I woke up this morning and went to check what was new on Facebook, like I do every morning and the first thing I saw was that Alan Rickman had passed away.
Of course my first thought was “this must be a hoax” since those are so frequent nowadays. But it was posted by my sister in law and the link she shared was a reputable source.
Scrolling down my newsfeed you could see that almost every post of mine was about his passing.
I started sobbing and I called to Sean to tell him. You could tell he thought it was a little silly that I was crying over someone I never even knew. “People die all the time,” he said. And he’s right, earlier this week, David Bowie also passed away (sadly both died at the age of 69 and from cancer).
His words caused me to reflect back on my own reactions as well as friends and people of the internet when we hear word that a beloved celebrity has died.
I remember when I first saw the news that Corey Monteith died of a drug overdose back in July of 2013. I cried and cried. It wasn’t like he was my favorite actor. Sure I loved Glee and his character, but I’d never really watched anything else that he was in.
But it had this affect on me that struck me to the core.
And yet he wasn’t someone I knew in person.
I know that not everyone has experienced the death of a loved one, especially when you’re at a young age. But losing someone I love is all too familiar, but the feelings you have can vary, just as it can vary when you hear about a celebrity passing away. Sometimes you can feel sad but also happy as you know they were in pain for so long. Other times it comes so sudden that it’s hard to process what happened or understand why, since they were so young.
But the emotions we feel are real.
Sure, people die everyday, but that doesn’t mean our feelings aren’t valid, even if we didn’t know them.
I believe that it becomes a big deal to us because they have influenced our lives in some way and entered into our homes by watching their movies and TV shows or listening to their music. We’ve become invested in characters that they’ve portrayed and so by losing them, we lose the future of enjoying anything else they’ve created.
I think back to when Heath Ledger died. I don’t remember if I cried, but I remember sitting with my roommates and watching some of his films, and then later on seeing him as the Joker in The Dark Knight. It was hard to think that someone so talented wouldn’t be able to share their talent with us anymore.
But on the other hand, they left movies and music behind that we get to enjoy over and over again. Their legacies are set for the future.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to cry over the loss of a celebrity. I think that by mourning their deaths we’re showing that they had entered our hearts and made a difference in our lives and the lives of so many others.
My heart goes out to the families of those celebrities, especially this week with David Bowie’s and Alan Rickman’s families. No matter the celebrity status, it is still hard to lose someone that was so close to you. I still get sad when I think about my late Grandpa or my cousin who lost her life so young, but with time I’ve been able to smile more fondly about the memories that I have with them.
While we have the memories of watching some of our on screen heroes, their families have even greater stories to remember and retell with each other.
It is my hope that during these times that seem so hard and unfair to us, that we remember those who really knew them most, but understand that it’s okay to be sad for ourselves, for they were gone too soon.