Celebrities die. They’re mortal like the rest of us. But some had managed to convince us that perhaps they would live forever, that by achieving greatness they’d become immortal. And indeed, the legendary accomplishments of David Bowie, Prince, Muhammad Ali, John Glenn, Harper Lee, and more will live on long after they’ve left the mortal plane. This year has given us too many gut punch moments where we’ve read the name of a favorite person trending online and immediately feared the worse.
There are some who criticize those of us who might mourn the passing of a celebrity. I think it’s partly because ‘celebrity’ has become an ugly word, one associated with wealth, paparazzi, and red carpet glamor. I prefer to think of people for what they did, what they brought to the world, what they fought for. David Bowie was a musician and a champion for individuality. Muhammad Ali was the greatest boxer of all time and a man of strong political convictions. John Glenn walked on the friggin’ Moon, ya’ll. They were celebrities in that they were celebrated personalities, but they were also people who did great things.
Some 2016 deaths mean more to me than others. That’s not to say that any life is worth more than the next, but simply that certain people connected personally with my life and others connected less so. That is why I mourn their passing.
I love David Bowie’s music and I think the man behind the music was endlessly interesting and mysterious. I became a fan of Bowie sometime between his 2003 album Reality and his 2013 album The Next Day. I believe that ten year gap was the longest in his career. So, I discovered Bowie’s out of order, and made up my own mind about what albums I liked the most (Heathen is so underrated). It was a great delight when Bowie then released The Next Day and Blackstar. It was then a huge blow when Bowie died so shortly after Blackstar’s release. I’m still sad and have listened to Bowie only sparingly since his death.
I’m writing this just hours after the passing of Carrie Fisher. She was a warrior who fought her demons and the Hollywood image critics, she was a marvelous writer and actress, and she managed to keep her wicked sense of humor in tact throughout it all. The world will miss her unique voice.
And hitting closer to home, the biggest loss in my 2016 came when we lost my Grandpa Warner. He was a wise man of particularly strong faith. He was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. He would just engage you in conversation that was on a level that few would ever reach. He was also a very loving family man. I will miss him very, very much.
There are no set rules for mourning. It’s human to grow attachments to other people, particularly if their lives have connected with you in some way. When those connections are severed, there is a real feeling of loss, whether you knew the person or not.
RIP to all you great people we lost this year. We love you and miss you.
Writer of horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy. Lover of fiction and film. Lifelong Godzilla fan. Reluctant blogger.
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