Recently the loss of music legends Glenn Frey, David Bowie, and Maurice White made many of us feel melancholy. Fans of Celine Dion may have grieved for her when she lost both her husband and her brother within a few days. People sometimes ask me if it is normal for us to grieve when someone that we don’t even know dies. Are we just overly obsessed fans? Sometimes callous remarks are made that people who grieve over celebrities should “get a life”. We didn’t really know them, right? Of course we don’t know them, but we do have a connection to them. When John F. Kennedy passed away, a whole nation grieved. Very few of them ever met the president. People all over the world grieved for the loss of Princess Diana.
Music holds a unique and powerful place in most of our lives. You hear “Take It Easy” or “Lying Eyes” by the Eagles and it takes you right back to childhood summers at the local swimming pool. “Modern Love” comes on the radio, and reminds you of watching David Bowie on MTV with your friends in college. Maybe you saw Earth, Wind, and Fire on tour just a few years ago and sat listening, as I did, and reminisced about an old love with whom you used to dance to “That’s The Way of The World”. The artists who created these songs wrote the soundtrack to our life events. It’s is no wonder that it’s sad to hear of their passing. It reminds us of our own mortality and, if nothing else, that we are getting older. When Glenn Frey passed away I heard radio personalities both local and national admit it bummed them out a little. I had seen The Eagles live just six months prior to the news of his death and it took the wind out of my sails for a bit. It is normal and healthy to grieve when you lose a part of your life history. It only becomes a concern if you were already in a debilitating state of grief and this takes you farther down.
People who are in a foggy pattern of grief don’t need much to take them deeper. Often a person deep in grief will feel like bad news is just piling on, even if the events are years apart. The truth is that losses such as that of a favorite musician are happening to everyone. It feels like life is just dealing you blow after blow. People often say, “What next?” in anticipation. There is no doubt something else is going to happen. Both good news and bad comes every day. It just feels personal and more severe because you are already hurting. If these kinds of things are causing you grief that you can’t shake, don’t ignore it. Talk to someone that understands and can help you. Often you just need to express your grief to someone who is not judgmental and can help guide you through it. If you are grieving and seek help, there are a variety of options. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for suggestions.
Photo used by permission, Flickr Creative Commons, by jeaneeem