It snowed in April. It always snows in April.
Prince taught me that lesson when I was 10. Living in city not too different from his, we both experienced the same strange weather year after year. Every year, it snows in April. Every year, someone expresses surprise. I’m never surprised.
The song is about loss; that’s the lesson I learned.
Prince holds a very special place for me. I’m a fan who can easily spout off tidbits and facts, yes. But I’m grateful to him because he is the one bond I had with my late sister.
My sister and I never got along as kids. NEVER. We disowned each other about six times in one year. Our fights were over everything. They were loud, violent (there’s a wall that bears the imprint of my head somewhere), vitriolic. We disagreed on religion, politics, social issues, sports, and music.
She liked classic RnB; I liked Brit Pop. She liked West Coast; I liked East Coast. She liked Led Zepplin; I liked Guns n’ Roses. She liked Britney; I liked Christina.
But Prince? We agreed on him. She was the bigger fan, but we always agreed.
As adults, we grew closer and going to see Prince became our one sisterly bonding act. We didn’t shop together, brunch together, or spend hours on the phone.But Prince announced a concert…we knew we were going with each other.Boyfriends weren’t invited. BFFs weren’t invited.
This was for us.
My favourite show was a place called Koolhaus…at the end of the show, I was able to use my connections and take her to the after party. As the sun came up, we headed home and along the way, we danced and skipped along the streets screaming at each other, “WE PARTIED WITH PRINCE!”
When she was hospitalized, the only comfort she asked for were CDs to listen to. No TV, no books. She wanted a variety of her favourites, which I took out of their jewel cases and placed in sleeves. She asked for Greatest Hits/B-Sides for efficiency. Those CD still sit in their sleeves…I’ve never returned them to their cases.
When she died on New Year’s Day. My world went silent. I didn’t hear anything for days. During her visitation, I insisted that Prince be played. I listened to the Purple Rain soundtrack while I did her hair and makeup (I didn’t trust the mortician to get it right). I designed her headstone to place the Love Symbol between the year she was born and the year she died. I asked that everyone wear something purple… just like our concert tickets would tell us to.
For four days, I looked at blank screen while I tried to compose a eulogy for my big sister. I couldn’t do it. Finally the words came. I don’t remember much of it, but I know I ended it with this:
Sometimes it snows in April
Sometimes I feel so bad,
Sometimes I wish life was never ending,
And all good things, they say, never last
Years after she died, I went to one more concert. One of my dearest friends treated me to front row seats and insisted that we go. I danced, I sang, and when I went home, I cried. I felt like I had broken a bond.
I never saw him perform live again. Every time he announced a show, someone would ask, “why aren’t YOU going?” and sometimes I would explain. More often I wouldn’t. Because I’d have to explain loss…and I still don’t know how to do that.
Today my world went silent again. Friends who knew of this connection called and texted. My mother called. I turned off my phone. I sat down and wrote this.
To say thank you.
Thank you Prince Rogers Nelson for giving me time to dance with my sister.
I hope you both find the answer to the April snow.