Since Prince’s passing, I’ve been thinking a lot about him and basically consuming every obituary/think piece there has been. I don’t know why. Maybe it is to try and soak up all that there is in the void that his passing has left.
There is one thing about Prince that I’ve been finding out that I never knew or possible forgotten if I had ever found out about it; Prince had and lost a child. Every time this comes up, it feels like a footnote in everything I’ve read, taking a back seat to his musical genius or to his artistic legacy. It’s barely a blip on our collective radar screens.
I get why, or at least I think I get why. Nobody wants to dwell on what it means to be a parent that’s lost a child. And to be fair, it’s not all that he was. To the public he was all those other things first. But, and I’m guessing here, but it’s a guess built from my own experience, he would prefer to be thought of a father first, a grieving father second (maybe, but maybe not), and then all those other things happened to be pleasant white noise.
There’s a reason many an obit reads loving father, adoring husband, blah, blah, blah, because that’s usually the order of priority. The love we gave our kids is what should take the first prize.
Speaking as a mother who has also lost a child, the title of grieving parent is not something to be taken lightly. It’s something that I don’t want the collective we to pass over quickly, in obit or memorial form. No it’s not all I want to be known for. I'm a mother, a wife, a writer, a creative writer, a person deeply passionate about disability rights, beader, the list goes on. But I also don’t want it to be a footnote in my life when the final word is set to paper. Because Ukiah was certainly not a footnote in my life. He was so much more. He could be the central thesis, the theme on which the whole book hinges. That’s how much he shaped my life.
So I wonder what Prince would make of all this. It seems to me that this was all kept so close to the vest or else I would’ve been more aware of it. And anyone who has lost a child is certainly allowed to do whatever they want in the wake of such things. If Prince decided to keep that loss quiet, that was his choice and I respect it.
But when these things come to light posthumously, I wish such knowledge would be given the respect and width and breadth of appreciation such a thing is due. Prince was a father that lost deeply and lost greatly and among the many other things he was to each and all of us he was this thing too and he should be loved and respected deeper and more greatly because of this.
Prince, you’ve meant a lot to me throughout the years, but you mean so much more to me now knowing how deeply you have loved and how deeply you have lost. Rest in Peace and Rest in Power, but most importantly now you can rest with your child.