We could be heroes

David Bowie Helen Green

Credit: Helen Green

I heard the news of David Bowie’s death this morning. David Bowie was nothing if not an Original. A True Original. In today’s world of Imposters and Copy Cats, he was a Glam Unicorn. I’m not sure that we’ll ever see one quite like him again. I almost think that’s a good thing.  I am happy to have shared time on earth with him. To have existed in the same space. There was no one like David Bowie. He was an androgynous innovator. A figurehead in the pop cultural landscape for decades. It made me so sad this morning to read the news of his passing. I really liked him. And then I read he died of cancer. Not of AIDS. Not of an overdose. Of cancer. He died of cancer 2 days after his 69th birthday. Ziggy Stardust got cancer, just like many ordinary, everyday people do.


We could be heroes

Just for one day

-David Bowie

Several days ago, Tina and I registered for the Pan Mass Challenge. This will be Tina’s 4th, and my 12th PMC, a 2-day almost 200 mile cycling event clear across Massachusetts, benefitting cancer research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Somehow hearing that David Bowie died of cancer this morning really got me thinking about why I have spent the past 12 years riding and raising money for cancer research. And it made me angry.

Cancer doesn’t discriminate. Cancer knows no bounds. Cancer is a thief. A vicious, ruthless thief. It steals our loved ones and people we quietly admire from afar. No one is immune to its reach. Not Steve Jobs. Not Gilda Radner. Not David Bowie. Neither the rich, nor famous are exempt. In that regard, David Bowie was like everybody else. That is so very upsetting to me. Not just because cancer claimed an Original, but because cancer steals so many extraordinary human beings. Every. Single. Day. Today was just another reminder. It’s maddening. And it’s unacceptable. Which is why for 2 days, we ride. For those we have loved and for those we have lost. We ride along with those who are survivors and with those who are fighting so hard to be.

I like to think for that one weekend, we are all heroes.  

Rest peacefully, Ziggy Stardust. You will be missed.


20 thoughts on “We could be heroes

  1. The news gutted me. And then I told M. And it gutted him, too. Bowie was old-hat by the time I started listening to him in the early 80’s. Just looking at my Ziggy Stardust album cover (hanging proudly on display in our basement “jam” room) shows how old the album already was when I picked it up. And Bowie was REALLY old hat when M signed up for a “Best of Bowie” show at School of Rock a few years ago, but Bowie reached him just as deeply as he reached me and those before me. A gem. Every album he cut had something to add. Not just to the world of music, but to the world. I remember picking up the 45 of “Under Pressure” when it came out, and beyond the catchy hook, I could hear the magic that happens when fellow genuises get together. A loss. And fucking cancer. Again. No, you can’t buy your way out of cancer. You can’t glam your way out of cancer, or Bowie surely would have been able to.
    I hear news like this and it feels like cancer is inescapable.
    And so I scroll through the pics from PMC 2015 and am reminded – there is hope.

  2. What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing!

    I sat with tears streaming down my face at my desk most of the day… Listening to the tributes coming through on the news X
    My Dads funeral was today, two years ago and yes today was indeed a very sad day’

  3. Charlie Rose replayed some old interviews with David. He sounded so normal. I swear I’d never heard him speak before. He sounded just like a regular bloke.
    At 51 he was saying how normal his life was and how much he loved his family and being a family man. Not what you would expect from Ziggy Stardust.

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