Celebrity Deaths and Why We Mourn Them | Sunday Chat

Hey Sweeties,

2016 was bad year for celebrity deaths, and I mean, significant celebrity deaths and when we thought we were in the clear, we lost George Michael and Carrie Fisher just before 2017 dawned; really quite shit. For me, in 2016 my devastation started when I saw the news break on Twitter about Alan Rickman, he was my total older man crush and today he has been gone 366 days yet it still feels fresh, as though it was yesterday. I was also very sad about Victoria Wood, and I surprised myself by how upset I was about Caroline Aherne; 52 is no age to go. For all the celebrity deaths last year, every loss was a loss.

So why are we upset about celebrity deaths, people dying that we do not even know? Well, I am not a psychologist so I have no scientific explanation, so I can only talk from an emotional one based on my own experience.

Celebrity Deaths

We are sad about celebrity deaths because death is sad.

We form emotional attachments to these guys because they act in a film we adore; sing a song that we love; make us laugh when we need something to cheer us up; and with many celebrities having social accounts and being talked about in the press, we can engage with them like never before. Our lives are so busy, we sometimes feel like we are more in tune with what a celebrity is having for lunch, than we do ourselves or our friends and family.

I think it is worth highlighting that as my husband put it, now that we have so many TV channels, media, and the internet and so on to consume entertainment, there are consequently more celebrities because each of these mediums produce people that become well known. Back when our parents were young, consumption of popular culture and sport was really very narrow which meant there were not quite as many famous people.

In 2016 I felt we were also, dare I say, over sad about celebrities that died who were in their 80s or above; we have to acknowledge they’ve still had a pretty decent life and it’s not something to curse the universe for taking them, because it was just their time to go. Of course, we are sad about them because that is totally okay to be so, it is still death, but I think in some cases 2016 got unnecessarily blamed and shouted at.

Celebrity Deaths in the past

In previous years, I have been shocked to hear of a celebrity death because the scenario in which they died and got found made me sick. For example, Heath Ledger going really shocked me and I couldn’t get out of my head that he was found naked in Mary-Kate Olsen’s flat; I also remember being shocked when I heard on the news that Peaches Geldof had died, but then slightly less sympathetic when the post mortem came back as death being caused by substance abuse. That being said, it’s still sad because you think of the people in the celebrity’s immediate network that have to deal with their loss on a much more personal level, for the rest of their life.

Now celebrities aside, death scares many people, I included. I think celebrity deaths are a poignant reminder for how quickly things can change and life can be taken which adds to the fear. In time and I think when you get older, you accept death as an outcome of a life lived; young people fear it because how can we possibly be ready to accept something that takes us from this world and our loved ones?

This weekend I think I might watch Truly, Madly, Deeply and have a bloody good cry.

How do you feel about celebrity deaths?

Until next time x


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