THE EIGHTH OF DECEMBER

A tribute to John Lennon who was taken from us on this date in 1980.
Roughly two years ago I had the great pleasure and honor to narrate a few of my stories on the BBC Radio program “Upload”. I also submitted “The Eighth of December”, never expecting to receive an email from the program manager of the radio station asking me if I’d be willing to read my story and do a live interview. To us here in The States, The BBC is a pretty big deal so I was rather blown away and, despite my nerves, I agreed to the interview. The format of the radio station changed and “Upload” has since been replaced by another show; it’s now impossible to find my interview.
All I have is my 5-year-old story to share with you.
Every word is true.
Here is “The Eighth of December”.

The Dakota, home of John Lennon at the time of his death.
The people you see are some of the mourners
who had just learned the awful news.
Notice the flag atop the building already at half-mast.

While cradling my year old son David in his bed after a bad dream, I sang softly to him my favorite Beatles song, In My Life. He stared up at me, his blue eyes moist with tears. Slowly his breathing became calm and his eyelids began to flutter. At last he was asleep and I kissed his eyes, removing the last traces of salty droplets as I pulled up his covers.

Closing the door gently behind me, I went back downstairs where my husband Bill was watching Monday Night Football. One look at him as he sat on the sofa, his head in his hands, told me his team must have been playing very badly. I kidded him about being so upset over a game but he didn’t react. I called his name and when he looked up at me there were tears running down his face. Something was terribly wrong.

I sat next to him and he turned to me, taking my hands in his. As if in some sort of fog, Bill told me that John Lennon was dead, shot on the doorsteps of his home, The Dakota. I stared at him in shock. Why would he say such a horrible thing? Who would ever want to hurt John?

He turned the tv volume back on; the game had been interrupted by the report of an incident involving John. I dropped to the floor as the reporter droned on about ‘rapid gun shots’ .. ‘police/John/hospital’ .. ‘dead on arrival’.

I cried uncontrollably and kept repeating no! no! no! as Bill held me in his arms and I sobbed in unimaginable sorrow and disbelief. We sat on the floor for a long time, clinging to each other, unable to stop our tears or unhear the words coming from the tv.

At one point our three year old son Billy crept down the stairs, frightened and wondering what was wrong with mommy. My husband quickly scooped him up and brought him to his room, whispering that mommy was very sad about something she saw on tv and she would be ok tomorrow.

But I was not ok the next day. I was not ok the next week. I was never truly ok after that night. No living, loving soul was ever ok again. The entire world was grieving.

These days, almost 38 years later, as I cradle my grand-babies in my arms and rock them to sleep, I sing In My Life and I remember John. 

NAR © 2018