Today my daughter walked in and asked what I was looking at. I told her that I was looking through photos and articles about Aretha Franklin, who had just passed away. She said she didn't recognize her, but felt like she should be sad.
Family statement on the death of Aretha Franklin:
“In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.”
“We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”
I told my daughter, "Well it is sad, but you don't have to feel sad. Her friends and family were there with her, and she was very ill." As a scrolled, another picture of Aretha Franklin came up. "Oh, I DO know her!" she said, "She's really gone?"
She really is gone. We had warning, we had time to process it, but you are never ready for the death of an icon. She died from pancreatic cancer.
I lost one of my favorite people in the world (and an icon to me) to the disease, and every time I hear someone has passed away from it, I get teary eyed because I think of her, and how amazing she was. There is an annual walk that benefits pancreatic cancer research, and her daughter and family hosts a team. The walk was this past weekend, but you can still donate here -
"The Queen of Soul had neuroendocrine cancer – a rarer type of the disease that accounts for only 6 percent of pancreatic cancer tumors, according to PanCAN. The 5-year survival rate for this type of cancer is better than other forms of the disease. These type of tumors form from abnormal growth of the pancreas' endocrine cells, which make hormones to control blood-sugar levels. This form of pancreatic cancer typically grows more slowly than the more common forms of the disease..."
What I remember most about watching her perform on TV over the years is that she sang what she sang and that was that. If you came for theatrics, rolling around, jumping up and down, wild facial expressions, or over the top performance, you weren't about to get that from her. She gave you her voice, and that better be enough for you. She might close her eyes. She might lean back. But her voice was what she was gonna give you, and you better be happy with it.
And we were.
Rest in peace, Aretha Franklin.