Seriously?! Seriously? George Michael. Carrie Fisher. Debbie Reynolds. All this after Prince, Bowie, Florence Henderson, and Alan wonderful Rickman?! (Among others, yes.)
This year has been a not-so-great year for me to begin with, but all of these deaths have hit and hit me hard. Yes, I am actually grieving celebrity deaths. It is not that I believe they were close, personal friends (even though I might have had dreams where Alan and I were tight), but that does not mean I do not feel something when they pass. These celebrities were in my favorite movies, sang some songs that tell the story of my life, and are just downright role models of courage through hardship.
Now, I am shocked by some of them because it was not something that I was expecting, not that I expect people to die, but you know what I mean. That being said, they did not necessarily surprise me either. Many had histories with drugs and played the game of life hard and at 100% all of the time. But, those same people were very real, honest, and quite open about their use, struggles, and victories. Celebrity is not always envious and it is definitely not as glamourous as we would believe, so the ability to openly describe struggles shows even more strength. And some of them did not have these histories and succumbed to cancer or a myriad of other illnesses.
Here is what shocks me the most out of all of this. The complete lack of compassion. Of empathy. Yes, you may think I am a bit nutty because I sobbed over Alan Rickman. You may think I have lost touch with reality because Carrie Fisher’s death has rocked my core. However, you do not get to diminish my feelings just because ‘she did it to herself.’ Well, honey child, let me tell you right now, technically she did do it to herself, but when you struggle with addiction and mental illness, it is a struggle just like any other. You have lupus, IBD, diabetes, bipolar, depression, etc., they are all diseases that affect you and your body. Some have more known than others. Some have better coping mechanisms and/or medicines. Some are curable, some are not. This does not mean that they had it coming to them. Does it mean that it was a terrible surprising shock? Maybe not, but the timing can still cause an effect.
But, here is the kicker for me. These people represented my childhood. They were icons that helped shape me into who I am. I try to be the best, kick arse woman I can be because Princess Leia did it. She could still be in love with a masculine, gorgeous man (yes, I still love you, Harrison) without having to give up her independence and strength. And he even loved her for it! You can call me silly or a dreamer because this made an impact on me, but when I grew up, she was it.
Alan Rickman … he always played the most complicated and well-rounded men in movies. Granted Hans Gruber was pretty straight forward and evil, but aside from that his Shakespeare portrayals were impeccable. He was always the man who I rooted for and fell in love with in the movies because you could tell he felt so much, even though he was strong, silent and bound to duty. I loved him in Love Actually, as well, even though his character wasn’t the purest; I still cared for his characters. And that was it, I cared for all of his characters, except Hans of course. Even as Professor Snape, there was a strange affection I always felt.
And George Michael … oh George! I can’t even finish a paragraph on him without singing and tearing up … yes, George, I have faith.
So, to those of you out there who are going to be all judgey, go ahead. Fill me up with comments on my own mental instability, my being too soft of a millennial and how I can’t handle the ‘real world.’ Death is real; I get that. I have actually dealt with death on a very real level, thank you very much. It happens. And many people act in a way that damages their bodies and causes them to leave the earth sooner than later. But here is where I am. This is the first year where a significant number of role models and famous people from my childhood have passed.
That is why I am shaken and sad. The reality of getting older and my being an adult is starting to hit, and it is not something I like to dwell upon. Let’s face it, we all go through a phase like this. I remember my mother talking to me one night about how the people she grew up watching on film were all passing away and how sad that was. That is what I am talking about people! This is not about millennials being yellow-bellied and too sensitive or soft. This is about the reality that our role models and people we grew up watching on the big screen are now fading off into the Force. Does it happen? Yes. But is it something that should not affect us? You may think yes, but I think no. This is me, these are my people, and they are passing away. This does affect me. I will not take off work sobbing, but I can be solemn and respectful and discuss how it does shock me because I was not expecting it. I still feel like I am 16 inside half of the time; I haven’t figured out my life and how to be an adult. But yet, there is a world without Carrie? This does not compute.
This simply does not compute. So let me deal without condemning me for being a human being.