Pull up a chair, kiddos, and I’ll tell you a sad story.
Because we’re both musicians, my husband and I love going to concerts together. We’re on a budget, so we have to be choosy about who we see and where we sit. However, there is a short list of performers we will pay any dollar amount to see. One of those elite few was Prince. Yes, The Purple One of Paisley Park and the pride of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was on our very short list. So when he announced he would play the Fox Theater here in Atlanta a week before my birthday, we squealed with delight. It was going to be the best present ever, so I jumped online and started planning how to score tickets.
I logged on the day seats went on sale and managed to get a decent pair. And when they day of the show came, I scampered downtown to retrieve them. On the way back to my office, I found out he’d cancelled the performance due to illness, and the show was rescheduled on a day I was going to be out of town for work. Saddened beyond the capacity for rational thought, I surrendered those precious tickets back to the theater, telling myself, “Prince will tour again. He has to!”
Nope. He died. On my birthday.
One of my all-time favorite bands, The Cure, was coming into town a month or so later, so I decided it would be mighty fine to lick my wounds while listening to “Disintegration” being performed live. I was right. It was a great evening, and nobody kicked the bucket.
But the entire experience got me thinking about just how tenuous this life can be. As an MS patient, I know this fact all too well. One morning I’ll wake up feeling as fine as a frog hair split three ways, and the next, I’m utterly exhausted, my brain so foggy I can’t think straight. There’s no way to know which reality I’ll wake up to. However, I don’t want to live life in fear, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Instead, I want to enjoy my days and make memories rather than excuses.
So my husband and I decided that if there was a show we wanted to see this year, we’d go. That 2017 was to be our year of concerts, so taking Prince’s advice to heart, we went crazy. We went nuts. We looked for the purple banana until they put us in the truck. So far, we’ve seen Duran Duran, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (my favorite concert of all time, by the way), and Billy Joel. U2, The Doobie Brothers, and Chicago are coming up in June, and I may talk my old man into a bona-fide girl power show featuring Garbage and Blondie in August.
Going to see these performers do what they do best helps me in three ways. First, it’s great to hear them live, to know that they’re the “real deal” and not just some no-talent hacks a studio has auto-tuned and polished to a high-gloss shine. Second, I get to relive some great moments from my youth. I grew to love some of the bands thanks to my father’s extensive eight-track collection; others I consumed nonstop via cassette tapes (and later CDs) from my own ever-growing library. Third, I’m getting to enjoy these moments with my best friend, the man I’ve loved since I was 19.
Whether it’s in a gigantic arena or a smaller outdoor venue, it thrills me to stand and cheer with other fans, to sing along with a chorus of thousands when our favorite song starts. Being fully present in moments like these reminds me that, as Joe Walsh says, “Life’s been good to me so far.” And like Howard Jones, I believe “Things can only get better.” Sure, multiple sclerosis has changed a few things, but it hasn’t taken my joy. It hasn’t robbed me of my passions, and I refuse to let it confine me. I won’t just sit around in silence. Bump that.
Prince was only 57 when he passed away. George Michael was 53. We lost Michael Jackson at age 50 and Freddie Mercury at 45. Then there are the many members of the 27 Club. Unlike them, I don’t plan to shine brightly only to crash and burn. I’m not looking to cash out before I get the chance to use my senior discount a few times. But I do know one thing — MS or no — from this day until the last one I have on this earth, I’m gonna make some noise.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.