On December 8th, 1980, I lived in Appleton, Wisconsin. I was eleven years old. I was most likely asleep when the everything happened, but I remember that on his broadcast the next day Walter Cronkite dedicated much, if not all, of the time-slot to the event.

My mother stood in the kitchen, watching on our small black & white television—the color TV was located in the basement family room.

She was sobbing, a mix of tears and mucus running down her scrunched up and reddened face.

I didn’t fully grasp exactly what was happening, I just knew someone had died, and that made my mother incredibly sad. The image of her crying has been burned into my mind as if by force; her crying combined with my confusion and inability to react…

…I did nothing to comfort her; I didn’t know how.

It would be several years before I discovered Double Fantasy and was struck by the odd juxtaposition between a man finding peace with his life, and having that life taken from him.

I wondered: is that how it happens? When we figure this world out and are OK with it, is that when we move on to the next?

I am still asking that question decades later.

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