Grieving people we never met

A couple of years ago, I was devastated by the Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. I loved his book Kitchen Confidential and his travel shows. I had watched every episode of his various travel and dining shows. His shows were personal and just like many others I felt connected to him. His suicide felt personal. Millions of people felt similarly. Or so it seemed.

Every year there is a death (often of a celebrity) that impacts one even when one doesn’t personally know the individual. Early this year, Kobe Bryant’s death was a sharp hit to the chest for many people. Flowers, teddy bears and more were left throughout Los Angeles and beyond on Kobe’s honor.

It is an interesting phenomena to observe across society. Feeling sadness and even deep grief for another is human. It bonds one to others and creates emotional connections. Grieving en masse creates this electrical current. It also serves as a momentary (albeit remote) reminder of the fragility of life. We appreciate that occasional reminder. We hope it right sets our lives. It may jar one occasionally into action. However, we often go back to a more sheltered state of mind. This weekend, the actor Chadwick Boseman died at the age of 43 of colon cancer. He played the Black Panther. He had connected with many and suddenly he died. Not many had known he had stage four cancer. And, just like that we find out and he’s gone. A stark reminder to also perhaps get one’s annual physical exam.

Collective grieving. It serves a perhaps. It’s jarring. Comforting. Focusing.

11 replies »

  1. SAdly i’M AMazed Now
    That Not More Attention Intently
    is Paid to what is becoming so hard
    Now in ‘Grief’ to Even Keep Track of anymore;
    the Number of ‘Unwanted Toys’, it seems Now
    of Culture Dying From the Covid-19
    Pandemic, 183, 184, 300K, and no
    Telling What Fresh
    Hell comes After a
    Potential Election
    oF AN Administration
    With a Philosophy
    of ‘So What, the
    Are going
    to Die’;
    “Die Sweet
    Road Runner Die”
    Just More Mud-Mix
    For Pharaoh To Build
    His Golden Tower Pyramids
    With Initials ‘Greater’ inscribed;
    PerhapS, ‘UNtil the Last Born’ Dies;
    After All We’ve Had the Floods, the
    Locusts From Africa to India; the Super
    Dust Cloud that Covered the Sun as all
    Turned to Brown From Africa; the L Storm
    in August and the ‘Hell Storm’ Yet to come at
    This Rate;
    Comes back,
    i guess, to Part
    The Red Coming Deeper Sea Blood…
    Holy CR8P; Never A ‘Better’ Labor Day
    Weekend to Celebrate 51 Months of
    Writing “Nether Land Bible”; Yes, Just
    Another 6 MiLLioN Word Subchapter
    EPiC EXTReMeLY Long Form Poem Bible
    Free Verse Breath Now of “SonG oF mY
    SoUL”; Anyway, Plus about 10 More Miles
    of Dance as Usual still to come on Sunday
    as i’m currently at 13,600 Miles of Public Dance
    in 84 Months, with the 8.4 MiLLioN Words of ‘SonG
    oF mY SoUL’; Couldn’t have Picked a Better Memorial
    Day Weekend, than 2016 to Start a “Nether Land Bible” too..
    For Real
    every day
    NoW iNdeed… hmm…
    It’s JusT AN Old/New Tradition
    Revived; Just Another Golden Age Hobby;
    As indeed these are interesting Days; but
    i’ll wait to eat some more Popcorn until after Mall Dance..;)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Never ignore troublesome physical symptoms – minimize all you like, but keep a tight watch on changes.

    Silent killers often aren’t.

    We should all know basic nutrition by now – and remember that the excess SUGAR you eat is what creates fat: that’s how the body stores it.

    If you are eating a half dozen doughnuts a day – figure out why, because you know it’s not the best thing to do. If you still smoke, and many still do, ditto – you can’t pretend it’s good for you, or even neutral: on your own time, and for your own reasons, take a bit better care of yourself.

    Nothing crazy. No “I’m now going to change for all time.” WITHOUT listening to the voices in your head that do nothing but criticize. For you. Gently. Slowly. With love.

    We’d like you to stick around; there is enough destruction from truly random causes, or things other people do.

    And if you KNOW that mole has changed, be proactive.


  3. Princess Diana.I remember the outpouring of grief and the massive amount of flowers and stuffies at Kensington Palace. That was when I decided that these outpourings of grief for people we don’t know is the “Diana Syndrome” We now live, at least in the Western world , in a culture that does not really acknowledge grief.We must “celebrate” the person who has died. There are no more black armbands, no outward signs we have had a devastating loss of a loved one. We must move on. So when someone else, who we do not know , dies and is famous we can leave flowers or teddy bears and lit candles at a sight for them. That is the only outward expression of grief we can have. That is just my personal theory. I have no psychology training of any kind. My theory is just based on observation.


  4. Bourdain’s death affected me the same way. Boseman was only 43…too young to have an annual colonoscopy, so there was probably no indication anything was wrong until too late. Tragic…hopefully new methods of screening and early detection will be developed and made readily available


  5. Inside I have this belief that if we all really kept the awareness of the “fragility of life” in our hearts and honored that, then most of us would treat ourselves and everyone we meet in a kinder and more compassionate manner. Thanks for this post.


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