Celebrity Deaths: Why We Grieve Over People We’ve Never Met
The world was taken by surprise once again very recently with the announcement that Black Panther lead actor, Chadwick Boseman, passed away at a very young age of 43.
With his passing, the whole world has once again fallen into grief, mourning the loss of such a talented and gifted individual whose light has shone brightly. We began to recall other similar instances when we experienced sorrow from the untimely demise of famous personalities even if we don’t know them personally.
John F. Kennedy. Michael Jackson. Paul Walker. David Bowie. Nelson Mandela. Muhammad Ali. Amy Winehouse. Prince. Whitney Houston. Tupac Shakur. Anthony Bourdain. James Brown. Chester Winnington. Kobe and Gigi Bryant.
These are just some of the people who we only knew and watched from afar, yet their deaths have impacted our lives to the point that some of us weren’t able to function when we found out about their deaths.
Surely most of us can remember what we were doing when we found out about the car crash the killed Princess Diana in 1997. Perhaps you were looking at real estate for sale when you heard about Robin Williams’ suicide. Some of you were probably having dinner when news got to you about Boseman’s passing a few days ago.
This brings us to the question of why do we grieve these people and mourn them even if we have not met them in person?
Their work and accomplishments have made such a significant impact on us on a more personal level.
Celebrity deaths affect almost everyone, mainly because we have accepted these people as an extension of our families, and ultimately, of ourselves. Most especially if their work and accomplishments helped us get through some of our lowest points in life or they inspired us to dream big and reach for the stars. Their lives proved that dreams do come true and that if they can do it, so can we.
Kobe Bryant, for instance, was one of the few NBA players to play straight out of high school and into the pros. Many scoffed at his drive and ambition due to his youth. But he proved all doubters wrong when he retired with five championships to his name, along with several other accolades and achievements over a 20-year career.
He did not let anyone look down on him because of his youth, but he set an example and paved the way for lots of young people to do great things despite their age.
Their passing triggers grief over some of our previous losses.
We feel a special connection with them, even if they are technically strangers. By following their bodies of work and even their social media accounts where we have a sneak peek of what their private lives are like, we let them into our homes and, essentially, our lives.
Once news about their passing broke out, we can’t help but feel like we’ve lost a part of ourselves that we can never get back. The same way that we felt when we lost someone close to us. Their untimely demise makes us realize that they are forever gone and are not coming back.
These celebrity deaths trigger all of those memories, pains, and tears, and we’re again brought back to a vulnerability brought by our previous losses.
It’s sometimes hard to move on from these traumatic experiences, but over time, we learn how to deal with it and handle it.
Although it might seem weird to some people, grieving the passing of a famous personality is a normal human reaction that we should not be ashamed of. It shows that we are capable of empathy. It also allows us to express our sadness because someone who has made a significant impact on our lives is forever gone to us. So yes, it’s okay to mourn for them, but it should all the more inspire you to live your life right.