I chose this particular GIF because it is one of my most favorite moments of his on, as we all know by now, my favorite show: Beverly Hills, 90210.
When he died, I was flooded with in-person, email, phone call, and text message check-ins to see how I was coping. I laughed them all off; I mean it is very sad, but I never personally knew him, so do I have a right to grieve him?
Immediately my bereavement counselor brain says, 'No one can tell you who to grieve or how to grieve! If you need to grieve him, do it!'. In many ways, I concur; and yet, on the day, I didn't really feel anything.
Then, this past weekend, POPtv aired a 'Best of Dylan McKay' marathon. I didn't watch it because, well, I own all 10 seasons on DVD and who wants to unnecessarily sit through commercials? I did, however, watch the end of one episode.
This episode is very early on, Season 1, when Brenda and Dylan first get together. Towards the end of the episode, there is a presentation to the students of West Beverly about AIDs and the proper use of protection; this, of course, prompts Brenda to ask Dylan about his status and if he has been tested.
Brenda and Dylan's ensuing conversation closes out this particular episode and it was while watching it that it hit me. I found myself feeling suddenly sad and a bit caught of guard by the reaction.
I am sad for his family and friends. I am heartbroken for his fiance and children. But, I am also sad because of what he represents for my pre-teen/teen/college years (that show was on for 10 years!).
I owned the family room on Wednesday nights from 7-8; no matter what game was on, I got the family room. The room even had an accordion style door that I closed to enjoy the show on my own. I remember Brenda's pregnancy scare episode. As was often the case, I was in the family room with my friend Leah (was Ellen there, too?), door closed to avoid any interruption during showtime--this was serious business!--and suddenly, at commercial, the door flew open and my dad came in saying something along the lines of, 'what are you watching?!'. I don't remember his exact words, but I remember Leah being worried he was actually mad we were watching a show that would address teenage pregnancy; I quickly reassured her while making sure he was out of the room be the end of the commercial break. The series finale aired on the night of the annual Mother-Daughter Banquet at church. I went to the banquet, but I absolutely called home with minutes to spare to make sure Dad was recording and that he remembered it was a 2 hour episode. I remember when my college roommate told me something big that happened in an episode before I could watch the tape (yep, I used to have an ABUNDANCE of VHS tapes with labels indicating episodes).
I could go on. And on. But, the point is this: when Luke Perry died I felt something because for 10 years he, and the rest of the cast, were very important in my life. Even now, I regularly pull out my DVDs to go back to that time and end up watching from beginning to end.
I remember going to church the morning Princess Diana died and seeing the reactions of people, Karrie in particular, and wondering why they were so upset. How can the death of someone you've never met or interacted with in any way cause such an impact.
Now I get it. Or, I'm beginning to.
Luke, thank you.
May your family, friends, and castmates be comforted with beautiful memories now and in the time ahead.