Honoring death anniversaries has always seemed creepy to me – whether it’s Elvis Week in Memphis each August or movements to make 9/11 a national holiday. Isn’t life what we should be celebrating? Remembering the departed is very important, but don’t we want to remember them in their happiest times?
Upon examining Elvis Presley’s life, he was clearly at his peak in the mid-50s. Even around the late ‘60s he was riding high as a result of his celebrated comeback special. Near the end of his life in the late ‘70s he was, by all accounts, at an all-time low. Emotionally and physically drained, his death came as a result of his own carelessness.
This contrasts dramatically with John Lennon’s death just three years later. While Lennon certainly maneuvered through his low points – listen to his solo debut album for proof – in 1980 he found inner peace and happiness for the first time in his life at age 40. The sad irony surrounding Lennon’s death is that he was at the peak of his life – emotionally, physically, and, in some regards, even artistically.