*Crawls out of the woodwork* Hi! Yes, I am actually here right now; no, I didn’t completely forget about this blogging endeavor. Will I be back for good? Who knows. . . . I just needed to write this particular post.
Celtic Thunder–Keith, Damian, Paul, Ryan, George. What can I say? I fell in love with those five lads at the end of my senior year of high school and have been a devoted Thunderhead ever since. It’s been a roller coaster of emotion along the way, what with the musical changes (Hey there, “Storm”), the lineup changes (Bye, Paul and Damo. Hey, Emmet and Colm. Bye, Emmet.), and the hair changes (Oh, the hair changes!). But this right now is without a doubt the lowest of lows we Thunderheads have ever experienced.
Two weeks ago, George suffered a massive heart attack and didn’t make it. 46 years young. Every so often I’ll feel a pang in my heart and it hits me all over again. I had only interacted with him a handful of times, but the special thing about the lads is that they let us into their lives and make us feel like family. You don’t get that same level of connection with many others in the spotlight. Sure, I’d shed some tears for their passings, but George just hits even harder than they ever possibly could. I don’t weap at the reception desk at work for just anyone.
I remember when I went to the Celtic Thunder show at the Tilles Center in Fall 2009–the first stop on my three-show whirlwind. By some miracle, I was second row in the pit, and I managed to scoot over to the center aisle seat. I came fully prepared with small signs to hold up to try to elicit reactions from the lads. They worked. Fantastically. I got winks and eyebrow raises from George (as well as other small reactions from everyone else).
And then when I went to their Boston show two days later, I met George outside the buses and got my first picture with him. Hanging out around the venue for the afternoon, I saw him passing in and out through the stage door a few more times, and he always stopped to interact with fans. I do remember him mentioning he had to get in for a sound check, but that didn’t stop him from stopping to talk briefly. He was that kind of man.
(Curse you, windy Columbus Day Weekend!)
In Spring 2012, he booked a solo gig at Paddy Reilly’s. Folk group’s post-Airneal stomping grounds. There was no way I was missing that opportunity! He played a lively and entertaining set, and it’s that night I got my second picture and one-on-one interaction with him. Those pictures are now even nearer and dearer to me than I ever could have imagined.
I guess what I need to take from his passing is that I have a life. I need to enjoy it. Attempt to experience it. Sure, sucky things seem to keep happening in 2014, but why should I let that stop me? Yes, not trying *might* avoid heartbreak and disappointment. Maybe. That’s not even a guarantee with how things seem to be going, though.
I try, I fail in an epic fashion, I cry a bit, and then I move on. But move on to something I enjoy/want or am even slightly curious about. I just need to try something. Anything. There are already so many things I regret not doing, and I need to stop adding to that list. At least trying and then failing affirms my gut feelings and instincts, and then I can stop “what if?”-ing. I already did one thing I was petrified and anxious about, and yeah, the end result was less than ideal, but now it’s over and I can work on putting it behind me. Time to find my next adventure.
George, I’m already missing you like crazy. I hope you’re up there singing with Harry Chapin–I’m certainly singing along with you down here as I figure out the next step to take.