When a celebrity’s life comes to an end, the nation, the world, social media, the news anchor, your best friend. We all mourn. We all grieve as if it is someone we considered our very own friend.
Maybe I feel this way because I am a highly sensitive and emotional person as it is. Maybe I am empathic. Maybe I just have a heart. But, why as a nation do we mourn someone that we have never even crossed paths with?
Because, it hurts. It’s sad. It is a gentle reminder of how precious life is. Because Kobe Bryant wasn’t just a legend. He wasn’t just a celebrity. He was this idea of what we hoped to be. We watched him growing up. He is the reason why you began to play basketball. He is the reason why you pushed yourself harder. He is the reason why your team won. Because he inspired you to be better, stronger, faster. He inspired you to never give up on your own dreams. He gave you hope.
He is a Father. A Husband. A Son. A Cousin. A Brother. A Nephew. A Grandson. A Friend. A Teacher. A Coworker. A Teammate.
We mourn not only for the celebrities that we see on TV, as they have allowed us to watch their lives. We are brought back to our own memories of grieving. You mourned yesterday because you remembered the loss of your own Father, and how those kids will now feel that pain you once felt. You mourned because you can’t imagine how his wife will go on raising these children, while mourning the loss of her husband and child. You mourned because you imagined what that must have felt like when he had those last moments with his daughter and how he would have done anything to protect her. As you would have done for your own child. You mourned the 7 other people in that helicopter. You mourned because you can’t imagine how terrifying those last moments must have been for everyone in that helicopter. You mourned because you can’t even fathom seeing all over the news that your best friend died, over and over again. You mourned because you watched on TV all day and night these other celebrities crying while mourning their friend.
We mourn celebrities because they bring us back. They bring us back to a time, a place, a feeling, a memory.
Whitney Houston. She was a part of my childhood. My Adult Life. My happy days and sad days. I mourned her because of the memories that attached to her music.
Paul Walker. We grew up with Fast & Furious. We mourned because it was the end of an era. We mourned because he actually seemed like one of the good ones.
Luke Perry. I wept when they had Shannen Doherty on Riverdale. I’m talking, ugly cry. Because not only were they friends and coworkers on a show I watched my entire childhood. But they were friends off the show as well, after all those years. The tears she was crying on Riverdale, they were very real tears.
They are all very real people, we just don’t get the chance to know them in that way. We watch them over the years. As very real as you or I not being completely black and white. They are grey as well. They have all done incredible things in their lives and probably some things that they are not so proud of. But, regardless, we weep, we mourn, we take our moments of silence.
I saw a photo this morning of Kobe Byrant and his daughter that was dated, December 29. That was not even a month ago. It doesn’t matter who you are. Where you are. What you are. When it is your time, it is your time. Can you imagine. This could be your last month. That’s it. From the time the photo was taken, they had one month left.
Every. Single. Time. something like this happens, we all say… “Life is too short.”
And my God it is. So why don’t we live in this way? Why don’t you apologize to the people you care about? Why don’t you take time out of your day to reach out to someone? Why don’t you not get so angry about something stupid that happened? Is it really that fine of a line? If this was your last month here, would you spend it differently? Would you stop getting so annoyed by that family member? Would you take the trip? Would you dive head first into that new relationship? Would you make amends with someone who hurt you? Spend more time with your dog? Take more photos? Do something you love?
This doesn’t mean we don’t mourn the police officer that was shot. This doesn’t mean we don’t mourn the 30 people that died in a different plane crash. This doesn’t mean we don’t mourn the child who lost their battle to cancer. We mourn them too.
We mourn people we don’t know because it’s a gentle reminder of how precious life is. Because they are a reminder of what we once were, once wanted to be, what we are or what we hope to be. Because you wish in this moment you could wrap your arms around the people that are hurting the most from such a tragic loss.