In Memory of Craig Aspen
I was blindsided last week by the tragic and senseless death of my friend Craig Aspen.
I take a breathe and say this with a very heavy heart.
Craig Aspen is gone. Rest in Peace my brother.
I write this as my emotions swirl like a storm. I can only hope the love spills out on to the page. Craig Aspen was my friend. For a decade and a half we trudged a road, an adventure. My tattooed friend who twinkled with New York moxie behind his mustache. We were artists, shared that common bond of having to reinvent ourselves to stay in this business we loved. Craig was so talented as a musician, a song writer and behind a camera. And yet there was a time decade plus ago he hocked his Mandolin for Heroin. The bravado got in the way of the surrender. But like in the old west the Earp Brothers saddled up and found Craig. They saw the surrender in his eyes. He went to Kirkland and spent 4 weeks being renewed. The surrender had stuck. We would all meet up at Saint Paul’s church in Ballard. Early in the morning. I can still see that beat up van pull into the gravel parking lot. On several occasions a bunch of us would go over to Chad’s house for pancakes and bacon. There was a lot of laughter. He got a tool box and started to repair the past. He was available, for his friends and family, for the woman he loved.
I remember a couple of years after the surrender I was at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard watching the Believers play. I was filled with joy watching my friends play music. Half way through the set Craig turned around and walked toward the back of the stage. He pulled out the mandolin he had hocked and started to play. Tears streamed down my face as the song progressed. I was filled with hope, I was filled with joy, my heart burst open.
He loved one woman in his life and that was Cynthia. I saw it back in the day when he helped Cynthia with the catering. When they were in the living room of the house in Seattle. I saw it when they were on stage together, there would be a glance during a song or prolonged eye contact during a harmony. I saw it every time they were together. He said to me once, “I am blessed that I am here and I get to be with the prettiest girl at the dance.” I don’t think Craig ever stopped loving Cynthia. Even when madness took him from us.
Where did that tool box go? I don’t know. I will never know. I miss my friend, his kindness, his spirit. In the end the countryside is littered with railroad spikes, shotgun shells and drunken poets.
Rest in Peace