May 20th - Through the Eyes of a Newbie
So, I’m not sure how to start this…this expression of my emotions today, so I’mma just dive right in if that’s okay with you.
Last year, if I had been told what this date would mean to me - the anniversary of a death that still devastates us some twenty-three years later - I would have thought you were plain bananas. But, you know, for whatever reason, fate brought me to her and now I can’t ever get away. (Not that I would ever even attempt to do such a thing).
Sometimes I think about it (her death) and I feel a general relieving sense of acceptance, sometimes I feel a deep and dark sadness, and other times I feel a building rage threatening to burst out at any moment - I feel ready to unleash at a cruel and unjust world.
I find myself begging most the question, “Why?” Why her, why that, why so soon? To that there simply is no answer. And I can tell you that nothing feels worse than having a perpetually unanswered and ignored question forever lodged in your heart. Laraine Newman most definitely said it best: “Sometimes, if you have a faith in God, you can evaluate it or see some lesson in it, but I’m having trouble with this one. I really am.”
That being said, she is most definitely still with us. I don’t want to get carried away with the whole dream thing, but I do firmly believe that once in a while she gives us little visits. I mean honestly. Before I knew what a complete asshole Gene portrayed himself as in his book, I had that dream where I was comforting her while she was sick and Gene was nowhere to be found. I asked her where he was and she said she didn’t know. At the time I was still under the impression that Gene was so doting and unconditionally loving towards her. And I do suppose that he was there,in a very literal sense, but the emotional stuff must have been detectable to her. She must have realized, deep down, even if it wasn’t spoken of. That’s one instance that really gets me because there is no way my subconscious could have come up with that - I was thoroughly convinced then that I KNEW that they were so unbelievably in love.
She stays with us, too, because we keep her alive. We keep her spirit invigorated. Her army of Little Monkeys. Her Lily.
If I could say one thing to her, right now, it would be this:
Gilda. It’s a little funny how you were so wrongfully insecure and yet you are one person who is helping me feel comfortable with myself. I say wrongfully, by the way, because you were gorgeous. You were so beautiful, even if not in the “conventional” sense, whatever the fuck that means. We weren’t alive in the same span of time. I wish everyday I could have existed in the same world as you, but I didn’t. I love you just the same and I promise to spread your memory as long as my time on this Earth lasts. Don’t ever worry about being forgotten. You will always be remembered as one of (if not the) best comedians this world has ever known. You are so loved.
And I truly believe that she loves us back. She deserves to be remembered. Here’s to keeping her spirit alive for years to come.
6:20 AM, May 20th, 1989. A date and time forever engraved in my heart.