we do know them, and we grieve

DAVID BOWIE AT THE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL - 1983

Image Provided by: http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Several weeks ago David Bowie died.  I read several other blogger’s posts about how they felt about his life and his death; and then there were the responses from people across the world.  Some people were in tears about his passing and this I can relate to.  I personally did not cry over David Bowie’s death but I have cried over other well-known people’s death.

This event had me thinking about why people cry when well known people die and it brought back a few memories.

I remember the day Elvis Presley died; it was August 16, 1977 and I was 17 years old.  I can remember as if it were yesterday, every detail is still intact in my mind when I heard the news.

Image2

Image Provided by: http://www.telegraph.co.uk

It was a hot day, being August in the southern United States, it is hot.  It was late afternoon and I was getting into my car to go to work.  The radio was on and the announcement was made.  I was still in the driveway at the time and I quickly ran into the house to tell my mom.  Upon hearing the news, she started crying.

Over a decade later on April 26, 1989, Lucille Ball died.  I was devastated and started to cry; this was upsetting news to me.

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Image Provided by: http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Less than a decade later on August 31, 1997, Princess Diana died.  I was again devastated and started to cry; this was upsetting news to me.  Over a decade later on June 25, 2009, Farrah Fawcett died.  That same year on September 14 Patrick Swayze died, than two years later on February 11, 2012, Whitney Houston died.  I again was devastated and started to cry; this was upsetting news to me.  And then there is Robin Williams, Natalie Cole, Leonard Nimoy, Omar Sharif, Dean Jones and the list goes on.

laurajack.com has an article titled ‘Why do we cry when famous people die?‘ and includes the following –

This begs the question, why do we cry when famous people die?

As they say at the Grief Recovery Institute, we do know them, we just haven’t met them in person.  We all have an emotional relationship with people who we admire, and perhaps even hope to meet them one day.  Therefore, when they die, we grieve because we have a emotional relationship with them that feels incomplete.

Grief is part of our evolution as humans.  Without loss and grief, we don’t grow.  Experiencing sadness, heart-ache, fear or any other emotion, is part of life, as hard as it may be sometimes.  It is what allows us to continue to transform.

So, whether we lose a family member or a person we admired, grief is normal.  Allow yourself and others to feel and be compassionate and loving because that is what we need to heal.

36 thoughts on “we do know them, and we grieve

  1. It is interesting to actually ponder this one. Like most people, I have cried when certain celebrities have died. I had not, until reading this, stopped to wonder why. So thank you for illuminating a corner which I was not aware was dark. By the way I was 17 when Elvis passed away and I was in France …. my mother was devasted, I was appalled by the fact that every shop turned their window into a funeral parlour with pictures of him surrounded by plastic flowers (not silk, plastic) and candles. Two years later Sid Vicious died and all of a sudden I wanted the shops to have pictures of him surrounded by tacky flowers and candles. Thirty five years later I have to admit that it is Elvis rather than Sid that gets me singing along in the car or dancing with my hairbrush 🙂

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  2. I don’t think I have ever cried at the loss of a famous person. The only time I came close was to Princess Diana and that was more of a shit feeling than crying.
    Thinking about it, I haven’t really cried when anyone has died so far so I suppose I have that crappy feeling yet to come.

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  3. Last night, I watched a documentary about the Challenger Disaster. The 30th Anniversary will be here in a few days. It is strange how we remember days like that, but we, at times, cannot remember the details of more personal losses. By the way, my first ever concert was seeing Elvis. That night has gone down as legendary in family lore.

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    • Yes, I agree about not having details of personal losses. And bringing up the Challenger Disaster, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news. Wow, hard to believe it has been 30 years.

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    • That is good to rejoice and remember what they brought us. I think some famous people are like family in that maybe they were in our homes on a weekly basis (TV) and this is why some may cry, like losing a family member. Thanks for the comment, always appreciated.

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  4. Other than Daniele, the one time I remember really, REALLY crying when someone famous (other than JFK, RFK, and MLK) passed was John Lennon. I used to live across the street from the Dakota and felt he was my neighbor. Weird, I know. When he was murdered I was living on Riverside and 94th street, and that night is just so vivid in my mind. It really was awful…..

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    • Wow, he was a neighbor or yours and understandable how sad you felt. It is interesting how we have a connection with these famous people and their death affects us. Thanks Catherine, I always enjoy reading your comments. 🙂

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  5. I remember the first time crying for someone famous. I was about 10 and I distinctly remember crying because time was moving forward. This piece of history was lost and were they going to be remembered by future generations? Was I going to be remembered?

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  6. I don’t remember crying about a famous person’s death but being deeply affected by something unexpected like an assassination or tragic accident. It is important that we are affected by grief or we lose a little of our humanity.

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  7. I too have cried when famous people have passed….to me it is because they have had an impact on my life deeper than some friends I see every day….to mourn for them only seems natural….when John Lennon was shot and killed we started a wake at our house without realizing it…we owned a reel to reel and had every Beatle song by group and individual on tape and started at the beginning, and it played constantly for days until the last song came on….it started out as a good bye to John and ended up being a wake, friends, and their friends stopped by, sat awhile, didn’t really talk….and then more would come….word of mouth was out about the tapes and our house was a revolving door…..we went to work and continued on with our lives but someone was always around listening….was pretty profound…..at one point someone came and brought their young date…I was in the kitchen doing something, she came in and asked me who John Lennon was and why all the fuss…..the day I knew I was officially old….LOL I can say thank you to John for seeing me grow up……great post…thanks for bringing back memories once again….its a good feeling to have….kat.

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  8. Interesting. I think one of the most impactful celebrity deaths to me was Chris Farley. I remember feeling like it was such a waste, and how I wished I had had a chance to reach out to him. So weird that although I never knew him, it really felt like a loss.

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    • Most likely for all of us, there are those that we feel some connection to and therefore feel a loss when they pass. Interesting how different celebrities have an impact on different people. Thanks Sadie! 🙂

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