We saw the passing of Carrie Fisher this week. Understandably, this resulted in a lot of heartfelt thoughts over the loss. We have seen that a lot this year. 2016 saw the deaths of a lot of Iconic performers who impacted many.
But along with the touching remembrances, there is another group out there. The folks who feel it is very important to tell us that “everyone dies”. Or, People die every day”. Or maybe that you should not feel such emotion about the death of a person you did not know personally.
These people are not trying to offer actual comfort. Instead, they see themselves as the magical provider of “Perspective”. They are under the (false) belief that they are giving some great wisdom about mortality.
The problem is, it is wholly unnecessary “wisdom”. People are well aware that people die and die unexpectedly. This does not, actually, make it hurt any less. And it is not meant to. The only message you send out to people when you tell them this is “You’re feelings are meaningless”.
Should we have no feeling about someone we have never met? Well, that is a rather short sighted claim. Celebrities, be they artists or scientists, have touched lives of people they never met.*
The works they have created touched lives beyond their immediate circle. And even there, your mileage may vary. There were a lot of people who died that I had not been aware of. So, I did not really feel personal loss, but at no point did that lead me to feel that I should try and diminish the heart break of those who were hurt.
Finally, I have seen the assertion that the grief expressed for celebrities should not rival that of people physically in our lives. But really? Who is doing this? Who is putting Carrie Fisher’s death above someone they love who has passed. When my father passed in April of 2015 we recognized our heartbreak by talking about him. We discussed our wonderful memories. We wrote about him. People spoke about how he impacted his life. Why is acknowledging a musician or actor or a writer who had an impact on our lives some how not worthy? But I do not know anyone who mourned Prince greater than they did loved ones in their immediate life.
At the same time? Prince touched far more lives than my father did. This is not a knock against my dad. Prince was world famous. So it is not a surprise to me that more people showed up to pay respects to Prince than for my dad.
So, here is a New Years Resolution for those who feel compelled to tell everyone heartbroken over the death of a famous person: Stop being a dick.
*The fact that so many people I personally see dropping this supposed “truth bomb” are Christians is kind of hilarious. Talk about an ironic lack of imagination from people who believe they have a personal relationship with someone they do not truly see or hear.