Why It’s Okay to Mourn Celebrities

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I’ve already seen them. The posts that say, “Troops are dying and no one sheds a tear…but a celebrity dies and everyone is up in arms.” Well, I will admit that there is a certain truth about the trend. Should we be publicly mourning our troops? Yes. However, we as a public also understand that the brave men and women who go into the military do so knowing that they may face battle, trauma, and death.

Does this make it okay not to mourn their losses?  No.  However, I really think that the majority of people understand how the military works (at least in regard to possible physical harm). And despite the fact that these men and women often lose their lives in terrible circumstances, we as a people understood this from the moment they signed up. From the moment the president sent them to war. We know it’s coming.

Sadly, this is often not the case for celebrities (or anyone really). Yes, indeed we all know that death is inevitable. It’s coming, no doubt about it. Yet, we are continually shocked by its sudden reminder that we are not immortal.

Celebrities become part of our day-to-day lives. They are in our homes. When we feel down, we put on a movie and let them cheer us up. We go see them in concerts in order to experience music, fellowship, dancing! When we need to laugh we call upon them to help us to do so. Often we are inspired by their work – inspired to try new things ourselves, or venture somewhere we have never been.

In some ways these normal yet not normal people become part of our families. Many of us have grown up with TV in our homes. We have certain childhood memories that are closely related to TV shows or movies. I will forever marry my sister Lydia to The Little Mermaid. Truth be told I could live the rest of my life without the song “Part of your World.”

When I think of my childhood I also think of: Growing Pains, Johnny Depp, Dallas, and Mork and Mindy. Me, skinny with piggy tails and knobby knees, sitting on the floor of my living room (indian style…at least that’s what it was called then) laughing along with Robin Williams.

His sudden passing has wrecked me. I feel like the world just took one big deep and sudden breath and can’t quite exhale yet.

I’ve always admired him. What a brilliant mind. So fast! Able to invent characters and comedy in a heart beat.

He was also a great humanitarian – always helping others. Many people do not realize how intelligent he was…truly, he was a scholar as well as comedian.

I guess I’m most upset for him because I know he struggled, and admittedly struggled with drugs/alcohol and depression. I have lived most of my life with people who fight addiction. I’ve seen their heartbreak. I’ve experienced it myself.

It’s hard for people to understand it unless they have gone through it. Although I’m not an addict and have no idea what that path is like, I do know what it is like to love a person with addiction and depression. You love them through the fog. You see their bright moments and you shine with them.

You cry when you see them fall. Unable to understand why they can’t see how wonderful they are.

I think that’s why I’m so upset by Robin’s passing. We all saw that bright light, so often. We were shining, and smiling, along with him. Unable to understand how a person could be so energetic and quick!

We all felt sad when he went into rehab – hoping that our funny man could once again be funny.

When he won the Oscar we smiled from ear to ear. It was like watching our favorite Uncle get rewarded for all the great awesome uncle things he had done.

I believe that Williams was at his best when he was in dramatic roles. That’s when you could really see him – see his mind, see his soul. He radiated empathy and kindness. When he played villainous characters, the few times he did, you hated it…it just wasn’t right, no matter how well he played the part. He could never be a villain.

Heck, I’m still mad at Sally Field for not staying married to him in Mrs. Doubtfire. Sheesh lady! He had ten times the personality as that dork Pierce Brosnan….but anyway….

To get back to my original point…..

It’s okay to mourn for a celebrity. They never signed on a line to go to war, they never dedicated themselves to protecting you.

However, they did dedicate themselves to entertaining you. They decided to take that leap and become characters for you in order for you to forget the real world. So that you could escape into laughter or sadness.

People should never have to justify why they feel an emotion. It’s your right to feel. If you feel sad over the loss over a celebrity, don’t fret. Because of the way our society works, and how big celebrities are in our culture, you are experiencing the loss similar to that of a family member.

Robin Williams was truly great. My heart breaks for him. I’m so sad that the darkness squelched his light.

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