I don't normally do this - light a candle for someone I never heard of before they died - but she sounds like she was an unusually caring and thoughtful judge. Out of the five people I'd want to meet in heaven, I'd definitely have to fit her in, somewhere.
I've been thinking it's a travesty, a joke, an absolute abomination to ring out the end of this year the way we normally ring them out: balls dropping, Auld Lang Syne, getting drunk. Getting drunk: yes. The rest of it: no. Fuck this year.
I suggest new end-of-year traditions such as burning 2016 in effigy. That's right: to the backyard it goes. Build a burn pit. Carve, build, print or draw things that says "2016" on them. Take turns lighting them up.
Every person who throws a match or uses a lighter or blowtorch, or otherwise contributes to the burning of 2016 has to take a drink. Take turns until you've used up everything in the neighborhood except houses, buildings, people, flora and fauna. Then, yes: stop.
Go to bed around dawn, satisfied you've given the universe one small clue as to how you really feel about this fucking year.
Who has died at 53. I've figured it out: the evangelical right prayed for Trump to win and anyone who brought light or hope or smiles to die, because that's what good Christians must do based on things like what color, gender, sexuality or religion people are, and things like, "Does the about-to-be-dead person, even if they color within the lines we draw for them, support those of the wrong shade/gender/sexuality/religion?", because of course those must go, too. It's been a banner year for their answered prayers and a very cheerful 2016 for them, indeed. What a merry Christmas they must be having.
I think the snakiest thing the right has given us is their inability to empathize. Like, if there's a conspiracy theory floating around - as there's been for dozens of years - that the moon landing was a hoax, then otherwise normal-looking human beings who believe it was a hoax can't even say something as simple as, "Oh, did you hear that John Glenn died? You know the moon landing, the astronaut?" Nah, that was all fake, so fuck that, right? No, no, no. You righties got that so backwards, because the truth is, fuck you.
I'd put writing about this off because I'm really tired but then it won't be the anniversary of her death anymore, so...when Amy died I didn't light a candle because at the time I just couldn't stomach her. She looked weird, and the bun, and the rather dramatic weight loss, and she was so foul-mouthed and contralto in her songs I just could not. Stand her.
I'd downloaded some of her music when she was still alive, and actually listened to it, so I tried. She's still the only famous Jewish pop singer I can think of offhand besides Barbra Streisand and as someone with a Jewish father, I admired her for that, because Jewish stars are rare and usually immensely talented if they do become famous. So knowing how celebrated and popular (and Jewish) she was, I tried to like her, or at least her music.
Then, I think sometime shortly after she passed, I listened to another song of hers. I can't recall if it was something I'd downloaded previously and perhaps never played because I was so disgusted with her other music and overall persona or if I just happened to catch it on Youtube, but I was crying before the song was over. It was a completely uncharacteristic-for-her ballad called Love Is A Losing Game. While I can do without the "five story fire" early on (I never understood what she thought she was adding to her catalog with her bawdiness or profanity, and I still don't) the rest of the song is a haunting retrospective on love gone wrong.
Seriously, there are maybe five songs in the world I can't listen to more than a few times a year, and even then only if I'm prepared to start crying because I know that's where this is going, and this song is on that list.
With that, I not only forgave her transgressions against my ears and fashion sense, I actually, really got into her music. All of it. Now there's almost nothing mainstream I can hear from her that I don't like or already know the words to, with (so far) Tears Dry On Their Own (a rather upbeat and energetic live version she performed in Berlin; I don't really care for the studio recording or other versions), Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow and Valerie among my favorites.
In clicking on news about her tonight I found some more covers she did, most of which I don't think I've heard yet, and saw mention of a posthumous album, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, which I'm pretty sure I haven't heard all the way through (but I'm playing it on Youtube while I type this; it's OK, so far; she could perform Valerie half-asleep and totally acapella and I swear I'd still dig it).