I saw yesterday on MSNBC.com that Levon Helm is in the final stages of dying from cancer. For my younger readers, he is the drummer, vocalist and (some would say) soul of the iconic Boomer rock group “The Band.” He’s been battling throat cancer since 1998 (a peril for a singer) and staged a remarkable comeback a few years ago – trying to raise money for medical treatments he started up “Midnight Rambles” which turned into rousing successes, some follow-on solo albums and tours.
His signature song, “Ophelia” says:
“Ashes of laughter
The ghost is clear
Why do the best things always disappear?”
Because life is ephemeral. A gift. A passing dream, perhaps.
My friend Sean’s 7 year old daughter has been distraught because she’s figured out she will eventually die. She’s smart enough to have tied this scary thought of mortality to aging – so now she wants no more birthdays.
I think we all feel like Makayla at times.
We are mortal beings – “put on this earth a little bit, to learn to bear the beams of love” as William Blake said.
Today I’m sending love to Levon Helm’s wife and daughter and all of us who loved him. May your passage be easy, Levon. And heaven is about to get one hell of a drummer.