march 9, B.I.G. and why some deaths are remembered more than others.

When I woke up this morning, the day had no special significance for me. And even after discovering why today’s a big deal for my 25-year-old and his posse from middle school,  today still remains just another day.

March 9 is the death anniversary of The Notorious B.I.G., the epitome of East Coast hip hop in the ’90s. So today, hip-hop fans are reminiscing his contributions to music, culture and the making of a whole generation. And in that remembering, Jez wondered out loud why in hip-hop, death anniversaries are commemorated more than birth anniversaries?

Being a cool mom who craves to participate in the philosophical pondering of my children, I wanted to make a contribution. While, I know nothing of hip-hop, much less enjoy or appreciate it, I have given death a lot of thought. And I have realized that some deaths are more significant than others. When death has come and gone, we move on. Yet some deaths have a more permanent effect. This happens when . . .

the loss is palpable. When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, the country was on the verge of change on so many levels. His death froze the nation into a state of limbo. It was as if the people died with their leader.

the loss takes you backwards. Imagine how much quicker civil rights and economic modernization would have progressed had Abraham Lincoln had not been killed.

the loss effects change. Mother Teresa’s death was so profound that the influence of her life continues beyond her death. It is as if her death guaranteed that her work would never end, that there were enough people to keep her work alive.

On a birth anniversary, you celebrate the person for who he was and what he did. On a death anniversary, you mourn for what the world could have been had he not died. As with B.I.G., the death is remembered where the loss is felt the most.

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