I have always known who I am, and I am now myself more than I have ever been. In this moment in my life, I am filled with who I am. I see that I am everywhere.
The passing of Neil Ellwood Peart had an effect on me I could never have imagined. Rush has filled my ears, my heart and my life since I was eighteen in 1980. Neil was the big brother I never had. From the moment I heard 2112 I was hooked. Running around with Sgt Mike that night, is a night etched in my mind indelibly.
I should have gotten in trouble with all the crap I did that night. I see now I was already protected. Neil was the first and greatest mentor I would find in that year, so I thought. But he was definitely the greatest for me.
The other was only a reintroduction, as it turns. I had already been introduced to Richard Bach through a play. My mother had brought me to an interpretive dance play of Jonathon Livingston Seagull. Richard had already reminded this young man that the only person he could be was himself. I can see now I was already working them angels overtime.
When I heard 2112, I never looked back from that day forward. There was this other man, I knew was just like me. Whoever had written those lyrics was a bibliophile like me. (My mother taught me to read when I was 4 and I devoured everything I could get my hands on!) Who ever wrote those lyrics, and every song thereafter, knew how to read and think. I like people who think for themselves.
I went out and bought every last Rush album I could find. I believe it took a couple of months for me, back then, to find every album out by the boys, as had I shipped out to my first station soon after.
The very first one I found was Permanent Waves. Spirit of the Radio was good, but Freewill knocked my socks off. Jacob’s Ladder, Entre Nous, Different Strings and Natural Science … OH MY GOD! It’s still my favorite album!
Of course, I slurped up every word on that jacket cover and the lyrics on the album sleeve. I now knew who this man was that I felt such a kinship with. He became like my big brother. He was my big brother.
For me Neil was always reminding me of something I needed to know or remember as I progressed through my life. I’d be feeling lost and poof, there was the next album with something I needed to learn or be reminded of.
It was like, he had talked to mom, and she had told him about something I was having trouble with. Next thing you know my big brother had written a song just for me. I have always felt blessed for that. It took me three days from the news to now, where I can write.
I see, today, Sgt Mike was my friend. I am always protected when I am with my friends, as it turns. For me, my friends are those I see myself in. They are never people exactly like me, in any way, shape or form. But each and every one of them is a genuine individual.
In the book, “Illusions – The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah,” Richard wrote, “Your friends will know you better in the first minute than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years.” Limelight gives us Neil’s words, “I can’t pretend a stranger is a long awaited friend.” I have found both to be true.
After the death of the best dog in my life, miss Emily, I scribbled a note to myself, that grief was the sincerest expression of love. It flows through the body unhindered, expressing every ounce of love you have in that moment. I have found in my grieving now, in this state I see everything.
Everything. I can see the love. I can see my friends. Myself.
They are all tangible to me right now. All my love for those past and present in my life. My mother and her beloved Bill. Both of my dear Susans, past and present.
My dear Jenny who taught me to listen to my intuition, and Caron who showed me how to use it. Then there is Karen and her son Danny, mom always thought I should have married her. I can still see that friendship, as precious now as it was then. Torril, who shredded my heart, yet I love her still.
My dearest friend Andy, who introduced me to Richard’s book Illusions. My buddy Joel Wray of the Wrong place Saloon, seven years gone now and his beloved wife Janice who has since followed. Friend in this life for twenty-five years and more. My beloved Amy, beyond my power to save, loved to this day.
My dear friend Greg, who could, and proudly, pull off some of Neil’s double bass kicks with a single bass. A session drummer last I heard, somewhere in Nashville. My friends KO and even BJ, who ripped me off, (Next time talk to me!) Byrtles and Jody and so many more of my friends and loves of my past. Love for all.
Miss Jessamyn, who runs from me now. She granted me the greatest moment of my life, giving me the very gift I have always sought and hoped for. Susan gave me reason to go looking for this young lady, and the first moment I looked in this young lady’s eyes I knew I’d found it.
I looked in her eyes and I knew for the first time in my life, there was nothing but respect and trust. She saw me with her heart. I knew, for the first time in my life that the individual looking me in the eye wasn’t trying to figure out whether she wanted to fuck, fight or fear me. I get that from both genders, but not from this girl, just respect.
One day she discovered something that had been under her nose all along. She ceased to see me with her heart and her mind took over. She see’s me now as the world sees me, through the lens of fear. Neil wrote a lot about how that distorts. She will always be my friend, whether she remembers it or not.
I can see clearly, my brand spanking new friend, Logan. A gentleman I met this very day. We both knew the moment we met this morning. A salesman Susan had called on. Sale made, I walked my new friend out to his car. We shared a handshake and a hug. As with James, a bibliophile whom I met this summer, I don’t know how frequently we will see each other. It is irrelevant, we are friends.
I can see, too, the many friends I have in my grief. All over the world, you grieve with me. Most of us will never meet, but I know I have friends among you. It is almost like time is standing still for me. In this long moment I can see it all.
I see myself in my friends. I have always known who I am, and I know you my friends, my loves! In this moment in my life, I am filled with who I am. I can see that I am everywhere.
Farewell my Brother, Neil Peart 9-12-1952~1-7-2020