Until I faced the death of someone who was a part of the fabric of my life,I thought I understood the impact of a death. I had lost my great-grandmother and my granpa, a childhood friend died from a drug overdose when we were 21. I knew what death and grief looked like, it was just a part of life. I did not understand the impact of a death. I didn't understand it until I did.
Everytime someone dies, there's at least one person, more likely a few people, whose lives will never, ever be OK without that person. There's grieving, there's healing, there's even gifts of strength and knowledge from the death of someone dear to us. But it is never OK that they are not here. Ever.
We had some celebrity deaths this week, it's true. It's sad when people who are a part of our culture and entertained us into happy little moments in our life are gone. These were young folks, too young to die. We need to know why. It is understandable. But the constant flux of media coverage cheapens the experience of those few people who will never be OK without that person. The nation doesn't really "grieve". The mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and children and best friends grieve.
I'd like to think that we can respectfully hold a place of quiet and reserve for our own sadness and even greater place for those who truly grieve these losses. That we can celebrate a person's life without engaging in hero worship. I'm not insensitive to the need for the public to hear these stories and express their sadness, I would just hate for people to miss the point. I don't pretend to know what all of the points are but when I step away from the noise, a few come to mind:
-untreated mental illness is scary,real and sometimes fatal
-celebrities are actual people
-sufferring is real
-love your friends and family fiercely
-be nice, smile more
-take good care of yourself
Feel free to add your own.