The first concert I ever went to was Bon Jovi in 1993 when I was 13. I wasn’t a Bon Jovi fan at all, but my Aunt Sharon was and she begged me to go with her. I remember being so annoyed about the whole thing, but this was also right around the time “Bed of Roses” came out so secretly, I was kind of excited that I would probably get to hear that MONSTER BALLAD, lol.
I barely remember anything about it other than the weather was bad (it was February) and Sharon almost considered getting a hotel in town that night so we wouldn’t have to drive home in the snow. I also remember it being so dark and overwhelming in the Civic Arena, and teasing Sharon about having a crush on the creepy man in the long black leather jacket standing near us.
I remember that the Jeff Healey Band opened and Sharon telling me the singer was blind.
I remember being secretly pleased that Bon Jovi played “Bed of Roses.” (DON’T JUDGE ME.)
I also remember how fucking happy Sharon was to be there.
Sharon passed away Monday afternoon. It wasn’t sudden, but that doesn’t make her death any easier. “Easy” and “death” just don’t ever make sense together, no matter what. But, for me anyway, there is a sense of relief. It’s been a roller coaster since March 30th. I’ll spare the details, but we went from being hopeful to hopeless, rewinding and replaying the same tape, until a few weeks ago when a doctor was basically like, “Look, she’s not going to bounce back from this, probably.”
We all convened at the house last night. I gravitated toward Sharon’s room and just kind of stood there helplessly, and that’s when I saw the basket of clothes in a corner, hidden behind a chair full of creepy old dolls. No wonder I never noticed the basket past the porcelain horror-army!
In this basket, I found her signature Bon Jovi shirt and pile of stonewashed denim: some overalls, some with suspenders, one with a pair of giant red lips, but all stonewashed. When I picture the best version of my Aunt Sharon, it’s the 80s, her hair is frosted and teased, and she’s wearing this goddamn Bon Jovi tour shirt with stonewashed jeans. That’s the Aunt Sharon I want to remember, the one I’m mourning. The one who showed me the world, and the one who took me to my first concert. The one in the stonewashed jeans, with the frosted hair.
Posing for the millionth picture of the day — you guys think I’m snap-happy? I learned it by watching my grandma!
When Henry and I got in the car to come home last night, “Wanted Dead or Alive” was playing on the radio. Universe, you are weird and wonderful.
With that old, yellowed Bon Jovi shirt in my lap, I started to cry. I hear you, Sharon. </3