At Denise’s New Year’s Eve party, we debated whether it really was a rough year for celebrity deaths, or if it was just our imagination. Maybe the collective noise of everyone complaining about celebrity deaths made it seem like there were way more than there actually were.
My husband, as usual, was able to supply us with actual facts, and as it turned out, the numbers of notable deaths really was higher last year than in previous years. What I think is bizarre is how they slip from our minds so quickly. Going over the end of year compilations I kept going, Oh, I forgot he died. And her, and her and him. I was so sad when Harper Lee died – how did I forget all about it by the end of the year? I really got mad at the teenager who told me about the Mandela Effect, but maybe I’m just as bad as those nitwits who have the concentration of a fruit fly. How can you not know about Nelson Mandela? How could I forget Harper Lee? What the hell is wrong with us?
I realize how strange it is to be sad over a celebrity death. Why do you think we care so much? It’s not like we know them personally. It’s not like there will be a notable absence in my day to day life.
But the artists help us navigate the world. And whether it is fact or it is Facebook, the world does feel extra scary right now. It is the writers, the musicians, the thinkers, the actors – they are the ones who interpret things for us, who explain things, express our fears and worries and happiness. So yes, I realize I can get through the next four years without Leonard Cohen. But it’s going to be just a little bit harder. It seems especially poignant that so many of the deaths are icons of the LGBTQ and Mental Health Community.
There have been a lot of really great articles about these losses, and there will be many more. Here are a few that really hit me:
The New Yorker always does wonderful “Postscript” articles when we lose a prominent person, and this is a collection from last year. It starts with David Bowie’s. “This was not supposed to happen. Ever.”
Forget the Gold Bikini. For People With Mental Illness, Carrie Fisher Was a Queen.
George Michael Was a Defiant Gay Icon. His Life Must Not Be Sanitised
Elie Wiesel, The Art of Fiction No. 79
Harper Lee’s Novel Achievement
Which ones hit you? What helped you cope?