Absolute Beginners

It’s been emotional.


Fly on, little wing. Image: sjohart Artist unknown

The past week and a bit has seen my baby spend several days in hospital. The care we received – all if us, not just Junior – was impeccable, and a full recovery is imminent,  but still. If I never have to call an ambulance for my tiny child again, it will be too soon.

The picture above is one I took in Baby’s hospital room. The tiny bird reminded me of the child in the cot beneath it in better, healthier days – all wide, sparkling eyes, the mouth barely open in wonder and curiosity – and I found it hugely comforting. As kind as the nurses and doctors were, however, it was exhausting, both practically and emotionally, to maintain a bedside vigil and I was glad to be allowed home again last weekend.

I listened to ‘Lazarus’, a track from David Bowie’s latest album, on one of our trips to or from hospital. How incredible, I thought. Bowie is still a relevant, creative genius.  I loved the track. I resolved to buy the album.

And then news broke of his death.

I haven’t been so broken at a celebrity death before. Not even the loss of Terry Pratchett, who I adored, hurt as much as this. I can’t process the idea that Bowie, the chameleon, the otherworldly, the unspeakably beautiful, is dead. I prefer to think he has returned home. He will never be gone. He is part of the air now, and the night sky.

I don’t have a favourite Bowie track. I love pretty much all of them equally. (The video for ‘Let’s Dance’, however, is dearest to my heart). I wanted to share the video for ‘Absolute Beginners’, though, not only because I think it’s a fabulous song, but mostly because it was in my head a lot as I looked after my sick child.

I absolutely love you, but I’m an absolute beginner.

I am an inexperienced mother, but I hope I’m doing an OK job. ‘Absolute Beginners’ lets me know I probably am. I wish David Bowie knew how much his music and image have meant to me, and how much he has helped me just by existing and creating and showing us all how to turn our lives into art.

I loved him. I will never forget him. And my child will know all about him, in time.

Like I said. It’s been emotional.


5 thoughts on “Absolute Beginners

  1. Jan Hawke

    So glad Baby will soon be in good health again and that you’re getting some well-earned rest too!
    Lovely to see and hear David again – I too listened to the Blackstar album the other day and he really was impeccable in every possible way, right up to the end. The Starman is in his Heaven and the world will still spin to his songs.

  2. Kate Wally

    Poor BabyO! You poor guys, how horrible. I’m glad though Baby is on the mend.

    David Bowie’s death has really upset me too, though, I don’t know how to justify it. I’m not a diehard fan, I don’t own any of his music and I haven’t followed his work. I’ve simply always admired him – his chameleon ways, his grace, his genius. How can I feel all this while knowing so little? I had the opportunity to see the Bowie Is exhibition in Melbourne and of course, learning so much more about him, his life and work made me respect him all the more.

    He was so infinite that death seemed impossible. He has left an enormous legacy to the world.

  3. elainepeters5

    Sorry to hear about your baby’s ill health, but hugely relieved to hear of recovery. Awful panicky feeling of helplessness and fear. Hope you can breathe easy now.

  4. mariemck1

    I came to find out when the book was out. Desperate to read it. But obviously you’ve had a lot going on. I do hope baby is well. I’ve been there a couple of times, and it is dreadful. It takes a wee while to get over the shock. Hopefully, though, things are a lot better.


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