Even ten days later, I still find it hard to accept that Prince is really gone. I never owned any of his albums, and I wasn’t even that big a fan, but his death is hitting me hard. I don’t think I realized until all the tributes started pouring in just how much his songs were part of the soundtrack of my life. Today, I’m going to take a little break from our usual more cat-centric Sunday fare to pay tribute to this amazing artist.

Maybe his death was such a jolt because he was so young – very close to me in age. I was sad when David Bowie died, but Bowie had cancer, and even though he, too, was still young at age 69, somehow, it felt like his death was a little easier to process. Prince’s death had that “it could all be over at any moment for any of us” effect on me.

But more than that, it was the music. I moved to this country in 1984. Purple Rain had just been released. When Doves Cry and Let’s Go Crazy was playing on every radio station. Everyone was partying like it was 1999. Every time I listened to one of the songs over the last ten days, or watched one of the videos online, I cried. I’m not even sure what the tears were about. Yes, they were about the loss of an icon. But they were about more than that. Every time we lose one of these musical greats, I feel like a part of my youth dies with them. The tears were also about mourning that which has gone before, never to be recovered.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my life. I love being the age I am. But a part of me, the part that responds to music, wants to be back in the 80’s, partying to Prince’s music.

Last weekend, a friend and I went to see Purple Rain on a big screen at an AMC theater near me. It was an incredible experience.

One of the many things I love so much about our Conscious Cat community is that it brings so many people from so many different backgrounds together over a common, shared topic: our love for cats. In a lot of ways, watching Purple Rain in a sold out theater with so many others who also mourned the same loss, was a similar experience of community. Almost everyone wore something purple. There was cheering when the movie started, there were shouts of “we love you, Prince.” There was clapping, and there was even some dancing. It felt like a memorial service and a celebration of Prince’s life.

There was something healing about so many people from so many different backgrounds coming together. When the lights came on and the credits started to roll, not a single person got up. When we finally all started to leave, the woman next to me said “thank you for watching this with me.” I know exactly how she felt. For those two hours, we weren’t strangers. For the duration of the movie, all of us in that theater were all connected.

Prince has always been undefinable. His music, and his spirit as an artist, never fit under any one label. And perhaps that is Prince’s final gift to us: he reminds us that while we may not  be as eccentric as he was, we’re all unique individuals capable of bringing beauty into the world.

Thank you for the music, Prince.

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32 Comments on Conscious Cat Sunday: Mewsings in Purple

  1. Thank you for writing this. I cried just reading it. I did love Bowie. I named my first cat Ziggy . Everyone used to ask if he was named after Ziggy Marley . Nope he was named after Ziggy Stardust.
    As much as I was moved by Bowies death, hearing that Prince had died tore me up. I had not really thought of him for years but hearing his music and seeing all those old video’s brought me back to a time in my life that was all about dancing and Prince…
    My oldest son lives in San Francisco and he went out to a spontaneous tribute/celebration of Prince at a club there. He sent me pictures of San Francisco city hall which was lit in purple lights.
    I am happy to have seen mostly respectful news coverage…May he rest in peace.

  2. What a lovely expression of thoughts. You captured so much of what I have been feeling about the loss of Prince also but wasn’t able to quite put into words. Really nice tribute, Ingrid – thank you!

  3. Robin Williams was one of the first celeb deaths that hit me. I’d been sad before at the passing of someone whose work I knew and enjoyed, but the idea that Robin’s depression took his life was overwhelming. I was actually relieved to find out there was an underlying medical condition.

    But as upset as i was over that, it didn’t bring me to tears the way Prince did. I am not a ‘die hard’ fan either, but his music was the soundtrack of my youth. It is something that helped me actually get through life.. electric word that that is.. Even now I tear up at the thought of his being gone, but I take comfort that, well at least for me, he really isn’t. Is influence was in the music and there is so much more of that to come that it is like he is still here. I had no chance of meeting him, no chance of his knowing I exist.. but there will always be the music

  4. This is abeutiful tribute Ingrid. Growing up I was a huge Prince fan, but was not as familiar with his more recent music. I moved to Minneapolis 16 years ago and the love for Prince was and still is incredible. I am sad that I never took the opportunity to see him at one of his many Paisley Park shows. But I was able to go down to First Ave. last weekend to see the memorial foe hom there. I generally don’t get emotional about celebrity deaths, but Prince’s death hit me harder than I would have expected. I have great respect for how he lived his life according to his own terms.

  5. So beautifully said Ingrid. I feel the same, his death has been very hard and has me revisiting my past a lot.

  6. What a beautiful tribute to an icon that has shaped the soundtrack of so many of our lives. I feel so much the same as you, Ingrid. Though I wasn’t a die hard fan, it still became strikingly clear how much his music and even persona were part of my youth, college years and where I live. The first concert I ever went to was at First Avenue here in Minneapolis. Even today, I live just blocks away. From the dance parties in the street to the beautiful purple-glowing bridges crossing the Mississippi River … it’s been particularly moving to live in this town. I took a walk along the river that winds through downtown Minneapolis last weekend and just about every person I saw was wearing purple. Grocery stores, restaurants… his presence was everywhere.

