The Stars Look Very Different Today: Saying Goodbye to David Bowie

Photo: AFP PHOTO / CHRIS RATCLIFFE

Photo: AFP PHOTO / CHRIS RATCLIFFE

I woke up yesterday morning, grabbed my phone to scroll through the latest news, and felt my heart drop through my chest. David Bowie was dead.

The first time I experienced David Bowie was when I saw Labyrinth as a child. I may have heard his music before then, but my first real memory of him as a person is in that movie. The Goblin King was not something my young mind would let go. He was clearly the bad guy, but my God, he was so cool, and I loved him.

As I got older and heard Bowie's music and learned of Ziggy Stardust and saw him in yet more films, I fell in love with him not just as the Goblin King, but as himself. He was magical; he was magic itself.

One of the best tweets I saw about Bowie's death was:

That is why I loved David Bowie. He left his mark on the world in so many different ways, but the thing that left the biggest impact on me was that he was unapologetically, fearlessly himself. It took me a long time, years, really, to embrace who I am. Bowie helped with that. He showed me that being strange, being an outsider, was ok. And not only was it ok, it was encouraged; it was necessary.

David Bowie's producer Tony Visconti wrote on Facebook yesterday:

"He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life—a work of Art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn't, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry."

I didn't cry when I found out David Bowie died. I didn't cry when I listened to his music all day yesterday. I didn't cry when I read all the tributes. I cried when I wrote this, though. Writing about the impact he had on me made it real, maybe. It pulled all my feelings about his death to the surface. I don't know. For whatever reason, I sat here writing this with tears streaming down my face.

There's a new starman waiting in the sky now, and I'm so thankful he came here for a short time and blew our minds. He left us an incredible parting gift in Blackstar, particularly the song "Lazarus," in which he sings "Look up here, I'm in heaven." 

We are all looking, David Bowie, and the stars look very different today. Rest in peace.