Prolog: The Funeral
“When you awake you will remember everything
You will be hangin’ on a string from your...
When you believe, you will relieve the only soul
That you were born with to grow old and never know...”
Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel
It’s two p.m. in the Bearsville Theatre, December 15, 1999. There’s a line snaked out in the parking lot, but I’m sitting in the back, doing my best to cry softly when what I want to do is totally break down. I’m not supposed to be here, Robbie made arrangements so I could come to the memorial so I’m going to behave myself for him.
I see people that I know from the studio, Eric and George are here from England, Dylan’s here, though it surprises me. I see my friend Bob Weir smiling at me and it helps lift me up. “He wouldn’t want you to cry,” his eyes say so, “He’d just want you to remember all the good things.”
Robbie turns to look at me, and I nod. I’m strong enough to be here after all.
I can’t believe Rick is dead. I caught up with him on his last tour and we spent the final days together before he had to go home. It was hard, watching him and worrying about him. He did not look good and the sex wasn’t much but we were together and that was what counted.
We were together for almost twenty-five years—what am I going to do now? I’m forty-seven and that seems too old to start over again. Besides, how can I find someone who loved me the way he did? Who cares if I was the other woman, I was his other woman. We had our ups and our downs but we stuck it out. You don’t have to be a wife to have a happy relationship.