Twenty-one years ago today I still worked in advertising at a newspaper. My phone rang and my friend Paul, without any kind of preface, stated, “Lynnz, I just heard Jerry died,”
I told him I’d call him right back and ran up to the newsroom to track down Roger, the paper’s rock critic at that time. I started to ask and before I could get the question out Roger replied, “Reports came in this morning. He had a heart attack and died in his sleep.”
The death of a musician may not mean a lot to most people yet to hundreds of thousands, the death of Jerry Garcia symbolized the end of an era. For those who are not aware, Garcia was the leader of the band The Grateful Dead. The Grateful Dead became one of the most iconic bands to emerge from the 1960’s San Francisco era.
After news got out, my phone rang off the hook with friends calling to grieve and clients to offer sympathy. The people who knew me, then and now, know that I have a love for The Grateful Dead as I am not one to keep this part of myself secret.
Two months’ prior, my husband kicked me out the door and instructed my friends, Jeff and Abby, to take me to see the band in Highgate, Vermont. I was visibly pregnant with our first child and hubby thought I needed a Grateful break.
I was blessed to be there and all the other times I had the privilege to experience Mr. Garcia on stage with The Dead, solo, or his own band. My son was blessed too. He got to experience The Grateful Dead bouncing around inside of me. (He was also the cause of my nap during drums and space). When my younger self went to shows and saw little kids dancing around, I had hoped someday to dance with my little one. (Once born, I did bring him to see the remaining members on different occasions. He got to experience “the scene” yet for me, something was always missing).
The memorial concert in Walnut Hill Park with Max Creek and all the others across the world sent Mr. Garcia to his next destination with love and light.
There is not enough space here to explain the impact that this man, whom I never met, had on my life, so I will simply end with, “Thank you, Jerry. You are still missed.”