Blogpost11 (3)If you prefer listening to reading an audio version is available below the text

I am a known Prince super fan. Within hours of his passing last week I received half a dozen calls and texts from friends and family to see if I was OK.  I was not unaffected by the news of  Prince’s death, but it didn’t have the impact on me that seemed expected.  Although I am a dedicated Paisley Parker, I didn’t cry about the news of Prince’s death. I didn’t even pause for a moment in his purple honor.  What made my heart stop was the realization that I could not mourn with my partner in all things Prince, my childhood bff, Roni .

It left me empty to hear Prince died because I immediately had to accept that Roni, would not call to comfort me with our collective memories from For You to HitnRun.  As television and social media eulogized the musical genius I knew I would not be distracted by endlessly retelling stories of fan antics to prove who loved him more than whom because Roni lost her battle with breast cancer more than a decade ago. So I never really mourned Prince.  I mourned the chance to mourn him with someone who truly knew how much he meant to me.  I mourned an opportunity lost to cancer.

In keeping with the National Poetry Month theme, I’ll share a poem that Roni and I would have definitely recalled if we were able to mourn Prince together. It was written on the day that our love for Prince saved our lives.  Seriously, that’s the way we would have remembered it.  You see, in preparation to go off to separate colleges we spent as much time as we could together during the summer of 1984.  It was a great time to be a Prince devotee,  we spent our time either packing for school listening to Prince’s music or at the movie theatre watching Purple Rain.  Between the two of us we had seen that movie at least 20 times during that summer alone.

We were hanging out in her third floor walk up apartment and were told by our parents not to leave unless there was an emergency. So we invited a few friends turned up the Minneapolis Sound and laughed and talked about our near future plans and the movie Purple Rain. One girl there had not yet seen the movie which was unthinkable so we snuck out of the house to see it.  In our minds it counted as an emergency we would be separated in days and there was a possibility that she might never see this film without our intervention.

We returned from the theatre to see the commotion outside Roni’s house from more than a block away. The house was on fire and burned to ground before firefighters could control the blaze.  There were no working smoke detectors or sprinklers systems and also no cell phones at the time so my mother stood outside crying not knowing if I was harmed, safe, dead or alive. To this day I believe that we wouldn’t have left the house without permission for anything but an opportunity to expose fresh eyes to Purple Rain.  I know Roni would agree.  I wrote the poem below that night and even though it always made Roni laugh for some reason, it was something we would have shared in light of Prince’s passing.

Within the Ash

Such is life
So we learn
As we watch
My friend’s house burn
With all her treasures
Too precious name
Burned to a cinder
In roaring flame
She leaves for college
With only her mind
Everything else
is left behind
All her keepsakes
Along with cash
Lost for good
Within the ash

by Pam Davis

By the way, Prince was an epileptic as a child, as was I.  But as I mentioned in previous posts I was never impressed by epileptic super heroes, my name for people that do great things “despite epilepsy.”   What impressed me about Prince was his openness and honesty about something that so many are inclined to hide. What I noticed for the first time when rewatching the clip below is that both he and I learned the power of reflecting on our childhood illness as adults.

Why audio and headphones helped me during treatment

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