Clearly, 2016 will be remembered as a very dark year in the world of entertainment. With various legends merely passing away through the sands of time, it seems too much for our mere mortal minds to bear. What we should reflect upon is not the shock celebrity deaths brings us, but WHY their passing affects us so deeply.
Admittedly, I was sad when I heard Gene Wilder died this year, along with Alan Rickman, Nancy Reagan, Prince, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, and countless other celebrities that passed along to another life. What’s interesting to me is we seem to be sad not so much for the person that died, but more for the death of their representation or symbolism. For example, Gene Wilder touched the hearts of many with his Willy Wonka character, and causes a lot of childhood memories to surface at the sound of his name. Are we sad that HE died, or are we mourning the loss of a portion of our childhood? With Carrie Fisher, are we mourning her personally, or are we sad our favorite galactic princess is now forever in a galaxy far, far away?
Naturally, as humans, when the topic of death is mentioned, the tone completely changes to be somber and reverent. So, with the passing of so many icons, it makes sense that our first instinct is to post our sadness on all forms of social media, and chat about it at the water cooler. What we also need to remember is we didn’t know these people personally, and we mourn for the loss of their symbolism rather than them as a regular human being.
Don’t get me wrong, I bawled my eyes out at Nancy Reagan’s televised funeral, even though I never knew her or much about her life. I’m not that blunt and cold!
Long story short, it’s okay to be sad with the news of celebrity/icon’s deaths, but let’s reflect as to WHY we’re sad, along with praying they find eternal peace ❤