You wanna know what? It’s okay to grieve over a celebrity. It is perfectly acceptable. It doesn’t make you simple or silly or sappy. It makes you a human being.
When a recognizable face passes, choruses of heartless loners pipe up and ask why we mourn these celebrity deaths and not the thousands of people who die every day.
I’ll tell you why.
All the world has a fear of death, no matter what they say. No one looks death in the face and says, “fuck yeah!”. Even suicide bombers, and martyrs have an uneasiness at the very least before they commit their horrendous acts. If anyone on earth tells you that they have zero fear of death, well, they’re just not being honest. We all do. It is our nature.
When we see a face over and over, it becomes familiar.
When we hear a voice over and over, we get used to it being there.
When we watch a funny man be hilariously and spontaneously funny for our entire lives, those laughs become the norm.
And then one day, they’re gone.
RIP Robin Williams
Whether you liked the person or not, you’re instantly reminded of your own mortality and the mortality of those around you. Maybe you see a bit of your dad in him, or your brother or your best friend. Maybe you see a little bit of yourself in him. Your natural fear of death is poked and prodded and feelings are felt.
It doesn’t always happen that way with the idea of “thousands of people who die every day” because there is no face to recognize, no one to relate to. That is okay. We are built to connect with individuals, not crowds.
Robin Williams took his own life. Up until yesterday, he symbolized happy things and things that made us howl with laughter. He was a source of joy, with every breath he took… and then abruptly after 40+ years of his brilliant, positive light shining brightly on us, he became a symbol of extreme sadness.
He symbolizes all the depressed people we know in our own lives – and not one of us is unaffected by it.
He symbolizes a loss of innocence.
He symbolizes time passing and an end to a part of our childhood.
He symbolizes the fact that even the bubbliest, funniest people on earth can be struggling with dark, personal demons.
Robin Williams was pure light, and he’s gone dark.
So, mourn him and be okay with it. He was a part of all of our lives, and to deny that is to be living outside of reality. No, we didn’t know him personally. No, this is not comparable to the loss of someone we know. But it is still a loss, and it deserves to be felt.
If you are depressed or having thoughts of self-harm, I want you to promise me that you will seek help. In times of crisis, Imalive.org is a wonderful resource. And of course, you know Mom is here for you, so let me know what’s going on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rest in peace funny man.