For Neil, Not All Days are Sundays
Neil in his latest blog post talks about the death of his good frend and brother-in-law, Steven Taylor, who had a heart attack last month at age 61. Steven was the older brother of Neil’s first wife, Jackie, and he was instrumental in helping Neil through his grieving after the death of his daughter and Jackie.
“Steven and I shared the worst times in our lives,” Neil says in the post, “Not All Days are Sundays. “When I was at my lowest, Steven was my rock. After the wrench of Jackie’s passing, Steven met me on my Ghost Rider travels to help ‘kill Christmas’ (the worst time of year when your family is shattered)—one year in Belize, with his wife Shelly, the next year pounding through Baja in his father-in-law’s Hummer. A few years later Steven lost his teenage son, Kyle, to stupid cancer, and I was able to be there for him. (The ‘walking wounded,’ we called ourselves.) He was a good man, a good friend, and a good brother—I felt his loss keenly.”
Neil says he spent about two weeks at his house in the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec last month, first with Carrie and their daughter and then by himself. With about two feet of snow up there, it was a lot of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. With the skiing, it was a mix of Sundays and not Sundays, he says. The Sundays are the days in which the skiing is good and the not-Sundays are the days in which it isn’t, like on this day: “As I slid along the icy crust, [the ice] pushed up my jacket and underlayers, and scraped the skin raw above my belt line.”
The skiing and his friend’s recent death brought to mind the untimely death 30 years ago of Robbie Whelan, the recording engineer’s assistant at Le Studio in Quebec for whom “Afterimage” on Grace Under Pressure was written. The two of them used to go skiing and it was Whelan who showed Neil how to go down “The Chutes,” a super-slick trail on Neil’s property that you ski down only at your peril. “As I waited at the crest [of The Chutes],” Neil says, “not knowing what was ahead of me, I heard his whoops of fear and excitement ahead.”
Those whoops and cries are memorialized in “Afterimage” lyrics that will be familiar to many:
The shouts of joy, skiing fast through the woods
I hear the echoes
I learned your love for life,
I feel the way that you would
I feel your presence
Read “Not All Days are Sundays” on Neil’s blog.