Anyway, Zeke and I went to a Def Leppard concert last week with some awesome friends... I still can't quite formulate the words I want to say... I've jotted down several notes to compile later and I think I'm just going to post it how it is and add some "..." like I always do.
(more about her)
Okay, so you know the thing I was stressing about last week (#6 to be exact)... well, I survived and it was actually a really great experience. I've been trying to write about it all week and aside from all sorts of craziness around here, it's been hard to put my thoughts down "on paper" so to speak. Just FYI, before you waste 10 minutes reading this post: there are a LOT of links and I LOVE Def Leppard. Okay, you've been warned...This is my sister, Brenda. She passed away in 2005 from cancer.
(more about her)
It brought back SO many memories. Good and Bad. I think so much of my sister. She took me to a Def Leppard concert when I was 13 (or 14?). The things we said, the things we did -- things we never got to do, things I wish I had said and done. Life will never be the same for anyone who knew her. My life is a new "normal". I can't believe it's been six years... some days it feels like forever and some days (when I was at the concert) it seems like only yesterday.
It was a 3 hour ride into my past... all the feelings were still there under the surface, just like I feared. For a moment, it was like she had died all over again. I will never forget where I was and what I was doing when I received that phone call...
The old songs from the "Pyromania" album, were SO painful and yet, brought back SO many wonderful memories at the same time. Especially, "Foolin", "Bringin' on the Heartbreak", and "Photograph". I can just remember Brenda dancing and singing, "F-F-F-foolin', ah F-F-foolin', F-F-F-foolin', ah F-F-foolin'!" Wow, just like it was yesterday... she was so cute.
Ever since I was old enough to pay attention to music... I knew that my big sister liked rock and roll and she LOVED Def Leppard. "Pyromania" came out in 1983, I was eight years old. To me, Def Leppard WAS Brenda and Brenda was Def Leppard. I know that sounds silly, but I associate so many memories and people with music.
So to go back to Def Leppard without her... the guilt was killing me. I felt like I was betraying her, forgetting her, moving on. I didn't want to forget or let go. It felt wrong to have fun without her. Not to mention my niece, Angee (her oldest daughter), who went with us back in 1988. I never get to see her anymore, she lives so far away.
Def Leppard started with "Let's Get Rocked" -- it was AMAZING to hear the crowd yell as one, "Get your butt right out of bed! Get up and move your sleepy head! Mow the lawn! Walk the dog! Take out the trash! Tidy your room!" I couldn't help but smile. :)
I loved to watch them, everyone was singing EVERY word in unison and having the time of their life! I saw all the people enjoying themselves, being crazy, careless, wild, happy -- but it bothered me just a bit. During the first song, I became sad and really angry and I wanted to yell, "How can all of you celebrate and enjoy this? Don't you know that someone is missing? Someone that should be HERE! Someone who won't go home to their children tonight. Someone who loved me probably more than I loved her. Someone who fought with all she had for 4 years to beat cancer and she lost." I know it seems crazy, but it just wasn't fair. I felt sad that I couldn't feel the joy and reckless abandon like everyone around me seemed to be enjoying. Life was weighing me down, guilt and sadness were overwhelming me....
Those early songs from Pyromania just killed me, but at the same time they were AWESOME. The second song was "Bringin' on the Heartbreak". When they started singing, "Gypsy, sittin' lookin' pretty, the broken rose with laughin' eyes, you're a mystery, always runnin' wild, like a child..." I just completely broke down. That's about when Zeke said, "Honey, turn around, so she can take our picture." I said "NO!" And then I looked up at Zeke and realized he was having a blast just like everyone else, so I turned around and smiled. After all, it was pretty dang AWESOME! I just felt so sad.
They really put on a good show. The whole atmosphere and feeling of the concert was just so happy and celebratory. I enjoyed watching people enjoying themselves and singing out loud as I sang EVERY word in my head and wished I could just let go.... I was SO jealous of those people... they looked as if they didn't have a care in the world.
They also played "Rock On" a song I know (an old song from David Essex, re-done by Michael Damian for the movie "Dream a little Dream" with Corey Haim -- wow, that brings back some memories too!) and for a moment I was okay, kind of like a nice pallet cleanser? It wasn't Def Leppard, it wasn't Brenda, just an awesome concert. I realized the Def Leppard songs are just so tied to her memory. When I spoke at her funeral, I actually talked about Def Leppard and how much they remind me of her.... yeah, I'm sure her Bishop thought I was NUTS. I was that day. Maybe I still am. For the record, Def Leppard sang it better!
Or maybe I just don't know how to let go and forget for a moment... but since Brenda died, I usually only let myself listen to Def Leppard in small doses, a song or two on the radio here and there. Any more than that is just too painful, but to go to their concert and here them play live for almost 2 hours, I think 12 or 13 songs... it was an absolute emotional overload... a FLOOD of emotions. I was completely drowned in memories. I loved it and I hated it. I couldn't wait to go home, but at the very same time, I never wanted it to end. It was almost like nothing had changed.
Then, they sang "Photograph"... oh man, I thought I would burst.
Some Def Leppard trivia for a minute: Steve Clark was the original co-lead guitarist. He died in 1991, of a combination alcohol/prescription drug overdose. It happens to the best of them. Anyway, on the stage behind the band were some huge television screen things and during "Photograph" they showed a really cool slide show of the band all through the years. At the first, they showed many pictures of Steve Clark... they remembered him, they haven't forgotten, BUT they've also MOVED on and found joy NOW. They celebrated his life and the time they had with him. I wondered if some songs bring back painful memories for the band.
I felt like that song was their tribute to Brenda. I know it's crazy, they have no idea who she is or how incredibly awesome her laugh was and how cute her dimples were and how brave she was when she was so sick. Somehow it helped me to come full circle, right there during the concert and heal a little more, I guess. It was so amazing. Zeke kept saying she would want me to enjoy it and I was, really guys, in my own way. It was wonderful!
I'm just so thankful to know that someday Brenda will be resurrected and I can see her again. Well and whole. I'm thankful for my family, my husband, my friends, my health, for surviving my cancer scare, for my kids, for my neighbors who helped me, for you tube, for good fun music. Really! They rocked and they were having SO much fun up there, it's really fun to see people enjoy what they're doing. I forgot to mention that Heart opened for them. They ROCK! It was so fun... ooh, "Barracuda"!:)
It was also good for me to realize I have OTHER memories associated with Def Leppard... "Hysteria" (LOVE this one!!) and "Love Bites". They played both of them (Thank you very much!) Those remind me of Zeke all the way...
They ended with "Rock of Ages"and the drummer Rick Allen, started with the classic, "Gunter, glieben, glauchen, globen". Go ahead and look that up on Wikipedia! It's a great story, thanks for telling me, Sharon. I couldn't help but laugh right out loud and smile and just feel like I was part of the coolest club ever. It was just awesome!
The concert was truly AMAZING. They are still SO talented. Also, for the record, I also have INCREDIBLE, WONDERFUL, AWESOME friends and my hubby, I LOVE YOU GUYS.
I will never forget Brenda. Right now, "All I've got is a photograph" and memories. But MY life is now and I need to enjoy it more. Life goes on whether we want it to or not. It's okay. "Sorry Dad gotta disappear, let's get the ROCK outta here!"