Dylan McKay is going to live forever, thank to streaming services and the reruns on designated networks, but Luke Perry was always going to die someday.
That day has come.
When the massive stroke hit a few days ago, it was disturbing and discouraging, but the plan was that he would make a slow and steady recovery, and maybe alter his lifestyle accordingly.
Unfortunately, he never regained consciousness, and sadly passed away.
The confirmation was made hours ago, and before I could give the gathered tears permission to fall, my face was soaked with nostalgic grief, as I contemplated the reality of life and the cruelty of death all at once.
The shocking disbelief of losing someone who was a vital part of an era that defined your youth is an emotion that I’m being forced to embrace with tragic frequency, as the piling years selfishly devour the once tangible elements that kept the threat of our mortality blissfully tucked away.
Beverly Hills, 90210 was the hit show of my generation, and back in those days, the options for regular viewing didn’t resemble the endless array of delectables on the current menu. There was a more simplified approach to programming that almost guaranteed that everyone was watching the same thing at the same time.
The gang of privileged teens who were living their best lives in the poshest area code La La Land had to offer, became the dependable staple of early adulthood, and while they were all easy to embrace without reservations, there was no doubt that the coolest of them all was Dylan.
He had the best storylines because he naturally found himself entangled in rotating love triangles, and the furious blast from a complicated past that explained the low-key broodiness that made the resident “bad boy” deliciously hard to resist.
This wasn’t an intense crush that engulfed my senses in ways that inspire the fantastical elements to create elaborate scenarios to drive you crazy. I know what those are like and I do miss the naivety behind the schemes.
It was honestly just a matter of regimen and the incorporation of recognizable items into the weekly packaging of a journey, that was stretching far into a future that seemed to be bloated with exciting and promising treats, that only a girls between the ages of 18 and 25 can fathom with pure anticipation.
And now my eyes are less swollen and my body readily absorbent of the utter despair at the brutal exit of a teen idol, who I rarely thought about until late last year, while stumbling upon an article that depicted an older version of him with cast mates at a photo call.
The immediacy of my stunned response that caused me to weep in silence was a bit over-the-top and forced me to wonder what that was all about.
It didn’t take long for me to diagnose the epicenter of my pain, which had more to do with the loss of my youth and its vibrant accompaniments than the very sad and very final farewell to a light-hearted crush from long ago, whom I never met, and never really wanted to meet.
His passing is another searing reminder of how aging and death will eventually overtake the bountiful landscape of riches, that displayed the deceit of how we will always be young and beautiful, without the threat of running out of the one thing that would inevitably ruin us — time.
We are never ready to face the consequences of lasting long enough to truly appreciate why memories aren’t for the faint of heart.
And as entertainment outlets transport us back to that familiar place, when graying strands were jet-black and Dylan McKay was desperately trying to decide between Kelly and Brenda, the rush of an almost forgotten characteristic that used to cushion the blows of disappointment floods back for a second.
When it disappears, the mourning begins as I recall how much reliance was levied on the length of years ahead, with the vividness of what was supposed to be — but never was — and those tears only burst out when pieces of that broken puzzle reactivate.
I am very sorry that Luke Perry is gone, and even sorrier for those who have the right to weep for the guy who was evidently every bit of the gentleman that I assumed him to be.
Saying goodbye is a difficult task that never gets easier, and getting older demands our ability to look back and chart how the days ahead are getting terrifyingly smaller.
I guess we were born to die, and for those who played even a minuscule part in the capsule of our fleeting existence, when they go, they take a sliver of us with them.
And that hurts. That’s why I was crying so hard.