death.  It's his way of living long after his death.  We can all leave a legacy.  Something so simple as my sister Haley making my Mom's special potatoes every Thanksgiving [she's been dead 15 years] is a legacy.  Even my two nieces who were born after my mom died, refer to these potatoes as "Grandma's potatoes".

With the wonders of the internet, it's so much easier to leave a legacy than it used to be.  I wish my mom had been able to have a Facebook page.  She would have loved that.  And, as a movie fan, she would have lived on imdb.com.  And John?  He would have had a field day with Facebook and Twitter.  Just think of how accessible he would have been to everyone through the Web.

We should all work on leaving a legacy.  What would be your legacy?  Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news?  I was in my kitchen in Los Angeles, where I moved a year before, cooking my dinner when I heard the news on the radio that John had been shot and was taken to St. Luke's Hospital.  I prayed for him, and a short time later, I heard he died.  I remember not being able to process the information, and wondering why someone would kill this man who had stayed home to be a father that he was never able to be for his first son, to his son Sean. And most of all, he wanted to be the father he never had, since his own father had abandoned him.  He talked about peace, and I believed peace was all he wanted in the world. 

The memorial to John Lennon at Strawberry Fields in Central Park, New York City

John loved NewYork!! I would have loved to hear his take on our city and what's happened since his death -- 9/11, schools, gentrification, Bloomberg.  Because of his murder, his widow Yoko Ono and his son Sean have been reclusive.  But if not for the murder, all three of them would be out there in the city, even in Washington.  Just as Mom lives through her potatoes [and other things, of course], John lives today through his legacy of peace and love.