    I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for how Prince managed to maintain his privacy. How he never seemed to be like those celebrities that crave the spotlight for the sake of the spotlight. As I’m learning more and more about him through his death, I’m inspired by his anonymous philanthropy and the dedication he had to his art.

    I’m not one to be easily affected by the death of a celebrity. There are thousands of people that die everyday and are the world to just a few. They don’t make the headlines. Mothers, Fathers, a friend or teacher who has inspired us. But like you, Prince has affected me in a very profound way that I never saw coming.

    • I saw some of the coverage of what your city did to remember Prince, and, like so many of the tributes, it made me cry. I, too, love how he managed to remain such a private person despite his fame. It seems that only now, after his death, we are learning more about him. I had no idea that he was such a philanthropist, and it makes me love him even more.

  7. Love this post. You put the feelings out in such a wonderful way. Bowie’s death got me because I am closer to his age. Prince and Bowie are a big backdrop to my live. Music is. But cats are my biggest part. Mine are getting older like me. That brings a certain pain of pending loss since I lost one kit and my pup. Thank you for your blog, insights and kit joy.

    • It’s hard when our cats get older. Sometimes, I don’t know what’s worse: the anticipation of loss, or the actual loss itself. Treasure every moment with your cats, Denise.

  8. I was devastated when David Bowie died, OK he was 69 yrs old and seriously ill, but since nothing had been about his health in the newspaper it still came as a chock. He was one of my first idols, and he was my husband’s number one idol, so I can say the following weeks were filled with his music and DVD’s.
    I am 51 and the music of the late 70’s and early 80’s are “me”. I remember when we got to see MTV first in Sweden, and me and my friends gathered around the TV to watch Music. Not only listen, but watch. And then there was Prince, an enormous part of my 80’s and my superhero.
    Husband and I just talked about it the other night – we have to getting used to that many more of our idols will pass…

    Just minutes after I read about Prince’s death, I posted a White dove on my IG account. In the hours after, IG was filled with doves.

    • The white doves all over social media after Prince’s death were so moving. And unfortunately, you and your husband are so right, Maria. We’re going to have to get used to losing more of our idols as all of us get older. 🙁

  9. You said it well, Ingrid – a little bit of our youth dies every time one of our idols does. I was never a super big fan but I did adopt one of his songs as my mantra when I send someone a birthday greeting: “Happy B’day and dance as if it were 1999.” Everyone understands.

  10. Ingrid, your tribute to Prince was dead on. Your words made me cry. I wasn’t a David Bowie fan, but kept up on him through social media. But him passing from cancer came as a shock, especially since I don’t think a lot of people knew he was sick. But PRINCE???? My daughter was reading her Facebook feed when she suddenly screamed “WHAT??? PRINCE DIED???” And nothing has been the same since. Although I wasn’t a huge fan, I knew some of his songs, and loved them. Clay Aiken covered “When Doves Cry” when he was still doing concerts, and I have loved that song ever since. He was a musical genius, and will be sorely missed. I watched “Purple Rain” last week on MTV. What a great movie! Although I didn’t follow him while growing up, I certainly knew who he was and knew his music. I was older than he was, and was part of “The British Invasion” craziness. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark 5, Herman’s Hermits, The Animals…..yeah, all those groups and more. But Prince will ALWAYS be part of my younger years as well. Rest In Peace, Purple One. 🙁

  11. Not knowing David Bowie had been ill I was stunned by his death. Finding out he had been fighting cancer only made it a little easier to deal with. I loved Prince too. At 58, too young to die and Glenn Frey too? What is going on? I do feel like my youth is being torn away. What you wrote above was written so well and totally reflects how I would have written this. I love how you write and thank you for doing this for todays installment brought me tears again and that’s OK. I loved all of their music and I am bouncing back and forth between all of their music my car these days, thank you Amazon prime.

    • I’m glad this post resonated with you, Stephanie. It has been an awful year for losing musical legends. There’s probably one heck of a concert in heaven now!

  12. I was both, a David Bowie and a Prince fan. But Prince’s death seemed to hit a bit harder. I remember through the years his songs played a big part in my life. My ex used to make fun of me for loving his music. My current husband would always say “there’s your man” when one of his songs would play on the radio or some place we might have been. I am not a football fan but when he played the Superbowl that time, I was glued to the tv while the rest of his family made rude remarks about him. I loved it. The first time I saw Purple Rain, I got a guy I was dating to take me. He complained and made me leave in the middle of it. But I always caught it when it would come on tv. I wanted to go see it in a theater, but I figured I wouldn’t be bale to handle it with all the other fans around. It might have been too much.

    • That Superbowl performance was one of the all time great moments in Superbowl and music history, wasn’t it, Janine? I also love the back story. Apparently, the producers called Prince before the game because they were worried about the rain and how it was going to impact his performance. When they to him “it’s raining,” his response was “make it rain harder.”

  13. My human was saddened by losing Prince also. Bowie may have hit her a little harder because she grew up listening to his music, but Prince was a big part of her life in the 1980s. She saw Purple Rain over and over again at discount matinees the summer it came out… and she saw it again this past week and remembered just how amazing the performances were. What a big loss – he was a great talent and a wonderful philanthropist.

    • What a sign of how much things have changed since then! In the 1980s, we had to go to a theater to see a movie over and over again. Now we just download or buy it.

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