Tom Petty, You're A Heartbreaker
2017 was the year rock and roll took a huge hit. We said goodbye to Chuck Berry, David Bowie, Prince, Chris Cornell, Greg Allman and Tom Petty, just to name a few.
"If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry'." -John Lennon
I’ve always been fascinated with Chuck and Tom. They were friends. They were both on my Bucket List to see. I had been watching the tour dates for Chuck because I knew he wasn't going to live forever; he was 91. He had a residency at the Blueberry Hill Club in St. Louis and I was always begging my sister to go with me. Sadly, we never made it.
I thought for sure I had plenty of time to see Tom.
I was wrong.
It was October 2nd and I was in Big Sur, California exploring Highway 1 when I got the news.
It was going to be a beautiful sunny California day and I had woken up at 4am in Campbell, California to the news of the Vegas shootings. I was on a schedule to be in Pebble Beach to watch the sunrise, and I knew that I had to get on the road. While my heart was breaking for the victims in Vegas, and I wracked my brain to make sure none of my friends had been at the Jason Aldean concert, I got on the road and tried to get my mind off of the tragedy.
I had wanted to stay off of my phone and not read about the victims. I knew it would ruin my trip that I had been looking so forward to, so I said a prayer for them and I put my phone in the passenger seat and headed South on the 1 towards Big Sur.
*I later found out that my dear friend Chad, aka DJ Dirty was in fact, in Vegas. He was supposed to be at the Jason Aldean concert, but at the last minute he was asked to DJ at the Redneck Riviera. Thank you God! I hugged the lights out of him when we both got back to Charlotte.
I was on the road and making good time, but could not help but notice my phone going insane. I finally picked it up to see the news of Tom having gone into cardiac arrest. I was like what? Noooo!!! How??? I was on a group text with a group of festival friends and I had to pull over because I had busted into tears.
Petty had recently completed a 40th anniversary tour with his band, the Heartbreakers. This was supposed to be his "last trip around the country." He had told Rolling Stone magazine he wasn't going to stop playing. "I need something to do, or I tend to be a nuisance around the house."
I remember just staring out at the huge ocean as tears streamed down my face. I missed my friends. I missed my Mom. I missed Charlotte. I had never felt so far away from home and so alone. I just stood there and tried to calm down. I was in complete shock. Even though I didn't know him, when you spend as much time listening to someone and following their career, you feel like you know them on some level. I had just watched the Netflix documentary Running Down A Dream; if you have never seen it, it’s great.
It wasn't even lunchtime and I just felt like the life had been sucked out of me.
The Los Angeles coroner’s office issued its official findings last week, which confirmed that Petty had a mix of prescription painkillers, sedatives and an antidepressant. Tom Petty’s death being an accidental overdose breaks my heart; knowing that it could have been prevented. He was suffering from emphysema, a fractured hip and knee problems that caused him pain, but he was still committed to touring. Among the medications found in his system were fentanyl and oxycodone. Tell me America, why is marijuana illegal, but fentanyl - which is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine legal? HOW is that ok? In Tom Petty’s case, WHY would any Dr. prescribe fentanyl for emphysema when one of the side effects is respiratory failure? WHY? It makes no sense to me. I have a mother with terminal bone cancer and half of the drugs she is prescribed (but refuses to take because of what it does to her body) NEVER touch her pain. And you better believe as her daughter, I look at every prescription bottle that comes in her home. The prescriptions were ridiculous; oxycodone, methadone and so on; the day I saw methadone I was like WHY? No...we are not getting hooked on that. No way. She only uses the heavy drugs when the pain is too much to bear. We have come this far; addiction is not an option.
We researched alternative options. You know what has helped her? Plant based lotions and oils. I highly (no pun intended) suggest apothecanna lotion or oil for neuropathy pain, a side effect of chemotherapy. It is legal in the US and has been extremely helpful in her fight. Also, frankincense oil from DoTerra. I love anything from DoTerra. The On Guard has saved me from my usual sick-from- November-to-February. I haven't been sick in ....well, I can't tell you then last time I was sick.
On a sidenote, my Mom is kicking cancers ass. She just got back a report that her tumor markers are lower than they have ever been since her diagnosis - go Mom! Petty, who was from Florida was remembered by a stadium full of Florida Gators fans shortly after his passing singing along to I Won’t Back Down. How unbelievably awesome. This made the hair on my arm stand up.
Later that day, as I drove the beautiful Highway 1 I listened to Tom Petty's Greatest Hits. I finally made it to Pacific's Edge for lunch, where I had a Bloody Mary and a beautiful view of the ocean. I toasted to Tom's life. Life is short people. Don't wait. If you are going to do it, do it now.
Tomorrow isn't promised for any of us.