Last night I went to a tribute for Van Cephus (Ce’ phus… Accent on the first syllable ) at Bert’s Jazz Room in Detroit. I met a friend about 7:00p.m. and we got good seats and had dinner before the tribute started. Van died on March 18, 2014.
His life had been going in a downward spiral. He was a well known jazz musician in the area who played in local clubs and churches. Recently with a change in pastor, one of his church jobs was over. For others reasons, he lost his other church job. So, his economic reality was getting worse. He was notified by the county that his house was going to be taken for back taxes. On Friday, March 14, the county bailiffs placed a dumpster on his lawn. He was able to remove some of his things and got friends to help move things to other places for storage. The following Monday, the bailiffs came back and began to move his life belongings to the dumpster. He stood on the lawn watching. The following day he took his own life in a hotel room.
Of course, this is the short version. So many people got up last night and spoke so well about Van. Most had talked to him within the last month. Many said looking backwards they could see the signs. Some thought they could have done more. They all said they did not know how bad it was for Van. And he did not tell anyone of his plans although people are reading his posts on Facebook now and seeing the signs.
His Homegoing is today. Maybe people will take care of each other in the future better.